(grabbed off the internet)
Unfortunately, input from commission volunteers, city meetings, Items from the Audience, Letters to the Editor and social gatherings barely scrape the surface for the community participation they and staff need to make good decisions. Ironically and unfortunately lack of participation from us makes them less accountable.
A few council members (and now the Mayor) have recognized the problem and are going out of their way to engage with us. The Mayor is holding "Neighborhood Conversations" outside of City Hall and in our neighborhoods. Council members Hank Myers and John Stilin host "coffee times." I've followed the council for over ten years and find Hank Myers the city's #1 advocate for citizen participation. Hank values and respects any input from us, even if we drone on about one issue after the other.
Stilin is the most powerful, ambitious and intense member of council that I know. He can be witty during ombudsman reports; his interpretation of our comments can usually be trusted. To the "common man" he may appear above the people and demanding of respect, but deep down he is genuine and tries hard to engage. For a long time John held his coffee-time at Soulfood. Despite the nasty two-year couplet construction he moved it to Midori Bakery on Redmond Way because he likes the pastries and service. I've been to two of his coffees. He has a wealth of information about the city, is eager to share it with you; and is a good listener when your opportunity arises -- even if you're humming around with one idea after another. Despite his stature and standing by all means don't be afraid to engage!
Stilin holds coffee-time between 3:00 and 4:00 every Tuesday for his constituents. In days past he frequently posted his coffee hours on the Ed. Hill Facebook site. Now, he advertises on the city tourism site "Experience Redmond Blog." John will happily schedule an appointment if you have a work conflict. I'm sorry I don't have an email for you. He uses a different email format than the other council members and I can never remember it.
Hank Myers hosts his coffee-time the 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month, 2:30 to 4:30, conveniently located at Down Pour Coffee Bar in west Redmond. I've been to one of Hank's coffees. He is friendly, approachable and a real treat to visit. Hank is very busy and to be assured of seeing him I suggest an email -- email@example.com.
We need to participate more with council so they and staff can make better decisions! The Mayor, Mr. Stilin and Mr. Myers are giving us great opportunities. Let's use them!