Candidates for the 2017 MVCC Board Elections

We'll be having our annual board elections at the MVCC meeting on June 20th. Please take a moment to review the candidates who've declared their interest. If you'd like to throw your hat into the ring, just shoot us an email at with your name, the position in which you're interested, and a short bio to share here.

We may add a few more candidates in the coming days. Check back!

Penelope Karovsky - President

Penelope is originally from Johannesburg, South Africa. She arrived in the US in 1964 with a new baby, a B.A. in English and Music, and much optimism. She settled in Seattle in 1977 and got a Ph.D. in Education. Now she's the proud grandmother of seven boys and a girl. She's been a Madison Valley resident since 2008. 

Penelope is our current president and is returning to run for a second term. 

Dana Hanna - Vice President

After spending years wandering the world as a video game producer, Dana arrived in the Pacific Northwest in 2002 and found her true home. She's been a resident of Madison Valley since 2008. She was elected as MVCC's vice president in 2016. In that time, she's helped drive the adoption of new bylaws and developed MVCC's new website.

Cherie Sato - Treasurer

Originally from Japan, Cherie has been a resident of Madison Valley for 13 years.  She is a financial and research analyst, and she has expertise in financial planning and economic forecasting for both the public and private sectors, including state and city governments.  She enjoys walking the neighborhood with her dog and kids and meeting the neighbors, so please don't hesitate to say hello.

Cherie serves as our current treasurer and is also returning to run for a second term.

Diane Zahn - Secretary

Diane Zahn has lived in the Madison Valley neighborhood for the past 12 years. She lives on East Republican Street with her husband, Mark McDermott, who has lived here since 1991.

Diane retired three years ago after a long career as an elected officer of a large private sector labor union. She served as the Union’s Secretary-Treasurer from 1995 to 2014. She currently serves as a private citizen on the Washington State Health Exchange Board which manages the ACA for the State of Washington.

Diane has been glad to meet more concerned neighbors through our effort to Save Madison Valley. She supports 'right sized' development, protecting our tree canopy, and a buffer between our neighborhood and the commercial development around us. You might see her tending the former parking strip which is now a garden in front of 3016 East Republican. Her mom, Stella, and grandson, Walter, help sometimes.

Sarah Tretheway - Board Member

Sarah moved to Madison Valley in 1995.  She got involved with MVCC in 2000 for a few years and during that time helped to get the P-patch built at 30th and Mercer. She also held the office of treasurer for a year.  She cares about the neighbors and the neighborhood and would like to see the council become an important asset in our community.

Sarah was elected to our newly expanded board at our May meeting.

Jennifer Goodwin - Board Member

Raised in the Central District, Jennifer attended Nova Alternative School, Seattle Central College, and Seattle University.  In 1987, she bought her first home in Madison Valley where she created a block watch and worked closely with the East Precinct Crime Prevention staff on behalf of neighbors on a block experiencing an upsurge in shootings and other violent crime. With a growing family, she moved just down the road, behind Promenade, and again worked as a block watch advocate while raising two fantastic sons.  Fifteen years later, she again made Madison Valley her home where she remains, passionate about preserving peace and keeping our fast growing city green and livable. 

Ron Flynn - Board Member

Ron is a 45-year resident of the Central area and a 40-year resident of Madison Valley. He is retired after 30 years as a commercial realtor. Ron is also the current president of The FAME Housing Board and Facilities Manager for the Martin Luther King Community Center.

Dana Hanna
Your Voice Your Choice Project Update

Excerpted from Your Voice Your Choice (YVYC):

In February, we were able to gather nearly 900 project ideas for improving parks and streets from all over the city. This far surpassed our expectations and illuminated the power and benefits of inviting community participation in the City budgeting process. Thank you to everyone who took the time to submit their ideas and to all our community partners who helped in getting the word out!
In March, we began the project development phase of the program. Teams of volunteers in each council district evaluated feasible project ideas based on impact and need and eventually narrowed the field to 10 great projects ideas per district. Thank you to the 267 community members who volunteered their time and energy to make this happen.

Check out the updated project map to see all the projects being considered.

Penelope Karovsky
Concerned About Our Trees? Take SDOT's Survey!

The Seattle Department of Transportation wants to get your thoughts on where and how they should focus street tree work through 2024. A representative says, "Moving into the second year of the program, we would like to engage with communities and do our part in creating and maintaining, clean, healthy, resilient, and safe environments." 

Give them feedback through this survey.  

Want more info and a description of the full plan? Check out their website here for more information.

Penelope Karovsky
Our Beloved City People's: The Saga Continues

Did we have fireworks? Dancing in the street? Did the phoenix arise from the ashes? Perhaps the elation was only in our hearts when the neighborhood received an unexpected holiday gift: the extension of City People’s Garden Store’s lease. The joyful refrains heard throughout the community were certainly real.

The proposed construction at the site has passed the initial phase of the design review but has a few more steps to complete. Due to the slope and nature of the site, construction is only permitted during the dry months of the year. Thus, the building opportunity for 2017 will have passed. Instead of leaving the present building vacant and forlorn during this process, the owners of the land agreed to lease the space to City People’s. The lease runs through December 31, 2017 with options to extend again if the new project is not ready to move forward.

The City People’s Garden Store has two new owners: long time employees Jose Gonzales and Alison Greene. Jose and Alison are beloved and well-known faces at the Garden Store. Together with three investors, Jose and Alison were able to purchase the business from Steve Magley and Dianne Casper with a very generous deal. Steve and Dianne have stayed on as supportive consultants as the new owners evolve from gardeners to business owners/managers.

“It’s been a really steep learning curve”, Jose admits. He and Alison have been participating in a mentorship program through the national Small Business Administration. They meet monthly with their mentor to formulate their business plan and wade through the mountains of paperwork. “We are lucky to have a great mentor,” Jose said, “and we feel much more comfortable now with the business side of the garden store.”

Many of the previous employees have chosen to stay on with the garden store. They were able to continue at or above their previous salary and benefit program.

Jose and Alison envision the Gift Store’s inventory as a bit more streamlined but with all the usual elements in place. They will continue to offer delivery and potting-up services as well as special orders. The landscaping side of the business has been reinvented as a separate entity: The Peoples Gardening Collective. That business will move forward as a coop.

City Peeps, as the Garden Store is affectionately known continues to look for a new site. Given the current land availability in Seattle, this search has been a challenge. They envision a place that is about 15,000—25,000 sq. ft. with 2/3 of outside space and 1/3 inside. They enthusiastically encourage investors and any tips about promising available sites. They will keep the name City Peoples Garden Store.

Jose and Alison optimistically assert that City People’s Garden Store is “Here to stay! We have the passion and people to serve the community and want everyone to know we are here for them”. The staff and community are recovering from the trauma of last year’s sudden closing announcement and are ready to move forward.

Both the local community and Seattle at large wish to extend their heartfelt gratitude to Jose and Alison for their dedicated and bold move to breathe new life into City People’s Garden Store.  

Author: Cathy Nunneley

              Alison and Jose

              Alison and Jose

Penelope Karovsky
MVCC Community Meeting on Wednesday, March 8th at 7:00pm

Join us for the quarterly meeting of the Madison Valley Community Council on March 8th at the MLK FAME Center. Some of the agenda items we'll be covering:

  • A presentation of the updated BRT design by a spokesperson from SDOT with a question and answer period.
  • Reviewing and ratifying our new by-laws, which you can browse on this site
  • Electing any new board members interested in joining us


Have other topics? Send them to us at

Dana Hanna