Friday, September 7, 2007

And today, this will be a committee of one ..."

The Seattle Channel video of Wednesday's Parks, Education, Libraries and Labor Committee Hearing is on line, and it's amusing on numerous levels. Dave Della opens the hearing by noting that none of the other committee members are present. Then Irene Wall testifies on the irony of the city destroying housing to create more Green Space in Discovery Park while destroying green space in Phinny Ridge by ramming a big parking parking garage through at The Zoo over neighborhood objection, and then another speaker highlights the city's bogus manufacturing of consent for the project. Looks like natural allies to me.

Then, at 12:20 into the video, the hearing briefly turns to the matter of bringing on a new board member at Seattle Center, and Bill Block eloquently testifies to the suitability of said appointment before getting the hell out of there while Twin B and I play patty-cake just behind his head.

At 21:00, I lumber to the microphone while holding her hand, and deliver a speech that differs slightly from the one I posted from memory in the wee hours of Thursday morning. Mike Ruby then addresses the import of this "rather momentous moment," and is followed by Discovery Park Advisory Council's Heidi Carpi, who describes the years of fending off "good causes" who have vied for this space. Then Patricia Stambor addresses my comments, by saying that while she "appreciates most" of my work, the city should keep the complete unsuitability of this property for homeless habitation in mind "when dealing with his opinions."

This is a remarkable rhetorical feat, in that it is a deft dual deployment of the "Seattle Straw Man" tactic. By "most of my work," she's probably referring to the Kate Elston PI article of a few weeks previous, in which I'm portrayed as having a "support your local crack trade" position on panhandling that I don't actually hold. Then she goes on to offer a vision of homeless people being dropped into Discovery Park — shopping carts and all — to forage for berries along with the raccoons.

I never said this housing should be set aside for homeless people. I said affordable and workforce housing. I know that Magnolia doesn't want homeless people as neighbors, but do they freak out at the prospect of teachers, cops, and firefighters living among them as well, drinking their Francesca wine out of cartons and slaughtering the adverbial form every chance they get?

See? I can use that tactic too. It's easy and it's fun. Anyway, watch the video. The testimony and presentation that follows is a good quick tutorial on the issue.


Dutch Denooyer said...

Hi Tim,

Did you notice the neighborhood in which Discovery Park is located?

I don't think the Seattle City Council wants to take on the moneyed people in Magnolia.

They're choosing their battles.

Now, Solid Ground is planning a low income affordable housing at Sand Point.

I was wondering if you would mind sharing your opinion of this project.

Tim Harris said...

Um, yeah, the demographics of that neighborhood has not escaped me.

Interesting fact: according to census data, Magnolia, while one of the wealthiest areas in the city, has one of the lowest rates of charitable giving.

Go figure.

Low-income housing at Sand Point good. Bulldozed affordable housing in Magnolia bad.

Peggy said...

Kudos for speaking up to save the Discovery Park housing. Tim, you were quoted in Thursday's PI as saying you thought it was "really, really strange" that there was so much vocal opposition to the destruction of the Lora Lake Aparments and no one other than yourself showed up at the City Council meeting to protect the housing at Discovery Park.
I'm curious about what kind of effort was made to publicize the threat to the park's housing in Real Change. I would have thought it would have been headlined on the front page, but perhaps I missed the story. Was the information conveyed in an article that I may have overlooked? If so, would you mind telling me the date of that issue? My efforts to google such an article in Real Change haven't revealed anything.
Peggy Hotes
Lora Lake 9

Tim Harris said...

It wasn't on our radar either. No housing activists I spoke to were aware this was happening. I don't think the absence of publicity was any more accidental than the choice of the hearing date. The intention was to escape notice. It was, however, prominently reported in the morning paper, and I felt strongly enough about it to show up with a sick kid in tow. I didn't expect to be the only person there. I also believe that there are people much more in the loop than I who knew what was happening and for reasons of political expediency chose to let it lie.

Burien doesn't have an affordable housing problem. Seattle does. And so long as our powerful allies are unwilling to take on powerful interests right here in our own city, this will continue to be the case.