Olympia needs city wide leaders
I haven’t been to an Olympia City Council meeting and I have no first hand knowledge of the conflict between the Boys and Girls Club and Westside neighbors.
All I know about the conflict is what I read in the papers. But, I do know one thing. It’s a normal conflict in Olympia. The Not In My Back Yard mentality is alive and flourishing all over the city.
It doesn’t really matter if its a housing development, a new convenience store, an off-leash dog park or a Boys and Girls Club. If the neighbors don’t want it, then it doesn’t get done.
That’s what happens when neighborhood groups control city government. What’s in the common interest of the city takes a backseat to their special interests.
It’s the city’s fault. For years now they’ve been creating these neighborhood groups. They’re formed for several reasons, but from the city’s standpoint, it gives them a better means of keeping control, while at the same time being able to avoid responsibility.
It isn’t just Olympia, but Lacey and Tumwater do the same thing. The difference, is that in Olympia, these neighborhood group leaders have started to get elected to the city council and have started to control city activities.
And since they owe their election to their neighborhood activism they also owe their allegiance to these neighborhood groups and what’s good for the entire city, often has an impact on a neighborhood.
A Boys and Girls Club is good for the entire city, and yet one Westside resident was quoted as being concerned that kids from all over the city would use the facility, thus impacting her way of life.
Nothing gets done in Olympia without running the gauntlet of neighborhood groups. Usually they’re a nuisance, but when they control city government, they’re an obstruction.
Olympia needs some citywide leaders. Unfortunately that’s not what they have.