Apr 21 Ross commented on Cary Moon Is Running for Mayor of Seattle: An Interview With the Brand-Newest Murray Challenger.
@25 -- You may have posted your comment before mine was added. The term "missing middle" when applied to housing is not really about the market, but about the type of housing. Basement apartments, apartment conversions, duplexes, townhouses and even small apartments could be considered "missing middle" housing. In contrast, single family homes on big lots or big apartment buildings form the edges of the spectrum. The website has more details.

Of course one can argue that one big reason why the rent is so damn high ( to paraphrase the book by the same name) is because of zoning. Market rate housing is artificially high because the supply is held low by an artificial (if unintended) cartel.

The effect of zoning on this missing middle is pronounced, and there is a decent amount of evidence that not only is it held back considerably by regulations, but that overall, the missing middle can provide the cheapest housing. This stands to reason, when you consider that this type of housing is relatively cheap to create. Even when rents are low, it makes sense to add a basement apartment, whereas tearing down a house and building a new apartment does not.

You are correct, in that there are people who simply can not afford any market rate housing anywhere. Not in Seattle, not in Yakima, not in Detroit. For people in that situation, public subsidies are essential. But such subsidies are most effective if market rate housing is cheaper, and changing the regulations does precisely that.

More...
Apr 21 Ross commented on Cary Moon Is Running for Mayor of Seattle: An Interview With the Brand-Newest Murray Challenger.
@Eli Sanders -- I believe your link to "Missing Middle" is wrong. Either that, or you misinterpreted what she was saying. The question was about building heights, and she started by saying she wanted to take a step back and look at housing development in general. The phrase "missing middle" is short for "missing middle housing" , basically small apartments and ADUs. Essentially anything that adds density without being bigger than nearby houses (converting a house to an apartment would qualify).

Since roughly 2/3 of the housing in Seattle doesn't allow that sort of development, it is pretty easy to argue that this is the most important change to housing that could occur. Change the rules and lots of cheap apartments are built, which not only leads to cheaper market housing (all other things being equal) but allows the city to provide a lot more publicly subsidized apartments. This certainly wouldn't solve the homelessness problem, but it would definitely help.
Apr 17 Ross commented on Mike McGinn Is Running for Mayor Again.
What exactly does it mean in this context to be more progressive or more to the left? With national politics, it is obvious. Politicians of that type favor spending more, taxing more, and creating a tax system that puts more of the burden on the wealthy. None of that is possible in Seattle. We are limited by how much we can spend (and progressive taxes are not allowed).

I think saying one candidate is more progressive or not misses the point. What matters are priorities as well as how effective you spend the money. How do you balance spending on things like police, transit, sidewalks or street maintenance? What do you actually do with that money? These are the most important issues -- who cares if you spend more on the homeless, but spend it so poorly that it doesn't achieve any of your goals? What if you spend more for the police, but we are less safe?

You also have the seemingly boring, but extremely important issue of zoning. Do we continue to only allow growth in a handful of small places while watching rents skyrocket? If not, how we will balance the goal of lower rents and higher density versus the desire for preservation? This does not always follow the standard left-right divide, as allowing more growth can be seen as favoring business (those who build) while limiting growth can be seen as favoring wealthy (those who own property). Trying to summarize the candidates along a left-right divide works OK in national politics, but is pointless for local races (unless someone actually runs on lowering taxes, which seems unlikely).
More...
Apr 10 Ross commented on The Morning News: Uncle Ike's Owner Appears to Be Insensitive to the Racial History of the CD, What's Worse than Finding Bits of Rat in Your Salad?.
It is a big stretch to say that Eisenburg is racially insensitive for referencing a Stranger article. If anything, it was Dominic Holden who was at fault. He was the one that used the phrase "Urban Decay" (in the headline no less), not Eisenburg. Eisenburg simply pointed out that the area was boarded up but now has new signs of "life and vitality". You could say the same thing about various white neighborhoods around town. Sometimes places get boarded up, and it takes a while before they put in something else. For example, if and when they finally develop the area close to Roosevelt, it is possible they will put in big apartment buildings that will piss off the overly sensitive neighbors. At that point, the owner will of course reference what it used to look like, and that it has new signs of life and vitality now.

Of course, Eisenburg may be a dick and a racially insensitive dick at that. I think he could have handled this a lot better, but maybe he doesn't want to. Now he is engaged in a pissing match with a lunatic. That only makes him look better, but more importantly, gets his name in the news. If I'm in the area and want cheap weed, I don't even have to look it up. I know that place is at 23rd and Union. That is damn good free advertising and I'm sure he is in no hurry to throw that away.
More...
Apr 8 Ross commented on Is the Case Against Ed Murray Politically Motivated? Here’s What the Lawyer for His Accuser Says.
@Wandering Stars -- So what are you saying -- the accuser is being paid by Connoly? Seriously? I mean sure, the guys may take the case pro-bono, because they want to take down a gay mayor, but would they concoct a story like this just so they can do so? What kind of sense does that make, anyway. It isn't as if Seattle is suddenly less gay friendly without Murray. Hell, the gayest paper in town (if I may be so bold to make that statement) isn't exactly thrilled with the guy. Put it this way -- nobody fucking cares if he is gay. His sexual preferences are irrelevant.

Unless, of course, the accusations are true. Look, nobody cares if he had sex with men and paid for it. Really, if that was the story, nobody would care. But 15 years old AND he forced the guy to do things he didn't want to do? Different story.

I am not saying any of this is true. It is all "he says, he says" at this point. But to suggest that this is some grand conspiracy by Connoly to take down gay elected officials (one by one) seems highly unlikely.

Apr 7 Ross commented on Who Are the Lawyers Suing Ed Murray for Alleged Child Rape?.
@3 Dude, this was a front page article from the Seattle Times. It is the local story right now. It might be complete bullshit, but it is bigger news than anything else happening right now (or at least, anything else The Stranger or the Seattle Times have investigated). Holy shit, the mayor has been accused of having sex with a minor, paying for it, and then (in the midst of it) forcing said minor to do acts he didn't want to do. That is fucking news, man.

In the end lawyers like this have to weigh the merits of the case with their own interests in making money as well as ethics. If they think the case is bullshit -- or even if they think they won't win -- then they won't pursue it. If they think the case has merit -- or they think they can shake down the mayor -- they will pursue it. No one knows what their motivation (or the merits of this case) are. Which is why further reporting on the issue can be helpful.

As for the lawyers suing him, they are just lawyers. Yeah, maybe he could have hired a more prestigious law firm, but I see nothing out of the ordinary in the makeup of that law firm. OMG! Some of the lawyers are rich Republicans! Holy Shit, my surgeon voted for Romney! Sorry folks, that is just the way some people are. They may be very smart in some ways (e. g. be capable of understanding the law) but rather stuck in their ways in others. Beauregard seems like your average Seattle liberal while Keys sounds like your average wealthy Republican. Nothing unusual in my view.
More...
Apr 7 Ross commented on The Week in Weed: NFL Sued for Pushing Opioids (But Weed's Not Cool), the Pipe Dream of National Marijuana Reform, and Cannabis for Kids.
I wonder if the TSA rules mean they turn you over to local police. If that is the case, then I have nothing to worry about (leaving Seattle).

In that very broad "Oh, I would have done that, but I thought Hillary was going to win" category: Obama should have declared that the feds would no longer search for cannabis. The point of the NSA is security, and the feds shouldn't waste their time caring whether Willie or Snoop are transporting their party supplies.

Meanwhile, Sessions will “review existing policies in the areas of charging, sentencing, and marijuana to ensure consistency with the department’s overall strategy on reducing violent crime and with administration goals and priorities.” Translation: We want to bust as many black people and hippies as we can. That way, they can't vote. I'm old. I've seen this show before.

Apr 7 Ross commented on The Week in Weed: NFL Sued for Pushing Opioids (But Weed's Not Cool), the Pipe Dream of National Marijuana Reform, and Cannabis for Kids.
Wow, never thought I would agree with Jerry Jones. But good for him for standing up to the bullshit regarding weed. Maybe I'll become a Cowboys fan. Nawww, but still, good for him.
Apr 7 Ross commented on Savage Love Letter of the Day: This Land Was Made for You & Me (to Have Sex in Public).
Seattle has some great places to hike within an hour of the city. Unfortunately, some of the best ones have tons of snow in May. But that just means you go to the less popular ones. If you do your research, you should be able to find plenty of places that make sense. Pick up some hiking maps (I recommend Green Trails) and then go to WTA, and find places that no one mentions. The so called "Issaquah Alps" have a ton of trails that are all snow free right now. Try and find the places that people find most popular, and simply avoid them. Typically these places are on their way to views or a lake. If you walk a couple miles and simply have a sit for a while (maybe smoke a bowl) you should be able to figure out if the place is popular or not. If not, a little scampering in the woods and you'll be pretty deserted (just make sure you know how to find your way back). There are, of course, even more remote places -- trail heads that get very few people -- but they require a bit more driving.

By the way, Dan is right, picking the place is great foreplay. Also keep in mind a tip I learned way back when, by stoner friends in high school. We would smoke weed out in the open, but a good 100 yards from the school. I thought it seemed crazy that we were out in the open, but the stoners mentioned it was better that way. You could see if a security guard or teacher was headed that way, and skedaddle. When it comes to sex, that isn't nearly as much fun as finishing, but with the right attitude (lots of giggling) it is kind of fun. My point being that if you manage to find a deserted mountain top, well, you likely wouldn't be the first to enjoy some really good times up there.
More...
Apr 6 Ross commented on Seattle Times: Kent Man Files Lawsuit Accusing Mayor Ed Murray of Raping Him as a Teenager.
@33 Thanks for the info. Sorry I asked (ewwwwwwwww) :)