Invoking the Civil War over shoreline planning

OlympiaJuly 20, 2013 

One hundred-fifty years ago our nation was involved in the Civil War.

In his address after the bloodiest battle on American soil, President Lincoln commented “that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth.”

Yet, I fear that here in Olympia our Mayor Stephen Buxbaum and some members of the City Council have allowed our city to become a government of the developer, by the developer and for the developer.

One needs look no further than the City Council’s marine shoreline plan to see the truth of this. What Buxbaum and council members Julie Hankins, Jim Cooper and Steve Langer have supported is a marine shoreline plan of building at the water’s edge.

One can certainly see how owners of buildings at the water’s edge might profit from this, but what of the people of Olympia?

There is an alternative vision that was recommended by the Olympia Planning Commission, however. One not of 150-foot setback, as The Olympian inaccurately reported, but rather one that sees shoreline setbacks large enough to accommodate the people’s waterfront land use needs.

Which of these visions then is the picture of Lincoln’s government of, by, and for the people: building at the water’s edge for those of privilege, or a sustainable shoreline beach, native vegetation, bicycle/skate paths separated from pedestrian walkways while curving through a soothing natural environment with picnic tables and benches?

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