This being Seattle's Eastside, it's not surprising that there are a few other bloggers with some opinions on the proposed Kirkland annexation of my neighborhood. And of the three blogs I found about it, all three were anti-annexation. All three also happened to be located in Kirkland.
There's the rather alarmistly-named Save Kirkland [UPDATE: Since this morning, this blog has been taken offline; UPDATE 2: This blog might have been relocated to the still-rather-alarmistly-named "SaveKirkland.com, which has its own "Annexation Blog"], whose owner seems to have lost interest after last December, when the final update was made. And there are two others that express very rational opinions about the proposed annexation, both local bloggers who happened to blog their thoughts about it: the Kirkland Weblog and Steve Lacey's blog.
I'm not surprised that some Kirkland residents are against this; although the City Council's reason for annexation is to increase their tax revenue (and judging by the document "Dollars and Cents" (PDF) on their site, their current budget deficit needs to change somehow), the residents seem to think that the services they enjoy and we long for would be spread "far too thin" according to Steve Lacey.
Could be. I'd have to see some evidence of that either way, and the last thing I'd want is to go from crappy emergency service to crappier emergency services. The Kirkland Weblog goes into a little more depth:
Our small town would suddenly rival the size of Kent. Throw in another 30,000 people and we're Bellevue. That means big expenses to expand our police/fire services/city hall/sidewalks/sewers/garbage/etc. There is a proposed new 75 bed jail in the plan, but mysteriously no one seems to know where that would be located. The state offers a kickback type incentive to make annexation more feasible, but that's only for ten years. Then what? The financial picture is troublesome. Unfortunately, the 'PAA' is primarily residential and doesn't have many revenue producing/ economic development opportunities to offer up as an offset to the expenses it would create for our city.
But reading through some of the online conversation, there's also this meme:
[M]ost importantly, the small town feel of Kirkland is what makes it so charming.
To me, that smacks of the country club saying "well, there's plenty of economic reasons we shouldn't let them in, but the pale white color around the golf course is what makes it so charming (wink wink)." No, that's not an accusation of racism: it's a function of a close, united social group who naturally doesn't want to allow any newcomers into the group. It's no different than a social community online: how welcome are newcomers into tight-knit communities, especially specialized ones? Answer: not very.
Both blogs informed me of something I didn't know: that Kirkland residents don't actually get to vote on annexation. I don't know what I think about that. I feel like sure, I might be invited to the party, but the other guests really don't want me there.
I'm going to reserve further opinion until I attend one of the annexation meetings, but expect to see more discussion about this issue in this space soon.