3,000 dial in for Litzow's Town Hall meeting
By MARY L. GRADY
Mercer Island Reporter Editor
June 18, 2012 · 11:15 AM
Last week, State Sen. Steve Litzow was able to talk to thousands of voters at the same time. He held a Town Hall meeting by phone.
More than 3,000 unique visitors called in to participate in the hour-long call held on the evening of June 13. At any one time there were an average of 700 people on the line.
Litzow, an Islander and former Mercer Island City Councilman and his staff were pleased by the turnout.
“I was able to reach far more people than if I would have had a regular meeting,” he said. “For a Town Hall meeting held in the evening somewhere, we might get a 150 or so,” he explained.
Residents received a call inviting them to join as the meeting began. It was a matter of simply staying on the line to participate. 41st District residents also had the option of calling in by dialing a toll-free number and entering a code.
Callers wanted to talk about what happened during the Legislative session, Litzow said. They asked about transportation and education and the budget.
For Islanders, there is still concern about the diversion of traffic from SR-520 onto I-90, he added. There is also the realization that the tolling put in place to pay for replacing SR-520, will not be enough.
“Tolling cannot do it all, Litzow remarked. “They are going to be billions short.”
Litzow said he was a bit surprised there was more discussion about transportation issues than there was six months ago.
Voters also wanted to know about what is happening regarding adequate funding for education.
They want to hear more about the recent State Supreme Court decision on the State’s appeal of the McCleary v. State of Washington finding that the state is failing to meet its constitutionally paramount duty to fully fund K-12 education. In that decision, the Court said it will retain jurisdiction to ensure the Legislature will institute reforms.
Callers were pleased, the politician said, about new guidelines put in place for teaching evaluation and other changes.
Litzow noted that despite the pain of the long session, there were some positive results including the fact that no new taxes were implemented.
He said enjoys the challenge of grappling with complex problems with 148 people “who have wildly different views on how to solve them.”
“It is great fun,” he said.
Contact Mercer Island Reporter Editor Mary L. Grady at email@example.com or (206) 232-1215 ext. 1050.