Blogs Oct 17, 2013 at 4:16 pm


She criticized Conlin for his support of "elitist light rail" and just like that she lost my vote.

Light Rail segment of "Metropolis" (2012):…
It's also important to note that what she wants to do with rent control can also be accomplished by creating an initiative to send out to the voters. This is completely in line with past Seattle City Council actions, namely Bruce Harrell's work in getting local jurisdiction on gun control.…
I agree Goldy! Why should politicians concern themselves with "facts" or "reality" or "the legal authority of the office for which they are campaigning"? This fantasy world is so much more fulfilling!
Rent control is a terrible, terrible, terrible, terrible idea. It creates affordable housing for a few people who get it, and less affordable housing for everyone else. It can only be supported by those who misunderstand economics (the science, not the ideology). And no, I am not a rightwing troll. I'm speaking as a leftie who has been a vocal advocate in my community for affordable housing.

The skyrocketing rent in Seattle has more to do with speculation than actual market issues. It should be illegal to jack up rent 20% every year, particularly when it will hit families who have trouble getting the money together to move out. So, people are caught in a catch-22, can't afford to stay, can't afford to leave.
She didn't call the light rail project elitist and nor did she criticize him for it. Look, if you want to talk about transit, you can't just focus solely light rail-its only one part of the transit system. If transit is to be accessible to the large majority of people, it's not honest to only talk about light rail. Bus service has to be funded, and frankly expanded so as to become useful and efficient for people like me who would have to take 3 buses to get to work-light rail doesn't even figure in to my route.
@1 What nonsense. Sawant is very strongly in favor of light rail. She's talked before about the need to expand it much faster than this ridiculous multi-decade process the city is currently dragging it's feet through. It's just that she's also pointing out the need to expand Metro (and reverse the 17% cuts) and how there are a great many people reliant on bus service.
If Richard had his way we'd talk and talk and never do anything except what rich people want.
@1 At today's forum Sawant said: "We are fully in support of light rail… but the majority of the population is not being serviced because they are being pushed out of the city."

That is, if you actually are about her real position on light rail.
@5, you are referencing a completely different form of rent control, Kshama is advocating an across the board cap on how much ANY landlord can increase rents. So, to fix your post "an entirely different policy proposal is a terrible, terrible, terrible idea." I agree. And unlike San Francisco which has a similar cap on rent increases, she also advocates for increasing the supply of affordable rents.

And its already been said a couple times, but@1 I was at event today and Kshama in no way said that light-rail is negative or "elitist". She said that the current light-rail plan will only service 3-5% of the Seattle residents, i.e. its a good start, but not nearly sufficient.
@5, economics is not a science; any economist would tell you that. There are "schools" of economics (Keynesian, etc.) but there aren't "schools" of biology. Rejecting rent control out of hand is irrational, and the term affordable means many different things to many different people.

@7 thanks for the clarification. I'm a light rail fool. I use it everyday, I live 2 blocks away on MLK. But I completely agree, Metro buses, which I also ride need to be fully funded and are a key part of our transit system. The state is screwing us on transit y'all. I'm still voting for her.
FWIW, the "elitist light rail" phrase popped up in Erica's debate coverage on Publicola. Looks to be her characterization of what Sawant said, not a direct quote:
At a debate packed with polite, young college students at Seattle Central Community College this afternoon, city council incumbent Richard Conlin's socialist challenger, Kshama Sawant, strongly criticized the incumbent, accusing him of everything from opposing a higher minimum wage, to "representing big business interests," to supporting an elitist light rail system that only serves three percent of Seattle commuters.…
I can't believe, here we are, in the second decade of the 21st Century, and we're still having to backtrack in political debates to debunk misreporting by Erica C. Barnett.
The only positive contribution Conlin could make to the city is to volunteer for a dunk tank to raise money for transit.
A dunk tank full of raw sewage.
$20.00 a ball.
I'm in for 5 balls.
Conlin was first elected in 1997. Name something he has done since then to make your life in Seattle better? Someone who gets your vote should prove they deserved that vote in their first four years, after 16 years there should be a list of accomplishments that come to mind. I am sure we will get a glossy tree killing flyer from his campaign praising him but it just seems that he has not bothered to connect with Seattleites between the elections. He's to busy making policy to waste his time with everyday voters or their issues.
I'll name one. I know no one cares about this any more, but Richard was not just a supporter, but a champion for young people when he sponsored legislation defeating the Teen Dance Ordinance and then sponsored the Vera Project's first seed funding. Since then, hundreds of thousands of young people have had access not only to music and dance, but their own community and culture. Back then, us supporters of the TDO defeat were characterized as being anti-safety and much worse. Richard never let us down, despite active opposition from the Seattle Times, the Seattle PI, the Mayor (Schell), the City Attorney (Sidran), several other Councilmembers, and the Seattle Police Department. He (with Councilmember Nick Licata's steadfast support and leadership) built a coalition that made it happen. Today, the TDO is long gone and the Vera Project serves 30,000 people a year and has launched hundreds of bands, careers, and friendships. It couldn't have happened without Richard. Yes, it was a long time ago, but I have no doubt that he would do it again in a heartbeat. He was on the side of young people when a lot of people in power weren't. So for that, he has my support.
"we can't do that in this city," Conlin insists.

Conlin's council did give a $500K/year tax break to Russell Investments, a billion dollar financial investment company.

See, there are tax things Conlin can do.
@14 I can't agree with Erica's characterization of Sawant's comments. She was talking about the need to fund more transit, and putting it all within the context of the affordable housing crisis. I mean, how much clearer can Sawant be than saying that she "fully supports light rail"?

I wasn't taking notes fast enough to put down Sawant's full quotation on this topic, but I can assure folks she never called light rail elitist.
I think many people see "socialist" next to a candidate's name and attribute all their own misinformation and prejudices to that candidate. They don't listen to what the candidate says.

It's especially sad when that happens to someone like Sawant who has intelligently complex views on issues, as opposed to Mary Martin and her stereotypical jargon. There's a big difference between a socialist and a blind ideologue.
Some kinds of rent control are worse than others but the solution to affordable housing problems is in the building code - make it easier to build more housing and build it cheaper and prices will come down.

Broadly speaking, price controls lead to hoarding and shortages.

The properly socialist solution would be to nationalize all the dwellings. ;)
Apparently Sawant wants "at will" hiring for public employees in the fire and police departments. How does that jibe with her socialist credentials?

Of course, Goldy, STB and every other so called Leftist mouthpiece thinks that removing the property tax increase restriction is "impossible".

@23, Sawant never said anything about fire department. Unions aren't in and of themselves 100% positive, as the police union verifies. If any other unions had the DOJ after them for systematic use of excessive force against people of color would we be having this discussion? Sheesh.
I lived under rent control in NYC. the result was a burned out south Bronx. As in: many buildings were so not profitable, the landlords abandoned them. renters suffered. I also saw the apt. next door to mine, being rented at $300 a month and owned by a wealthy couple living in scarsdale, a toney suburb, they had kept it for DECADES as a pied a tierre in the city. Very unfair cheaters, right? but in fact the city had no way to find out what your real income was and YOUR INCOME DIDN'T MATTER you still got the rent control. Also saw a mom sitting in a 4 bedroom on Amsterdam avenue -- paying like $350 a month -- though her 4 kids had gone LONG ago, like 20 years ago. Just using all that space, she didn't need. The massive verification system you would need to means test it ("so this month, did your new boyfriend making $50K in fact move in? how many nights a week does he stay over?) and the massive discincentives to landlords to upkeep and invest are real problems deserving more than knee jerk discussion.

if the problem is poverty, or lack of affordable housing, build transit! that puts affordable housing closer to jobs etc. this is what successful cities do who have tons of working class and middle class benefitting from huge metropolis and I mean nyc, London, rome, paris, etc. what city succeeds with rent control?
I'm not sure how I feel about rent control, but I do know that rents *ARE* going up 20% a year *or more. My rent went up from 800 for a 1bd to 1050. Didn't move because I can't afford to and can't find anywhere cheaper for what I have now.

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