Charles, you’re an economist. It should come as no surprise to you that the homeowner acts in his/her own self interest, attempting to maximize utility of owning a home (RV free) and minimizing the actual cost of doing so (no new taxes). I’m not really sure what the point of this story is? Folksy tales speak deep truth? People are morons? Help me out.


It's certainly far easier for the homeowner to put up a DO NOT PARK HERE sign ( a microeconomic view- if you will) than to figure out why that RV camper doesn't rent an apartment like a normal person ( a macroeconomic view).
No single person can change the macroeconomics of housing affordability vs actual occupancy. So this crisis will continue until the overall economy shifts- either through a massive policy shift or through market collapse.
In the meantime, we are all like the cow getting wacked in the ass.


"There is not a week that passes that something like this isn't reproduced in one way or other."

Charles, is there some reason why you elected not to support this point? I mean, you dredge up a story from last year about a known crackpot (Ari Hoffman) attempting to draw attention to himself, and then ask us to assume this conduct is frequent and widespread. That's asking a lot.


What we really need to do is find a way to pit the subhuman renters against the degenerate RV campers so that the glorious landowners can stay above the fray.


This is actually the dumbest thing I have read today.


@3) I thought it is just obvious.


Are you paid by the word?


Kinda hard to pay the rent (or get a job to pay the rent) when you're a $2000-a-month-heroin-junkie living in a tent, under a bridge, down by the river.


Queue the petulant NIMBY crackers...


Obviously we need to impose a vehicle tax, akin to a property tax, on non-resident vehicles, that are in our city for longer than 6 hours. With a 50 percent reduction if they are fossil fuel vehicles. And deputize homeless to report vehicles for a 10 percent bounty paid in cash.

Naturally, this will mean that suburban vehicles will flee, as we continue to ghettoize those in the failing suburbs, until only the strong bicycle riders and scooter riders survive.


Charles, what was it that formed your negative views about people in rural areas? I have noticed it as a recurring theme in your writing, but this time you seemed especially go out of your way to insult them by adding the statement about their intelligence in parentheses.


Also, I apologize for not proofreading my post. Hope it makes decent sense.



Charles grew up as a big fish in a small pond. He's grown up and moved up and is now a fairly sizable fish living in a lake, but he's still afraid all the other fish might laugh at him for not living in an ocean, where he would be merely average, at best.

To allay this anxiety, he spends a lot of time loudly insulting mud puddles and publicly fantasizing about life in the big sea.


Safe Seattle should send the Stranger a thank you card for continuously sending new people to its Facebook page.


I recognize the intent this story has but I was very distracted by an early claim you made. Your assessment of rural live in the beginning of the article is quite offensive. Being in a rural area does not "block the human intelligence." That must be one of the most elitist statements I have ever read. Plenty of people from very rural areas have no limit to intelligence and, just the opposite, often seek out more than those that have so much at their fingertips.


It’s fascinating to observe how each political writer at The Stranger deals with having lost the debate over homeless policy — a debate they’d loudly insisted they’d won with passage of the EHT, only to see their victory turn to defeat before their eyes. We’ve read about “true progressives,” some pre-emptive narratives to explain to explain away any future defeats, and now Charles simply compares anyone who dares disagree with him to a violent, ignorant child.

It is of course Charles who ignores the reality in plain view. To turn his analogy back upon him, drug addiction is the entity holding the homeless in stasis, and our previous homeless policy as the failed incentive for the homeless to escape. Just as the boy didn’t notice the reason the cow wouldn’t move, CM O’Brien et al blathered on about housing policy and income inequality, even as the needles piled up everywhere in plain sight.


When we first purchased Chez Vel-DuRay from the elderly couple who had lived there since 1954, there was a tall stand of laurels along the walk on the front slope. At first we thought "How stately!", particularly as it didn't interfere with our view and gave us some privacy from the street. Then we realized it was a neighborhood toilet, thanks to the house being on the homeless migratory path between SODO and Rainier Avenue (and that was more than twenty years ago).

The laurels got cut back immediately.


Jesus H. What don't you guys get about syllogisms or the use therein? It made perfect metaphorical sense. The kid didn't fucking notice what was keeping the cow from moving. Then he figured it out while he was punishing the cow of no fault of the cow herself. As always, good story, Charles.


Clickbait. ACHIEVED.


"life in the rural areas can block the human intelligence"- I've grown turnips smarter than you, chuckles.


Not a good analogy - there is nothing physically holding the homeless in one place. They can move anywhere and many have - coming to Seattle from another place.


At least the boy saw a problem. Mudede and the SCC "elders" would leave the cow entangled in the barbed wire, in pain, standing in her own feces, starving, until she dies of her festering wounds.


Ways this analogy breaks apart:

The boy hitting the cow causes great physical pain, putting up a no-parking sign merely expresses disapproval. Sure, its not very nice, but it should be called what it is, and not distorted into something entirely by analogy.
The boy hitting the cow should have been perfectly capable of rectifying the situation with the fence, as his older brother did. The homeowners cannot.
The boy doesn't know the root cause of the problem. Homeowners could know...but can't do anything about it because the homelessness problem is far bigger than any individual.

Besides a failed analogy, this article has some other problems:
- It expresses unconstructive disdain for a group of people merely based on the quality of home ownership by comparing them to a "daft" farm boy. I find too often to people using creative words for "stupid" ("daft" in this case) to hide what is essentially the same kind incivility Trump tosses around when he flat out calls people "dumb". Perhaps using slightly more advanced vocabulary to call another group stupid helps validate Charle's intelligence without quite sounding as brutish as "You're dumb!" but to me, it is the same pig with more lipstick.
- Just comparing something to an old tale doesn't make it anymore true. The writer seems satisfied in proving his point after completing the analogy. But what exactly is the solve for the RV problem that is equivalent to untangling the cow's feet from the fence? I couldn't find any constructive alternative.

TLDR: Entire article is a convoluted way of saying "people who disagree with me are stupid." dressed in language that sounds like an actual constructive policy argument is being made.


I'll tell you what philosophy is not good for, making long rambling analogies that do not hold up or mean anything.

If anything, the city council and mayor and leftist activists are the daft boy, hitting the residents of seattle over the head with guilt trips without realizing that the residents of this once beautiful city have their foot trapped in a problem not of their making, and are desperate to try and alleviate the problem or not undergo further suffering.

If only they had a big brother to save them from the city council.


Is Housing a Human Right?


I wouldn't hold my breath on that one, MrB dear. There may be new council members, but they'll be as kooky as the current council members. I really don't see much changing.


I give myself credit for actually reading this crap before declaring it more of Charles’ crap.


@30, you make some fine points. But what i struggle to wrap my head around is do we have a right to shelter ourselves? We have a right to exist, and to stand somewhere, but not just anywhere. But as humans need shelter, we must shelter ourselves somewhere. Granted, we can not do it on someone else's land, but if government or people own all land, where is a person to shelter themselves?

And granted, these people could not survive living in the wild. They all live off the largess of the culture. But still, it is an interesting philosophical question.



You've mistaken the Declaration of Independence for the Constitution. They're separate documents. One of them -- the one you cite -- is not legally binding.

And you've got a strange definition of 'rights' going, the concept has nothing to do with costs. The right to trial by a jury of your peers is quite expensive for a society to provide. Quartering of soldiers in civilian homes is noticeably less expensive than building and maintaining for-purpose housing, but in the US the home-owner has the right to refuse such quartering. The right to assemble requires spending on extra police to redirect traffic, the apparatus for obtaining search warrants (and the consequent record-keeping) is expensive to staff, holding an election is costly if you can't fund it with a poll tax, etc etc. A lot of your tax dollar (especially your local tax) is spent on the dull bureaucratic scaffolding that upholds your rights.

There are other legally binding definitions of human rights, too, beyond the US constitution and your local government. The Geneva Conventions, ratified by the US in 1949, define a wide range of human rights both for soldiers and for civilians during a time of war. The US voted for the International Bill of Human Rights, adopted by the UN in 1948, and for about a dozen bills delineating more specific areas of human rights (nondiscrimination, civil rights, rights of children, etc).

The world has been working on the problem of defining human rights for centuries now, and there'a a large body of literature available if you're interested in the topic. There's no need to just make shit up on the fly here. There's a ton of current international law you can look up, and if you don't like what you find there, well, there are all sorts of interesting theories and thinkers you can cite instead, if you care to. But right now you don't seem to have even a basic grasp of what people are referring to when they use the words "human right."


@33: MrB didn’t say rights depended upon cost; he delineated a difference between rights and entitlements. You can argue with his assumptions and logic, but how about answering @28 yourself? That’s what MrB set out to do; instead of complaining about his response, why not show him how a proper response would read?


"What they do not see: the reason why a human is in an RV."

OK Charles, so effing what? Why should that be the property owner's problem. If an RV is parked on their property, it is trespassing, and taking away the use and enjoyment of THEIR property that they pay for. And we all know it doesn't stop with just that. Many of these RVers are drug addicts who are stealing the property owner's power and water. They can add hundreds, even thousands, to your monthly utility bill. I had one doing that on my block recently. They are scaring away customers. They are making people feel unsafe, they are dumping their blackwater or shit buckets and needles.

So tell me, Charles wtf business is it of yours to tell those property owners the reason why they're in a RV? Do you think maybe after a few weeks of enduring that, they might not give af anymore, and just want them gone?


As goes New York...

From the NYT: "Titans of Real Estate in ‘Shock’ Over New York Rent Law Deal"

"The bills announced on Tuesday night by the Democratic leaders of the State Senate and the Assembly would abolish rules that let building owners deregulate apartments and close loopholes that permit them to raise rents.

Existing rent laws expire on Saturday. The rent regulation package, which is expected to be approved before the end of the week, is perhaps the most resonant symbol of the change in power in Albany since Democrats took complete control in November.

Republicans had dominated the State Senate for most of the last century and formed a close alliance with the New York City real estate industry, which donated heavily to Republican senators.

The elections in November not only brought Democrats to power in the State Senate, but also saw the rise of progressive lawmakers who fiercely opposed real estate interests."


Two comments from that same article, above (@36):

"This doesn't affect me one way or anymore, but I find it amusing how angry people get about completely removing the all-knowing hand of the plutocracy's free market from completely leveling anyone who isn't rich.

This measure is barely a counterpoint to decades of Giuliani and Bloomberg's gifting this city to the rich. Heaven forbid that the people that make the city run, provide it life, character, and culture can afford to actually live in it." --"Red Tree Hill," NYland


"As a teacher with a rent stabilized apartment I feel much relief. I’ve always worried I would lose my home and not be able to live near my school, or anywhere in the city. I do worry that landlords will use this as an excuse to neglect their tenants. Hopeful the state will go further and make sure this doesn’t happen." --"Jessica," NYC


@35: Charles has freely chosen not to recognize the large and prominent role drug addiction plays in the lives of our homeless population. Therefore, your statements about drug-using RV dwellers dumping needles mean nothing whatsoever to him.

For example, from just last year, we find this classic expression of his clear choice:

“The last RV on the street was burned to a crisp. The fire that destroyed it must have been huge, but it amazingly failed to leap to a number of the short trees whose branches hang above and leaves shade the sidewalk. The fire spared little in that RV, whose owner or owners appeared to have abandoned the scene. Little in the vehicle and the street wasn't reduced useless carbon.”

How could this have happened? Charles just cannot say:

“Now, I don't know the circumstances of the fire and financial condition of its occupant(s). And the Seattle Fire Department did not tweet about it (though they did tweet about a single engine Cessna that crashed into Eagle Harbor); and my requests for information about the incident must have entered a black hole in SFD's office.”


How could a run-down RV suddenly have exploded into a very hot and very fast fire? What potent fuel, which ignition method amped this fire to such destruction? Between them, Charles and his open bottle of wine simply couldn’t hazard a guess.

However, whilst gazing at the street of derelict RVs, he did manage to confidently make a bold prediction about the number of persons living in such vehicles on Seattle’s streets:

“We can expect that number to rise and rise.”

A safe prediction, one might think?

Sadly, No!

“There was an especially steep decrease in the number of people living in vehicles, dropping from nearly 3,400 people in 2018 to roughly 2,100 in this year’s count,”



Here's another take -- from the New York Times:

"Americans Need More Neighbors
A big idea in Minneapolis points the way for other cities desperately in need of housing."

"The city’s [Minneapolis'] political leaders have constructed a broad consensus in favor of more housing. And the centerpiece is both simple and brilliant: Minneapolis is ending single-family zoning.

Local governments regulate land use by chopping cities into zones, specifying what can be built in each area. This serves some valuable purposes, like separating homes from heavy industry. But mostly, it serves to protect homeowners. In many cities, including Minneapolis, more than half of the city’s land is reserved for single-family homes.

People should be free to live in a prairie-style house on a quarter-acre lot in the middle of Minneapolis, so long as they can afford the land and taxes. But zoning subsidizes that extravagance by prohibiting better, more concentrated use of the land. It allows people to own homes they could not afford if the same land could be used for an apartment building. It is a huge entitlement program for the benefit of the most entitled residents.

The loose fabric of single-family neighborhoods drives up the cost of housing by limiting the supply of available units. It contributes to climate change, by necessitating sprawl and long commutes. It constrains the economic potential of cities by limiting growth."

See more at:


@34 - "MrB didn’t say rights depended upon cost; he delineated a difference between rights and entitlements."

Um ... See this short paragrap from MrB @30: "A 'right', by definition, doesn't come at the cost of others. Our Constitution guarantees Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. It doesn't cost us anything (outside of a military to protect our country) to provide those things."


... paragraph, not paragrap, though I'm suddenly obsessed with inventing some reason to use that newly minted word.

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