Indivisible Kirkland has been asked to endorse a side in a local proposition! We are being asked to sign on to the No on Prop 1 campaign to eliminate the Houghton Community Council.
Every four years, residents of the Houghton neighborhood vote on whether to continue having the Houghton Community Council. The HCC is the only neighborhood council that has veto power over the Kirkland City Council when it comes to Houghton land use and zoning.
This strange quirk came about as a provision of Houghton’s merger with Kirkland in 1968. Most of the councils with veto power set up back then were disbanded; Houghton’s is one of only two that remain in the entire state.
Proponents of the HCC say that it acts as a useful check on the city, especially when it comes to upzoning and densification. However, Chanin Kelley-Rae (who has been working on an equity gap analysis for the City of Kirkland) and others have identified the HCC as a significant impediment to equity in Kirkland, since it enshrines a system in which some voters have more say than others in decisions that affect us all.
Since the city is incentivized to compromise with the HCC and pass land use policies that the HCC won’t veto, the members of the HCC end up with an outsized voice in Kirkland planning. (The city also has to devote most of one FTE to HCC-related work. [Source.])
Voting YES on Prop 1 will keep the HCC around for another four years. Voting NO on Prop 1 will eliminate the HCC.
The committee opposing Prop 1 comprises several Indivisible Kirkland members who are working against this proposition on the grounds that the HCC is an inherently undemocratic and inequitable institution that should be sunsetted in order for Kirkland to operate more fairly and justly.
Please vote below on whether you Indivisible should endorse ending the HCC.