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In Our View/Livability

Everett's great potential

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What's the cure for a bad candy hangover? A sugary coffee drink? Served by a hillbilly bikini barista?
In case you missed it, Everett Police on Wednesday raided the Hillbilly Hotties coffee stand at Hoyt Avenue and 41st Street after complaints about illegal activity. Three women working there were arrested, accused of lewd conduct and/or violating the city's adult entertainment laws.
As Herald reporter Rikki King writes at the end of the article, "Everett's bikini-barista investigations tend to attract national attention due to the racy subject matter."
They also attract local attention, with many people wondering if this is the best use of our police force. But since they were responding to numerous citizen complaints, it would seem that it is the proper role of police. Perhaps the question that needs addressing is: Why is a bikini barista stand allowed on the edge of the downtown core? Why not zone them out? Why not restrict them to industrial zones, like the city did with "nuisance" medical marijuana dispensaries?
Bikini baristas were not mentioned in a recent list of the "100 top places to live" in the U.S. by a website called Livability, which ranked Everett at No. 73. Good news! Unfortunately, unlike bikini baristas, random lists generated online don't garner a lot of coverage.
Other cities in the state that made the livability list include: No. 12 Bellevue, No. 25 Bellingham, No. 41 Tacoma, No. 62 Redmond and No. 96 Vancouver. (That's correct, Seattle is not on the list. But it helps the scores of other cities to be near Seattle, with all its amenities and sports teams.)
The things cited that make Everett livable: Mostly younger; smaller city; mostly renters; mostly singles; mild summer; nearby college/university; close to major sports team.
Who knew we were a city of young, single renters? If they commute to Seattle to work and play, however, that really doesn't say much for Everett's livability, just its lower rents. Which is frustrating, because there is much to say for Everett's livability, and its vast potential. When they make more money and start having kids themselves, we want the city's young renters to remain here, become homeowners, and raise their families. We want the city's young residents to open their businesses here, to bring their youth and vitality to the community. (But not as a bikini barista, unless they actually own the stand.)
As Kayla Martin, 18, an Everett Community College student said as she watched the movie, "The Architect," being filmed in Everett this week: "This isn't something you see every day. It kind of makes you proud of the city." Exactly. And sometimes it helps to look at things with fresh eyes, and ideas.

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