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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Bitter Irony

posted by on April 19 at 21:14 PM

What happens when you have a hearing on nightlife in a neighborhood without any bars?

You get a hearing where all anybody wants to talk about is potholes, P-Patches, and traffic signals, as I learned tonight at the Bitter Lake Community Center, where council member Sally Clark presided (solo) over a “meeting” of her neighborhoods committee.

Residents, many of them white-haired members of the Bitter Lake Historical Society, lined up to kvetch to Clark about the “chuckholes” (look it up, kids) along Linden Ave. North, the lack of a P-Patch down the street from the community center, and the lack of additional city amenities (including a sidewalk all around the partially capped Bitter Lake Reservoir) in the neighborhood. What they didn’t talk about was the mayor’s proposal to create a Nightlife Advisory Board along the lines of San Francisco’s Entertainment Commission, which was the central item on the committee’s agenda. While council staffers Mike Fong and Ketil Freeman painstakingly outlined the differences between San Francisco’s commission and the mayor’s proposed one (basically, Seattle’s commission wouldn’t have true regulatory power, and it wouldn’t come with as much staffing as San Francisco’s) visibly disinterested Bitter Lake residents filed out of the room, slept, and tapped anxiously at their chairs with pens, awaiting the roundtable on neighborhood issues that followed the nightlife presentation. One could even be heard muttering, “Are you DONE yet?”

Maybe next time they could hold a hearing on Social Security at the Venom nightclub.

RSS icon Comments


Oh man, the SIDEWALKS. We moved up near Bitter Lake last year and learned that the street range from 85th to 145th more or less lacks all sidewalks. When the zone voted to incorporate with Seattle in the 50s, as I understand it, the vote was partially contingent of the good metropolis providing the suburban wilds with ped-friendly paths of pavement. The area still awaits, and it chafes, and there is no better way to make friends up here than by complaining about the city's sidewalk betrayal.

Posted by mike | April 19, 2007 9:22 PM

I should add, apropos of Linden: I drove up where the residents are complaining about, and man, is it fucked. They weren't kidding about potholes (or "chuckholes," if you prefer. Where are the Pothole Rangers when you need them?

Posted by ECB | April 19, 2007 9:28 PM

isn't there like a 1800 number you can call in seattle pothole complaints? i thought there was some pothole patrol thing ...

or maybe i was dreaming about Jean Enersen...

Posted by seattle98104 | April 19, 2007 9:38 PM

It's so weird that the language (dialects?) spoken in Indonesia supposedly doesn't have a word for "art". That must be a strange sort of mind existence, at least very different from "eductaed" people in the West and elsewhere, almost Kantian in a way, almost a democracy between utterance and idea.

What is the cause? Maybe it has something do with logrythmic growth of the birth rate? or maybe it's the calculated percentage of demographics which are outsourced by foreign governments? perhaps an educated guess from the data collected on refracted sunlight during the monsoon season? it could even be the amount of durian fruit digested? ooh, not only would that affect an imbalance of transport ions, but have you ever smelled that thing? BITTER!

Posted by darling463 | April 19, 2007 9:47 PM

my ex fell into a pot hole and turned up in DC. have not heard from her since.

Posted by SeMe | April 19, 2007 9:52 PM

Of my 8 years in Seattle, 4 1/2 of them were spent on 103rd St North between Linden and Aurora, about a mile and a half south of Bitter Lake. Mike @ 1, they're starting to add sidewalks (if that's what you can call the bits of street that they're bordering with concrete logs) but I saw them way down on Fremont between 85th and 87th Streets. That was in 2003. I don't know how far north they got but when I was in town last month and cruised by my old apartment to see what it looked like they were still missing from 103rd.

Posted by Matt from Denver | April 19, 2007 9:53 PM

Chuckhole?! Ha ha! I love the elderly. Here's a sample of the hell I endured growing up with a father born in 1913 -- He never used the word refrigerator, it was "the icebox!" Mortifying!

Posted by Shawn | April 19, 2007 10:27 PM

Talking nightclubs in Bitter Lake?

(Head shaking)

Posted by Will of Horse's Ass | April 19, 2007 10:48 PM

Little old ladies in the 46th District have a big role in deciding Seattle elections. I'm not saying Clark went there specifically for that reason, but face time in a neighborhood of reliable voters in an election year is probably time well spent even if the presentation was a non sequiter.

Posted by Mr. X | April 19, 2007 11:20 PM

The Endlessly Carping Bullshitter thinks it's not right for citizens to voice their concerns to city reps? Or does she just dislike anyone over 60?

Posted by Dan | April 19, 2007 11:48 PM

Districts anyone?

Posted by Zander | April 20, 2007 12:16 AM

Erica your ageist comments mark you as a douche. A recently arrived in Seattle douche. You might add context to your scribbling about the NW if you had a real conversations with the folks in Bitter Lake. People who have been here for more than 24 hours.

Posted by DKJ | April 20, 2007 6:45 AM

Seriously - the sidewalk issue in North Seattle (and South Seattle) is pretty bad. On our street, schoolkids risk their lives just going up and down the hill to go to school, as do the commuters trying to make it to the bus stop.

It's very strange that a city, whose primary functions are civil infrastructure, seems unable to meet its basic obligations like sidewalks.

Fuck the whole nightlife issue that affects only, like, five people. There are 100,000 people in this town who don't get basic road maintenance and sidewalks from the city. (And don't get me started on Seattle's bizarrely underfunded and thereby reactive instead of proactive police force...)

Well, OK. I got started. The police here aren't funded at levels high enough (as they are in other cities of this size and bigger) to take preventative steps or combat things like vandalism, speeding/road rage, etc. I don't want a police state, but I do want basic city services like a safe road, a safe sidewalk, and police who have time and money for more than occasional riot control.

So make fun of the fogeys at Bitterlake all you want--in actuality, it is *you* who are out of touch with what Seattleites are pining for (and not getting)!

Posted by ebsur | April 20, 2007 7:18 AM

Fun fact for the day, houses in the no-sidewalk zone are advertised as having "RV Parking".

In addition to the lack of sidewalks is the lovely chip-seal paving in the area. The last time they "repaved" the streets, the city sent out postcards "proving" that chip-seal is more cost effective than using asphalt or concrete. The city also implied that since the streets north of 85th had only originally been paved with a grant from the feds, we were lucky to have any paving at all. I'm still waiting for the city to tear out all of those horribly inefficient concrete and asphalt streets everywhere else in the city.

Posted by Steve | April 20, 2007 7:38 AM


I can tell you one thing without fear of contradiction:

One day you will be old, and stupid young people who think only of their instant gratification will scorn you because you are old, and your life experience will mean nothing to them.

I'll tell you another thing. There is a world out there beyond the narrow demographic served by the Stranger's advertisers for anyone who aspires to be a real journalist, rather than just a hack who revels in the illusion of her edgy iconoclasm.

Posted by ivan | April 20, 2007 7:45 AM

Not so long ago there were lots of old people on Capitol Hill who took an interest in bars, particularly Ernie Steele's on Broadway.

Posted by Sean | April 20, 2007 7:57 AM

You should be ashamed of your ageism, and further ashamed because seniors, are your natural allies on most of your pet issues.
What were they asking for? better roads(safer for bicyles maybe?), sidewalks(more pedestrians perhaps?), and for the city to focus on its real issues(and stop fussing all the time about nightclub rules?). Most seniors in Seattle want more and better bus service and an expansion of Access(and loosen some of its rules about needing an escort). Who else wants and needs affordable and subsidized housing more?

And its not like all seniors stay home every night to watch Matlock, many have a bar, lodge, social club, senior center they go to and maybe they want looser nightlife/bar rules too.

Posted by Anna | April 20, 2007 8:19 AM

I think Erica's comments about the people at Bitter Lake were more about mismatch between the topic at hand and the interests of the residents, not about how lame old people are.

As for you #12, it was okay when you or your family moved here, but the rest of us are out of line? When's the statute of limitations on that, by the way? 10 years? 15 years? When do I get to be a Seattlite?

Posted by please | April 20, 2007 8:26 AM

@9: I think a meeting pretty much anywhere else in the 46th would have attracted more interest. Greenlake has bars. Greenwood has bars. Hell, even Wedgwood has bars.

I bet old people who live near bars care about bars. I bet old people who don't live near bars care more about sidewalks.

Dear haters. This post is about Sally Clark's decision to have a nightlife meeting in Bitter Lake. Stay on topic.

Posted by annie | April 20, 2007 9:04 AM

Bars are not the same as nightclubs.

This will come as a huge shock to your average Stranger reader, but the vast majority of Seattle residents don't give a flying fuck about nightclubs, and don't want a city government that is obsessed with nightclubs and is apparently debating nightclubs all day every day to the detriment of real city business. If you add up the patronage of Seattle nightclubs you get a few thousand people on a busy night, out of more than half a million residents. But the nightclub industry is convinced that they are the most important people in the city, even though in large measure they are DETRIMENTAL to the city.

These old folks in Bitter Lake are every bit as important as downtown hipsters, and a lot more numerous. They vote, too. City councilmembers ignore their concerns at their peril.

Posted by fnarf | April 20, 2007 9:33 AM

Agreed - the point of Erica's post is a mismatch between community and topic.

I'm guessing some of the commenters here are registering a gently mocking, slightly condescending tone in the writing.

Are they being paranoid and hypersensitive? Perhaps. But if you've spent any time on this blog, you know that Erica frequently and shamelessly indulges her own unchecked paranoia on these pages, apparently mistaking her hypersensitivity for "feminism".


Posted by Sean | April 20, 2007 9:35 AM

C’mon. Erica has a valid point here—it is incongruous to have a meeting on nightlife in Bitter Lake, of all places. Holding a meeting on Capitol Hill on which century or millennium the City plans to put sidewalks in Bitter Lake would be equally absurd.

Be thankful Charles didn’t attend; he’d have written a 10,000 word manifesto on how the meeting demonstrated the futility of our existence, with references to several 19th century philosophers.

Oh, and to the bashers: Erica’s post quite likely forms the totality of Seattle print media reporting on Bitter Lake for 2007. “Ageism?” Because she reported what old folks in Bitter Lake have to say? You people need to get a life. And take remedial reading comprehension class.

Posted by N | April 20, 2007 9:50 AM

@20: Fnarf, nightlife takes place in bars as well as nightclubs. Most bars would be included in the proposed ordinance.

Posted by annie | April 20, 2007 10:30 AM

But most bars that are not nightclubs won't have any problem going along with the regulation. Good bars that are assets to the community don't have the kinds of problems that prompted these regulations. Neighborhood bars don't have the kinds of problems that plague Pioneer Square, hip-hop nights, live music clubs, dance clubs, etc., with all the fighting, violence, drugs, vomiting, vandalism, litter, late-night screaming etc.

In short, I don't really care, and neither does 90% of the city.

Posted by fnarf | April 20, 2007 10:40 AM

N @ 22:

Erica's ageism is documented well beyond this single post, and anyone with a lick of reading comprehension knows that.

I give her credit for one thing, though. She has been an effective negative role model for my 15-year-old daughter, who values the company of old people, babies, and her teenage peers equally.

Posted by ivan | April 20, 2007 10:57 AM


Did Erica hurt your precious feelings with her over sensitivity on gender issues? Poor baby. She definitely deserves karmic payback for being so mean.

Posted by keshmeshi | April 20, 2007 1:34 PM

I've seen Ketil Freeman and Mike Fong give Council presentations in the past and they are VERY boring. I'm not surprised they put those poor folks to sleep.

Posted by council observer | April 20, 2007 2:34 PM

This is a shameful piece. The good citizens of Seattle in Bitter Lake have few other opportunities to speak out against the indefensible injustice of nearly 1000 low-income seniors living in a neighborhood with few (if any) sidewalks, and where getting to the nearest Post Office or market requires navigating city streets that are little better than an obstacle course to them. In a city that claims to be committed to the safety and welfare of *all* its citizens, and not just the ones who can walk, bike, bus, or drive to the nightspot of their choice.

For a better understanding of the plight of these Bitter Lake low-income seniors, read:

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer: 'Urban village' at Bitter Lake lacks amenity: Sidewalks

John C Todd, Jr.
Greater Greenwood Bi/Ped Safety Coalition

Posted by JohnCToddJr | April 20, 2007 4:46 PM

If Erica's only purpose in writing this piece was to rail against the city for holding this meeting at this venue, then I retract my first-sentence comment about this piece being "shameful". If, on the other hand, she's railing against the residents of Bitter Lake for being impatient to speak to City Councilmember Sally Clark about subjects more important to them, as it appears, or if she's doing both, then my comment stands.

This piece that she wrote here last year doesn't help:

"Should the Handicapped Be Banned From Express Buses?"

Posted by JohnCToddJr | April 20, 2007 5:04 PM

Come on, place the blame where it belongs: City Hall staffers Mike Fong and Ketil Freeman have been delivering boring briefings for years. Maybe if they'd brought a boom-box, some booze and Twister, the grayhairs would have stayed awake. Remember, old people like to party.

Posted by FuManShoes | April 21, 2007 12:23 AM

I recently watched, horrified, as a handicapped man in an electric wheelchair scooted down 15th Ave NE as rush hour traffic drove around him because our "World Class City" (tm) has no sidewalks on one of it's most congested arterials. Yet we are expected to cry buckets of tears for the multi-million dollar sad sacks who own the Sonics, and buy them a new home or spend money debating this asinine nightclub bullshit. Really, has Seattle ever had a worse mayor than our current ignoramus? good on the old folks in Bitter Lake for ignoring the stupid topic at hand and putting their own issues on the table.

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Posted by snow cars patrol movie chasing | April 22, 2007 12:33 PM

Erica wrote What happens when you have a hearing on nightlife in a neighborhood without any bars?

What do you call Tigers Sports Bar 14314 Greenwood avenue North Or the Dawg Tags out on Aurora? Or Saltoros Bar and Grill? There are plenty of places up here to get a load on so drag your hipster ass off the hill and join us for happy hour at Seattle's last blue collar sports bar.

The oldsters don't go out much after dark because 'Nightlife' consists of tons of hookers and drug dealers working the shittiest street in Seattle Linden Ave North. So the old folks figured out they've been getting screwed for 54 years and stood up and said something good for them.

At least Cathy Sorbo gets it

Posted by Will | April 26, 2007 10:59 AM

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