Pinehurst seattle

The other night I watched an episode of Eric Liu’s excellent show, ‘ Citizen University TV’. Eric spoke about how to make yourself heard in government. The next day I was leafing through Seattle Neighborhoods’ pamphlet, ‘Get Informed, Get Engaged, Get Organized’ and came across the same suggestions Eric made. We complain about what the city is or isn’t doing (as amply evidenced on the Pinehurst Seattle Facebook group), but do we ever directly engage with anyone who can do something about it? If we don’t, how do we expect our leaders to know what we want? How do we expect things to change for the better? Here are three ways to make yourself heard, from the pamphlet. My comments and/or Eric’s suggestions are in brackets [ ]:

Each City Councilmember has their own website, where you can find their contact information and upcoming office hours.

Contact the Councilmember who serves your district [District 5’s is Debora Juarez] or is on a City Council committee that addresses your concerns. You can make an appointment or let them know in advance that you’ll be visiting during their office hours – that way, they can schedule a time to talk with you.

If you want to make a comment at a City Council meeting, show up 15 minutes early and sign up outside the Council Chamber. There will be 20 minutes for public comment – you will have up to 2 minutes to share yours. If you can’t make a meeting, you can always provide your input by sending an email or letter. Learn how to make a public comment here. [Eric says that telling a story to make it personal is effect, instead of just facts and figures, or just your opinion. He says decide ahead of time what you want to say, practice saying it in 2 minutes, and even if you’re reading your message, look up once in a while to look people in the eye.]

There are over 70 City boards and commissions in Seattle. You can apply for an open position on any commission that interests you. Members provide feedback and advice that impacts decision-making on issues that affect Seattle, including community involvement, families and education, ethics and elections, traffic management, public safety, housing and human rights. Find out more by visiting

Seattle Municipal Court (SMC) encourages anyone with an outstanding SMC warrant, Unpaid Tickets and Suspended Licenses to attend this Warrant Outreach event. This event will be held in the community to make it as comfortable as possible for individuals to learn about their options and meet with a public defender without the fear of arrest. Outstanding warrants and unpaid traffic tickets may make it harder to get a job, secure housing and generally move forward in life. SMC will have staff available to answer questions, schedule hearings, and share information on resources and support services available through the Court. The King County Department of Public Defense will have attorneys available to answer questions and offer advice.

“Providing a safe and convenient way for individuals to resolve outstanding warrants aligns with SMC’s mission while saving taxpayers money through jail cost savings”, stated SMC Presiding Judge Karen Donohue. “Attendees will learn options to resolve their case and for those who need it, how to access social services and support through the Court Resource Center.” Information on relicensing assistance will also be offered.

The Seattle Municipal Court (SMC) provides a forum to resolve alleged violations of the law in a respectful, independent and impartial manner. SMC processes more cases than any other municipal court in the State of Washington with seven elected Judges and five appointed Magistrates. The Court adjudicates misdemeanor and gross misdemeanor crimes, infractions, and civil violations authorized under the Seattle Municipal Code and certain Revised Code of Washington statutes. For more information visit: