Posted in Musings, Uncategorized

Tales of the Tot Lot 2

So the land swap was stopped when the City Attorney admonished the Council it was their obligation to compel Parks to abide by the terms of the transfer and honor the restrictions.  The Council then voted unanimously to record a conservation easement which would preserve the Tot Lot in perpetuity.

But then, Val Tollefson moved to delay the recording of the Conservation Easement while an access road was worked out between Laughlin, Parks, and the adjacent, Madison Cottages community. It seems the Madison Cottages folk decide it best to accommodate the access road because if the Wyatt Cottages proposal is not granted, a more intrusive and aesthetically disagreeable development might replace the good work of Cutler/Anderson Architects.

Point well taken, but too smacking of defeatist accommodation for me. And since the good folk of Madison Cottages represent a mere fraction of Park’s-going public, why should they have such disproportionate influence?

We await the announcement of the Wyatt Cottages proposal to the Design Review Board with a mixture of dread and anticipation. Will the concerned parties present accurate information this time around regarding the Declarations of Covenants, Restrictions and Reciprocal Easements–remember those?

This is but a sketch of a convoluted tale of intrigue. There remain such details as the erroneous reports by the County Assessor, a land value increase of nearly 80% the very year the property was transferred to Parks, the “disappearance” of the studio from the assessor’s building report 2 years before it was demolished, the miraculous appearance of a ghostly pole-frame building, mysterious address changes, and specious readings of legal terms.

It seems we are afflicted with a double denial of many troubling aspects of the concurrent Wyatt Cottages and Suzuki developments. On the one hand, the Madison Cottages community–as well as the Friends of Suzuki– sweep the shady history of land transfers to Parks under the rug. On the other, we have the present Council embarrassed by their part in obscuring Parks and the previous Council’s questionable deeds. Add to this HRB’s reluctance to jeprodise Council support by allowing public scrutiny of these sketchy practices, and the tight-lipped, good old boys in the Building Department, and you have a first class cover-up.

All sides of this debate can be said to lack transparency.  We need a fresh and honest perspective on the issues that shape the island’s future. We need tranlate our high ideals of inclusiveness and economic equality into practical solutions while preserving the precious remnants of our natural environment.


I am an artist, writer and sailor in the Pacific Northwest.

One thought on “Tales of the Tot Lot 2

  1. There is worldwide precedent for high density inhabitations surrounded by spacious and wild wild public places, or by carefully husbanded enclosures for the public good. When white men arrived on the North American continent they believed themselves to be entitled to it ALL because, I guess, their Moms told them what special little boys they are. These fairy tales continued for sometime and their echoes remain. Folks really do believe that they can own the land individually and that they can shoot other people dead without any consequences.

    So. A fresh perspective on the vital issues that shape the island’s future?
    a) People are good and valuable, and warrant protection and excellent husbandry.
    b) Without sharing there is not enough to go around.
    c) Other cultures are older and wiser, and have something to teach us about living close together so that plants and animals have room, too.
    d) England includes Cornwall, the Lakes District, London, and York all at once on one island and it was at murderous and terrible war for thirty recent years… yet the fen at Bosworth still bears witness 530 years after the murder done there. The ground is alive and heals as well as nourishes us.

    The land is good and gracious to us all. Yes, guard your chickens from the racoons and keep your ponies warm and safe, but quit pointing your guns at your neighbors! Quit trying to hoard the land and the harbour! Learn to play nice! Only the Welsh thought each person should live a day’s walk from another, and CS Lewis used that idea for his idea of hell in “The Great Divorce.”

    Let there be freaking well built large apartments stacked one upon another in intelligent array; see the villages of Old Earth. Let there be air and sky and sea and water and land and animals and birds in every other place and they with their fishes and worms and small small creatures such that no one ever, even from South Carolina, would ever believe that a mucking battle axe has anything to do with us.

    Let visitors believe they have stepped onto an Isle of the Salish Sea which harbors only cedar-borne lives!

    Let us be the very incarnation of our all-relations-ness, of our ancestors the cedars and salmon, and the blackberries and rhododendrons from so far China. Beavers (*not* water rats). Harbor seals (sorry, Craig) and (sigh) river otters (sorry Bonnie). And, and strawberries because we are international and high tech and somebody in 18th C France put theirs together with ours from Virginia to make strawberries to grow commercially here with Japanese skill and the labor of Salish and Filipino. And masts. Their are still Bainbridge cedar masts extant in the world, you know.

    I’m rambling, aren’t I? I do hope you find me charming and not tiresome. I didn’t even mention my cats.

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