I was over near Jackson St. today and saw that all of the cars parked along the street had flyers on them advertising a “Neighborhood Forum” on the subject of CASA Latina’s pending move from Belltown to 17th & Jackson.
The agenda for the meeting definitely establishes it as being opposed to the move, but more interesting was the group organizing the event: Jackson Street Community Association. Note that this is not the Jackson Place Community Council (JPCC) that is the city-recognized community group for the area near and to the south of Jackson.
There’s been a lot of controversy about CASA Latina and the good neighbor agreement (GNA) that was negotiated with them. The JPCC board supports it, and a vocal group of residents in the area have been opposed. Now it appears that some in that latter group are trying to secede and create their own community group to directly oppose CASA Latina and the GNA.
I spoke to a JPCC board member who hadn’t previously heard of the new group but he has “a pretty good hunch that they are in fact setting themselves up as adversaries to the official Jackson Place Community Council group”.
The jacksonstreet.org domain was registered back in November 2007, and was done so anonymously. An email sent to the address listed on their website hasn’t been answered yet.
Anyone out there have any clues about this? If so, leave a comment below.
Update: Genji Shiga responded to the email I sent to jacksonstreet.org, and confirmed that they are mainly motivated by CASA Latina move and the existing community groups’ support of it. They currently have 3 people on their board of directors and they’re actively seeking to grow the organization.
Regarding potential conflict and overlap between Jackson Place Community Council and his new group, Genji responded that:
We believe that the JSCA is complimentary to the Jackson Place and Squire Park community groups, especially with respect to the issues regarding CASA Latina. For example, apparently the Presidents of both Jackson Place and Squire Park fully support CASA Latina’s move to 17th Ave. S. and S. Jackson Street. We believe that such bias towards such move may have had the unintended negative consequence of preventing such community groups from informing and educating their constituents of all applicable issues. Accordingly, we believe that the JSCA provides a forum where residents and other stakeholders in the neighborhood can learn more about such move. We believe that regardless of your position on an issue, the disclosure of more information is always better than less.
I’m guessing that next week’s meeting on this topic will be pretty interesting, so you may want to attend if you’re involved in the CASA Latina issue or want to learn more: Wednesday, January 30th, 6pm, Douglass-Truth Library.