August 31, 2:29 PM click here to comment > 10
Dear Rainier Valley neighbors
I say “neighbors” because I’ve been a proud R.V. resident since 1994.
The Valley, as we well know, has over the years been maligned in the press. At times, we’ve felt ignored, humored, and frankly dissed by the City. I’m not here to say that those feelings aren’t based in some sort of reality. Like many of you, I’ve at times felt frustrated, and angry at my elected officials.
I clearly remember Columbia City in ’94-’95. We had boarded up buildings, cars speeding through the district, (why would anyone bother to stop in a dead business district) rampant crack sales, and worse. As neighbors, we decided to do something for ourselves. We pitched in, worked together, and got a lot of great work done. We certainly didn’t wait for the City to come and save us. Over the course of time, the City started to take notice, but our re-birth was a grassroots effort. You can read details in former Department of Neighborhoods leader Jim Diers’ excellent book Neighbor Power.
My wife and I choose to live in the most diverse zip code in the U.S, and we couldn’t imagine raising our bi-racial daughter anywhere else. The Rainier Valley in general, and Rainier Beach in particular, have a lot to boast about. I’ll put Kubota Gardens up against any City park any day of the week for sheer beauty. How about authentic food from all over the world? It’s hard to beat the Valley. Tell me where else in Seattle you can witness a scene like what took place at the Rainier Valley Heritage Parade/Street Festival? The richness of our diversity on display is a powerful symbol of America at its best.
Here is what the Mayor’s Office has been working on since Mayor McGinn came into office:
1) The Youth and Families Initiative seeks to collaborate with other institutions, and community partners to develop a comprehensive approach to supporting youth from pre-birth through post-secondary education. We are committed to ending racial disparities in education, child care, children’s health, economic opportunity, and the criminal justice system.
2) Walk Bike Ride will make walking, biking, and using transit the easiest choice for as many Seattle residents as possible. This will be accomplished by how we design our communities, build our streets, and invest in transportation priorities, and work with other jurisdictions on the vision for our region.
3) Engage Seattle will ensure that anyone who wants to be involved with the community can do so in a meaningful way. We’ll do this by improving the quality of public outreach in all City Depts., improving constituent services, building stronger relationships with community organizations, by leveraging volunteer service to help grow social capital, and helping to develop future leaders.
4) The Seattle Jobs Plan will work to create the foundation for shared prosperity by smart investments in our physical infrastructure, our people, and our natural environment. We’ll strive for “high road” standards to create family wage jobs. We’ll remove obstacles to innovation, and entrepreneurship, while supporting existing sectors like health care, maritime, and industrial. In every case, we are working closely with caring residents and caring leaders who love this community as much as I do and want to build toward their vision of what their community can become.
I am part of this administration because my values are the Mayor’s values. We care about building a Seattle that is fair, equitable, and inclusive. We care about a Seattle that is safe for all and we care about a Seattle that is environmentally sustainable.
We’re serious about walking our talk. If you would like to hear more about how we’re engaged or tell us what you’re working on, I hope you will call or email me directly. No one knows your neighborhood as well as you, and you are critical to our ability to lead in a way that ensures we are as responsive and as thoughtful as possible in times that are as complex and challenging as these.
Deputy Mayor of Community
Posted by: Deputy Mayor Darryl Smith