County Council, community colleges no
friends of UW North
By now, I’ve come to view it as inevitable that the campus will end up in Everett, and I despite my personal bias, I’ve come to see the advantages of an urban campus in Everett (transit advantages, community support, strong college environment and lots of wealthy donors).
That being said, I just about lost it when our County Councilman Dave Somers opened his mouth to testify.
Somers claimed that he “stayed on the sidelines” until a site in his district (the Cavelero site supported by the cities of Lake Stevens and Snohomish, among others) “failed”. Of course, he was referring to the Lake Stevens site.
If he read the NBBJ report, he would realize that the report opened by stating that the study had found that ALL FOUR sites were completely viable for the housing of a UW campus. Second, he hardly stayed on the sidelines, instead deciding to chip away from behind the scenes, taking multiple meetings with his no-growth puppet masters (who support Everett) and firing off angry quotes to the media questioning the land involved in the Lake Stevens proposal quotes that just happened to end up on the front page of the Herald.
Somers took issue with Executive Aaron Reardon’s offer to include 40 acres of undeveloped county land in the Lake Stevens proposal.
The land has been discussed as a possible park location, and is adjacent to a particularly self-interested anti-growth activist’s home. The activist raised hell with Somers about the inclusion of this “park” land in the proposal, and Somers responded to the jerking of his stings by airing his concerns to the press.
Don’t think that the consultants and the UW didn’t notice this discord, and don’t think that this didn’t affect the Lake Stevens site’s eventual ranking.
Now, the park land complaint might hold some water if this land was actually designated to, you know, become a park or something. But this is simply not the case.
The County currently has no funds budgeted for the development of parkland at the Cavelero property. They never will this land is within the Lake Stevens UGA and will eventually be annexed by the City.
Why would the county spend millions on land that they are about to lose? They wouldn’t. In point of fact, less than two years ago the Lake Stevens School District approached the County Council proposing a joint venture in developing the property into fields and park land. The council didn’t even bother to respond, further proving their intentions to let the land sit.
So the question must be asked, why did Somers raise a stink about the so called park land if he’s not interested in developing a park at that location? It’s pretty simple. Just take a look at the meetings he takes, and at the addresses of the people complaining.
Pretty disgusting what lengths people will go to protect their own interests. Sure, we’d all like to live next to 40 acres of undeveloped land, but that land is PUBLIC PROPERTY. We own it, not Dave Somers, and definitely not the fringe activists. I certainly will remember the work Somers did to undermine the work of his constituents the next time I vote, and I’m sure others will as well. If this is his idea of “staying on the sidelines”, then I hope his council district constituents will work to show him what it really looks like from the sidelines after his next election cycle.
While we’re on the UW subject, I have to say I am also disappointed in the short-term academic plan offered up by the powers-that-be behind the UW North. It’s been announced that the first classes offered are to be upper division teaching and nursing courses aimed at transfer students. Which would be great, and all, if these exact same courses weren’t offered 15 miles away at the Bothell campus - where there is plenty of room for prospective students in both of these programs.
It seems that in an effort not to offend the community college lobby, promises have been made that UW North won’t (at least in the near future) offer any courses that “compete” with offerings provided currently by the CC’s. Again, which would be great if going to a community college was the same as going to the UW.
It isn’t and that’s the point we should be trying to create greater access for graduating seniors to a world class university, but instead of a four year UW North campus that could provide this service, it looks more and more like we’re headed for a northern satellite of UW-Bothell.
Whatever. As long as the lunatic fringe NIMBY’s, our fine County Councilman and the community colleges are happy, I guess we’ll just have to smile and take our higher education however we can get it.
Kevin Hulten maintains the Off the Record blog at www.lakestevensjournal.com. Email him at email@example.com