Last week, Councilor Gerly Adrien submitted a full report from her Listening Tour that she embarked upon last fall, noting that the report is full of concerns directly from all people in Everett and she hopes the report will help guide priorities on the new Council.
Adrien embarked on a Listening Tour over the past year during her campaign and even after being elected – talking directly with people at several stops like Whittier Drive, Glendale Towers, at bus stops, on the streets and in school events.
“As anyone can see, I enjoy knocking on doors and talking to people,” she said. “I said after the election I didn’t want people to feel I would only come around and listen to them around election time…I started this tour and I wrote it all down and I loved it. There are so many comments and a lot of them have much in common.
“I’ve been running for three years, but I keep telling people there is better leadership,” she continued. “What we have is not what’s working. I’m going to keep saying that. I’ve heard people say I’m a rookie. One councilor told me to stop the Listening Tour. I’m just doing things people are not used to.”
However, the Listening Tour took a new twist after a conversation with Mayor Carlo DeMaria in November. She said they had a different perception of an issue, and she thought that they should survey the residents. That’s when it clicked, and she decided her Tour would include an exhaustive survey to find out what residents are thinking.
Some of the top issues include housing and schools, she said.
“The schools in particular stuck out in that people wanted more programming for after school and summer and Special Education,” she said. I’d been thinking about after-school programs, but didn’t realize how much people wanted more of it. The housing was addressed in terms of affordable housing and the rising cost of housing here. We knew that would be an issue. Surprisingly, only one person mentioned the casino. That was a surprise to me.”
She said there were a lot of comments about City Hall, and she hopes to address the issues people have had there. She said many of the issues could be addressed by changes in ordinances, and she hopes the Council can work together to research what has worked well elsewhere.
“There are so many cities that are more advanced than us and that have bigger problems than we do,” she said. “They have solved similar problems and maybe did it with very little money.”
With the raw data in hand, collected from a host of sources, Councilor Adrien said she fell back on her work experience preparing reports and action plans. That plan has been distributed to the public, Mayor DeMaria and the Council members. She said she hopes to follow up on it by putting the plan online, and give updates on the issues identified.
“I’m going to put it out every two weeks,” she said. “I want people to see where we are. I’ve even asked if I can have a standing appointment with the mayor every month to go over these priorities. I hope that can happen.”
She said the Listening Tour, now public, is in the hands of the Council, and she hopes the data will be used by everyone – not just her.
“At the end of the day, it’s not about me getting this information,” she said. “We need to work out these problems together. I don’t want to be the only councilor that people call. If we’re going to make a difference, we really need to work together.”