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Citywide rep González part of Capitol Hill EcoDistrict delegation on ‘sustainable, urban strategies’ European field trip

(Image: @cmlgonzalez)

To break the the mayor’s veto of the Seattle City Council’s Sweetened Beverage Tax revenue plan, citywide council member Lorena González had to make an international phone call in the middle of the night to cast her decisive vote Monday afternoon Seattle time.

Turns out, González is abroad this week studying “sustainable, urban strategies” thanks to the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict.

The council member is part of a huge delegation, according to Capitol Hill Housing which started the EcoDistrict effort in 2013 with funding from The Bullitt Foundation to increase sustainability efforts in the neighborhood. 

Others on the trip include representatives from Seattle Central College, Sound Transit, the Seattle City Council, the King County Council, both Seattle and Washington State Departments of Transportation, 4Culture, Seattle University, Capitol Hill Housing, Kaiser Permanente, GSBA, the Capitol Hill Business Alliance, the Bullitt Foundation, Blanton Turner, Shields Oblets Johnson, and consultants from COurban Design Collective and Framework Cultural Placemaking, a CHH spokesperson said.

King County Council member Joe McDermott is also part of the trip.

The group is slated to visit “world-renowned public spaces and public life” in Copenhagen, Denmark and Malmo, Sweden. The group’s mission is to bring home “strategies to Capitol Hill.” “Known as the public realm, open public spaces such as streets, squares, parks, alleys, sidewalks, and other outdoor spaces are a key component to the health, vitality, and livability of individuals and communities,” organizers write.

The “MasterClass” session is also supported by the ScanDesign Foundation and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation is also supporting the trip. Capitol Hill Housing says it plans to share findings from the trip when the delegation returns.

Monday, the City Council also passed a resolution on a Green New Deal for Seattle. The final resolution can be found here.


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22 thoughts on “Citywide rep González part of Capitol Hill EcoDistrict delegation on ‘sustainable, urban strategies’ European field trip

  1. ““Known as the public realm, open public spaces such as streets, squares, parks, alleys, sidewalks, and other outdoor spaces are a key component to the health, vitality, and livability of individuals and communities,” organizers write.”

    We’ll see if this is a ploy to justify replacing trees and green space with “activated” pavement.

  2. It would have been more ecologically friendly to do this via videoconference or send fewer people. I hear the Seattle City Council is extremely concerned about the environment, they have a Green New Deal. I’m sure nobody on this trip had ever been to a European city with public spaces before though.

    I’m sure everyone’s taking transit from the airport, not private cars too, right?

  3. Lorena is sure racking up the frequent flyer miles on the taxpayer’s dime. Pay no attention to the fact that she has no expertise on the issues involved, or that anything she ‘learns’ at these conferences can be learned from the comfort of her SCC office. The Internet is a wonderful thing. I hope Lorena learns to use it. Until such time, I’ll laugh every time she says “climate change”.

    • Who wouldn’t take a free trip to Copenhagen on somebody else’s dime. Plus, you know there aren’t any public spaces anywhere besides Scandinavia, so they kind of had to go there.

      Apparently Capitol Hill Housing has money to spare. The Bullitt Foundation is saving the earth by sending people around the world in airplanes to look at bike racks. Hooray environmentalists!

      Did they see a lot of street people in distress in these public spaces? I bet not. Maybe the first thing they should learn is how to deal with that problem.

      • Europe is full of homeless people and people camping in parks, and wherever else they can. It’s not like they don’t have the problem.
        The biggest thing Europe does, which Seattle (and the rest of the US) doesn’t have the appetite for, is much MUCH higher taxes.

  4. Hey all, how about dialing down the snark and negativity a bit?

    Seattle has a lot to learn about a safe, livable city from other parts of the world, and I think it’s worth every penny of my tax dollars to send Ms. Gonzales there. Kudos to the city for being open-minded enough to make the investment and see it first hand.

    Copenhagen is about the same size as seattle; it’s safe, with lots of open space and a thriving culture.

      • This shows that even the young liberals are really sick of this and want Seattle to stop with the cutesy bull and start doing their real jobs. So get ready for more of, what do you call it, Seattle Timesey comments, because they are coming.

    • Seattle has a lot to learn from other cities, too. Take Vancouver’s experience with “safe injection sites”. But Lorena’s not going to go up there to see what havoc its wrought on an entire neighborhood. That would be inconvenient. No big smiles on Hastings Street. Her bike would be stolen, Pronto.

      Lorena would do herself a big PR favor by not emphasizing how much “fun” she’s having on tax financed junkets, especially ones where whatever she’s “learning” is already known and available on the Internet.

      But I’m happy for you that you’re so flush that flushing tax dollars down a political branding campaign is a good thing.

      • I don’t know enough to have an opinion about safe injection sites.

        I’m not saying that seattle should do everything other cities do, obviously. But I think it’s well-worth the investment to see things first hand.

        And quite frankly, I **want** our city government to take the best ideas from all over the world, if she comes back with even one good idea about how to improve seattle, it’s worth every penny.

    • Bob, did you ever pay for any professional training as part of your work as a pediatrician? Doctors have continuing education requirements, right? Ever fly anywhere to be trained in anything?

      Just asking.

      • Of course I did….not only was that necessary to keep up with new therapies, etc, but also it was a legal requirement to maintain a medical license. But the difference is that I paid my own way for those conferences, and it’s the taxpayers who are footing the (substantial) bill for councilmembers to travel to Europe.

        I question the need for Gonzales and others to visit foreign countries to obtain new ideas for Seattle. As others have said here, why not just spend some time on the internet, or a video conference? She also has council staff that could help her with her research.

      • penny wise, pound foolish.

        I bet the all-in cost of a trip to copenhagen is lower than a trip to san francisco or new york.

        City council members are at an enormous point of leverage to influence the direction of the city, which has an annual budget of nearly $6 billion.

      • Haha Bob tell me more about how you never saw any taxpayer-funded medicare/medicaid patients that helped support your practice. One word: Boondoggle!

      • Your snarky comment is uncalled for and is an incorrect assumption. I saw a significant number of Medicaid patients, but I worked mainly at a Public Health clinic during my career, on a salary, so I didn’t benefit financially from seeing them. But even doctors in private practice do not benefit, because the Medicaid reimbursement rates are very low and do not pay for the costs involved in seeing such patients.

        I wish some in this comment section would avoid personal attacks and cheap shots.

      • Ok, we’ll just ignore the snark of your original comment then. And I apologize if you felt personally attacked.

        Do you even know if this was taxpayer funded? The article states there was funding from the Bullitt Foundation. Just as one might inaccurately assume you received funding to go on your trips, maybe you’re doing the same here.

      • Fair enough. The article does not state explicitly that Gonzalez’ s trip was taxpayer funded, but I think it’s safe to assume she did not pay her own way. That’s OK, I guess. If the Bullitt Foundation wants to fund such trips, in the interest of making Seattle a better place, they have every right to do so.

  5. Seattle City Council, Capitol Hill Housing, etc seem to want to focus their attention everywhere but on their own jobs. Talk forums and travel is what’s important to them. I’ve never seen such creative interpretations of one’s own job descriptions. In the mean time, back in Seattle, we’ve had a fatal stabbing at 43rd and the Ave. Are these people working on this problem? No.

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