Director’s Corner: Breakfast is ready
On Thursday, Sept. 30th, the annual Real Change gathering of the tribe will take place over breakfast at Seattle Center’s Fisher Pavilion. If you’re not planning on being there, you might want to change your mind about that. There is no cooler way to support our work than to immerse your bad self in the thing that is Real Change during those early morning hours, when dreams and reality collide and the cold grey dawn is loaded with possibility and magic.
Mayor Mike McGinn, a man who clearly has his work cut out for him, will be joining us this year to say a few words about the challenges we face and the importance of our work. This Monday, Sept. 27th, the Mayor will release his 2011 budget at the Rainier Beach Community Center at noon to the City Council. It’s a tough budget for tough times. Seattle faces at least a $67 million shortfall for the next year. This is a grim reality. With all levels of government facing similar challenges, we’re looking at a lot of rough road.
In times like this, we must be guided by shared human values and good fiscal sense. Government needs to be both transparent and lean. We need economic development that creates jobs for the future and builds opportunity for low-income people and the middle-class. We need real public safety that protects the public without bowing to fear and creates strong and healthy communities. We need to reexamine our assumptions and pull together for the common good.
I’ve written extensively about Seattle’s proposed deep bore tunnel, and how that project exemplifies big and risky infrastructure at a time when transportation solutions should be cost-effective and certain. The tunnel, in addition to being costly, is a case study in how power often trumps people when it comes to public process.
The Museum of History and Industry deal is the newest case in point. Their success in negotiating a $47 million package for their old site, as opposed to the $15 million that was generally anticipated, is impressive to say the least. Yay MOHAI! Way to leverage scarce public resources!
Now, how about making do with a mere $40 million, and leaving the rest to the City’s cash-strapped general fund? This, given the times, seems like a very reasonable idea. Instead, some City Council members have seized upon McGinn’s common sense proposal to accuse the Mayor of dishonest dealing and even class war.
This is not helpful. Nor does it bode well for a rational budget process. The Council is rushing the matter to a vote on Monday, Sept. 27, at 2 p.m. Their plan is to square the $7 million away for their powerful friends at MOHAI before the budget process even begins. We need to call bullshit on that and we need to do so now.
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