Don’t Forget Your Pitchforks

Not that I condone such behavior…

But here’s the deal:   Tonight Sally Clark is holding a community workshop on the proposed “Creating Transit Oriented Communities” Bill that has been discussed on this blog here, here, and here, and also on SLOG here, and Sightline here.

There have been several recent community meetings on this legislation, and, as I’ve been told, they have been dominated by attendees who oppose the bill, in some cases with a level of venom not unlike a mob with pitchforks.

What is playing out here, I believe, is a culture clash between Seattle’s fading “old guard,” and an up and coming “new guard.”  The old guard does not want Seattle to change.  The new guard recognizes that Seattle must change to respond to an evolving world, and in particular that densification is a key strategy for creating a more sustainable city and region.

When considering the merits of new development, the first concern that an old guarder is likely to raise is parking.  The new guarder is probably still mourning the loss of the monorail.   Crosscut (mostly) = old guard; the Stranger = new guard, more or less.

My take is that the old guarders who tend to rule most of Seattle’s neighborhood groups are becoming increasingly out of touch with the values of the neighbors they supposedly represent.  That would be fine except for that in Seattle politics, the neighborhood groups can have real influence.  And so I would encourage those of you who identify themselves more with the new guard outlook to make an effort to remedy that lack of representation.  Go find your neighborhood group.  Take over.

But in the mean time, you have a chance to make your presence known at tonight’s important meeting on the future of transit-oriented development in Seattle:

Trains, Density & Change Can rules about transit-oriented communities build great neighborhoods? A Workshop on HB 1490

Wednesday, February 18, 6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Langston Hughes Cultural Center Auditorium, 104 17th Ave. S, Seattle.
Speakers to include reps from Futurewise, the Urban Land Institute, and the Seattle Displacement Coalition.

More details here (pdf).

4 Responses to “Don’t Forget Your Pitchforks”

  1. Matt the Engineer

    Sadly, many of us new guarders work long hours and have new babies at home to take care of. Many of the old guarders are retired and have nothing but time.

    Any chance we can move Seattle democracy online?

  2. Beal

    I’ll be there. Vive la new guard. Thanks, Dan.

  3. SP

    Neighborhood groups in Seattle are changing. One of the oldest Councils, the City Neighborhood Council, has a new face, Kathy Niland. She is a great bridge between the two guards. There is hope.

  4. Jessie Israel

    I second the props for Kathy Nyland! And for “new guard” getting involved in a respectful way at the grassroots level. If, like many working families, you don’t have the time, send me your thoughts and I’ll be there to represent. We can build a city in a way that deals with growth well and maintains the integrity of our neighborhoods.

Leave a Reply