Community Post

Dueling Community Groups – Updated

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 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, 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.

0 thoughts on “Dueling Community Groups – Updated

  1. Having more people involved with the community is good. There’s lots of work that can be done to build community in the Central Area and I hope that the folks calling themselves JSCA will join in those efforts even though they may have a disagreement regarding one issue.(SPCC meetings are open to all, quarterly meetings have been held on the second Saturday of January, April, July, and October for nearly twenty years. Meeting notices are distributed through home-delivered newsletters, via e-mail, and on line.)

    Regarding CASA Latina, I’m a member of the Squire Park C.C. board and I don’t think that there’s been a lack of opportunity for all concerned to learn about all applicable issues. We believe there’s a place for CASA Latina and its constituents in our neighborhood and look forward to the vitality they will bring. The Good Neighbor Agreement is both an acknowledgment that the presence of CASA Latina in our neighborhood could be accompanied by some unintended problems and an expression of our belief that we can work to solve those problems.

    There are others whose goal has been to prevent CASA Latina from moving to 17th and Jackson, and for them no Good Neighbor Agreement would be satisfactory. That is the position that has not received support from the Squire Park Community Council.

  2. I don’t understand what the group thinks that can be accomplished at this point. CASA Latina is definitely coming and there very little that can be done to stop them. It just seems, too me, that fighting and making things difficult now only worsens the situation. I hope that the splinter group discusses ways that they can help CASA Latina to conduct their business safely and effectively and puts aside the “Us vs Them” mentality. It would be best if the neighborhood can see CASA as a part of “Us” now.

  3. Maybe this group feels that its position has not had sufficient voice in the debate. I moved to the CD in Sept. ’06, largely unaware of the Casa Latina debate. Since that point, I cannot say with confidence that the SPCC has been forthcoming with details about PROTECTING the neighborhood’s interest in the GNA that was being hammered out behind the scenes. Frankly, I’d agree with the suggestion above that, given the support for the GNA by the JPCC and SPCC presidents, discussion about the GNA has been purposefully neglected/kept off the agenda in open quarterly meetings. I had to ask for the details of the GNA; they were not initially posted on SPCC’s site after being reported late last year in the Times and PI. These details are at the crux of homeowners’ concerns — and so should have been on the SPCC site much earlier.

    There is significant opposition to Casa Latina’s move to our neighborhood. My sense is that the SPCC leaders who support the move simply hope that this opposition will recede over time. My own opposition to the move stems from the fact that I haven’t heard good answers to these two questions:
    –What about Casa Latina’s move is GOOD for our neighborhood?
    –What’s the rationale for Casa Latina moving to any NEIGHBORHOOD when the bulk of labor hires happen in INDUSTRIAL/BUSINESS areas?

  4. Amen, CDhomeowner!!

    I find it laughable, really, when Bill refers to the “vitality” that CASA’s constituents will bring. Please Bill, do expand upon this. I, too, am keen to know how this move benefits the neighborhood.

  5. I’ve lived in the central district for many years and I’m also concerned about a day labor site on Jackson Street. When speaking with my neighbors, most do not support Casa Latina but thought it was already a “done deal”. Hasn’t anyone found it suspicious that Casa Latina needs a “Good Neighbor Agreement?” What legitimate organization needs an agreement with a neighborhood to act properly?” Did Pratt or the new devlopments on the Wonder Bread property need a “GNA?” No, because they are addding to our community and not adding more problems. I heard the Belltown community is relieved that they are leaving and the Mt. Baker neighborhood seriously objected to Casa Latina’s move to Rainier AVe. This is another case of the rich neighborhood dumping on the CD. I don’t understand how Squire Park and Jackson community organization are approving Casa Latina for our neighborhood. My grand kids go to Washington Middle School and they walk on Jackson Street every morning. I would free very uneasy about them walking passed a day labor site. What is Bill’s definition of “Vitality?” Maybe his definition includes e.g., loitering, public urination, crime and homeless people sleeping in our parks and doorways. As we all know, we already have enough of that type of “Vitality.”

  6. Really, the only thing to do is just watch it unfold. CASA Latina has a track record and just because they are moving to a new neighborhood does not change their behavior. Think about it…People who mess up their lives are always “starting over with a new leaf” by moving to another town. Guess what? The same things “happen” to them again. Why? Because it is their behavior that is of issue, not the location.

    17th & Jackson will be quite different in the years to come, it will resemble Jackson street in the 1970s again. I promise.