Mayor Mike McGinn spoke at the Ballard First Lutheran Church on Tuesday, June 26th and addressed the public's concerns.
Public voices concerns regarding unemployment and public safety at Mayor's Town Hall meeting
By Christopher Duclos, intern
Seattle mayor Mike McGinn as well as representatives from various city departments held their routine town hall meeting at Ballard First Lutheran Church on Tuesday evening.
A few dozen Ballard residents attended the event to voice their questions and concerns to Mayor McGinn.
McGinn's short introduction provided the audience with a sense of optimism:
“…In the city of Seattle, from the top to the peak to the bottom we lost about 35,000 jobs in what some call ‘The Great Recession’ and we have regained more than half of that now - That’s the good news. We are indeed seeing construction and pick-up again. Certain projects that were on hold are now restarting back up again. I just want to say that in the big picture that that is a good thing,” he said.
However, despite the city's path to recovery, the public voiced concerns about unemployment and public safety.
Improving the unemployment rate:
We have prosperity in Seattle, you can see it, but not everybody who lives here shares that prosperity. Widening that prosperity and sharing it with more people is our goal," said McGinn. "We are introducing job training programs – we are completely redoing how we do job training programs because we are relying too heavily on attracting people to come work here from all over the world. Local employers can’t fulfill their needs with the people we have here."
McGinn and the city have launched a new program called "Pathways to Careers" which aims to improve any individual’s access to a successful, prosperous and fulfilling career by partnering with the local community colleges as well as other job training programs. A student participating in this new program will have the opportunity to gain credit to receive a certificate towards a new career.
A Green Lake resident stated he had witnessed a drug deal gone bad last week on downtown’s 3rd and Pine. He said he hoped the Mayor would do something in response to future incidents, especially considering that the year has just entered the summer tourist months.
“We are taking new approaches [to solving the issues on 3rd Avenue] and we are hoping to soon demonstrate some results,” McGinn replied to the concerned citizen. “We have a new west precinct commander down there. We are taking new ways of improving our (law enforcement) presence in patrols. Time will tell, but officers are being deployed differently into the most problematic areas.”