Saturday, June 16, 2007 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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The Reader's View

Who's boxing in whom?

Special to The Seattle Times

Neighborhood could benefit from mall

The recent opinion piece "Boxed in on Dearborn Street" [guest column, May 24] claimed many people in neighborhoods near Rainier Avenue and Dearborn Street don't want a mall built there. That seemed odd because people in low-income neighborhoods usually beg major retailers to come.

The authors say "Commuters ... might like having a huge, low-cost shopping mall on their way home."

So would people who live nearby, like me. Commuters already have those things close to home. Residents of Rainier Valley and East Seattle, however, must travel to Northgate, Factoria or Southcenter.

The authors say "we're fighting to stop poverty" — while opposing a mall they say will create 1,200 entry-level jobs? Entry-level jobs are the kind poor people need, and if the people in the neighborhood don't want to work for those wages, they are perfectly free not to.

The authors say that when the 1,200 workers' shifts are done, "they'll take the long bus ride home because they can't afford to live in the neighborhood." But earlier, they described the neighborhood as low-income. (And what's wrong with taking a bus to work anyway? Isn't that what these protesty types are always trying to get people to do?)

The authors' complaints continue:

There are 2,300 parking stalls planned. Good. I'd be complaining if the mall planned on using city streets for parking.

There will be more traffic. If you drive through there now, you'd know there could hardly be more traffic. And the authors failed to consider all the driving to Northgate, Factoria and Southcenter that won't happen once this mall is built.

Toxic runoff. This is a shopping mall, not a 19th-century silver mine. Try building anything in 2007 Seattle with runoff more toxic than a spilled soy latte.

Then, near the end of the article, it all becomes clear: "We're asking Seattle's mayor and city council to support our efforts toward a community-benefits agreement with the developer." (As if the mall itself wouldn't be the single biggest benefit this community has seen in decades.)

Now I get it; it's the modern version of the old protection racket. Nice store you got planned here. It would be a shame if a bunch of protesters went around stirring up trouble for ya.

Bill Muse is a stay-at-home father of two who has lived in the nearby Lakewood/Seward Park neighborhood for 15 years.

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company


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