Organizations to Host Council Forum Tonight, October 23

Several organizations have teamed up to offer a City Council forum for residents tonight, Oct. 23, in Immaculate Conception Church at 6 p.m.

Antonio Amaya, executive director of La Comunidad, and Kathleen O’Brien, operations manager for Everett Community Growers, said that numerous organizations had pooled their efforts to offer the unique forum. It will operate as a round robin type of approach, with candidates rotating around the room to tables filled with residents – and questions are encouraged.

Already, some 15 candidates for Council have confirmed attendance.

“We are certain that Everett has changed in its types of communities,” said Amaya. “There are so many issues the City Council has to take into considerations for bringing all of those communities in Everett together. For example, housing is a big issue. There is a lot of displacement going on the Council may not have noticed. Also, there are other things happening such as people have the right to a good job with benefits and health care.”

Added O’Brien, “We had this first in 2015 and it was very successful because it was such an intimate setting. We’re going to replicate that this time. It’s not a big debate style like on TV. It’s not a debate. It’s really for residents to ask questions. It is a round table.”

Another issue they have been working on is communication with the Police Department on its voluntary cooperation policy with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). That is a big issue for the organizations and their membership, and many would like to know where the candidates stand on that policy.

“That is a local issue and it’s about making Everett safer,” said Amaya. “If people are not scared to go to the police for fear of deportation, they will report crime and it will result in a safer community. It’s something our local government leaders need to pay attention to.”

The three focus areas for the forum – as well as a voter guide that is being produced by the organizations – are:

•Housing, schools and jobs.

•Municipal Access and equity.

•Immigration and diversity.

The forum will be held in the basement of IC Church, on Broadway, at 6 p.m., Oct. 23.

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