This is the problem with Bill Bradburd's campaign slogan "Take Back Seattle." Before we go into the deep question of Native Americans, we also have a more recent and problematic question of racial dispossession. Did black Americans, for example, ever have a Seattle to take back? There's lots about the old Seattle that was only good for a certain sex or a specific group.
I also agree with a post yesterday by Publicola's Josh Feit. The whole "Seattle is losing its soul" thing is just rubbish. Again, what kind of soul are we talking about? Do black Americans feel this way as well? Feel that Seattle's soul is slipping into darkness?
Furthermore, much of the old Seattle was not really worth fighting for. It was a city with a primitive public transportation system, very few good restaurants, and a squarely mid-sized population (roughly 500,000). It was also a city where right-wing cranks like Mark Sidran could win prominent civic posts and thrive.
The city that's emerging all around us, that will finally have a real light rail connection, that's introducing new bike lanes, that's increasing bus service, whose population is soon to break the 700,000 mark, and that is electing all nine city council seats at once for the first time tonight, seven by districts. This city is worth something, worth the trouble, worth the battles with developers and investment banks. It is also a city that has effectively closed its political doors to the kind of anti-urbanism that Mark Sidran represented.
The new Seattle is urgently urban, which is why I'm so happy we did not waste an excellent socialist council member on the old Seattle, which was barely urban. We need a socialist for the challenges of this new, rapidly growing and densifying city.
Don't forget to vote.