Letter: Selling naming rights to public facilities weakens sense of community

February 8, 2013 

Someone recently sent me an April 27, 1952, Herald clipping, reporting that the people of Pasco, a small, dirt-poor, farming town, had just voted 10 to one in favor of taxing themselves to build an expensive, high quality, gathering place and presentation hall for the performing arts. It was called Pasco High Auditorium.

Notice that they would not only tax themselves to pay for this common improvement, but unlike today's movers and shakers, they would retain ownership and responsibility for it.

That auditorium was not destined to become an advertising billboard for some remote cellphone conglomeration.

Pasco's best public event center never became Qwest Field, Benaroya Hall or McCaw Hall (those are Seattle's publicly funded but privately branded corporate substitutes for pride in community accomplishments).

Speaking as an exile who spent most of his life trapped in gridlock on the frenetic west side of the Cascades, I wish we Washingtonians could rekindle that feeling of common purpose, cooperation and community connection.


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