I know a lot of folks around here are pretty excited about the Huskies’ big win over Idaho yesterday, and plenty more are looking forward to the Seahawks’ opening game this afternoon. But for me, the big sporting event of the week was the opening of my daughter’s soccer season, where she and her teammates walloped their opponents 9-0.
Watching a bunch of little girls play soccer (well, at 12 to 13, they’re not all that little anymore) is one of the unexpected pleasures of parenthood, but it’s also one of the rarely considered amenities of city life. My daughter’s team practices twice a week at the grass field atop I-90’s approach to the Mt. Baker tunnel, and plays their home games on the neatly turfed and lighted field at Genesee. And during the course of the season they’ll play at half a dozen other fields around the city… all of them built and maintained with our tax dollars.
The anti-tax/anti-government crowd loves to complain about elected officials stealing their money, but in pushing forth their bathtub-sized government agenda, they also love to ignore the many big and little things that government does to improve our quality of life. For example, without a government willing and able to acquire and maintain the land, there would be no public play fields in Seattle, as the demands of the real estate market simply would not allow it. Sure, a handful of private schools might have amenities of their own, but these would be available only to the rare few who could afford it, rather than the thousands of children and adults who enjoy Seattle Parks and Recreation facilities everyday.
There is a reason Seattle voters approve nearly every local levy that comes our way: we want and enjoy the services and amenities these levies provide, and while we all have our quibbles, we generally believe we are getting value for our dollars compared to the alternative. There are simply some things on which we can’t rely on the free market to provide… and my daughter’s soccer game was certainly one of them.