We have an election at our June meeting: we need both a President and a Vice-President. As we approach press time, no one has come forward to volunteer for either position. This is sad, given our history of activism.
The Leschi Community Council has a long and illustrious history. It was formed in 1958 as the Leschi Improvement Council and the residents who gathered at Grace Methodist Church to establish this organization had some tough battles to fight. The area was redlined by the real estate business and homes were not offered to minorities. In addition, the schools in this area were suffering from neglect; there was a great disparity between Central Area schools and those schools north of the Ship Canal.
Over the intervening years, the Council has been a vocal supporter of neighborhood parks and public transportation, i.e. bus 27. As we approach the 20th anniversary of the String of Pearls, I think back to the early hearings on this project and how we all wore (cheap) strings of pearls to show our “colors.” This fight went all the way to the State Supreme Court where it was decided in our favor: the streetends ARE public land and the public has a right to use them. Leschi quickly developed their streetends and other neighborhoods began the process as well.
Several years ago, a volunteer group formed LURC, the land use review committee. This group consists of architects, folks with city planning experience and others who just have an interest in how their neighborhood is developed. LURC has been on top of the large projects, working with developers to take the adjoining neighborhood and its needs into consideration. The Leschi CC used to have one chair (with no committee) on land use who attempted to keep an eye on all the development; this turned out to be an impossible task and we are grateful to LURC members for taking over this duty and communicating plans and concerns. At the rate, this city is changing and new developments spring up on every spare lot, it becomes too much for one council to handle.
The “job” of President is often dictated by the state of the council as when Diane Morris and I took over; we needed to get the council on a sound fiscal basis with bills being paid and income collected. The Council is in good fiscal shape now; the website has been revamped so we can make changes, and we have more contributors to the Leschi News than in the past.
The Presidency can be a “maintenance” job for someone; demands are small: two meetings a month (general and Board), a short column for the newsletter (President’s Message), introducing speakers at the general meeting and working through the jointly developed agenda at the Board meetings. Or, if you have great ideas for Leschi, you need to come forward and light our fire! We need you!