I mostly agree with Goldy that we shouldn’t judge the Martin Luther King Elementary sale solely on the money.
Perhaps the higher bid from the exclusive Bush School, along with its promise to keep the play fields open to the public on weekends would have been the best option for the community. Perhaps the investigation will ultimately uncover something improper about the First AME deal. I don’t know. But there’s nothing scandalous in itself about taking less money for the property in the interest of best serving the needs of the surrounding neighborhood.
And that’s why the Seattle Times’ editorial that followed was so dispiriting.
In a time of teacher layoffs, postponed schoolbook purchases and curtailed library usage, the district ignored the highest bidder — using private capital — to go for the lowest bidder using a state grant — taxpayer money.
The Seattle Times finds no need to mention WHY we’re in that “time of teacher layoffs, postponed schoolbook purchases and curtailed library usage.” Subtlety implying that the sale is the reason teachers have to be laid off. No need to mention how much their preferred budgets hit schools versus this sale. No need to even see if they had another reason for the sale. I mean, to take an extreme example, if a nuclear waste dump was the highest bidder, I doubt the Seattle Times editorial would demand we go with it.
And given that, I find their attitude a bit much.
This transaction needs to be sliced and diced in bright sunshine for all to see. Much more is at risk than the lost revenue and opportunity costs of a tawdry deal.
OK, I agree (except, perhaps, for the tawdry part) that more examination of what happened is a good idea. Still going out with the assumption that it must be tawdry, it must be the wrong deal isn’t going to help.
The school district is developing a grim reputation for sloppy stewardship of tax dollars. A legacy with consequences.
The Seattle Times is developing a grim reputation for sloppy stewardship of our tax cut dollars. While the news side still does good work (including the story that prompted the editorial), it’s hard to believe that the B&O and sales tax money that the Seattle Times saved over the years wouldn’t be worth a few more teachers at schools around the state.
A few years ago when Frank Blethen lobbied for the B&O tax break, he argued that newspapers were vital to the state. They force politicians out into the light and expand the dialogue in meaningful ways, that they are in some sense a good for the public. Then when an important job at the editorial page opened up, he gave it to his son who can’t write worth a damn. It seems to me if their goal was to perform a public good, they would have hired someone else rather than that tawdry nonsense.