Discovered | Editorial
By MARY L. GRADY
Mercer Island Reporter Editor
August 24, 2011 · 10:18 AM
There have been at least three protests/demonstrations outside of United States Rep. Dave Reichert’s office next to McDonalds across from the North QFC parking lot on 78th Avenue S.E. The Island is practically ground zero for light rail construction in the center lanes along I-90. In addition to politics, a couple of somewhat major athletic events either pass through or circle around the Island in late summer. Like it or not — Mercer Island and our Town Center have been ‘discovered.’
As is the case with protests/demonstrations staged outside Reichert’ office — it is definitely a mixed blessing.
And why here?
Is it that Rep. Reichert is so important — or is it that Mercer Island offers an ironic setting; an irresistible combination of an affluent community to contrast sharply with national economic woes. Of course, demonstrators last week were joined by a clutch of journalists waving cameras and notebooks — there to witness the ‘soup kitchen’ and the sign-wavers outside the small building that Reichert seldom visits.
Such displays are staged to attract the media — who usually find a lot more drama than what really exists in such gatherings.
We are all for free speech and the right of citizens to peaceably assemble, but we worry about being taken advantage of by groups who have nothing to do with Mercer Island (kind of a NIMBY-like attitude, we admit). Police were present at the latest ‘protest’ at Rep. Reichert’s office — they wisely showed up to keep the various groups from interacting in a negative fashion, but also no doubt, to protect the property rights of local businesses. They were more than accommodating to the visitors, even stopping traffic to allow an impromptu dance in the street.
It could turn out to be a busy autumn on the sidewalk in front of Mr. Reichert’s office with the debt ceiling/budget dance continuing in Congress. Meanwhile, the presidential election looms.
Let’s just hope those protestors/demonstrators spend some money while they are here!
Contact Mercer Island Reporter Editor Mary L. Grady at firstname.lastname@example.org or (206) 232-1215 ext. 1050.