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Climate change in Belltown business?

The Belltown Business Association hosted forum on the business climate tonight.   The panel of speakers included a banker, a restaurant owner, a recruiter, a housing developer, an hotelier and a realtor.  The discussion was moderated by BBA President Tim Gaydos.

  Generally speaking the feeling was that the worst of the recession was over but that it would still be some years before the good times of times past return.  The last few years have forced all business owners to reexamine their daily operations and really focus on the details that will sustain or improve their cash flow.    

  The advice and evaluations from the panel were good and sound but the back and forth from the audience questions was more interesting.   On the whole they spoke of an underlying frustration dogging business in Belltown.  Frustration with the City’s increasing operational costs with mandatory sick leave pay and hiking parking rates and parking hours.    Frustration with “the Seattle mindset” which promotes grandstanding vote getting social justice initiatives over the interests of local businesses.   There was also frustration with the BBA itself not doing enough to end the frustration.

  There were also some hopeful notes.   The BBA is pursuing a unified marketing plan for the neighborhood.  The BBA has been working with the Mayor’s office to establish a Neighborhood Action Team Seattle in Belltown which is the City term for an inter departmental problem solving action group.  (Why the City needs a special task force to work with itself is another question altogether).    And 53 hotels downtown have formed a T.I.A (Tourism Improvement Area) which will tax each hotel room $2 a night to fund promotional campaign to increase off season visits.

  The least helpful comments came from a woman who kept interrupting the discussion to insist she was “The white elephant in the room”.   Most people know what the terms “white elephant” and “elephant in the room” mean.  I think she is the only one who understands what “the white elephant in the room” means.

The BBA does a good job as an organization of volunteers .  Those few, who make it happen, do so in addition to their day jobs.  It has always shocked me that so many business owners have time to work 40 to 60 hours at their business and have invested so much in them have so little interest in making the place where they are located  better for their businesses.   These meetings always result in an ask for business owners to do more and get more involved.  There is always that “Help Wanted” sign in the window looking for people to organize and build community.  Those frustrated with Belltown’s business climate need to apply themselves.

3 Comments on "Climate change in Belltown business?"

  1. Truly there was a white elephant in the room last night that the politically correct need not attempt to ignore but rather welcome. The panel directed their comments to business plans, knowing the cliental, understanding the new business as usual while avoiding the real problems that face Belltown.

    We have developed a reputation as a dangerous, unsavory part of town. A place to avoid, a place where crime and drugs are common place. An open air drug market where anything and everything is available and a place where the police are unlikely to intervene. Spend all the money you what until the streets are cleaned of the vermin that frequent Belltown are eradicated Belltown will remain the scourge of the City.
    Get the police out of the cars, off the bicycles, put them on the street. Not cloistered in a door way waiting for a call to respond to the next incident but walking freely and openly. Have them interact with the locals, have them know who is here as a part of the community rather than respond to those that chose to be a detriment to that community.

    We need to become a bit less politically correct. Profile, stop that car cursing First and Second Aves, engage the loitering, question the runner with the little bags of goodies making the half dozen trips up and down the same sidewalk every hour, enforce the noise ordinance. Demand that landlords evict dealers, felons; remove the permanent as well as the transients sleeping in our door ways. Clean up the streets and then start your better business practices. Pay attention to the white elephant or accept that what we are experiencing in Belltown will only become the norm. The business climate will only continue to degrade and those of us who live here will truly not venture out after the sun sets as the vermin invade our streets. Get involved, join the organization that will fight to clean up our neighborhood or be content to hide in your home and watch your business dry up and parish.

  2. Zander – thanks for summarizing this important meeting. I completely agree with your sentiment that people need to quit complaining and start to get involved. There are a lot of lazy people in this community that find it really easy to open their mouths at every single meeting – yet refuse to actually DO anything about it besides whine.

    Want a tip? Sign up for a BCOP walk, call 911 anytime you see suspicious activity, volunteer at one of the many charities we have in our own neighborhood. It’s so easy to get involved.

    Thanks for doing your own part Zander by being involved and writing this up for those of us who weren’t able to be there.

  3. Yes, I agree…

    But the fact is the event was a business climate forum and the agenda was about business. Crime def plays a part and there will be a similar panel in the future to address crime and all of the less “politically correct” things.

    More changes/discussions/events are planned, I promise!

    And Zander – you’re awesome for writing this up!!

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