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The Waterfront Dilemma

We encourage you to read John Barber’s report of the meeting with Ted Virdone, Policy analyst in Councilmember Sawant’s office (see page 4). As John pointed out, the public was promised that if we voted for the controversial Metropolitan Park District, funds would be distributed equitably throughout the city for our much backlogged maintenance issues and not be diverted to large projects like the waterfront park. Well, I F Stone warned us many years ago that all governments lie and so they did. It now appears that those expected to pay under the LID levy are balking. There’s a 25 million dollar gap and if they are successful in raiding the MPD funds, our 20-year backlogs will lengthen into your grandchildren’s lifetimes.

One can visit the Seattle Waterfront website which is quite comprehensive and see what those fees would be. It appears they are one-time fees, which can be paid in total or in payments annually or monthly over 20 years. The figures presented are based on the median value: $2400 for condominium owners and $7400 for hotels (remember these are median values and 50% lie below these values and 50% above.) They seemed reasonable to me. They certainly seem reasonable for large hotels that will benefit most from the waterfront park as another added attraction to staying there.

Many suggestions were given at the meeting to avoid raiding the MPD funds. My inclination if I were Mayor would be to stop construction by these facilities and put what funds exist into some aspect of the project, which would not benefit these property owners. For this group to expect the MPD to pay the $25 million, means that they haven’t bothered to look at our unmaintained parks. And I kind of resent what I see as Amazon tactics on the part of the objecting landowners.

The Giving Season

And on a higher note, we want to thank all of you who have renewed on a timely basis and added something extra for our “work”! Your donations have helped us make $800 in donations to Leschi Elementary School ($300 for the Easter break backpacks and $500 for the Giving Garland) and $800 to the Central Area Senior Center (aka The Central) by buying a table at their fundraising Holiday Gala.

We also meet the gaps in ArtWalk funding, sponsor a holiday concert of Garfield Orchestra students in December (the charge for the music goes to FOGO, Friends of Garfield Orchestra who use funds where they are needed to keep the orchestra going). Donations also help us to put on the annual Flo Ware event for kids.

The donations will also go to the February wine tasting to benefit (aka The Central). And there are some monthly newsletter expenses that are not covered by our subscription fees and ad revenue. And thank you to those who donate snacks for our monthly meetings.

~Diane Snell

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