Welcome to Seattle, Skip

Whenever I see traffic coming in via a link from another site I always check it out. So I almost missed Crosscut’s Skip Berger slamming back at HA’s own Will for his critique of Skip’s recent anti-density sermon.

Thank you, Will, for being honest enough to validate my suspicion that progressives will put “coolness” above rationality when it comes to density — it’s a snobbery that asserts that the urbs are infinitely superior to the burbs.

Hmm. In all, Skip devotes nearly 1,800 words defending his original 1,600 word column, much of it fisking Will. Which strikes me as a tad, well… dialectically masturbatory.

See, I could understand Skip’s fervor had I “posted an attack,” but… it was only Will. You know, a second stringer. One of those guys who sometimes fills space here on HA on those few occasions I’m out trying to have a real life. So get some perspective, Skip — you don’t see me writing doctoral theses deconstructing (u)SP posts by Reporterward, do you?

I mean really, who actually gives a fuck what Will has to say? He’s just some 26-year-old, beer-bellied, snot-nosed slacker stuffing his iPod full of hip, stolen tunes he never listens to, while choking his colon on the fetid remains of a steady diet of breakfast burritos and Diet Coke. What exactly makes Will an arbiter of “cool”…? His youth? His poverty? His dank, dirty Belltown apartment and Wal-Mart remaindered wardrobe? When you mythologized him as some paragon of progressive “snobbery,” knowing Will, I just had to laugh to myself: “Snobbery? Over whom?”

Will is just some pathetic, B-List, blogger for chrisakes, whereas you Skip… you’re a local institution. So my advice to you, Skip, is to ignore the hoard of Goldy-wannabes out there — otherwise they’ll just keep coming back for more. Ignore them. They’re not worth your time.

Me, on the other hand, well that’s different. Had I refuted your density column, that would have been worthy of a vigorous debate. But I didn’t. And I won’t. Because quite frankly, regardless of what you or I think, density is inevitable.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got nothing against the burbs. I grew up in one. It was nice. (If you like that sort of thing.) Hell, with my single-family, South Seattle home and its fenced in backyard, I kinda feel like I’m living in a suburb now.

And the rural areas? I love ‘em! They’re quiet and peaceful and spread out. Very relaxing. And, um, rural-like. And the food they grow — great stuff! I eat it every day.

In fact, Skip, I share so much of your reactionary nostalgia, that I don’t want things to change one bit. Too bad then, we gotta find a place to put up all these damn people who keep moving here to share our natural splendor and booming economy.

But we do. And while packing a lot more of them into our existing urban cores won’t stop the sprawl that’s threatening to eat up our region’s last remaining farmland and wilderness, it’ll help.

Skip rages at oblivious ecotopians and hip, progressive snobs for destroying the middle class culture that once defined a younger, smaller Seattle — but they didn’t do that, the economy did. I share Skip’s desire for mixed-income neighborhoods with enough affordable housing to serve the needs of those who serve the rich, but tell me Skip, how exactly do we build affordable housing on unaffordable real estate? How does maintaining height limits and restricting density make neighborhoods like Wallingford or Fremont or Queen Anne or Capitol Hill any more affordable? Have you found the secret to repealing the law of supply and demand? And before you start blaming sprawl on mass transit, tell me, when was the last time you drove through the Rainier Valley and saw the thousands of units of mixed-income housing going up along the path of Sound Transit’s light rail? And if mass transit and density aren’t the solution Skip, please tell me how — other than a job-killing, real estate-bubble-bursting, major economic recession — we manage to maintain the city you love, unchanged, while absorbing the hundreds of thousands of new residents coming our way?

But like I said, I didn’t respond to Skip’s column, and I’m not gonna do it now, because while I don’t have any more answers than Skip does, I am absolutely confident of one thing: we’re getting more density. The only question is where we’re gonna put it. In the cities? Or in the burbs and rural areas?

Welcome to 21st Century Seattle, Skip. And welcome to the blogosphere.


  1. 3

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    The legislature has passed a $7.5 billion transportation bill, which the governor is expected to sign, that gets major projects back on track (timewise) and includes $4.1 billion for 520. Only $200 million more is needed for the new bridge — and I know where to get it.

    If the hotel-rental car tax is producing $200 million more than needed for the existing stadiums, put it into that project instead of Clay Bennett’s pocket.

    Any questions?

  2. 4

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I remember my daddy’s victory garden. You know what that is, right? During the war, civilians were encouraged to grow vegetables on every available patch of dirt. P-patches on a national-mobilization scale. Anyway, one day daddy rabbit packed me and his other little bunnies in the family wagon and pulled us downt he block to where his garden was — or, I should say, used to be — and we saw a great big fucking whole in the ground. The mother of all rabbit burrows! Some guys had dug up the whole plot and were laying concrete for a house foundation.

    And that’s when I knew the war was over.

  3. 5

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Mass transit — that’s a cart-and-horse (or wagon-and-daddy-rabbit) question.

    If you build it (i.e. mass transit), they will come (i.e., housing).

    But wait! Mass transit doesn’t work without a critical minimum density — so, if you don’t build it (i.e., housing), they won’t come (i.e., riders).

    So which comes first, the Easter Bunny, or the colored eggs?

  4. 6

    ArtFart spews:

    It’s easy to get into a chicken-or-the-egg argument and lose track of what we’d all like to see, namely ourselves, our children and their children living in a place that isn’t an approximation to hell on earth.

    Historically, where mass transit has been successful (meaning, actually carried a major fraction of total human traffic) has been in one of two scenarios. The first is where there was already a railroad and the communities grew up along it. The suburbs on the west side of Chicago strung out along the “Chicago Nort’western” are a perfect example of this. The other is where traffic simply got so bad that something had to be done, as represented, for instance, by the New York subway system.

    In the United States, there used to be more examples of popular streetcar systems that predated the rise of the automobile (in fact, we had that here) but many fell victim to a concerted, organized effort by the automakers and oil companies to wipe them out.

    What some cities have attempted to do since the middle of the twentieth century has been to try to get ahead of the game, anticipate or even manipulate growth, and plan transit alternatives to single-occupant automobiles to try and match where they’ll be needed as much as half a century after the beginning of the planning process. The jury’s still out as to how these are going to turn out.

  5. 7

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    You can’t plan 50 years in advance. But certainly, planned growth is better than ad hoc sprawl.

    What Chicago ended up with is a 100-mile-long traffic jam along the old North Shore Line/Chicago N’western rights-of-way. And most of those old-time trolley systems were monopolies. Unfortunately our society evolved into something so car-centered that people don’t realize it takes a mix of transportation alternatives to serve modern cities.

  6. 8

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    … And I don’t believe for 1 minute that adding 2 lanes to 520 will do anything to relieve congestion. All it will do is encourage more sprawl into east county.

  7. 9

    busdrivermike spews:

    Skip Berger means two things to me. A valid diet idea, or another Liberal writer with no ideas or guts to challenge the prevailing liberal ideology.

    Seriously, does anyone think “The Weakly” contains any outstanding journalism other than “This Modern World”?

  8. 11


    So get some perspective, Skip — you don’t see me writing doctoral theses deconstructing (u)SP posts by Reporterward, do you?

    Likewise, I only rarely respond to Goldy on SP. (But I did enjoy the anecdote about the pissing P-I reporters. Nice job!)

  9. 12

    Mark The Redneck KENNEDY spews:

    You regular moonbats here have had a few days to think about it…

    How many of you think it’s a really good idea to jam a pair of scissors into the skull of an innocent baby to kill it.

    How many of you agree with MoonbatJustice Ginsburg that the majority opinion is “alarming”?

    Here’s how it’s done: http://www.nrlc.org/abortion/p.....ortion.jpg

    Here are the end results:

    If you wanna see the face of evil, here ya go:

  10. 13

    Mark The Redneck KENNEDY spews:

    Hey Goldy – Why are you silencing me?

    Questions hitting a little too close to home?

    Ban me you marxist dumass limpdick… Just ban me. I’ll be proud…

  11. 14


    Sorry for chanhgng the thread but


    This has a some photos and a review of the Kane Hall talk in place of a visit from Baghdad by Dr. Riyahd Lafteh.

    One concern was that some folks objected to mny being there as a photographer. This is wrong .. just as it was wrong of the Publicans to not want me at the Rove affair. Photography is part of free speech. Nuff said.

  12. 16

    Proud To Be An Ass spews:


    The answer is quite simple–go back in time. Maybe 1820? Whoops, too far. How ’bout 1910? Sewage ran in the streets, horses shit everywhere, business owners had no compunction cold-bloodedly shooting their employees who tried to form unions, and, hat tip to MTR, women couldn’t vote.

    Yea, verily I say unto thee, those were the days. There was this little problem of low income folks (most people) living in high density tennaments, but there were still many others living in abject poverty on the farm. Sheer fucking paradise.

  13. 17

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @11 But we know you READ Goldy’s blog, Stefan! BTW, how’s your lawsuit against Dean Logan and KCRE? Do you plan to share the proceeds with the generous donors to your “legal action fund” who helped pay for the lawsuit? If not, why not?

  14. 18

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @12 “How many of you think it’s a really good idea to jam a pair of scissors into the skull of an innocent baby to kill it.”

    Depends on which baby you’re talking about.

    “How many of you agree with MoonbatJustice Ginsburg that the majority opinion is ‘alarming’?”

    Depends on what your view of abortion is. If you’re against it, it’s pretty alarming, because neither of Dubya’s appointees signed the concurring opinion arguing Roe v. Wade should be overturned.

    Re photos: If your dead crack whore wife knew that was your mother having a partial birth abortion and the baby was you, Redneck, she’d probably pin it up and use it for a dartboard. Pay your fucking gambling debt, welsher!

  15. 19

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @13 What possesses you to think you’re worth banning? You’re not important enough to ban. Pay your fucking gambling debt, welsher!

  16. 23


    You know, MTR, if it were my blog, you’d have been long gone. First Amendment rights? No, because you are a jerk, a racist and an anti-semite. But somehow you keep coming back and Goldy doesn’t censor you or ban you. Consider yourself lucky. Most other moderators would have banned you and with good cause.

    Examine your soul. If you have one.

  17. 24


    @12 and the Rabbit

    Just to be clear. The Supreme Court rules that you MUST kill the fetus while it is in the womb. It is now OK to use a scissors, an egg beater, or a roto router .. as long as you do the job out of sight.


    The banned procedure’s main use was to deal with, OK kill, brainless hydrocepahlic fetuses at minimal harm to their unfortunate mothers.

    In their intent to overturn Rowe, the Supreme’s Catholics have voted to harm mothers. And some claim there is no connection between religion and morality!

  18. 26

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Republican Crooks #7-3675884-08, 7-6937775-03, 7-6662134-11, 7-8893144-02, 7-8905550-12 & 7-1129823-06

    “Pair of House resignations reignites GOP ethics woes

    “By Jonathan Weisman
    “The Washington Post

    “WASHINGTON — The resignations last week of two Republican House members from their sensitive committee assignments have thrust lingering legal and ethics issues back into the limelight, … complicating GOP efforts to retake Congress next year.

    “On successive days, … Reps. John Doolittle, of California, and Rick Renzi, of Arizona, disclosed FBI raids, proclaiming their innocence but exposing their legal jeopardy. The announcements … kept the focus on … ethical and legal clouds that helped chase the Republican Party from power on Capitol Hill.

    ” … Rep. Heather Wilson, R-N.M., faces a possible ethics investigation amid accusations that she pressured … U.S. Attorney David Iglesias to indict New Mexico Democrats before last year’s fall elections.

    “Rep. Gary Miller, R-Calif., under investigation by the FBI for a series of land deals, … lied about a land sale that he declined to pay taxes on. … Miller made more than $10 million off the 2002 sale, but he sheltered the profits from capital-gains taxes by claiming the sale was forced under threat of eminent domain.

    “Rep. Jerry Lewis, R-Calif., faces FBI scrutiny of his work as House Appropriations Committee chairman ….

    “And … Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., … tries to stave off accusations that he used taxpayer-funded congressional staff members and resources to do political work. …

    “Doolittle had been trying to retool his battered image when he disclosed that the FBI had raided his family’s Northern Virginia home. He and his wife have been tied to convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff, and he has admitted obtaining funds for a defense contractor linked to the bribery conviction of then-Rep. Randy ‘Duke’ Cunningham, R-Calif. … Doolittle … gave up his … seat on the House Appropriations Committee ….

    “Renzi notified House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, that federal investigators had raided the offices of [his] wife’s business … [as] part of an investigation into Renzi-drafted land-swap legislation that would have enriched a political benefactor. Renzi stepped down from his seat on the House Intelligence Committee ….

    “Ethics troubles loomed large last year in the Democrats’ sweep of Congress. Republicans lost seats in eight states where ethical lapses were key issues. And Democrats will use the new ethics charges to remind voters why they turned the GOP out, said Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., the DCCC chairman. ‘It’s all a stark reminder to voters about why they don’t want to turn power back to a Republican Congress that betrayed the public and used their majority for personal financial gain and to reward special interests,’ he said.

    Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), was less troubled. … ‘There’s a long time between now and the election,’ he said. But Cole conceded ethics could be a factor ….”

    Quoted under Fair Use; for complete article and/or copyright info see http://tinyurl.com/2bfpf8

    Roger Rabbit Commentary: Show me a Republican and I’ll show you a thieving liar.

  19. 27

    Wells spews:

    I thought Berger’s article started well but finished flat; flat as in demogogish. Density really isn’t the panacea for sprawl. Progressive New Urbanism prescribes ‘diversity’ – (economic diversity) – as the main guideline for urban and suburban development. Mixed-use development includes generous amounts of ‘unbuilt’ environment. This form of development should prevent density, were many of its followers (sycophants?) as knowledgable as they pretend. Many people haven’t gotten past the ‘single district’ understanding of mixed-use development, and into the particulars of economic balances between districts at the regional scale. Too busy working on or polishing again their PR spiel. I’ll never forget the day Sound Transit awarded themselves a plaque for Best National PR. It came at a time when a good portion of the public thought otherwise, but hey, didn’t pResident Bush just commend General Gonzalez for doing a heck of a job, if you get my drift?

  20. 28

    Puddybud Who Left The Reservation spews:

    Thanks Voice of Chalk Scratching for describing Will to everyone!