The City of Renton’s plans to develop a mixed-use “retail urban village” on 68 acres formerly owned by Boeing at the South end of Lake Washington is sparking an international war of words. The project, which would include offices, a movie theater, 900 residential units and over 800,000 square feet of retail space is bitterly opposed by the Australian mall giant that owns Westfield Southcenter Mall just 7 miles away in Tukwila.
And as the Seattle P-I reports, the battle is getting nasty.
“To have some outsider try to put a jackboot on our economic throat is not going to fly,” Bill Taylor, the Renton Chamber of Commerce president and chief executive, said Thursday. “What plays in Australia does not play in Renton.”
Peter Buck, a lawyer for Westfield, said Taylor’s reference to a jackboot, a high black boot worn by soldiers in Nazi Germany, is extremely offensive. The jackboot reference is also on the chamber’s Web site.
“The chamber will live to regret it,” Buck said. “There will be a reckoning for the anti-Semitic attacks.”
Hmm. I think the “jackboot” reference comes off more anti-Nazi or even anti-Australian than anti-Semitic, but it’s rather hyperbolic and insensitive nonetheless in the way it trivializes the Nazi era. Meanwhile, Buck (not exactly a Jewish sounding name) goes way over the top with his mock indignation and threats of “regret” and “reckoning” on behalf of my people.
I don’t know much about the project in question, but personally I’ve been quite impressed with Renton’s renaissance over the past decade, and I’m not exactly a big fan of $2.8 billion multinationals coming into our communities and trying to dictate their development.
So as patriotic Americans I thought we might all join forces with our countrymen to the South and help the Renton Chamber of Commerce come up with some proper vitriol for belittling and vilifying the Australian invaders. I don’t speak much Australian myself, so I was hoping my incredibly diverse, educated, talented and foul-mouthed readership could offer some suggestions.
The comment thread is open. I’ll forward the best anti-Australian insults to the Renton Chamber for use in future media availabilities.