Support CM Herbold’s amendment to increase developer’s affordable housing requirement in SLU and Downtown – your calls/emails to other CM’s are needed now

On Monday April 10th, 2pm a vote is scheduled:  don’t let developers get away with inclusion of only 2.1 percent of their units at affordable rents – support Herbold’s amendment raising it to 5%! 

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Lisa Herbold asks developers to pay their fair share

On Monday April 10th, 2pm the full City Council is scheduled to approve an upzone in South Lake Union and Downtown generating a multi-million dollar windfall for developers.  Under the Mayor’s ‘HALA’ proposal however, the developers ‘mandatory housing obligation’ will only require them to set aside a handful of units at so called affordable rent levels – as low as 2.1 percent of the units they build or the equivalent in an ‘in-lieu of’ fee. Councilmember Herbold’s amendment would raise the requirement to 5% – still small but a substantial increase over the current proposal.  This one change would ensure developers downtown and in SLU provided an additional 500 affordable units and another $40 million in ‘in-lieu of’ fees.  The City’s own consultants show developers easily can meet the additional requirement while still walking away with a healthy return.  Is it too much to ask that developers assume a greater share of the cost of replacing housing their projects remove and finding housing for those who are displaced and gentrified out of their homes to their projects?

If you are able to come to the Full Council meeting on the 10th, 2pm in Council Chambers and give  public testimony, that would be great, too.  But whatever you do, and do it now if you can….

Contact: Debra Juarez District 5 206-684-8805 and debora.juarez@seattle.gov Bruce Harrell District 2  206-684-8804 bruce.harrell@seattle.gov Sally Bagshaw, District 7 206-684-8801  sally.bagshaw@seattle.gov Mike O’Brien, District 6 206-884-8800  mike.obrien@seattle.gov Tim Burgess, Position 8 206-684-8806  tim.burgess@seattle.gov Lorena Gonzalez, Position 9 206-684-8802  lorena.gonzalez@seattle.gov Lisa Herbold , District 1 206-684-8803  lisa.herbold@seattle.gov   Kshama Sawant, District 3 206-684-8016  kshama.sawant@seattle.gov Rob Johnson, District 4 206-684-8808  rob.johnson@seattle.gov Council Website: http://www.seattle.gov/council/meet-the-council 

See CM Herbolds blog for more info: http://herbold.seattle.gov/downtownsouth-lake-union-mha-south-park-crime-and-public-safety-survey-harbor-ave-sw-and-sw-spokane-street-intersection-improvements-chief-sealth-high-school-walkway-improvements/ And this Seattle Fair Growth post for more background: https://seattlefairgrowth.wordpress.com/2017/03/14/downtown-developers-getting-a-pass-on-affordable-housing-requirements/

Posted in Affordable Housing, City Hall, Density, Politics, Uncategorized, Upzoning

Words repeated often enough can change the growth debate whether true or not

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Percent of city’s land zoned single-family: 35.4%   source: Land Use Appendix, Comp Plan

Many city leaders, the planners representing them, and pro-upzone, pro-developer interests have put communities on the defensive by reframing the debate and mischaracterizing those who stand in their way

Needless to say, it’s a tried and true political technique.  Repeating a big lie over and over again until it’s embedded irreversibly into the public subconscious; conventional wisdom that “everyone knows is true”.  However false a phrase or even use of a word may be in describing something, when repeated often enough in print or in settings by those that can command a stage, it can irrevocably alter the storyline helping either to perpetuate the status quo or “make change imaginable and urgent”.

In his masterpiece of political cynicism written over 500 years ago, “The Prince,” Machiavelli told rulers that “occasionally words must serve to veil the facts.  But let this happen in such a way that no one become aware of it; or, if it should be noticed, excuses must be at hand to be produced immediately.” (source here)

Developers and their “urbanist” apologists, our Mayor, and most at City Hall now on an “upzoning” binge certainly have taken these words to heart.

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Posted in City Hall, Density, Neighborhoods, Politics, Upzoning

Wounded anti-Milo protester speaks

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Protesters outside Milo’s talk at the University of Washington (iww.org)

Radical unionist gets married in hospital, still supports the right to bear arms and wants restorative justice, not prison, for his shooter

On Jan. 20, Hex (a pseudonym), 34, a member of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), was shot at a demonstration at the University of Washington protesting the appearance of Milo Yiannopoulos, an alt-right speaker and writer who was formerly a senior editor at Breitbart News. On March 28, The Seattle Times reported, Elizabeth Hokoana, 29, “shot the protester because she believed her husband, Marc Hokoana, was in imminent danger of death or serious injury.”

Earlier, on March 4, Hex gave his first interview about the incident, his philosophy and his recovery to Mind Over Matters, a public affairs program on KEXP 90.3 FM, hosted by Mike McCormick. The following article is an edited version of that interview.

Hex says that during his hospital stay, he married his boyfriend partner. He adds that he still supports the Second Amendment’s right-to-bear arms, although he himself does not carry a gun. And he also explains why he does not want his shooter to go to prison, but hopes to achieve “restorative justice” by entering a dialogue with his attacker.

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Posted in Anarchism, George Howland articles, Politics, Protest, Resistance

You’re invited: University District small businesses host fundraiser to “Save the Ave” Friday March 31st 6pm, Big Time Brewery

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Affordable housing and longtime small businesses on ‘Ave’ threatened by upzones

Group secures six-month delay in upzone of University Way – fundraiser will help pay for study of impacts on small businesses and to come up with solutions that prevent small business displacement

Join us for a fundraising party to “Savethe Ave” on March 31st, this Friday, at the Big Time Brewery, located at 4133 University Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105, starting at 6pm. The newly formed UDistrict Small Business Group will be launching their new GoFundMe campaign to save the ‘Ave’ featuring signature beer, fabulous food, a raffle, and a damn good time.  Proceeds to help fund a unique study to clearly identify how small businesses and the historic character of the Ave would be affected by upzoning and what can be done about it. For more on their efforts and how you can help them out, come to the event Friday at the Big Time, and go to their website here:  https://www.udistrict.biz/  or email/call us at 206-632-0668  sdc@zipcon.net
Posted in University District

First mayoral debate: Murray vs. Oliver

Activist Nikkita Oliver is running for mayor and wants white Seattleites “to dig into their internalized white supremacy.” (Photo courtesy South Seattle Emerald.)

Before her candidacy for mayor of Seattle, Nikkita Oliver clashed with the incumbent over housing and police reform

On March 22, 2016, Seattle Channel and KCTS 9 co-produced a forum, “Race, Justice & Democracy: Where Do We Stand?” presented in partnership with Seattle CityClub and Town Hall Seattle. KCTS 9’s Enrique Cerna hosted the event. Panelists included Mayor Ed Murray and Black Lives Matter activist, lawyer, poet and teacher Nikkita Oliver.

Almost one year later, on March 8, 2017, Oliver announced she was running against Murray for mayor with the support of the People’s Party of Seattle.

The following is a very edited version of Murray’s and Oliver’s remarks at the forum, which lasted 90 minutes. I have not fact checked the speakers’ remarks.

Affordable housing: racism and HALA

Enrique Cerna [EC]: Mr. Mayor, we are the third fasting growing city in the country. We have an economic boom going on here, but the challenge is that we also have gentrification happening. We have people being pushed out of the city. We have people unable to afford to live in the city. How can you change that?

Mayor Ed Murray (EM): We put together an affordable housing group better known as HALA. One of the recommendations was that Seattle needed to address the racist nature of our housing. If you look at a map of redlining and you look at a map today of Seattle, or you look at a map of covenants from the 1930s and you look at a map of Seattle today; they are basically the same. This is a city that has remained segregated by neighborhood. The HALA group had the courage to step up and say, “This is something we need to address.” We were immediately hammered in the media for accusing folks of being racist.

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Posted in Affordable Housing, City Hall, George Howland articles, Neighborhoods, Politics

UDistrict upzone a lesson for other neighborhoods: Activists in Wallingford and Central Area know what to do

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Susanna Lin speaks to Mayor: Wallingfordites take stand against HALA upzones and Displacement (photo: KOMO TV News)

Juarez, Harrell, Bagshaw, and Gonzalez parrot Johnson’s pro-developer pro-density message and oppose efforts to minimize displacement

reprinted from a column contained in Pacific Publishing Newspapers by Carolee Colter and John V. Fox

Last month Seattle City Council unanimously approved covering the UDistrict with 240′ – 320′ high-rise towers, becoming the first community to fall victim to the Mayor’s so-called “Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda” or HALA.  And two weeks later, Wallingford and Central Area activists took a stand sending a clear message to all of us on what we must do to challenge the Mayor and City Council’s displacement inducing plans. 

Over the next year, every Seattle neighborhood, already reeling from the impacts of runaway growth under current zoning, will be asked to accept upzones and still more density. In return, developers will be required to set aside a small percentage of new units in their projects at so-called affordable levels—a fraction of the existing low-cost housing across our city we’re going to lose to the wrecking ball.

Over 1500 low-cost units are located in the University District slated for high-rise zoning and now are fated for increased rents and/or demolition to make way for primarily luxury apartments and office buildings. The neighborhood will become as dense as downtown and South Lake Union with canyons of glass and steel, much of its unique lower-rise affordable housing and historical character washed away.

The fact that all nine councilmembers voted for this massive UDistrict upzone is an ominous portent for neighborhoods across Seattle. And now we also know that it will be Councilmember Johnson as chair of the Land Use committee and representative for the 4th Council District where the UDistrict is located, who will be the City Council’s leading and most vocal exponent of density at all costs and the HALA upzone agenda.

Councilmembers Herbold and O’Brien (backed by an unusually restrained Sawant) did make an attempt to pass two key amendments that would have helped mitigate the level of displacement and and other impacts on the UDistrict, but it was Johnson successfully leading the charge to turn them Continue reading

Posted in Affordable Housing, City Hall, Density, Housing Preservation, Neighborhoods, Politics

Has the Seattle City Council turned against landlords?

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Lobbyist Jamie Durkan says Councilmember Kshama Sawant’s militancy has changed city hall’s politics. (flickr.com)

The Rental Housing Association of Washington spent big to lobby the city council, but lost. Will they see the city in court?

Last year, the Rental Housing Association of Washington (RHA) spent the third highest amount of any company lobbying the Seattle City Council: $52,000. Even so, the city council passed three new laws that RHA opposed: a cap on move-in fees; a ban on rent increases at substandard properties; and a “first-in-time” law that aims to eliminate discriminatory practices in rental housing.

Normally lobbyists don’t talk about their successes or their defeats. This year, however, after 30 years as a lobbyist and three years representing RHA, Martin “Jamie” Durkan Jr retired.

Durkan operated as an independent or “contract” lobbyist. Over the years, he has represented many different clients and lobbied local, county and state governments. His newly retired status allows him to speak frankly and he has bad news for his clients and colleagues. “Anybody who spends a dollar lobbying the Seattle City Council is wasting a dollar,” he says. As far as RHA is concerned, Durkan observes, “It was probably the hardest client to represent in Seattle.”

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Posted in Affordable Housing, City Hall, George Howland articles, Politics