Dayton’s Bluff pushes for a board representative of its population

Though the Dayton's Bluff neighborhood is 60 percent people of color, the neighborhood's community council board has never been representative of that, says Deanna Abbott-Foster, director of the council.

So, with board elections coming up in December, she says she's hoping to see that change.

Dayton's Bluff's board is not a unique story, she says — "I think it's a concern of every district council."

Dayton's Bluff's council has been making efforts to become more relevent to the community as a whole, Abbott-Foster says, something which she says she's hoping will bring equity to the council's board. She points to the East Side Enterprise Center's outreach to minority business owners, and WEQY, the East Side radio station started by the council.

She laments there hasn't always been much civic engagement around council politics — "We've had board members that were elected by three votes," she says. "We're trying to do a little better than that this year."

The council is encouraging people to campaign for board seats — in addition, all the candidates will be interviewed on the radio station, and the community council will provide yard signs to candidates as well.

Abbott-Foster says, in part, this is to get people amped up about the political process in general.

"We're experimenting with a lot more outreach and getting people engaged in electoral politics on the very local level," she says. "We're intentionally doing that to get people tuned in to the 2016 election.

"If we could make a tiny blip on the screen for Dayton's Bluff saying that we actually had more voters than usual," it would be worth the efforts, she says.

The deadline for filing for candidacy for the Dayton's Bluff Community Council board is Dec. 1. So far, eight candidates have filed, but Abbott-Foster says she expects more. There are nine board seats to fill in total — two for each of the neighborhoods four subdistricts, and one at-large seat intended for a Metropolitan State University student. Candidates must live in the subdistrict for which they are running.

The election and annual meeting of the Dayton's Bluff Community Council takes place Monday, Dec. 21 from 6:30-8:30 p.m., at the East Side Enterprise Center, 804 Margaret St.

For more information about the council election, visit http://www.daytonsbluff.org/about-us/board-elections-2015/.

— Patrick Larkin

 

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