Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant has announced a rally to be held at 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday August 1 in the lobby of Seattle’s City Hall (600 Fourth Ave). All are encouraged to attend.
See Facebook event page here for further details.
From Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant:
Friends and fellow activists,
You may have heard in the last week about real estate developer Onni Group’s intentions to replace Seattle’s historic Showbox theater with a high-rise upscale apartment building. This is yet another example of how development and construction decisions in Seattle are being driven primarily by whatever will make the quickest dollar for the largest for-profit developers, with little regard for the needs and desires of the rest of us.
Hundreds of community members have written to my office saying they want the Showbox to be preserved as a music venue. Over 80,000 have signed a public petition!
Often it is affordable housing that we see demolished to make way for new luxury buildings that only the wealthy get to live in. In this case, it is a landmark of Seattle’s history and music that is on the chopping block. In both cases, Seattle is more and more becoming a playground for the rich, with little space for working people and for the culture that makes Seattle so unique.
This is of course another symptom of our city being transformed more and more into a space that only the rich can occupy, while working and poor people continue to be driven out of their homes due to skyrocketing unaffordability.
Tomorrow, August 1st, the Landmarks Preservation Board is holding their regular meeting (not about the Showbox) at City Hall. Join us for an informational rally tomorrow at 3PM in the City Hall lobby. This will be an important opportunity for us to come together and speak as a community about the Showbox, and to share our stories with the Landmarks Preservation Board. Join us to let the Board members, and the media, know that we stand against a rubber-stamping of Onni’s multi-million-dollar upscale project dismantling an iconic performance venue. Let’s demonstrate the mass support there is for keeping the Showbox as a cultural touchstone for music in our City.
I join community members across the city in the desire to preserve the Showbox as an active music venue to be experienced and enjoyed by generations to come. My office is getting together a resolution that, if passed by the City Council, would urge the Landmarks Preservation Board to preserve the Showbox – both the facade and the music venue. My office has also just heard a suggestion that the landmarks preservation law should be improved, and we are happy to look into it.
What happens with the Showbox can help set a precedent: either that Seattle is not up for grabs to the highest corporate bidder, and that it will be an affordable city for all people with a thriving culture; or that Seattle continues to increasingly become a playground for the wealthy, and a city that does not value its diversity. What precedent gets set will depend on how strongly we get organized.
Join us tomorrow, 3pm at City Hall, in standing against Onni Group and preserving the Showbox, inside and out!