Sequim Speaks its piece Thursday

Sequim-Dungeness Valley residents will have their first opportunity this week to participate in a new advisory committee designed to keep residents connected with their government.

The first meeting of

Sequim Speaks is set for

6 p.m. Thursday, April 23, at the Guy Cole Convention Center at Carrie Blake Park, 202 N. Blake Ave.

Sign-in will begin at 5:45 p.m. with formal presentations starting at 6:30 p.m.

"All residents are encouraged to attend and find out how you can participate in

Sequim Speaks and have a voice in the future of our community," said Sharon DelaBarre.

"Residents from the greater Sequim community area - both city and county - are encouraged to attend and find out how you can participate in this new citizen advisory committee," she said.

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

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

The committee is intended to gather and present to the council the public's concerns regarding city issues although it won't be allowed to accept public comment on quasi-judicial matters or those requiring a public hearing.

"Sequim Speaks is being formed to provide ideas and a sounding board for future decisions affecting our community," DelaBarre said.

"One important thing is - it's not just Sequim residents, although the boundary edges are fuzzy. So we're hoping people come early.

"We'll open the doors about 45 minutes beforehand and have displays of the four quadrants and examples of issues that could be addressed," she said.

Potential issues could include traffic lights, pedestrian safety, car repair in driveways or other things that may or may not be within the city's control, DelaBarre said.

"It will be a conduit between the city and its neighborhoods, so the council isn't making

decisions in a vacuum. The city is only 6,000 residents, but everyone in the area is impacted," DelaBarre said.

The new advisory committee was something of a campaign promise by the four new councilors elected in November 2007: Laura Dubois, Erik Erichsen, Ken Hays and Susan Lorenzen.

Hays told the Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce at its March 25 meeting that committee supporters hope it provides a two-way communication process for collecting and processing information and a forum for discussion.

He said once a community's population grows to between 3,500-5,000 people, a disconnect begins to occur between the people and their city government.

Reach Brian Gawley at

Sequim Speaks informational meeting 6:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday, April 23 (doors open at 5:45 p.m.) at the Guy Cole Convention Center in Carrie Blake Park, Blake Ave., Sequim.

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