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November 12, 2004

The Dark Side of "Not in My Backyard"

I was deeply involved in neighborhood level politics for years in Seattle, as President of my neighborhood council and as head of a citywide grassroots political organization. There is a tremendous power to neighbors getting together, but it has its dark side as well.

In Wallingford right now, neighbors are rallying around trying to prevent the opening of transitional home for low risk sex offenders. Some particularly enterprising community members have taken it upon themselves to shoot out the windows. It reminds me of the kind of fear and hostility that greeted a transitional home for people with mental illnesses proposed for my neighborhood years ago.

The isolation of those that are most at risk or who have been institutionalized is an enormous contributor to the very problems that these neighbors fear. I guess they just want someone else to be the ones who welcome them into society.

Posted by Michael Gilbert on November 12, 2004 at 08:49 AM in Washington Culture | Permalink


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