[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a Letter to the Editor, submitted by a verified resident. It does not necessarily reflect the opinions of The B-Town Blog, nor its staff:]

Local government is where real decisions are made. While the federal government gets most of the attention, it has less impact on our daily lives than local governments. Your local city council has more control over your daily life than any other level of government.

Your city council determines how you may use your property. It sets the speed limits on the streets in front of your home and business. It protects you from dangers to life and property. It sets standards for everyday relations between neighbors.

Unfortunately, people are frequently unaware of who presides over their local governments until issues come to their backyard. Schools no longer have a civics curriculum, yet we can vote at age 18. Because we generally pay little attention to local government, we get suspicious when things change and we didn’t know it was happening. We form strong opinions based on 10-second soundbites, sensational news articles, and quirky neighborhood rumors. But are we involved?

Generally, I find there are at least three kinds of people when it comes to civic engagement: there are people who want something; there are people who don’t want them to have it; and there is a large group of people who don’t know there’s something going on.

We are in the middle of the two-year election cycle for our city council. It has come down to two people competing for each of four council positions. Candidates have tried to reach us through neighborhood doorbelling, mailings, social media, and blog posts. With pandemic restrictions in effect, contact through candidate forums and debates has been problematic. But are we listening? Are we doing our own research? Do we care enough to know what’s actually going on?

The city council may not be glamorous, but real power is exercised and real change can be made in the lives of everyday people. Please get to know the candidates, research the issues, and VOTE in the best interests of the entire community.

– Stephen Lamphear
Shorewood, Burien
Former City Councilmember 1998-2005

EDITOR’S NOTE: Do you have an opinion you’d like to share with our highly engaged local Readers? If so, please email your Letter to the Editor to [email protected] and, pending review and verification, we may publish it. Letter writers must use their full names and cite sources – as well as provide an address and phone number (NOT for publication but for verification purposes). Read our full Letter to the Editor submission guidelines here.