When should the city issue proclamations? MLT City Council reviews draft policy  

The Mountlake Terrace City Council discusses the first draft of the city’s internal proclamation policy.

The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee (DEIC) and Mountlake Terrace City Council reviewed a proclamation policy draft, among other items, during the council’s March 14 meeting.

Deputy City Manager Carolyn Hope presented the policy, which would set the guidelines for creating city proclamations and what the city can and cannot recognize, which left some councilmembers uncomfortable with its narrow scope. 

No action was taken during this first draft review.

Deputy City Manager Carolyn Hope answers the city council’s questions about the proposed proclamation policy.

The first paragraph of the policy states that proclamations are ceremonial documents issued by the mayor or their designee and presented on behalf of the full Mountlake Terrace City Council.

They are meant to recognize, celebrate, and honor the extraordinary achievements of residents, organizations, or businesses within the city, city departments and their employees.

The proclamations are also used to acknowledge historical, cultural, or otherwise noteworthy special occasions and events and county, state, federal, or other campaigns that directly support the city’s mission.

Proclamations should not be issued for:

– Political matters

– Events or organizations with no direct relationship to the city

– Campaigns or events contrary to City policies

– Campaigns intended for profit

– Birthdays through 99 years old

– Weddings or wedding anniversaries

– Family reunions

– Business openings

A letter may be offered as an alternative. 

Proclamations are:

– Strictly honorary and symbolic

– Not legally binding

– Do not constitute an endorsement

– Eligible to be issued annually

There are two types of requests: Internal and external. Internal requests are intended to publicly recognize a dedicated day, week or month directly associated with the work of or supporting the mission of city departments.

External requests are often made to recognize an event or occasion of historical or other significance, to acknowledge a resident’s achievements or to recognize an established public education program.

All requests must be submitted to the deputy city manager at least 30 days before the desired presentation date or date of the occasion to be recognized.

The city manager will review requests with the city council.

While some city councilmembers approved of the policy and that it focuses on positive aspects of the city and history, others found it too restrictive.

Councilmember Steve Woodard expresses his views about the draft proclamation policy.

Councilmember Steve Woodard noted that not recognizing political matters would result in not recognizing a large portion of his life. Further, the city has experienced redlining in the past, and this would prevent the city from recognizing the efforts of those who worked for equity.

“I’m just looking at broad statements that are trying to accomplish something but bring too much with them in the process,” Woodard said of the policy.

 “But I do want to recognize that …I don’t know what we (the council) did when Mr. Floyd was killed” Woodard said, referring to the 2020 murder of George Floyd – a Black man – by a white Minneapolis police officer. “That was something that by definition would have been a political matter.”

Councilmember Laura Sonmore said that proclamations on national and international events could be concerning because the council may not be able to reach consensus.

Councilmember Laura Sonmore expressed appreciation that the policy avoided national and international politics on which the council might not reach a consensus and focused on the city and positive messages and activities.

Councilmember Rick Ryan echoed Sonmore’s appreciation, stating that city proclamations are, “more for honoring and celebrating things that are within our city … So, if it’s nationwide, I don’t think that would really fit with us unless we had a spaceship from outer space land out there.” 

Councilmember Rory Paine-Donovan says the policy should provide flexibility to address serious issues.

Councilmember Rory Paine-Donovan said he could think of many circumstances in which the city might not be celebrating an event but recognizing history that might be uncomfortable or correcting past statements or actions since opinions change over time.

“I don’t think we need to be too Pollyanna about things because sometimes they’re serious,” Payne-Donovan said. “I think it’s worth having that flexibility.”

Some issues include “serious subject matter that we do need to take pause and make pronouncements about, whether they’re things that we’ve been approached about recently or not,” Paine-Donovan added.

In other business, the city council received an update from Mountlake Terrace’s Arts Advisory Commission, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Commission, Planning Commission, and Recreation and Park Advisory Commission.

By ordinance, the commissions must provide the city council with an annual report on their successes and upcoming work. The 2023 accomplishments included:

Mountlake Terrace Arts Advisory Commission

– Obtained a Snohomish County hotel/motel tax grant with an in-kind match from the city to support the Arts of the Terrace juried art show.

– Coordinated with Friends of the Arts to support Arts of the Terrace. The 2023 Arts of the Terrace show received 542 art pieces as entries, juried 336 of them and sold 50.

– Recommended artist Miguel Edwards to the city council for the pedestrian plaza art installation.

– Continued community outreach efforts – website, new releases, City Happenings, Craze recreational program guide, postcards and social media.

– Hosted and advertised monthly art exhibits at the Mountlake Terrace Library.

The committee’s 2024 work plan includes continuing to schedule and promote monthly art exhibits at the library and identifying and developing a list of artists and art patrons in the city.

Recreation and Park Advisory Commission

– Saw an increase in volunteer hours from 1,352 in 2022 to 1,524 in 2023.

– Continued its Adopt a Park Membership, which includes Ivy League, Veterans Memorial Park; Sound Community Bank, Terrace Creek Park; Friends of Ballinger, Ballinger Park; and Pooper Trooper (Doggy Bag Services) at Ballinger Park and the Off Leash Dog Park.

– Supported special events including Arbor Day, 3rd of July, Tour de Terrace, Movie Night Outs, National Night Out, National Day of Service and the Tree LIghting.

– Participated in the following projects: Evergreen Playfield improvements, Ballinger Park Hazel Miller accessible playground.  and west side Improvements, Bicentennial playground, Terrace Ridge play equipment, Tree City USA and tree code update, and the Transit Connection Corridor Project.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Commission

– Completed orientation and training requirements.

– Provided input on the Comprehensive Plan Public Participation Plan and spread and promoted public participation.

– Provided a commissioner as a liaison for Mountlake Terrace Comprehensive Plan Advisory Group (CPAG).

– Accepted the Juneteenth Proclamation from the City of Mountlake Terrace.

– Recognized Hispanic Month by issuing a proclamation to Alvaro Guillen for his work in the community and on the DEI Commission.

– Proposed “Welcome” signs in city hall and the Recreation Pavilion and worked with staff to have them installed.

– Hosted a speaker from the Edmonds School District, Dr. Sally Guzmán.

Planning Commission

L-R: Adam Bettcher and Denene Thompson from the Mountlake Terrace Planning Commission go over the commission’s accomplishments.

– Engineering development manual review.

– Zoning text amendment for private recreational facilities.

– Worked on amendments to Chapters 15.05 and 15.10 MTMC – Building and Construction and to 15.10 MTMC for Fire Code Official.

– Tree code update.

– Review and discussion of draft Comprehensive Plan – Vision 2044.

– Vision 2044 Survey and open house.

– Planning Commission liaison appointments to Comprehensive Plan Advisory Group (CPAG).

– Update on Sound Transit Lynnwood Link Extension.

– Zoning designation and annexation of 4713 240th St. S.W.

– Chair’s attendance at the 2023 Washington State American Planning Conference.

The next city council meeting will start at 7 p.m. on March 21 at Mountlake Terrace City Hall, 23204 58th Ave. W., Mountlake Terrace. 

To attend the meeting online, visit zoom.us/join and enter meeting ID 810 1113 9518; no passcode is needed.

To make a public comment remotely, complete the registration form within 24 hours of the meeting’s start at cityofmlt.com/FormCenter/City-Council-17/Remote-Public-Comment-Request-Form-12

To listen via telephone, call 1-253-215-8782 and enter the same meeting ID.

You also can view livestreamed meetings and past video recordings at www.youtube.com/cityofmlt
The agenda can be viewed here.

— By Rick Sinnett

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