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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Op Ed - by Carin Chase

We are delighted to publish an Op-Ed from Carin Chase.

Carin serves as Chair of the 32nd District Democrats.  Her commentary is in reaction to Shoreline City Council majority action to reduce Public Comment time and eliminate "Political Speech" for an candidate who wants to address the Council at a meeting.

The Shoreline City Council didn’t like to hear from the voters so they voted to discontinue listening to us.

At their City Council meeting on Monday night 4/26 by a vote of 4  to  3,  Democracy was 
trampled in the City of Shoreline.

 When the colonists met to craft the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution, they rejected the European model of rule by the few – the Aristocratic elite – in favor of self-government by the informed deliberations and actions of the people:  a democracy.

 Our Democracy is founded on government transparency which allows the people access to the information we need to deliberate – to reason together --- to participate in seeking solutions to challenging public policy issues.     Democratic dialogue between citizens and elected officials requires mechanisms for the people to communicate with their elected officials about issues the people think important – not the other way around.

 There is no other forum that gathers all the city council members together, sitting before the people, listening to the people talk – the modern version of the colonial town hall meeting.   Listening to the people speak is part of the democratic responsibility of elected officials.  

No one said elected officials have to agree with the content of the people’s voice, but in a democracy, they have to listen.  Otherwise, we have what:  an oligarchy?  A  plutocracy?  Fascism?  An aristocracy?   A quasi-judicial cabal?

What do we call this form and practice of government in the City of Shoreline?

Exclusionary elitism?

Carin Chase, Chair
32nd Legislative District Democrats


  1. What I have always respected most about the Shoreline City Council has been the emphasis that was placed on hearing & responding to the voice of the people. To me that is what democracy is about. As I understand it, this move removes that all important reason for respect.

    Cumbersome as the process is, there is no substitute for open public forum before genuinely interested council members. If efficiencies arise from such limitations, we must ask, "Toward, what end?"
    Saskia Davis for Kathy Davis,
    Fircrest Resident

  2. Hi Sas,
    Please send this excellent comment on to the Shoreline City Council by going via this address. Shoreline CityCouncil ;


  3. Janet

    Sounds like you need to get back on the Council....

  4. Comment by "Cascadienne"

    “Although I am not a Shoreline resident, I am in the 32nd LD. What a travesty and a tragedy — to limit the right of citizens to speak publicly to their elected representatives on the Shoreline City Council! In the 32nd LD, we have just launched a series of ten (1) sessions devoted to increasing our knowledge of democracy. The curriculum was prepared mostly by the Women's International League for Peace & Freedom. We're calling our program "Kitchen Table Democracy" and invite all who are concerned about our broken democracy to join us. If interested, please call 425-774-6546 and leave a message. We'll call you back with information.”

  5. In our "Kitchen Table Democracy" series of ten (10) sessions, we'll be examining and discussing such issues as this one -- the oppressive actions of a few who do not truly believe in the concept of "We, the People." Hope you'll join us and help us reclaim our democracy, beginning right here in Shoreline, Washington. (Call 425-774-6546 for details.)