Should Seattle City Councilmembers Be Elected By District?

Jun 12, 2013

 Beginning in 2015, Seattle residents might see a big change in how they’re represented in city government. A proposal that is likely to make the ballot this fall would create a hybrid system with seven geographical districts and one councilmember representing each. Two council seats would remain at-large.

Currently, Seattle voters elect nine at-large councilmembers who represent the entire city, and that’s fairly unusual. For cities with more than 500,000 residents, only Detroit, Mich. and Columbus, Ohio currently have at-large city council systems. So what are the arguments for creating a hybrid system? What are the arguments for keeping things the same?

David Hyde talks to Eugene Wasserman, president of the North Seattle Industrial Association and campaign coordinator for Seattle Districts Now, an organization proposing its own map of districts. David also hears from former city councilmember Jim Street and University of North Carolina government professor Kimberly Nelson.