Aug 10, 2016 Hutch commented on Why NIMBYs And Their Haters Can’t Offer a Deep Solution to the Seattle’s Growing Housing Crisis: Part Three.
@8 - Political will? We just doubled the Housing Levy, which is great. If we were serious about doing something like that we'd have had to increase it by how much? 10 times? 20 times? I'm hoping we get to that point by 2030, but it's not politically feasible right now.
Aug 10, 2016 Hutch commented on Why NIMBYs And Their Haters Can’t Offer a Deep Solution to the Seattle’s Growing Housing Crisis: Part Three.
@7 - The numbers will always vary on this depending on the neighborhood and circumstances, but here's the general status quo right now: when those 500K craftsmen homes reach the end of their useful life, they're replaced by $1 million+ single-family homes. If you're asking which outcome is better - $1 million SFH or 2-3 $700,000 townhomes - from both an affordability and carbon/climate change perspective, it's no contest.
Aug 10, 2016 Hutch commented on Why NIMBYs And Their Haters Can’t Offer a Deep Solution to the Seattle’s Growing Housing Crisis: Part Three.
Charles, I'd love to live in a European-style country that provides subsidized housing for the middle class. But I don't. I live in a neoliberal (Reagan may have made it worse, but it's always fundamentally been that way) supply-and-demand-based economy. Naval-gazing about the injustices of global capitalism and shaking our fists at the free reign of speculative capital may be intellectually pleasing, but how can we fight that through local housing policy? Vancouver's foreign buyer tax is arguably racist on its face, legally dubious in America and ineffectual (although I'm interested to see how it plays out in the coming months): http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/bc-forei…

There's a lot of people in this city whose opposition to development stems from the knee-jerk aversion to the idea that rich people are making money off real estate, as if this is some sort of new, unprecedented phenomena. Investors made a tidy profit off those 1950s apartment buildings that by virtue of being old are now magically "affordable" - am I supposed to be extra pissed off in the year 2016 because it's happening again? Now that you've stoked this anger with this series of pieces, I'm eager to see your conclusions and hope they're constructive rather than symbolically yelling into a well.
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Aug 10, 2016 Hutch commented on "I Am Not Afraid of a Building"—Debora Juarez and Mike O'Brien Debate Privilege and Controversial New Police Station.
The "bunker" thing is goofy double-speak that distracts from the main issue - the preposterous price tag. It's no more or less secure than any other police station.
Aug 9, 2016 Hutch commented on Guest Editorial: Let's All Commit To Putting More Voices In The Conversation About District Councils.
@1 - And it only took a matter of minutes from this article being posted for an anonymous troll with the luxury of extra time on their hands to launch a baseless personal attack.
Aug 8, 2016 Hutch commented on Council Bans Special Move-In Deals, Housing Discrimination Based on Source of Income.
How is any of this enforced? How would any denied tenant know that they were the "first qualified candidate" unless they sued? And how many of the people that this law is aimed at protecting have the extra money or time to sue?

This is all well-intentioned law aimed at a persistent problem (racism is still rampant in real estate, renting and lending practices), but I do worry about how it would impact a first-time, independent landlord renting out, say, an Accessory Dwelling Unit. Could that landlord be penalized if they had three qualified candidates but then picked one over the others because they seemed like they'd make better neighbors to share a wall with?
Aug 8, 2016 Hutch commented on Hot Money and Seattle’s Growing Housing Crisis: Part One.
It's easy to chalk this all up to foreign boogeymen, but here in the United States we've got tons of example of good old red blooded Americans using property as an investment tool. It's in the DNA of the American dream. And we've set up all sorts of perverse incentives to encourage it - tax deductions for mortgages on second homes, up to $500,000 in profit from real estate transactions that goes completely untaxed. Don't blame foreigners for taking advantage of a system we rigged ourselves.

Charles' concerns aren't unwarranted, but the problem is that the narrative plays into a lot of fears and false dichotomies of the Seattle Left (Herbold), which then get co-opted and parroted by the Seattle Right (North Seattle, John Q Community Council). The idea that the laws of supply and demand aren't the fundamental framework underlying real estate markets. The idea that if we stop building luxury apartments the rich people will go away. The idea that rent control alone will save us. There's a lot of people that try to fight proxy wars against macro issues like global capitalism in the context of micro issues like local housing markets. I get where they're coming from, but their solutions only play right into the hands of the economic elite they loathe.
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Aug 3, 2016 Hutch commented on Seattle's Neighborhood Councils Are Exclusionary, Self-Interested "Cartels," and the City Wants to Cut Ties with Them.
It's especially neat that the Seattle Times saw fit to run at least three guest Op/Eds and multiple Ed Board-signed pieces decrying this move and then "balanced" that with Rolf's piece, which was mean-spirited, inflammatory and not at all constructive.

I'm not really interested in defending Murray's timing or methods on this (it turns out that people are going to be really angry when you unilaterally end a long-used program without any tangible plan to replace it - shocking!), but in general the outrage around this is textbook white fragility. If these groups weren't central to maintaining inherited privilege in this city, then why are people frothing at the mouth like this.
Jul 15, 2016 Hutch commented on The Mayor Is Blowing Up the City's Old Neighborhood Council System—and That's Good News for Renters.
@14- "Just how are neighborhoods (no matter who you think comprises a neighborhood) to have any sayso with the City now that the Mayor has shot down District Councils AND the citywide council that funneled those DCs' comments to the Mayor and instead appointed (yes, appointed) a Commission to give him input?"

With a fucking ballot, the same way every other citizen in a democracy expresses their wishes. And any neighborhood folks who are aghast at this move should direct their anger towards the Queen Anne Community Council and other neighborhood groups that have acted as de facto anti-growth political action committees.
Jul 6, 2016 Hutch commented on #RezoneSeattle.
Thanks for calling this like it is, Dan. This is the status quo right now: we build these wonderful bikable, walkable, transit-served neighborhoods (cc: Wallingford) and then oppose any efforts to allow more people to live in them (cc: Wallingford Community Council), forcing them into cheaper, far-flung communities where they have no choice but to drive everywhere they go, spewing carbon into a rapidly changing atmosphere. If your aesthetic preferences for how your neighborhood looks or feels take precedent over your environmentalism, your environmentalism was never really deeply felt in the first place. Let's treat this like the climate crisis it is, not a "I got mine, fuck everyone else" situation.