Public, you are not invited to the port


Port authorities, as quasi-public entities, with minimal and almost no public oversight, amaze me with the scope of their power and the size of their land holdings. The Port of the Seattle is the largest property owner in the city. It runs an international airport and one of the country’s largest cargo container ports. Yet almost none of the city’s 600,000 or so residents have the slightest idea what happens behind the razor wire fences. Mainly all of those low-cost Asian-made goods come in, and some of our heavy materials, industrial goods, and agricultural goodies go out. I cannot fault any authority for maintaining security, but is this management structure more about protecting the interests of the large corporations that utilize these public resources for their business models or about keeping our commercial sector safe from “bad guys.” And have no doubt, bad guys do use this port to smuggle everything, from illegal drugs to people. They are like a big no-go zone that everyone agrees is good for all of us. That remains the weird part. Who decided all of this, and who benefits from all of this? (The port would say, I do, with cheap goods and a strong economy, I know.)


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