Collaboration in Civic Spheres

Burgers, Shakes And Budget Decisions: Come To Douglass-Truth Library Oct. 16 For A Countywide Community Forum

by Matt Rosenberg October 12th, 2010

King County has a $5 billion annual budget, but to many people who live within its boundaries, it’s all but invisible. It shouldn’t be. The county provides courts, jails, law enforcement, tax collection, public health and human services; and runs elections, wastewater treatment and transit, to name just a few things. Part of the sales and property taxes we pay goes to King County. If you live, work, or go to school in King County you’re invited to the Douglass-Truth Library at 2300 E. Yesler Way in Seattle this Saturday Oct. 16 from 4:15 to 5:45 p.m. to join in discussion with others about resolving King County’s $63 million budget deficit. Free burgers and milkshakes from Dick’s Drive-Ins will be provided. (RSVP info. below).

The program is called Countywide Community Forums, or CCF. It’s privately funded by the Spady family of Dick’s. The forums work like this: There will be an informational video, small group discussions, and a written survey. The results are gathered into a final report that is closely considered by the King County Council, County Executive and county staff, and is promoted widely to the public, media and CCF participants. This event is being hosted by African-American community activist and journalist Charlie James. Here’s a column Mr. James had published recently in several Seattle newspapers about why to tune into King County government, and attend the forum at Douglass-Truth. He writes:

Representative government is a lot of work. It requires you to be informed and then go and cast your ballot or raise your voice for or against any number of issues or candidates….Come to the forum and see how (King County’s) money is spent and make your voice heard about how it should be spent in the future. These forums are the first step toward taking an active part in how this county operates….Because of hard economic times, the county is looking at ways to cut its budget, and if your priority is not noted, it may very well end up on the budget-cutting floor…The budget ax will continue to fall, and it’s best to argue your case on the front end before cuts are made, than on the back end, when the program is gone and we are trying to get it back.

CCF is a privately-funded non-partisan civic engagement program (supported by the Spady family, of Dick’s Drive-Ins) partnered with King County through the auditor’s office. CCF was adopted by the County Council in late 2007 after signatures were gathered for Initiative 24 (“the “Easy Citizen Involvement” initiative).

RSVP: To RSVP, please e-mail Charlie James at jamcomm2010 (at) yahoo (dot) com – this is all you need to do to attend.

(Optional) CCF Registration and online RSVP: If you wish, you can also opt to register online as a CCF citizen councilor here and then RSVP for the event here.

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