The City On the Sound

I was born and raised in Seattle proper and a lot of my fellow natives are mad at Amazon workers for supposedly ruining their hometown. But I don't view them as the problem.

Why should I blame them for coming to this beautiful city to seek new opportunities when I don't blame immigrants for seeking new opportunities in this country? What difference should it make if the newcomers are from halfway across the country or halfway across the world?

The people themselves are not the problem, but as a collective they bring problems with them like overcrowding and gentrification. Those are issues that we need to address as a city rather than simply complaining about them and shunning anyone new. Cities rise and fall in this world and the quintessential metropolises like New York constantly reinvent themselves in order to stay relevant. The bleak alternative is falling into obscurity like Detroit and so many rust belt cities.

Like it or not, Seattle is no longer this nation's best kept secret. That Pandora's Box can't be closed again. We're on the verge of growing into a bustling metropolis. To deny it would be analogous to exclusively listening to Grunge as if the world never progressed past 1994. But it's up to the citizens of this city and our representatives to decide what sort of metropolis we'll grow into.

We have problems with gentrification and pushing poorer people further and further to the periphery of the city. We can address these issues with solutions like higher density housing and making a concerted effort to build more high density low-income housing (an effort that could be funded by placing a tax on foreign real estate investment similar to what Vancouver B.C. is doing).

This city outgrew its infrastructure in the 90s before the latest tech boom. I know Seattle voters were short-sighted in the 70s and 80s when we turned down federal funding for a rapid public transit system, but we're taking slow steps to rectify that decision with the expansion of Sound Transit.

The best time to start dealing with these problems was 30 years ago. The second best time to start dealing with them is today. Newcomers and Natives must come together to decide what sort of metropolis the City on the Sound will become. To see if we can have the continued success of cities like San Francisco while mitigating the problems that such success brings. Together we can build a thriving 21st century city that is affordable and welcoming to all.

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