Chaplain, priest, pastor, abbot
Can they uplift your soul as can a rabbit?
It was not Easter, but October twenty
She liked my oregano, but I have plenty
This star fell out of the sky a couple of days ago and landed on my patio. It isn’t often you get to see where a falling star lands. I should have seen it as a good omen, because Tuesday night’s City Council vote went our way—the commercial rezone of this beautiful stretch of the Skykomish River Valley is finally a dead issue. This time, I am reasonably confident that a future zombie sequel is unlikely. When presented with an estimate of $195,000 to prepare a third Environmental Impact Statement that would have any chance of surviving appeals, two Councilmen threw in the towel. The vote went 5 – 2 in our favor. Of the two stalwarts for continuing, one was the guy who pushed for rescinding the same decision three weeks ago—he stuck with his argument that it was worth it just to change the color of the map, because having 43 acres of red on the map would draw the attention of developers to Monroe even if nobody could or would actually build on that particular acreage; the other was a guy who has seen it as purely a property rights issue and at this point the City owes it to the property owner to see it through to the bitter end.
If not for a few votes in the last election, that second guy would have been our mayor. He was on the Planning Commission four years ago when this rezone proposal was finally docketed—after many years of failing to get past the Planning Commission (because it is insane!).
Ostensibly, the actual owner of this property is a baptist fellowship. They purchased it in 1999 and shortly thereafter began lobbying to get it rezoned. The pastor of that fellowship, and the only representative of that fellowship I have seen or heard from in the four years that I’ve been involved, did get up and speak this time. He basically said all our arguments were lies and fear-mongering to selfishly protect our view and our appeals are the reason for the enormous cost to the City. There is some truth to the cost issue, but it’s a little like observing that the father is in jail for beating his wife and it is the kid’s fault for calling the police. Certainly, had a shopping center gone in on this property, it would have left the City scarred and crippled for many years. The pastor also said that the reason no one other than him among the Baptist community had shown up to support the rezone—at least in the last four years—is because they are too busy building orphanages in the mountains of Honduras (no, really, that is what he said). I spoke with someone afterward who seemed to know some members of his congregation, and this person’s take was that none of them had ever showed up because they were sick of the whole affair. I do have to say that the pastor and his son, a former City Councilman (now, political consultant) worked very hard and skilfully over many years to engineer a political window of opportunity for the rezone. I think that window is now closed. Hallelujah!