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Can Obama Beat City Hall?

Word has it Seattle's own Jim Diers was in Chicago the Saturday after the election for an 'Urban Strategy' session with Barack Obama. Hopefully this works out to be a good thing. His ideals are lofty, the idea he claims of making democracy stronger through neighborhood activist organizing.

Presumably the Diers/Obama connection is through Jesuit Greg Galluzzo who trained both Diers and Obama in community activism..

Do recall also that Diers was part of the Norm Rice administration, someone who did not prove to be a capable banker - post public service. FWIW, it may well have been the case that racism was the only reason he WAS held accountable, whereas the white boys weren't.

Rice's Federal Home Loan Bank performance, 2004

Rice's termination package, 2005

No word if the hand of Foster, Pepper Shefelman was at work in this bank, but they were big Rice supporters, and, as you know, the controllers of WAMU. Perhaps most significantly they were Rice's choice to compete with the old white boys in the municipal bond counsel market through Seattle's Housing Levies. Perhaps someone should've checked into this back in early 2005???

I do suspect that Rice had some problems with young frat boys during his days at the University of Washington - but, Mr. Rice, that doesn't justify sending your staff after the best of the next generation*, it just makes you another typical abuser.

Diers book, also published in 2004, is called 'Neighbor Power'. Curiously, note that in the many endorsements of the book not a single one comes from an unpaid community activist!

Personally, in my experience, Diers was more about activist bureaucrats than about building responsibile community - perhaps most notably in the attitude towards small business. My personal opinion is that the modus operandi was to give control to bureaucrats unqualified in planning, transportation, and land use subjects control, just so long as they had been 'vetted' to support the 'authority' of Rice's financial backers.** The neighborhood planning effort is currently up for a review under Seattle Councilmember Sally Clark - and it's not generating a whole lot of enthusiasm - a shame.

*I'm specifically aware of this problem, also from his neighbor, UW Professor Glover Barnes. It may well have to do with my department - Econ - a big supplier of staff to the local banking industry where Rice worked (community relations) prior to running for City Council. Funniest thing is that I'm perhaps the most liberal honor's graduate the department has - I'd like to think of the caliber and temperment of long time State Legislator Helen Sommers. Saddest is that this man with so much potential chose engage in the politics of hate in order to control public finances.

** This would include Foster Pepper Shefelman, and, most notably, senior Partner Judy Runstad, former Land Use Counsel for the City of Seattle. I write about her often.


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