Housing showdown

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Lisa Herbold wants $29 million for affordable housing

Public support needed at key City Hall meeting, Wed. Nov. 16, 9:30 a.m

Should Seattle borrow $29 million to build or preserve affordable housing? Hell, yes!

Five members of the Seattle City Council support the proposal for the 2017-18 budget. Councilmember Lisa Herbold, a lefty populist, has been leading the effort.

Mayor Ed Murray and Councilmember Tim Burgess oppose it.

The arguments on both sides are highly technical regarding bond funding, the Real Estate Excise Tax, dedicated General Subfund dollars and other arcane fiscal details.

I am posting a memo from Murray’s City Budget Director Ben Noble opposing the idea and a memo from five city councilmembers, Sally Bagshaw, Lisa Herbold, Rob Johnson, Mike O’Brien and Kshama Sawant, supporting the $29 million expenditure.

I am not an expert in municipal housing finance. And I haven’t been able to reach a neutral, informed expert on this issue.

The mayor has, however, declared a state of emergency over Seattle’s 6,000 homeless residents. It’s well past time to push the envelope.

My gut says, “Go with Lisa and more affordable housing.” If yours does too, let the city council know what you think. This issue will be decided, Wed. Nov. 16, as part of the Budget Committee meeting beginning at 9:30 a.m. in the city council’s chambers, Seattle City Hall, 600 Fourth Ave., Second Floor.

Show up in person or email lisa.herbold@seattle.gov or call 206-684-8888.

Seattle needs every penny it can raise for affordable housing.

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About George Howland Jr

For many years, George Howland Jr has been a Seattle-based journalist.
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