Dori wonders if the Seattle waterfront project is about developers, politicians getting richOctober 25, 2013 @ 7:27 am (Updated: 7:50 am - 10/25/13 )
Even though I'm a cynic of much of government, I'm not one of those knee-jerk anti-eminent-domain guys. If we didn't have the power of eminent domain granted to government, we'd never get a freeway or a road built. I understand that. Eminent domain is necessary and I don't rail about it on a knee-jerk basis. But this one here in Seattle sounds absolutely outrageous to me.
There is a parking lot right underneath the viaduct, right across from Ivar's on the Seattle waterfront. It's owned by a 103-year-old woman who has zero interest in selling. In fact, she's already arranged to donate the parking lot to a 501-(c)(3) upon her death.
But that's not going to happen says the Seattle City Council, which voted unanimously to take this woman's parking lot against her wishes. They want to pay her somewhere in the neighborhood of $7 million for this lot.
Now the reason this is so outrageous is the company that operates the lot, Republic Parking Northwest, they tell me it's not unreasonable to say this lot is worth as much as $20 million.
Gary Beck, the president of Republic Parking Northwest, says the city's plans are to turn the parking lot into ... a parking lot.
"The reason they want to condemn the property is they want to take it from a short-term parking lot to convert it into a short-term parking lot," says Beck.
In other words, they want to take this private citizen's parking lot so the city can operate it as a parking lot. They want to spend $7 million tax to acquire this piece of land. The reason is because with the viaduct coming down, parking is becoming scarce, and the city says we want parking lots to be the same price as street parking and a private company charges more.
But to take somebody's piece of land that is a parking lot so the city can operate it as a parking lot?
I've told you this right from the get go, of this viaduct tear down, I don't think it's about beautifying the waterfront. I don't think it's about improving transportation through Seattle. I think that there is a cabal of very wealthy developers and politicians who have worked in concert to turn waterfront land that was blocked by the viaduct into prime view property.
I think that there are developers that are standing by who have greased the palms of politicians to acquire things like pieces of land upon which you can build. I don't think this is going to be a parking lot in 10 years, if the City of Seattle acquires it for that purpose. My guess is there is going to be some deal cut and there will be a lot of palms greased and there will be a lot of wealth amassed by the city taking this parking lot. That is my theory on this.
Take from Thursday's edition of The Dori Monson Show.
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