Chamber hears Sequim Speaks pitch

Residents of the Sequim-Dungeness Valley should attend an April 23 informational meeting of Sequim Speaks because they can help shape a group that can help reconnect the community, a quartet of speakers said Tuesday, March 24.

Addressing the weekly luncheon of the Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce luncheon, the four said the

Sequim Speaks group hopes to gather and present to the Sequim City Council the public's concerns regarding city issues.

The group won't be allowed to accept public comment on quasi-judicial matters or those requiring a public hearing.

The committee was something of a campaign promise by the four new councilors elected in November 2007.

Interim City Manager Linda Herzog began by saying that cities are "conversations followed by decisions" and Americans have made both the conversations and the decisions very complicated.

The process has to be somewhat efficient, but it assumes that speakers at public meetings represent the community, she said.

So, Sequim Speaks is intended to broaden the dialogue and increase resident input, Herzog said.

Councilor Ken Hays, one of the group's proponents, said members hope it provides a two-way communication process for collecting and processing information and a forum for discussion.

A connected community is an involved community but, once the population reaches between 3,500 and 5,000 people, a disconnect begins to occur, he said.

"You can't just say it, you have to live it," Hays said.

Del Delabarre said groups such as Sequim Speaks can reflect true representation, "not just us loudmouths."

Such a group can bring forth new ideas and, yes, complaints although they aren't its primary focus, he said.

The two things necessary for success are a receptive city and sustainability, which means making it part of the city, Delabarre said.

Otherwise, these groups don't last beyond 18 months, he said.

Pat Johansen said, "You want to be there on April 23 to see how this thing evolves because we don't know how it will evolve. It may be one of the most important moves you make."

Sequim Speaks would be comprised of 15 to 22 members who would apply to the city. Its boundaries would be those of the Sequim School District, which would be divided into four quadrants by Sequim Avenue/Sequim-Dungeness Way and Washington Street.

Each quadrant would have at least three representatives, and the majority of the committee must be Sequim residents. The committee also would have one representative each from the city of Sequim, Clallam County and the Jamestown S'Klallam Tribal Council.

Brian Gawley can be reached at

What: Sequim Speaks informational meeting

When: 6:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday, April 23 (doors open at 5:45 p.m.)

Where: Guy Cole Convention Center in Carrie Blake Park, Sequim

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