Seattle Disease, Pt. 2

By Josh Feit February 24, 2009

Last week, I took issue with Tim Burgess:

Outrageous Quote of the Week

The quote comes to us from City Council Member Tim Burgess. Pandering to the cranky “local control” mantra at Wednesday night’s meeting about the pending state house bill that would allow higher densities around light rail stations, Burgess proclaimed:

“To see this coming from the legislature is troubling.”

Call it “Seattle Disease”—this bizarre-o notion that legislators in Olympia don’t have the right to legislate.

Last I checked, Seattle had 18 legislators in Olympia elected by the people from six different local turfs. The bill in question is sponsored by one of them—Rep. Sharon Nelson (D-34, West Seattle), and seven other Seattle legislators have signed on: Reps. Jamie Pedersen (D-43, Capitol Hill) and Mary Lou Dickerson (D-36, Ballard) and Sens. Joe McDermott (D-34, West Seattle), Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D-36, Ballard), Ed Murray (D-43, Capitol Hill), Ken Jacobsen (D-46, Greenwood, Northgate, Lake City), and Adam Kline (D-37, Rainier Valley).

Well, one more thing occurs to me: Burgess seems to think he and his fellow Seattle City Council Members  have more legitimacy than state legislators because City Council Members are elected locally. The truth is, Seattle City Council Members have less legitimacy than state legislators when it comes to the talisman of "local control."

Here's why: Seattle's legislators in Olympia are elected from districts; Seattle City Council Members, like Tim Burgess, are not. They are elected at-large.
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