Georgetown Prevails in Fight Against Trash

"There's a couple of ways you can do politics," says Richard Conlin. "One way is you can keep confronting each other until somebody blinks. I don't find that particularly useful. The other way is to work together so that everyone understands the criteria you're using, and then you can find a way to work though these things." Among the "things" he worked through last week: the controversial plan to build a 19-acre waste transfer station south of Georgetown's commercial district on Airport Way (subject of SW's June 20 cover story). On Thursday, Mayor Greg Nickels and City Council member Conlin announced they're killing the proposal, and will instead try to fix up the two existing trash transfer and compaction facilities in Wallingford and South Park. The news comes in conjunction with Conlin's introduction of a new "zero waste" strategy that aims to reduce the amount of city garbage sent to landfills while increasing Seattle's recycling rate. The decision "was not an ideological test," said Conlin. "It was a matter of what is the practical thing to do." Credit the neighborhood residents and business owners for their foresight in seeing "zero waste" as their ticket out of becoming the city's trash capital. Credit Conlin for his systematic approach—and for picking up the torch.

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