Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Mayor and City Council to visit neighborhoods 4-6 times/year

UPDATED:  An exciting, uplifting presentation on the goals and progress of city communications was given by the city's Communications Manager Lisa Rhodes at last night's City Council Meeting.  Council President Hank Margeson was the acting Mayor in the absence of John Marchione.

The good news!  Two-way communication between the city and neighborhoods is improving by leaps and bounds.  Besides a recent update of the city website (check it out!) Rhodes reported the following communication improvements:

1) The city "is in the process of searching for a new Community Outreach Member to function as an ambassador with the community and hopefully enhance our 2-way communication."  This Member's responsibility will be to provide "PR and community outreach and engagement."

2) The Communications Department is in the planning stages for putting on a Community Outreach Roadshow!  Rhodes said "Four to six community meetings per year, focused on one or more key messages, are being planned so yourselves (council) and Mayor to communicate directly, face-to-face on a consistent basis with the community."  Council members Kim Allen and Hank Myers have been pushing for this for some time, and the Mayor has delivered.

Take a quick look at the city website and you'll notice important neighborhood information is now at your fingertips!  One of my favorites is "Issues and Questions" where you can get answers to your traffic concerns, drinking water issues, and more. (When in doubt don't by shy about contacting our city Ombudsman about anything that bothers you or things you're seeing in the city you like.)

Council Member David Carson had some very good questions about the city website during the meeting.  He asked Rhodes to include the email addresses of all city council members and key staff on the Staff Directory page. His concerns were about citizens wanting to "communicate something after hours."  Rhodes said she'd update it. Carson reported the website's Search Engine "is kinda awful."  Rhodes agreed and said they are working on it with a "revamp" hopefully by the summer.

Redmond's newest Council Member, Angela Birney suggested a more interactive webpage for our parks -- perhaps a place for maps, tennis court reservations, park area reservations, and the like.

Council Member Vice President Kim Allen touched on one of Education Hill neighborhood's key issues surrounding the city's rapid growth. Allen said "we're halfway there on my pet peeve for the website -- which is under the development tab.  How do people find out about land use actions?"  Rhodes said she'd fix the "development tab" right away.  Allen thanked Rhodes for her hard work saying, "One of the key focuses of the Council Retreat is going to be developing our own communication strategies."

Council Member John Stilin (can't remember his email address) was concerned about "civility" on social media sites.  Rhodes said her department is planning innovative online face-to-face webinars which is expected to help.

REGARDING TWO-WAY COMMUNICATION:  I'm excited to announce the new "Redmond Hill Neighborhood Association" (EdHNA),  It is in the forming stages and now holds monthly meetings at the Baptist Church on 166th Avenue.  You don't have to be a "member" to attend.  EdNHA is the brainstorm of activist Paige Norman.  Many, many thanks to Paige!  (She runs a good, fun meeting, too.)   Hank Myers, David Carson, Planning Commissioner Scott Biethan, Arts Commissioner Rob Levitt and Steve Fields participated in the first meeting along with about 25 other residents  All are welcome to the meetings.  Please RSVP here so we can set up enough chairs. EdHNA's new email address is:

Bob Yoder

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