The Seattle City Council’s annual retreat will be in Bremerton this year - an hour-long ferry ride from downtown Seattle. Technically, council “retreats” (which have been as far from council chambers as La Conner and as close as the Bertha Knight Landes Room on the first floor of city hall) are open to the public; as a practical matter, though, the farther away a meeting is, the harder it is for the public to attend. Most retreats are more comical than nefarious (last year, the council spent two days identifying its “core values” and participating in a mysterious exercise called “gracious space”), but that’s not the point, citizen activists say. Public meetings should be accessible to the public - and a conference center an hour and a half away doesn’t pass the test.
Incidentally, when asked by the Kitsap Sun why the council had chosen Bremerton, council spokeswoman Jackie O’Ryan had this this to say: “We get to take a ferry. Wouldn’t it be nice to go to a meeting on a boat?”