By Cheyna Kiakona
UW News Lab

The Tukwila City Council appointed five new commission members at their Monday, April 15, 2024 meeting, chaired by Mayor Thomas McLeod. 

The five members appointed were Maryan Abdow and Lina Stinson-Ali to the Equity and Social Justice Commission, Fatumo Farah to the Human Services Advisory Board, Roby Snow to the Park Commission and Kathleen Wilson to the Sea-Tac Airport Stakeholder Advisory Round Table.

“Congratulations on the appointments and reappointments. We appreciate your service,” said Mayor McLeod.

Abdow was appointed as the next Quality Engagement Specialist with the Tukwila School District until March 31, 2026. According to her application, she grew up in a marginalized community and is committed to turning her lived experiences into tangible actions for the community.

Stinson-Ali wrote in her application that she hopes to use her previous experiences at Tukwila’s HealthPoint Clinic to foster positive effective governance through listening and collaboration. She will serve in her position until March 31, 2026.

According to Farah’s application, she is enthusiastic about using her experience as a clinical mental health professional to advise city officials on human services opportunities. Her term lasts until March 31, 2027.

Snow will serve on the Park Commission until March 31, 2025. He wrote in his application about designing community and private spaces for 10 years in the Pacific Northwest, including Tukwila Village.

Wilson was reappointed to the city’s boards and committees, this time as part of the SeaTac Airport Stakeholder Advisory Round Table until Dec. 31, 2025.

The appointments were recommended by the mayor following a small pileup of vacant positions. Some of the appointed individuals were present at the meeting and they made no comments to the council following a unanimous agreement by the council in favor of the appointments.

Public Comments

Before the appointments arose, the public raised concerns to the council about newer members representing the public’s voice. The mayor and more than half of the councilmembers began their term at the beginning of this year.

The worries were mainly centered around a proposed rule at council meetings that would cut down the public comment time from five minutes to three minutes.

Joe Duffie, a long-time resident and former councilmember of Tukwila, has been speaking on the issue extensively.

“Five minutes. We wanna talk to you,” Duffie said to the council. “You said you wanna hear from us. Now prove it.”

Conversations around the limit on public comments reached a height following a Jan. 8 public meeting about the homeless encampment at Tukwila’s Riverton Park United Methodist Church. Due to the high number of speakers on the topic, public comments were restricted to two minutes.

Long-time resident Dave Puki gave a request similar to that of Duffie on April 8. Puki addressed the council and committees concerning the city’s duty to seek out information, talk to constituents and collect all the facts before voting on an issue. 

“Please either abstain or vote no or ask for more time. But I would never want to see one of my councilmembers ever make a vote where they’re not fully informed,” Puki said.

After weeks of discussion, the council revisited the proposed time limit at the meeting and voted to remove it.

*The writer is a UW Journalism News Lab reporter.