Seattle at the Crossroads...One More Time
So, as my little profile thingy correctly identifies, I live in Seattle. Have been for the last 12 years (which makes me a native, comparatively). I guess what this means is that I like this town more than a fair amount.
I still have problems with the townspeople, if not necessarily the town itself.
I have a feeling that this topic will continue to resurface, so I’ll enumerate my problems in more detail later.
Right now, I just want to focus on a local matter that plays heavily during the present election period: The Frippin’ Monorail.
My frustrations come from the fact that I want this city to be regarded as an actual major metropolis. One that can be taken seriously when mentioned along with other major US cities, i.e. NYC, LA, Chicago, et.al.
There are huge roadblocks in the way, before this dream of mine can become a reality (taking itself seriously, owning a big city attitude are prime examples), but none bigger than that of mass transit.
When smaller European cities have a much better mass transit plan than you do (Nuremburg, for example)...well, you’re fairly piddling.
So, you’d think the decision to have an elevated transit option would be a no-brainer, right? Not so in Seattle. Nooooo.
We, the people of Seattle, have voted on this issue THREE times now, and this Tuesday will mark our fourth time voting it in (polls indicate that it should win, which makes me breathe easier, but the frustrations! They are still there!). How could this be? Well, simply speaking, the combination of local big money, Not In My Backyard yuppie assholes, and a city council that can’t actually, you know, do something beneficial for the city without watering the ever loving fuck out of it have bungled this particular operation.
Now, if big money were behind the building of the Monorail, it’d be halfway done by this time. Witness how the city managed to build a new baseball stadium for the Mariners, despite the fact that the public voted against it (“The vote wasn’t a mandate of the people,” was the city’s excuse, which...I just can’t fathom...).
I was talking with a friend of mine about how I wished that Seattle would just embrace its dirty past. How, if local politics would’ve remained as dirty as it was even in the 70s, we’d have a better city for it. How Chicago, NYC, Boston all, while being fucked by small interests, still managed to get a hell of a lot out of the deal for their respective cities.
He replied that for how “clean” Seattle was, an awful lot of money still manages to disappear here. Which is true, when I thought about it. Norm Rice’s mall-ification of downtown is a prime example, and that was a pretty fucking dirty deal there.
Norm Rice, who looked and behaved like Urkel’s illegitimate father, did things like doctoring up crime reports on a particular block in town to convince HUD to finance a good portion of the urban rebuilding he wanted to have, instead of having the big businesses like Nike, Bill Gates, Bon Marche and Nordstrom’s foot the bill. In the process, he displaced something close to a hundred small businesses that were in the area. It’s alleged that he received a large sum of money, the source of which had never been identified, and due to this, his political career never bounced back. He was on track to take over the very agency he forced to swallow this bill, HUD. And for what? A goddamn mall.
Which points to another problem I have with this town. Not thinking big. Hell, if Norm Rice would’ve maneuvered a deal where the city got something substantial out of the deal, I wouldn’t have minded so much. Instead we get the likes of Niketown, Planet Hollywood, and Gameworks. We could’ve gotten something akin to Times Square (I can dream), instead we get a fucking mall.
All of this, I’m sure, is fascinating to the two readers from the Seattle. The other two readers are probably bored by all of this.