On Gratitude for Seattleites

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I am feeling especially grateful today for those in our city who make positive contributions to their neighborhoods.

Despite the gathering commercial enthusiasm of this time of year, such as Black Friday and lately, heaven help us, CyberMonday, I am especially glad we formally set aside some hours for expressing, celebrating, and reflecting on actions that make us grateful. It is an attitude that deeply enriches my life and one that I seek daily. 

Here’s a good example. Yesterday’s Parks and Neighborhoods committee meeting showed again how many Seattleites come together to improve our neighborhoods. (Yes, it is possible to feel thankful in a city council committee meeting!)  We are indeed a fortunate city.

Yesterday we introduced two new volunteer commissioners, and heard from many committed community members who proposed projects and will receive funding through the Department of Neighborhoods Neighborhood Matching Funds to help complete their visions for their community.

Introducing two new commissioners

Between City Council and the Mayor, Seattle appoints citizens to more than 50 advisory boards and commissions. These positions represent a significant donation of time and brain power, on issues that challenge the whole city, from Immigrant and Refugee Affairs to Urban Forest Management.  These positions require patience, the ability to listen, discern, speak clearly, and when appropriate, compromise.  Those involved donate hundreds of hours to help us hear the concerns of the community and to get things right; their contributions are indispensible and hugely appreciated.

Councilmember Godden and I had the pleasure of confirming two new volunteer commissioners for the city: Caitlen McKee, a Park Board commissioner, and Kenan Block, who is joining the Arboretum and Botanical Gardens committee. Acting in an advisory capacity to the mayor and City Council, commissioners help make recommendations, and help shape public policy.

Caitlen will serve in the Get Engaged position on the Park Board. “Get Engaged” is a YMCA program that places young adults ages 18-29 on city of Seattle boards and commissions. Get Engaged commissioners serve a one-year term starting in September of each year. Started in 2001, Get Engaged is dedicated to cultivating the next generation of leaders and advocating for the influence of young voices in city affairs.

It’s great to have her Caitlen’s energy and commitment to Parks on our side while she’s working on her degree at the UW Evans School of Public Affairs.

Kenan is a 5th-generation Seattlite with a deep appreciation for the Arboretum and a lively awareness of the challenges ahead, as we work through the western end of the expanded 520 bridge. I’m grateful to know we’ll have his keen mind and years of experience helping us promote safe pedestrian and bicycle connections as this project goes forward.

Large Projects funded through Neighborhood Matching Fund

I was delighted to hear testimony from community members who are involved in making the Large Projects happen. We’re doing a formal announcement early in December, so I won’t list the projects here. But I do want to express my gratitude to Analia Bertoui, Liz Stenning, Leslie Smith, Carol Arnold, Michael Taylor-Judd, Dorothy Lengyel, Josh Kahan, and Richard Nelson, all of whom came to the meeting to talk about their projects.

These volunteers embody the spirit that makes Seattle such a wonderful place to live and work. They’ve led, participated in, and represented community-driven projects that will make our city greener, safer, culturally richer, and more welcoming to all.  Thanks to all of you, and to all the active volunteers and community leaders across Seattle. My gratitude this year goes out to you.