Friday, December 03, 2010

Seattle: "Outside City Hall - A manifesto for neighborhood change"

John V. Fox and Carolee Colter (Pacific Publishing Newspapers-op ed):
Looking ahead to the 2011 Seattle City Council election, it’s not too early to start thinking about how to make City Hall more responsive to our neighborhoods and the cause of social justice.

The five seats now occupied by councilmembers Tom Rasmussen, Jean Godden, Tim Burgess, Bruce Harrell and Sally Clark will be contested.

Early next year, housing and neighborhood activists expect to convene an ad hoc group to discuss whether to run our own candidates in any of these races or find other ways to make all our electeds more sympathetic to our needs.

Right now, it appears likely that most, if not all, incumbents will seek reelection. And given the power of incumbency, we know how difficult it would be to beat any of them.

Only Godden, who routinely sides with development interests, seems to be in any way vulnerable.
The big lie is the assumption that Seattle isn’t doing its share to absorb density and growth, to prevent sprawl and curb global warming. In nearly every neighborhood, including most of the areas around train stops, we’ve exceeded our growth targets.

There’s something wrong with advocating for open-space preservation outside the city but, once across the city line, aiding and abetting the pouring of concrete and wiping out of trees, stamping out every last vestige of nature for urban dwellers outside of parks.

Good stewardship of our environment begins right here in our own neighborhoods: protecting our trees, preserving space in all our neighborhoods for essential urban gardening, saving urban streams — and, not coincidentally, preserving our existing stock of low-income and affordable housing.

It’s right in our neighborhoods where we can make the most impact on climate change, not somewhere else. MORE...

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