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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Seattle vs China

There is nothing shabby about Seattle... at least, nothing much. Seattle is an amazing city for many reasons. (Spoiler alert: Some of what you read here I have said before... so you forget. The new stuff is really worth it.)

But Seattle has its hiccups. Have have a look at The Macefield House that sits surrounded on three sides by much larger commercial buildings.

Mrs. Macefield, in her 80's, refused to sell to developers, even for a million dollars. It was her home and she intended to keep it. So they build around her. She lived there as they built and lived there til she died at 86. She was a great neighbor with not much grass to mow.

And here's where Seattle does it better than China... because they let her do it. When China built the Three Gorges Dam--the world's largest hydroelectric power plant--across the 3,915 mile long Yangtze, it raised thousands of miles of river by more than 30 feet displacing 1.3 million people. The project was so large that some scientists feared the displacement of so much water might cause a redistribution of weight that could alter the earth's rotation on its axis and spin us off to eternity... like Buzz Lightyear. Didn't happen though--phew!

China has many of its own 'Macefield houses' which it calls 'nailhouses.' Unlike the Macefield house, when dollar offers were rejected, China tore them down. And there were many.

So "Take that China!" Even with 1.3 billion people, you're no Seattle. Eat your heart out.

Seattle is America's most educated city--more than half of its 675,000 residents hold a college degree. It boasts the highest per capita ballet attendance too. Its Columbia City zip code is the most diverse in the nation boasting 59 different spoke languages.

This reputedly gray, rainy city sells more sunglasses per capita than any other major U.S. city. It also has the largest percentage of library card holders in the nation (80%) and residents spend double the national average on books every year.

Seattle recycles EVERYTHING from lawn debris to food leftovers. There are regular garbage and recycle pick-ups and if you are not in recycling compliance (they spot check), you are warned twice... then fined! No plastic bags in stores either.

It has a well run, heavily used public transportation system with environmentally pure buses that run on schedule. Commuters can check live on-time performance of their bus on line. And all buses have well-used bike racks--Seattle has more people who commute to work on bicycles than any other U.S. city. And it also has an impressive 24-hour ferry system--the largest in the U.S and its #1 tourist attraction.

Seattle has neighborhoods... really neat neighborhoods, many of which are eclectic in the mix of houses, ages and styles. And trees of all kinds. It has the largest houseboat population east of the Orient.

Everything is green and abundant lush landscaping crowds the sidewalks in some areas. Seattle has a wonderful year-round climate for trees, shrubs, plants, grass, etc. Average December/January  temperature is 47/38. July/August averages 76/57. Believe it or not, Chicago, Dallas and Miami get more rain per year than Seattle. Much of the precipitation in Seattle is mist. I was standing outside talking to someone and without realizing it, the ground beneath me was dry but everything else was damp. It could rain all day in Seattle and measure only .10 of an inch while Miami could get a 7 inch dousing in an hour. Go figure.

Seattle has the Pike Place Market, Space Needle, a new waterfront 175 ft high Ferris wheel, an abundance of museums and other great tourist stuff. On a clear day you can see Mt. Rainier, the Cascade and the Olympic mountain ranges and always beautiful water. Seattle residents seem to have a certain elan you don't see elsewhere. Would Bill Gates live there if it wasn't great?

But as I've said before... the best reason Seattle is best is because my daughter lives there.

PS: The house, which some have said was the model for the wonderful movie UP, will not has as rich an ending. Heirs have decided that without Mrs. Macefield, the house will go... and be replaced with a much less imagined four-story grey building without a history of anything.

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