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Council News Release


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:   
2/19/2009  1:51:00 PM
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Nick Licata (206) 684-8803 Dana Robinson Slote, (206) 615-0061

Councilmember Nick Licata

SEATTLE FIRST TO CALL FOR ADVISORY GROUP TO WHITE HOUSE URBAN AFFAIRS OFFICE
Advisory group would be unique mix of urban representatives

SEATTLE – The Seattle City Council is the first of a dozen city councils to pass resolutions to the Obama administration calling for a nation-wide advisory group to inform the work of the newly formed White House Office of Urban Affairs. Additional cities are poised to pass similar resolutions. The office is expected to focus on investments and development in urban areas that create employment and housing opportunities.

“With the recent enactment of a national stimulus plan,” said Seattle City Councilmember Nick Licata, who originated the call for an advisory group, “I expect the administration will welcome advice from a diverse group of elected officials, academics, planners, and community leaders. This group could, within government, personify the kind of grass roots influence that proved so beneficial to the Obama team when it was working outside of government.”

Licata will propose a plan to the White House for how such a large and diverse group can effectively serve the Office of Urban Affairs. Licata formed the National League of Cities’ Large Cities Council a few years ago.

Doug Shields, Pittsburgh’s Council President, said, “A National Advisory Council to the President's Office of Urban Affairs would be a valuable vehicle for providing insight, resources and real world experiences to the formulation of mutually beneficial policies.”

In addition to Seattle, other cities having issued resolutions, proclamations, or letters include Atlanta, Chapel Hill, Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Fort Lauderdale, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Wichita and Winston-Salem.

The cities’ call for an advisory group coincides with the recent announcement of Adolfo Carrion being named director of the White House Office of Urban Affairs and Derek Douglas as special assistant to the president for urban affairs.

“While the appointment of Adolfo Carrion Jr. is a good first step, it doesn’t go far enough," remarked Cleveland City Councilmember Matthew Zone. "My hope is that the Obama Administration will respond to these larger cities of our country by forming an advisory group for the Office of Urban Affairs."

Archives of previous meetings, news releases and copies of legislation are available on the Council’s website at www.seattle.gov/council. Council meetings are cablecast live on Seattle Channel 21 and Webcast live at www.seattlechannel.org/viewer_live.asp. Questions about Council news releases can be directed to Kimberly Reason, Council Communications, at 206-684-8159, or by e-mail at kimberly.reason@seattle.gov.

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