Saturday, March 11, 2006

Salem City Council--an example of why Salem needs clean elections, too.

The City of Salem has always struck me as an odd fight between its possibilities and what has to be some road blocks to achieving those possibilities. Interestingly, Brian Hines confirms this for me:

Here’s an open secret: Salem, Oregon is an unappealing city. Here’s another: the Salem City Council is determined to keep it that way. Crazy. Salem already is crippled by poor planning, lack of creativity, and a boring downtown. Yet the City Council is busily engaged in shooting the city in its foot to hobble it even more.

As I said in “Salem City Council knows zilch about sustainability,” state planners have rejected Salem’s land use policies as being inconsistent with good mixed-use development. Rather than doing the right thing and fixing the plan, the City Council is appealing to the state Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA).

With the exception of the area around Bush Park and few neighborhoods brushing the outskirts of downtown, Salem is essentially an ugly assed series of strip malls and rundown rental storefronts. The southern end of Commercial Street is an absolute eyesore. Its obvious no forethought was really given to a long term, global vision of the city.

In comments to Brian's post, The Rambling Taoist makes mention of the large campaign contributions handed out to the Salem City Councilmembers--from the building industry.

Just as in Portland, its costing the citizens of Salem more to allow their representatives to be bought and paid for by special interests. If the taxpayers were who paid those bills, that's who those reps would find themselves beholden to.

Okay all you anti-clean elections kids: bring in da noise, bring in da snark.