Sep. 19 3:30 pm
Ave, 40th Floor
Stand up for historic
Built in 1900, the
Fitch/Nutt House in Fremont is
one of the oldest houses in a neighborhood where true
homes are being replaced by "craftsman-style" condos as fast as track hoes
can reduce them to splintered wood and plaster dust. Things being what they
are, the house is slated for destruction. A local preservationist made some
quality color posters and hung them all over town, citing reasons the house
should be spared. The topic was to be on the agenda of the
Program monthly meeting today at 3:30.
Mid-afternoon is not a very convenient time for most working
schleps to attend public meetings, but as luck would have it I got off early.
By chance, Craig was off, too, and Sarah's flexible schedule allows her to
step out as needed. So, although we would rather have been at the beach,
we rode the good old
downtown to the municipal building, express elevator to the 40th floor, where
the meeting was already underway with the Fitch/Nutt House on the agenda
for 4. There was to be a public hearing and we had all prepared statements.
In a nutshell, I wanted to say that culture is contingent on continuity and
efforts should be made to preserve physical links to the past. A society
which does not value its history will have a bleak future.
We sat down, only to be told perfunctorily that the house discussion
had been postponed until September 19. My first thought was to jump
up and blurt out "When was that announced?" but I kept silent and am kicking
myself for taking it sitting down. I imagined my feisty inner grandma shaking
her cane at the room and shaming the complacent bureaucrats for treating
their constituency so dismissively. But we just put our names and emails
on a slip of paper for future announcements and filed out.
Well, at least the view from the lobby was nice. It was a view
of privilege, the kind those literally at the top enjoy while making their
plans for the little people far below. From up there one could see I-5 snaking
through the city, a ribbon of concrete which should have gone around
Seattle but cut through it instead, destroying some neighborhoods and separating
those remaining. One could see amazon.com headquarters, a former public hospital
leased from the city in
of the more brazen giveaways in a city notorious for sweetheart deals.
There are the pro sports stadia, tax-funded money making machines for
ballpark citizens voted against but which was built on their dime anyway
football stadium (pronounced stay dumb) narrowly
approved by voters hoodwinked by false promises.
And those are just some of the more blatant betrayals
of public trust in recent years. Who knows how many less spectacular swindles
have occured or are in process. It's the same subtle corruption that infects
city politics everywhere, probably. But that doesn't mean we should roll
over and take it up our apathies.
One good thing about this postponement is that it gives more
time to rally for a strong turnout. It's important to make our voices heard
and let it be known that the public good means more than lining the pockets
of a few well-heeled developers. I hope you will attend the 9/19