The crowd was smaller than recent demonstrations and the night was mostly uneventful from the “traditional” media end of things — no broken windows (that we know of), no building takeover, no pepper spray, etc.
But Friday night’s Capitol Hill protest against gentrification and, specifically, the city’s multi-family tax exemption plan showed wit and the kind of grass roots creativity that just might make the Occupy Seattle process work.
Of course, organizers were adamant about reminding CHS that the Friday night protest was not an authorized Occupy event. No bother. The protest march still began with a mic check and the Occupy method of repetitive chanting was in full effect for the full tour of Capitol Hill development spots. At each — including B&O Espresso’s about-to-be-demolished home, an official Notice of Proposed Gentrification was posted. It’s too bad the TV people left before the first sign went up.
Some of the politics were a little ridiculous — we’re pretty sure it’s not OK to say the Central District shouldn’t be developed — but there are fine points in the matter worth discussing. As the man’s sign says, yes, some of the new things that get built on Capitol Hill are garbage and, yes, some of the projects taking advantage of the city’s tax programs might not truly have people struggling with high housing costs in mind.
The chants were “community, not capital” and “housing for people, not profit.” Add the witty notice signs, and you had an event worth noting. By the way, B&O said OK to the posters on its wall, we’re told.