Northwest NEWS

October 26, 1998


Let's figure how we can live with what is our future

   OK, so a little bit of the future landed in the middle of downtown Woodinville. Sure the new Woodinville looks like prefabricated industrial constructions well suited for selling fast food at Disneyland or Knotts Berry Farm. The new places are the sort of places that are easily maintained and won't rot, stain, mildew, age or weather.
   And, I too am sorry that we didn't get quaintness and a boulevard lined with mature elm trees. But we didn't. Now we need to either worry over it, get in line for the next revolution or figure out how we can live with what is our future.
   Let's face it, the 40s, 50s and 60's are gone. The now includes jobs at industrial parks, Microsoft type campus and freeway accessed residential areas complete with condos and large houses on small lots.
   We flutter at malls, drive in droves to ski slopes, shop en masse at outdoor equipment stores and support every conceivable organized youth sport imaginable.
   We gleefully conform in mass-produced brand name clothing with those special logos and we eat mass-manufactured food that's well pitched on TV.
   We stay at home with jumbo TV screens, awesome stereos and global computer linkage. We also enjoy producing lots of children.
   The "duh" factor is that we have crowded living places.
   In case you haven't noticed, there isn't much difference between urban and suburban anymore. And our urban/suburban style isn't much different from any other city or town anywhere in the USA.
   Yet we want an ideal and livable community.
   So what are we going to do? If there is to be a vision about our future, it has got to come from citizen groups. Unfortunately, organized institutions, such as local government, aren't really qualified to be visionaries or dynamic social forces.
   Local citizen groups are probably our best hope because they will have a vested interest in Woodinville's future.
   You know, things like quality of life issues: better schools, roads, parks, safety, bike lanes, usable sidewalks, street lighting, canoe races, parades.
   I'm sure you get the idea. Personally, after 30+ years of voting, I still can't figure out organized government. I understand the structure, I just can't figure out how we end up with the elected people whose names are on those little yard signs.
   Being a politician seems to be a combination of large ego and simplistic personal agendas. Training, skill or lofty visions don't seem to be important requirements for elections.
   Yet occasionally, something good happens. That's how it goes. Which brings me back to my main point: we the people, need to somehow take hold of our new Woodinville.
   I don't know maybe once a month close downtown streets and have festivals or flea markets. How about remote control car races or dog sled races in the new parking lots? Should we encourage cart vendors and sidewalk artists and musicians?
   Maybe put a skate board park in the corner of a parking lot. Maybe a small boat building pavilion, perpetual home and yard improvement seminars, have clinics on throwing, bouncing, kicking of sport things, or kite flying contests. We just have to find a way to humanize the new Woodinville.
   But, please, if you do get involved, resist your petty urges and desires to profit off your neighbor.
   And, leave your narrow vision agendas at the door.
   Just because you love horses or roller coasters doesn't mean we need to have horses and amusements on main street, although they would be more entertaining than another coffee store!
   And, if this new citizens' group rejects your favorite idea about flower pots or balloon kiosks, don't pout and quit. We need to stay the course and steer our ship, no matter what it currently looks like.
   One final thought, how about an internet site dedicated to Woodinville citizen action?
   Democracy via an internet discussion group might be easier and more dynamic than attending a time-fixed meeting held at someone's house.
   Bill Stankus, Woodinville