Sunday, March 08, 2009

The imaginary battle for Washington's state capitol

Jerry Reilly deploys hypothetical politics to defend the state legislature stepping into a local planning process (or Olympia telling Olympia what to do):

Opponents of this legislation should consider two questions:

If the state were just now deciding where to locate our capital city, would it be reasonable to ask the City Council of Olympia to agree to forgo intense development on the isthmus in order to protect the views from and to the Capitol Campus?

Would city leaders be likely to accept this limitation as a fair trade for the enormous benefit of being the capital city?

Here's my consideration:

The last time there was a serious attempt to move the state capitol from Olympia was just about 100 years ago. Tacoma tried to step in and snatch the seat of government. There was a less serious attempt in the 1950s that involved quietly moving state agencies up to Seattle. We beat back that challenge, along with others.

So, I don't really consider the threat to move the state capitol serious, even hypothetically.

And, for the "enormous benefit" we receive as being the capitol city, I wonder how many city's our size would appreciate their largest industry not paying property taxes?

Also, since Lacey and Tumwater are now having nice new state buildings built in them, its high time the state legislature dip into their local planning processes as well.


Anonymous said...

Particle Man says:
It is a fact that the state capitol was built on the hill at the end of Budd inlet for a reason.
It is also a fact that the city and all of those who live nearby get a great lift as a result of living or running a business in the area.
City government just lost its way on this issue and we are lucky that the legislature sees fit to help them find their way.

Anonymous said...

Emmettt my friend,
The honest truth is once this side of the state was no longer dependent on the Mosquito fleet for transportation and the veneer industry moved to Cosmopolis the only reason for Olympia not to go the way of Belfair or DuPont is the Capitol.
We are more than a nondescript college town set in some spectacular scenery, we are the seat of State Government. We are a treasure for ALL of Washington. Due to the Gomint being here we are relatively recession proof, our population is educated, our politics decidedly liberal and we are humble in our perfection.


Emmett said...

@ Particle Man: Sure is nice to have another layer of government ready and waiting to govern me when I can't govern myself ;)

@ Laurian: I'm not sure I buy the fate of Olympia as Union or Dupont if the Capitol didn't come, we have other things going for us, most especially our geography. I'm thinking Bellingham.