commented on How Artists Can Fight Back Against Cities That Are Taking Advantage of Them
"A report earlier this year from Trulia tracked rents in tech-dominated cities and found they rose nearly twice as much as rents in the other 90 largest cities in the country. It was worst in San Francisco, where rents went up 12.3 percent in a year; Seattle ranked fourth-worst at 9.2 percent. Another report this year, by Polaris Pacific, revealed that the number of cash-only home sales in Seattle has doubled since 2008. Almost 20 percent of all Seattle home sales are cash."
no no no. Rents are rising because we are not building enough housing. Come on, Stranger, you're not drinking enough Kool-Aid...
commented on Guest Editorial: Citizen Oversight Won't Suffer at All If We Vote for a Seattle Parks District
MIchael, perhaps taking a lesson from the feckless liars, has spewed a stream of disinformation and blatant exploitation (holding poor kids ransom), and obfuscation on the powers of the MPD.
Let's parse some of his BS:
1) "citizen oversight committee (already part of a passed ordinance—aka law) that will work with the city council, the parks board, and the mayor’s office in providing advice to and oversight of the parks department.
- the "law" only directs Council to sign the ILA - so the law as it stands in and of itself is meaningless. ("If the voters of the proposed Seattle Park District approve its formation, the Mayor is authorized and directed to enter into an interlocal agreement with the Seattle Park District substantially in the form attached as Attachment 1, with such changes as the Mayor deems necessary and advisable, such that the intent of the City as expressed herein is carried out. "). The ILA however is mutable and as an agreement between Council and itself (as MPD Board) somewhat suspect as representing a checks/balances system. This is why the League of Women Voters are calling BS on the MPD.
- the "advice and oversight" Michael touts is relatively limited per the suggested ILA, and is targeted mostly at reviewing reports and holding meetings with the public. The BIG responsibility is preparing a few reports ("annual report on the progress of expenditures, a mid-term report half-way through each 6-year period, and a final report in advance of each 6-year update to the spending plan"). That's some serious oversight and advice, huh? Read it for yourself, Michael provided the link.
2) Michael twists what the "our parks forever" essay states. He says "While Don and Carol state that the “traditional process [of funding parks] allows us a periodic vote on the collection of taxes and the allocations of funds to specified projects and programs,” the facts are different. " What they said was "The traditional levy process allows us a periodic vote on the collection of taxes and the allocation of funds to specified projects and programs. It provides a definitive dollar amount. It states the applicable duration of time for the tax. These are all characteristics not included in an MPD." See that - they said levy and HE turned it into a General Fund conversation. Deceitful, period.
- Levies are meant to fund projects that will take years to accomplish and are too great to fund via the General Fund.
- and while Michale is correct, Eyman has fucked things up some, the General Fund has grown substantially since the Great Recession (by a couple hundred million) and now tops a billion dollars.
3) Michael points the truth meter at the Times for the "20%" increase in taxes statement on the flyer, and I would say that this was a dumb assertion, but the truth is that property taxes for Parks WILL BE going up. The MPD seeks an initial tax for parks twice the current levy amount, and that can go up to 4 times the current levy "without a vote" as the anti-tax folks point out.
-- So overall property taxes going up? yes, just not 20%. But taxes for Parks are going up a lot. Why is this a problem? Well, many of us opposed to the MPD feel that Parks isn't spending its money wisely now, so giving it more money may not be a good idea until we can figure out how to make them operate better. We are already at the top nationwide in parks staff per capita, and parks funding per capita. So why can't they clean the bathrooms at Green Lake.
-- also, the MPD is being used for operational and small maintenance items, best left to the growing General Fund. Also, note that if necessary, the City may need to still issue levies in the future for large long term projects since this "stable source of funding for parks" that the proponents tout really only funds part of the Parks budget. The bulk of the funding STILL COMES FROM THE GENERAL FUND.
4) "This followed public testimony wherein 67 percent of people who testified before the council did so in favor of the Metropolitan Parks District."
- the Parks Foundation (part of the impetus for the MPD) was able to trot out recipients of its monies to show up at city hall and say they wanted funding. However at the PLPCAC meetings meant to assess the funding options for Parks, citizens were 80% against the MPD, a fact that Michael as a PLPCAC member chose to discount. This in itself does not bode well for how well citizen voices are going to be heard in the new regime.
What should be pointed out is that the language in the pro- MPD mailers and their claims are also dubious and deceitful (maybe that makes them "feckless liars" as well).
The flyer says "stable and dedicated funding for neighborhood parks", but the MPD only provides a portion of the funding for Parks based on today's Park's budget.
The flyer says "due to a lack of stable, dedicated funding we've neglected [parks]", but as we are already pay more per capita than any other city, perhaps mismanagement may be why we have a problem as well. Like the millions Parks had to pay after the Building 11 debacle. Calls for an audit of the department have been ignored.
The flyer says "We now face a growing $267M backlog", but that backlog has some pretty low priority items, and has not been publicly scrutinized (it was just accepted by Michael and the PLPCAC as is, but even Parks admits it really has no real maintenance tracking system).
So somehow Michael is concerned about "baldfaced lies", but many of us are concerned about a ginned-up process that puts yes-men like Michael on "citizen committee" stacked with insiders with special interest motivations (such as an expensive waterfront park) that put kids of color on the brochures to sell their scheme.
Don't listen to this shill...