Thursday, October 6, 2016
To the Editor:
Steven Barry (10/6) asks if we’re “really willing to give control over the whole city to just seven individuals,” and why the rezone and the broader question of increased density “wasn’t put to a vote by the residents of Shoreline.” He seems to be unclear on the concept of representative democratic government. This is the kind of thing governments do. If you don’t like it, you can vote out the City Council. Have at it. You could even take the direct-democratic route of putting an initiative on the ballot to rescind the rezone. But to convince the rest of us you’ll have to come up with a better plan.
As for “the false assumption that more density is unavoidable,” how is it not unavoidable if the population of the Metro area keeps increasing? Barry seems to think Shoreline can dig a moat and raise battlements against the world. Even if we could, all that would happen would be skyrocketing property prices and people of modest means being forced out of the city. That’s what’s happening all over the region, and refusal to increase density only exacerbates the problem. There certainly “will be homeless people walking the streets” (wait — there already are), and little mid-century starter houses being torn down and replaced by McMansions on more and more expensive land (like now and worse, like in Vancouver BC, which is the most expensive city on the West Coast).
“Where will they park,” etcetera? Well, that’s just the kind of thing we elect a city government to work out! That’s what it’s for! Yes, there will have to be more schools and other public services. They’ll be paid for with taxes on the new residents — that’s called expanding the tax base, and it’s a normal part of urban growth.
Like it or not, Shoreline isn’t a small rural town, it’s part of a growing metropolitan area. I can easily understand people who have lived here for decades being unhappy about that, but no, it is inevitable— unless we want a declining economy, which wouldn’t make things any easier. People are being forced out of small rural towns for that very reason — and coming here.