Sunday, December 8, 2013

On the Waterfront (Bellingham); Local Poltics and Angst

This YouTube video is described by the poster as "A one-sided, out of sequence, out of context, hopefully slightly humorous collage of the Bellingham City Council's vote to approve the Waterfront Development Plan." The plan is a redevelopment scheme that most revolves around the former paper mill site on the City's waterfront.

I suppose the lack of context is for all those that have no idea what the Bellingham City Council was voting on and how they ever got themselves into the position of voting for a plan with such a lack of enthusiasm. Otherwise this video is a accurate depiction of the final comments City Council members made before the vote. And I think an accurate depiction of the entire waterfront plan.

The very short version of this vote came down to "This is better than the alternative". The alternative being the former mill site remains as is - zoned industrial. Six council members concluded that as terrible and uninspiring as the plan is and as costly as the plan will be to the City, it was better to go forward with this blah plan than not to. This simple duality was the result of previous Council votes that eliminated any ability of the Council to control the planning process and the unwillingness of the Council to ever reverse that course. At multiple junctions the Council was always threatened with the idea that nothing will happen or the area will be a vacant industrial zone.

This was a vote where a council went along with plans that even they have no excitement for. The video captures that better than any write up. It is as pathetic as it appears.

I do have to admire Jack Weiss, the lone no vote. I know he did not want to vote no. But his no vote better reflects how disappointing the plan has turned out.

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