by Carl, 11/27/2012, 8:23 AM

There are a lot of angles you could take writing about Tim Harris writing a positive piece about McGinn’s downtown public safety program. Taking two paragraphs to set up how much you assume the ideas are at odds, as Josh Feit (?), does here doesn’t strike me as particularly helpful.

McGinn started his term with the support of an unlikely alliance of social justice lefties (like Real Change director Tim Harris) and urbanist greens (like the Sierra Club, where McGinn once served as chairman); typically those factions are at odds, with the social justice activists criticizing the urbanists as bourgeois and the urbansits criticizing the social justice advocates as provincial.

McGinn had some success keeping the coalition together, vetoing the panhandling ordinance for example. But as he pushed hard on urban density and light rail he has rubbed some advocates for the city’s lowest-income and homeles sresidents [sic] the wrong way; they’ve argued that density and high-cost rail transit increase the cost of living for Seattle’s poorest.

I mean, I’ve always felt it was a natural alliance. People in Seattle are generally supportive of both goals. And given that bad environmental things are generally shitting on poor people, they’re pretty intertwined. Really, wanting to put transit in poor neighborhoods isn’t as opposed by social justice activists as the piece assumes (although dealing with higher prices, etc. that can come from it absolutely is part of the social justice agenda). Now recently, I’m not so sure how solid McGinn’s commitment to social justice is with his response to the DOJ on police accountability, for example.

2 Responses to “Social Justice And Environmental People Don’t Hate Each Other”

1. Michael spews:

Social justice and healthy cities and good quality urbanism are a big part of the environmental movement.

Josh needs to get out more often.

2. Pete spews:

Really, wanting to put transit in poor neighborhoods isn’t as opposed by social justice activists as the piece assumes

I think the word you’re looking for is “gentrification.” And no, social justice activists never have any qualms about that.