Letters | Low income, not poor, in planned community
July 6, 2012 · 11:05 AM
Language is your currency, so I was surprised that you identified the issue of subsidized housing in Snoqualmie as an issue of the “poor.” You used this term exclusively throughout your editorial. The term “low-income” may be a better term in this context, but I am not an expert. I suggest considering the lack of understanding in the general community about poverty, and restricting your use of the word “poor.” This is about how we better integrate, not segregate, those of lesser means into our society.
“Poor” has many meanings but its common understanding is “a lack of material possessions, less than adequate, small in worth, inferior in quality and value.” These common understandings of “poor” make its use seem emotionally loaded especially when we are talking about our fellow citizens who need subsidized housing to stay in their community, to move closer to where they work or who simply desire living in our community. The reality is that the residents of this project will be just like their neighbors; they have families, they are productive and they deserve to be part of our community. Their children have the right to a public education and a life in safe housing and a safe neighborhood. I would offer that these are the common desires of most residents of the Valley and I need more neighbors with those values, not fewer.
New residents of a planned community have the advantage of knowing what their community will probably look like in the future. The issues of adequate services, including transportation, have been rigorously examined and the solutions are implemented in phases. In other words, it makes the community a whole community over time. It is not the fault of Imagine Housing, if the residents of Eagle Pointe did not understand what changes would come in the future. If there was an error in evaluating the traffic impacts of future development, then that issue can be addressed.
However, if the traffic can be accommodated on the existing roadways, it is not the function of government to segregate the use of public right-of-ways so that low-income residents are not seen in our communities.