On Tact and Diplomacy

News alert, we live in hyper-partisan times. Because so many people are on edge, tact and diplomacy are at a premium. The Right refers to this as “political correctness”, I think of it as civility.

When it comes to your thoughts though, I’m happy to report that you still have unlimited freedom. It’s perfectly fine for extremist conservative or liberal or anarchist or whatever thought to percolate between your ears. You may even be so bold as to journal about all of your wonderfully extremist thoughts.

We have daily reminders though of the costs of letting those thoughts bubble out without much consideration for how they are going to be received by others. Think of those as “What was he or she thinking?” moments. The answer of course is they were not, at least not enough.

During this morning’s run, I listened to a National Public Radio story titled “Olympia Braces For Change, But Some Homeowners Aren’t Thrilled”.

The story in short:

“Leaders in Olympia are trying to adapt to changing demographics and make room for an influx of new residents, but their plan is rankling some homeowners.

City leaders are considering changes to zoning across roughly two-thirds of the city that would allow for more of what they call “missing middle” housing in single-family neighborhoods.

That ‘middle’ is multi-family housing that falls between a single-family home and an apartment building, such as a duplex, triplex, townhome, cottage, or accessory apartment.

Olympia officials hope is to address a mismatch in the housing stock: 70 percent of the city’s households are just one or two people, yet much of the city’s housing is single-family homes designed for larger families.”

Enter Bob Jorgenson:

“’The potential changes we’re talking about are going to be basically a reverse re-gentrification of a neighborhood,’ said Bob Jorgenson, who has lived in Olympia for 30 years. ‘We’re going to be putting multi-family where multi-family is not appropriate.'”

Bob’s opposition to the policy seems reasonable enough, ultimately, he’s just exercising his First Amendment Rights. But these are not ordinary times and Bob’s problem is he’s woefully out-of-touch with the larger context of growing income inequality in the United States and rising homelessness in Olympia.

Then there’s the “money” sentence in the short, illuminating story:

“Jorgenson, who created a Facebook page to rally residents against the plan, said he’s worried about worsening traffic, declining home values, and changing the aesthetics of single-family neighborhoods.”

Changing the aesthetics. For shitssake. It’s okay to think like Bob, but if you care at all about living peacefully with your neighbors, keep your self-centered, politically regressive thoughts to your self.

Bob cares more about the looks of his neighborhood than he does growing inequality, poverty, and homelessness. I predict Bob is going to get creamed tonight at City Hall at 6:30p.m. It’s dinner date night with the Gal Pal. Maybe we’ll go to Ramblin’ Jacks and hop across the street afterwards to watch Bob get tarred and feathered for being inexcusably out-of-touch.

Maybe I’ll even boost his spirits with a gift, a notebook, in which he can journal all about single-family neighborhood aesthetics.

2 thoughts on “On Tact and Diplomacy

  1. Well maybe it’s time to take a page from the women’s march and RESIST the City Council. We don’t need more social engineering. This Missing Middle needs to have more vetting. We are not under the gun of a lack of housing construction sites at this time. So council should take more time and study the harmful effects.

  2. Ron – Your nephew Spencer currently lives in Nashville and this “Missing Middle” approach is taking over entire neighborhoods – Innumerable two-family residences built on sites where nice functional one-family residences once stood – The entire lots are covered with building with little or no grass, flowers, vegetation at all – It destroys the aesthetics of the neighborhood, increases traffic geometrically and is a major cause of concern for people who choose to live in nice single-family residential areas not yet affected by it – From what I’ve seen during my visits to Nashville I would be vehemently opposed to it taking place in my neighborhood in Ohio – Without having done a scientific statistical survey I’m quite sure the vast majority of my neighbors would agree with me – Once it starts it is impossible to stop and, in my opinion, it is an undertaking the majority of people would be highly uncomfortable with if the Olympia City Council were to allow it to take place.

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