Comment (2018-01-07) for the Public Hearing on Land Use

From: Jonathan Mark and Protect Volunteer Park
To: Civic Development, Public Assets, and Native Communities Committee,
Sustainability and Transportation Committee
Date: January 7, 2018

My name is Jonathan Mark and I am with Protect Volunteer Park.

We sent comments a month ago (linked below) about this zoning legislation, CB 119146. We commented about the insufficiency of parking, and that this proposal makes the building taller, and that Parks Department policy gives the public the right to consider alternatives.

None of our input was addressed either by Department staff or in discussion before this Committee. I know it is the Committee’s prerogative to disregard public input, but I’m still happy we have this time together.

Let’s consider one type of park user: the children at the playground and wading pool. Many arrive in cars and can hop out of the car and run safely to the playground. But this nearby parking often fills up in nice weather, even with the museum closed. If their parking is displaced by increased museum use, they will have to cross an arterial with no traffic signal.

Moreover, if we commit to 55 years of subsidy payments and free rent to Seattle Art Museum, we are spending these children’s tax dollars over their entire working lives. They could grow up to sit on this Council or become Superintendent of Parks, but still have no authority over this expenditure. This long-term commitment would secure $6 million in tax credits to spend this year in one quick financial rush.

I think there is enough wealth in this community to support Seattle Art Museum without needing to appropriate our grandchildren’s money to spend today. The modern financial industry offers many predatory deals to individuals, but those are peanuts compared to the deal offered to this Council, who have the power to commit generations of community members to spending which they never chose. Since this spending is for a non-public purpose, I think the term “looting” is entirely appropriate.

Please use your power wisely and reject this unfair agreement. Thank you.

References to Detailed Comments:

Our comment on CB 119150 (lease):

Our comment on CB 119146 (zoning):

Our comment at the hearing on capital spending (November 1, 2017):