Sunday, November 4, 2007

"On the Waterfront " - Hidden Script?

I received the comment below from Doug Karlberg, who is running for mayor of Bellingham as a write-in candidate. His remarks were offered in response to my blog entry of 31 October (click here to read it) in which I forewarned my readers about the apparent lack of planning by WWU with regard to housing for the hundreds of additional students who would be attracted by a WWU presence on the waterfront. Doug's comments tend to confirm my misgivings but shed a different light on the subject.

"I submitted a "public documents request" on Western and have received a bundle of largely undisclosed documents from Western and the Port. What is being planned for housing on the waterfront is as much as 100 units that are housing for Professors, visiting Professors, retired Professors, and alumni of Western. The college gives this proposal some fancy name that obscures the true intent, so the real plan is hard to discern.

Western helps create this housing shortage by attracting students without provisions for housing them, placing the burden onto the local citizenry. Then complaining of a housing shortage for professor, creates with tax money a large scale view condominium project for their chosen people.

Th[ese are] Western's plans, which I am sure ... are subject to change. What I object to is that Western is only concerned about their own problems, not the ones that the college places on the community. Now they want view condominiums, but they will not come out and simply tell us this. Why are they hiding, if they are so proud of their self-centered housing plans?

Its the view they are after. You think the President of Western will want one of the new condos?"

Such lack of transparency is troubling and invites uninformed commentary from any number of poltroons, poseurs and mountebanks. Lest we allow ourselves to fall into those three categories, perhaps a knowledgeable member of the university administration could provide an official comment to relieve our collective anxiety and quiet the rumor mill?

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