Photo by Gwen Davis
SeaTac Mayor Tony Anderson and Councilwoman Terry Anderson present the key to the city to retiring SeaTac Police Chief James Graddon. In the background are council members Barry Ladenburg, left, Rick Forschler and Pam Fernald.

Update: Members of controversial SeaTac committee named

Advisory committee sparks diverse views from SeaTac lawmakers

Press release:

The SeaTac City Council voted at its last meeting to appoint seven members and two alternates to serve on the newly formed Community Building Committee. The committee will serve in an advisory capacity to the SeaTac City Council, and is charged with:

· Researching best practices of other jurisdictions and vetting those ideas within the community.
· Fostering communication and building trust with all City departments and within the community.
· Acting as a sounding board for projects and programs under development by the City.
· Seeking innovative, community-based ideas through sustainable, two-way communication within the community.
· Participating in existing city, school and community meetings and events to bridge communication gaps and promote active participation and community engagement.

“The establishment of the Community Building Committee represents another step toward more open dialogue between the City and its many stakeholders including residents, schools, community groups and businesses, said Mayor Tony Anderson. “With this committee in place we will be in an even stronger position to address the opportunities and issues that are identified in a more direct and timely manner, as we share our work back with the community.”

The City Council selected the following individuals to serve on the inaugural Community Building Committee:

· Jean Blackburn (two-year term)
· Abdirahman Hashi (one-year term)
· Abdiwali Mohamed (one-year term)
· Virginia Olsen (two-year term)
· Pat Patterson (two-year term)
· Keith Siebler (one-year term)
· Matthew York (two-year term)
· Nibret Aga (alternate)
· Kenneth Taylor (alternate)

Twenty-five individuals applied to serve on the committee. Terms are staggered with four members serving two-year terms and three members serving one-year terms as noted above.

Those interested in committee agendas can sign up for e-notifications by visiting the City’s website, Under the “I Want To…” pull down menu, click “Sign up for…” and click on “eNotifications”. A box will appear. Enter your email address and click on Community Building Committee under the Event Calendar section and click the “Subscribe” button. You will receive a confirmation email from “administrator” asking you to confirm your subscription. Be sure to respond to the email to activate your e-notification subscription. You may visit the same page to change your subscription preference.

Here is Highline Times' previous coverage:

By Gwen Davis

The April 23 SeaTac City Council meeting began on a pleasant note when Mayor Tony Anderson presented the key to the city to retiring police chief James Graddon.

However, the following part of the meeting was far from congenial.

The council was to affirm the appointments of seven members and two alternate members to the new Community-Building Committee. The candidates for this committee – who will work with the diverse population of the city – were already chosen.

But, Councilmember Pam Fernald complained that the committee members were not all residents of SeaTac. She said that not all of the people who initially applied for these positions were even contacted.

“I’m not going to vote to select people who do not live in SeaTac to serve on a SeaTac committee,” she said.

“More than four citizens who I personally know of who applied for this committee were not even called or interviewed.”

“It sounds like this was because they were not people of color… To me this is reverse discrimination.”

But Councilmember Barry Ladenburg did not agree.

“I am shocked to hear the committee has failed even before it had its first meeting,” he said. “I didn’t know it was required that people live in the city – but it’s what they bring to the city as far as the committee goes. There are certainly a lot of people working for the city, especially in the school district who know the city very well but do not live exactly in the city.

“This committee is advisory only. They don’t spend taxpayer money. The things they do will have to go through this council.”

“We were looking at a lot of diversity in the community, whether they live here, working in the community; are they a young group, older group, an ethnic group. Our community is made up of all kinds of diversity and that’s how we wanted this committee to look. I thought we came up with that.”

Councilmember Rick Forschler said this very debate about citizenship and interviews was “awkward” since it suggested non-transparency though an effort that was meant to be transparent.

The council ended up affirming the appointments.

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