Madison deal keeps it all in perspective
June 9, 2008 · Updated 3:23 PM
"We were starting to question the fairness of it all - the very relevance these days of concepts like loyalty, justice, faith.Watching the best shortstop in baseball leave town for a division rival will do that for you. And boy, were we in a mood.Regular readers of this space may have noticed a certain Seattle Mariners partisanship peeking through from time to time. So you can picture the scene in the editor's office Monday - closed door, low lights, contemplative music (like most days, but more so) - at news of Alex Rodriguez' defection for a reviled Texas squad. For a quarter-billion-dollar salary, no less, the absurdity of which transcends rational comment.Yes, we found ourselves questioning quite a few things, not least all the emotional energy (and money) we as fans invest in our favorite players and teams. Aside from a dozen or so good evenings at the ballpark each year, a summer-long vicarious buzz, what do we get as return?Loyalty? Harrumph.But life has a way of swinging things back into perspective, as surely as Mariner arms will tame Ranger bats next season.Indeed, word came late Monday evening of another transaction, one that won't break hearts or take away from the community, but will instead build us all up. Our caller reported that the 550 Madison Avenue apartment building - where 13 moderate-to-low-income families have for years been blessed with below-market rent, under the Christian charity of a Kingston property owner - was being sold. Not to a private developer, as residents had feared, but to the Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority. That organization, alerted by a report in this newspaper to the building's imminent sale eight weeks ago, had made its own offer and languished second in line for purchase. There was some behind-the-scenes wheeling and dealing, but the fate of building looked sealed.But in the end, the presumptive buyer fell out of the picture, leaving the housing authority to step up and complete the deal. It did, and we believe this community is the better for it.Not that we begrudge the attempts of private parties to buy the building for their own purposes. But with the scarcity of affordable housing on the island, any missed opportunity should be lamented.So in this season of reflection, we think the Bainbridge community owes a debt of gratitude to the Kitsap County Consolidated Housing Authority, for saving the 550 Madison apartments for low-income renters now and in the future. And while you're at it, thank whomever it is that watches over us all, for letting this sort of deal, every once in a while, fall into place. Now, as to those relative investments:Ten-year salary for star baseball player: $252 million.Homes for 13 low-income Bainbridge families: $825,000.Given our choice of deals, we'll take the second one every time. Who needed that shortstop, anyway? "