A case for NIMBYs

(Editor’s note: This column is in response to one in this space last week -- “Examining Advocacy” -- that criticized NIMBY-ism.)

(Editor’s note: This column is in response to one in this space last week — “Examining Advocacy” — that criticized NIMBY-ism.)

There are a plethora of issues and changes affecting Kirkland today. I can’t remember so many changes happening at once with the rail line, the McLeod project, Merrill Gardens and the “granddaddy” of them all, Parkplace. There’s not enough time for each and every one of us to become involved in all these issues. Activities with family and work consume our daily lives. At the same time, it’s important for Kirkland citizens to pay attention to the changes.

Jordan Lindstrom, editor of this newspaper, wrote an interesting opinion piece in last week’s Reporter in which he explored the roots of advocacy and NIMBY-ism. He had attended (as did I) the latest meeting about the proposed rail/trail with the Eastside Trail Advocates.

NIMBY-ism might have a negative connotation, but NIMBYs, the “not in my backyard” people mentioned in his article, have an important role in any municipality. People assume NIMBYs are only looking out for their own interests. When people are directly affected by a project, they tend to become involved. These people often live close by, or could be impacted financially by, a project. It’s human nature to get involved in issues that have a direct impact on your life — you typically aren’t involved in those that don’t.

The NIMBYs research the facts. The NIMBYs sort through the stories, attend meetings, talk to public officials and citizens, review reports and formulate a position based on the information. This education leads to the advocacy Jordan mentions. NIMBYs can’t afford to take an issue for granted. They can’t afford “knee-jerk” reactions. Every issue mentioned above has its NIMBY group advocating for or against a change based on an understanding of the issues. We need NIMBYs because they are an effective counter balance to other interest groups. NIMBYs help the community, as a whole, make good decisions.

It’s imperative to have thorough and impartial studies completed with any decision-making process. In the case of the commuter rail, as an example, the studies should demonstrate the actual number of riders, cost per rider, the full cost of developing the trail and rail line, the impact on neighborhoods, street traffic, individual safety and the environment. Whatever is decided must be the result of careful, thorough analysis, and not just a Band-aid “knee-jerk” reaction. This approach, this advocacy, and this NIMBY-ism on civic issues protects the public process and the interests of all citizens.

It helps keep the public informed, public officials accountable to their constituents, and, hopefully, the right decisions made. 

~Long-time resident Debra Sinick runs local blog http://kirklandhighlandsrealestatebuzz.com from her Windermere Real Estate’s Yarrow Bay office. Reach her at debra@debrasinick.com.

More in Opinion

Big Oil’s ‘Kool-Aid’ | Letter

Voters drank Big Oil’s “Kool-Aid” on Nov. 6 and rejected Initiative 1631.… Continue reading

For unsolvable problems | Letter

For unsolvable problems The key to solving any problem is to understand… Continue reading

Non-addictive pain management | Letter

Dear high school student, If you get your wisdom teeth removed, take… Continue reading

A reverse mortgage may save the family home | Coming of Age… Again

The federal government has a program in place to help seniors through this process.

A faithful response to hate | Letter

In response to the fliers recently posted in the Kirkland area by… Continue reading

Hate has no home here | Letter

Recently it was brought to my attention that fliers promoting racism and… Continue reading

Kudos for running thoughtful letter / Letters

Orchids to John Scannell for his well-written letter in your Oct. 5… Continue reading

I am going all in on Initiative 1631 / Guest column

As a physician, few things are more gut-wrenching than watching a patient… Continue reading

Vote no on Initiative 1639 | Letter

As a woman, and a legal professional who assists women in domestic… Continue reading

Proposition 1 will focus on property crimes | Letter

Kirkland is proposing an important measure to advance public safety services in… Continue reading

Kavanaugh should be rejected | Letter

I find Republican caviling at the Brett Kavanaugh hearings baffling. For just… Continue reading

Having a ‘best friend’ ready to help you manage – powers of attorney | Coming of Age…Again

A power of attorney is easy to create and get signed but it can be abused.