Clock ticking for County Coucil

The Mirror

Voters got their wish last Saturday in a final plan for shrinking the Metropolitan King County Council from 13 members to nine by the end of this year.

Meeting in the council’s chambers at the County Courthouse, a citizen Districting Committee formally approved its redrawn boundaries of council districts that will eventually result in the smaller council that voters called for in last November’s general election.

The committee, not the council, controlled the redistricting and had the final say on how some districts will be partially consolidated in order to preserve roughly equal representation of the county’s population. Each of the nine members of the new-look council will have about 192,000 constituents.

In the south King County area, a new District 7 will include Federal Way, Pacific, Algona and, for the first time, Auburn. Pete von Reichbauer, who now represents all but Auburn, would be the District 7 councilman.

All 13 of the current council seats are up for election this fall. It’s likely that only two will be eliminated in the voting, however. One incumbent, Rob McKenna, has left office to become the state attorney general, and a second council member plans to run for Seattle City Council.

The districting plan was officially filed Tuesday, completing the process approved by voters in their passage of a county charter amendment. The measure’s prime sponsor was the county jail’s worker union, whose members –– stung by layoffs through budget cuts by the council –– wanted the council to also be reduced as a cost-saving effort.

The districting plan is based partly on public comments the committee received electronically and at four public hearings, including one Jan. 6 in Auburn. The others were in Bellevue, Lake Forest Park and Seattle.

State law required the new districts to be as equal in population as possible and to correspond with the boundaries of cities, voter precincts, Census tracts, natural boundaries and communities of related and mutual interest.

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