The Seattle mayoral race is heating up!! Due to the fact our current mayor couldn’t keep his hands to himself 20 years ago, the mayor’s seat will be inhabited by someone new this coming November.
Obviously I have many opinions about where this city should be going, but I’ll save that post for another time. That is local stuff that affects me personally, that’s not global. But one thing all mayor’s do, regardless of the size of the city, is make decisions on your city that directly impact your life.
In Seattle, the main issues are cost of rent, traffic, and homeless. I am sure these are very similar issues throughout all cities. But what is also true in all cities is that in order to vote for the mayor, you have to live within the city bounds.
Well, no duh, huh? Of course you have to live within the city bounds. But think about this for a second. All cities, especially big ones, have many people living on the outskirts. Some may call those areas ‘suburbs’. And almost all of those people live the majority of their life inside the city bounds. Whether it is to work, go to restaurants, or whatever, the things that are happening in the city affect those people just as much. Yet they don’t get to vote for mayor. Have no say. None.
In Seattle, this is a more interesting problem. The greater Seattle area contains about 3 million people. Seattle proper contains about 700,000. So yes, less than 25% of the people that live in Seattle Metro get to vote. And what issues that the candidates will talking about the most?
Homelessness: OK, not as big of an issue for the suburbanites
Traffic: this one is huge. One could easily argue that traffic ‘solutions’ affect people living outside and working inside Seattle (which is about 70% of the Metro population) MORE than it does people living on the inside. Bus systems, light rails, freeway lane expansions, etc, should be a topic that all should have a say on.
New arena: I can talk a blue streak about this one, I’ll just say a team in Seattle affects ALL people in the PNW, especially people in the Metro area. Yet the inside population is less warm about the idea than the outside because of this………..
Rent: The natives of Seattle, the one’s that care more about city pride, sports, and culture are being forced out of Seattle proper due to skyrocketing rent. Who is moving in? Aloof, distant, young Amazonians. Nothing inherently wrong with that I guess. It is a deep and complex controversy here. But the issue is that those newbies (I being one of them) get to choose the mayor and the life-time natives who now have to live on the edge of the city due to cost have no vote at all. That is simply not fair.
The fact that a huge percentage of people who are highly affected by city decisions and do not get to vote is true almost everywhere. I have no idea why this is not something people argue about more. Isn’t this a country were people get a voice?
Well, maybe the ‘16 election taught us otherwise.