Notes from Newcastle

May 1, 2014

By Christina Corrales-Toy

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For once, I’m not the only one at meeting

I’m used to being the only one at Newcastle City Council meetings.

I sit there, alone, as the council conducts its business in front of an audience of one.

Christina Corrales-Toy

Christina Corrales-Toy

It can get lonely, I’ll admit, watching council members deliberate as I sit surrounded by a sea of empty chairs.

Imagine what a thrill it was for me, then, when City Hall was packed for the April 1 City Council meeting. There must have been about 50 residents there, mostly from the Olympus neighborhood, to hear what Puget Sound Energy representatives had to say about its Energize Eastside project.

It was the most well-attended council meeting I have ever been to in my nearly two years with the paper. It was so packed that reinforcements were brought in, in the form of extra chairs I had never seen before.

There was also a buzz and anticipation in the room I had never encountered. It was refreshing to see neighbors interact before the meeting and exciting, for me, to have someone to strike up a conversation with as I sat in the audience.

I understand that hot-button topics, such as the one that night, naturally attract more of a crowd, but it’s a shame that a constituent-packed council chamber doesn’t occur more often.

I’ll be the first one to admit that council meetings aren’t the most exciting affairs, especially at 7 on a weeknight. They’re not all bad, though. The council deals with important business, and along the way, you get to learn a thing or two about the people you elected.

For example, did you know that Councilman Gordon Bisset and his wife Diane recently celebrated their 52nd wedding anniversary? You would if you went to a meeting.

So, come out to a meeting and see council members Lisa Jensen, Carol Simpson, John Drescher, Steve Buri, John Dulcich, Rich Crispo and Bisset in action. They meet at 7 p.m. the first and third Tuesday of every month at City Hall.

While you’re there, say hi to this lonely reporter, too!


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