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Will Monday’s debate address Seattle’s Apartheid?

Next Monday night there will be another debate among the candidates for City Council for Seattle’s District 3.  I hope the debate will be a good time to discuss the issue of apartheid … not in Gaza or Soweto, but in Seattle.  

Here in Seattle, apartheid  is politely called “gentrification.”  Whatever it is called, the effect here is that by 2020 our once diverse district will be over 95% non African.   My concern is not about forcing the new money people out, my concern is about helping to keep  folks here.

Unfortunately, gentrification, like  most local issues in our District, has been undiscussed because of Kshama Sawant’s efforts to turn a District campaign into her personal crusade. As a techie immigrant from Mumbai, Sawant should know that a large part of Seattle’s new 100,000 citizens choose to live in our overpriced homes and podments because of the District’s many cultures…. whether that is the Langston Hughes Cultural Center, the annual Greek Orthodox festival, our Gay bars or the arts scene.

People like Kshama come to America because of the pay … even when that meant depriving American of jobs as has happened recently in Disneyland.   These immigrants might work at Disneyland or Amazon, but they do not  choose  District 3 because the housing is cheap or because it is Disneyland or America’s suburbia.  The immigrants choose District 3 because it is diverse. If Sawant cares what happens to that culture, what ideas does she have about how to preserve it?

Before the Sawantistas accuse me of xenophobia, her identifying herself as a “person of color” is NOT my reason for objecting to her campaign.  Adding diversity to D3 is a good thing, driving people out is bad.  In my own field of science, immigrants from India are awesome.  The UW needs more immigrants and I would love to see those folks choose to live on the hill.

It is not only the Black community’s being driven out.  Cathedrals (or their equivalents) built by Catholics, Jews, African American Baptists and Episcopalians are the dominant feature of our skyline.  The bar hopping techies along Pike Pine will soon have no idea of that region’s history in Seattle’s art scene or gay community.  Monday night I would like to ask the candidates what we can do to preserve our communities, the  heritage of District 3.


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  1. Joel Connely on Sawant /  The Ave 07 06 15

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