Kirkland Reporter story on Potala Village is troubling | LETTER
October 12, 2011 · 3:15 PM
The recent article on the Potala Village is deeply troubling.
The tone is unmistakably biased, ironically in diametric contrast to the very facts presented. It will be misleading to many readers who will skim the piece but not ponder those facts.
Halfway through we learn that the development is not "Tibetan-themed" at all, just that the name "Potala" was chosen in tribute to the Tibetan Dalai Lama. The subtitle inexplicably, misleadingly says "based on Dalai Lama's home."
I was expecting something resembling the Taj Mahal, comically out of place in Kirkland, instead the picture of the developer's similar building in Everett looks very like the 101 Apartments just down the street from the proposal.
The "disharmony" of the title, while it is stated emphatically, goes unsupported by facts or figures: "To say the Potala project has attracted community interest is to vastly understate vehemence (sic)."
Where is all the protesting outrage this insinuates? "...letters and emails protesting the project" in city files? I imagine there is not one large development project anywhere that does not get its share. Yet this is characterized by the reporter as "frenzy."
However, the most troubling aspect of the article is the ugly tone of intolerance: "It's almost impossible to overstate how unusual Dargey's life has been. He's from Tibet." (Oh my God) "He studied to be a monk." (Now we're in trouble) "He didn't come to the United States until 1997." (14 years? He's fresh off the boat.)
"He didn't speak English." (Now that's going too far - they don't speak English in Tibet?) How is any of this unusual?
The writer, Peyton Whitely, goes on to equate the developer's wanting to earn a profit of perhaps 10 percent with being somehow contrary to the concept of altruism, and to state that his having been able to undertake and complete similar projects "is, of course, something of a mystery."
The fact that he has been successful during hard times in the economy lends legitimacy to his being able to carry out this project.
His intention to build a LEED-certified environmental development should be lauded. His plans include more than ample parking. This is the kind of development we should want.
He agreed to reduce the number of units by 40, apparently demonstrating willingness to compromise with the aforementioned protests, and the writer suggests reducing by an additional 43 units (another 33 percent), then reports that the man was not immediately amenable to that suggestion.
Such insolence! Whitely sniffs judgmentally at the developer's "taste in décor" in his Everett office, which contains "photos of Tibet and philosophical ponderings (sic)," and then comments that his business dealings are somehow in conflict with "what might seem to suggest life choices based on serenity and contemplation."
The reporter does not inform us what s/he thinks would be a preferable development of the site or more crucially, whom the reporter thinks should be carrying it out.
Anthony Digiunta, Kirkland