Opinion

Renters are not criminals

As many of you know the city of Snoqualmie is currently working long hours deliberating over the conditions required for approval of Quadrant's development of Phase II of Snoqualmie Ridge. This area is the only major new residential development planned for the entire city of Snoqualmie and has the potential of making up nearly one-third of Snoqualmie's population.

Up until recently I have been satisfied with the negotiations that have been taking place, including the conditions of approval recommended by the Planning Commission to the City Council. But at a recent City Council meeting dealing with affordable housing on Nov. 19, opinions of a few city council members went beyond the point of my casual observation.

Councilmember Greg Fullington had the gall to say that having rental units in our neighborhoods could bring in the criminal element. Later he said that "$700 rent versus $250,000" in a house reflected a much different "stake in the community." Those who rent are more like "transients."

Personally, I am incredibly offended by these statements. Many teachers (like myself) cannot afford a $250,000 home. How dare anyone say that since I can't afford a $250,000 home that I don't have much of a stake in the community? I believe that investing countless hours of free overtime for your children is showing that I have an interest in the community, regardless of whether I own or rent. Our city needs to expand in a way that provides housing for people starting in their careers, not just those who are already well-established. That means that, contrary to Quadrant's belief, we need to have a significant amount of smaller homes and rental units. From experience, I know that some excellent teachers have moved to other school districts because they couldn't afford housing in this area.

We have the opportunity to provide this housing and invest in the future of our children. I encourage all of you who care about Snoqualmie's future to be at the public hearing on Jan. 26 at 7 p.m. at the Snoqualmie Union Hall (downtown). Also, contact your current and future city council members and voice your opinion. (Direct quotes were obtained from listening to a cassette tape recording of the meeting.)

Janelle McCarty

Snoqualmie

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