"Livability" and homelessness are and will continue to become our dichotomous dilemma. If you want to preserve your SF zones, get used to living with ever-increasing numbers of homeless people. If you want homelessness to subside, prepare to welcome your new neighbors. You cannot have both.
It's unfortunate that such an important issue cannot be discussed in a reasonable manner to produce a workable solution. From my perspective, this is a sad state of affairs, particularly when the HALA members are putting SF-home owners on the defensive with such racist vitriole. It sounds like HALA wants the middle class to sacrifice their neighborhoods, while HALA members, like Faith Li Pettis's Laurelhurst neighborhoods are forever protected from any significant changes. This is not a reasonable solution from reasonable minds.
I've never understood how simply bringing up the topic of race--especially when fully relevant, as when discussing urban housing patterns of the last 150 years--becomes 'playing the race card'.

It's like they think it's a game or something.
Here's what I will say - I'm Melissa Westbrook referred to in the article - reading the HALA report, I believe the that inference is there that somehow owning a house making you a NIMBY and/or racist. Or maybe the real inference, one that may be even more troubling, is that we just don't care about the housing crisis in Seattle.

I get this - I have two young adult sons.

I am TOTALLY with @2 - can we please find common ground to stand on? Could the Mayor and the City Council please NOT use the same language in the HALA report - which I think is very much by design - in these discussions in order to bring down the heated rhetoric? That's what I asked at the City Council meeting.

I am - and I believe my neighbors are as well - willing to meet in the middle. But striking a line in the sand and refusing to move from it serves no one. We are a growing city and need to face that issue squarely.

I think we can find a way to work together but it takes leadership and I don't see a lot of that right now from those we have elected. HALA was not elected and I expect those who are elected to represent ALL of us and find that common ground.

On a personal note, I believe my neighborhood - which is Roosevelt AND Ravenna (I live right on the border) - is being the worst hit between the long-running blight of the Sisley brothers (KIRO-tv covered this just today), the upzoning nearer to our single-family houses (between 6-8 stories and NOW being the 6% of single family housing that is being asked to take on more.

If all are to share the gains - more housing and light rail - than ALL should share the burdens. I believe Roosevelt/Ravenna is being asked to take on more than a fair share.

Last thing, we may get more housing out of the rezoning of single family housing but NO ONE should believe this will lower rents. It will not. I've lived in San Francisco, my husband lived in NYC and it is just not going to happen.
HALA's attempt at race relations would be more convincing if their recommendations include rent stabilization, linkage fees to build subsidized housing and support infrastructure like new schools and expand and improvepublic transit and public safety.

Poor people, who often are non whites, live where they can afford and NOT in SLU, Ballard, and trendy Capitol Hill with all the new builts, 4-6 plexes, up zones, bike lanes, underground light rail, bus, streetcar, and subsidized rental bikes. Hard to find 2 BR for a family under a $1,000/mo. these days and tent cities are not the answer.

How about Yesler Terrace? Remember the people who lived there, happy to have a small yard for their children to play while cultivating prolific veggie patch with glorious view of Puget Sound. It was central and ideal, close to ID for cheap groceries, jobs, refugee clinic, school, health center, job training site, and CSCC. I knew many of them through the years.

All gone. Living in Seatac. On wait list. Or in New Holly, Rainier Vista, Highpoint, Lake City. Guess where these places are built and located? Not in Laurelhurst, Windermere, Blue Ridge, Broadmoor, or Madison Park.

Why not start developing 99 and Lake City Way by adding light rail, increase bus service in outer neighborhoods to bring them to transit hubs? Build up EW links above the U district and below Jackson. Why not have the new convention center at Northgate? Build up Northgate for example and focus this city's economic growth beyond the small concentric circle around downtown.

Ask the people in the neighborhoods what they like to see. Many of us want to participate in the decision making. We have paid and continue to pay to make this city the dynamo today. We didn't run away and turn off the light when the economy went bust. We aren't all white or rich (despite the narrative) and are happy to engage and share our proposals to make our city great.

Why aren't we represented on HALA?

@4 perhaps you missed the part of this story that cited very real concerns that under the status quo many already are not only definitely not sharing in the prosperity, but then are having additional burdens piled on.

You seem to be saying the system today should be acknowledged as fair as-is and then justice done from there. Are you willing to take a look at what a walk in someone else's reality-of-today shoes might be like?
Even if we accept all the racial analysis as spot on, I still can't grasp how the HALA recommendations for single-family zones works to improve racial equity. As I understand HALA, they would allow developers to buy single-family homes, tear them down, and replace them with 3-story townhouses and triplexes -- anywhere in existing SF zones.

But when you start looking at numbers, what you end up with is replacement units that are more expensive than the house that got torn down. Tear down a $400K SF house and replace it with three $600K townhouses? What does that do for racial equity? We can't very well forbid white people from buying them. I'm sure there are lots of Amazonians who love and can afford those new townhouses.

For many immigrant families, SF houses are just what they need. Many are extended families living under one roof, and they can't do that in a 2- or 3-bedroom townhouse. But what happens to the price of SF houses when families have to bid against developers? Prices jump even higher than they are already, and with deeper pockets, developers will usually win the price war. Families who want SF houses get priced out of Seattle and end up in Renton or Shoreline or the East Side.
I think Marce (@5) has the right idea. Ask real people - across all incomes and races - what they want. I'm not sure I believe it will align with HALA.
Some of the comments have a good point within, that just because single family areas were shaped by segregationist impulses, does not mean that in 2015 upzoning is somehow automatically antiracist policy. Unless there is a concerted effort to get minoritized groups into upzoned areas (and not by handing out shitty subprime mortgages, aka reverse redlining), de facto segregation will not be eased by upzoning. If HALA understands structural racism and housing discrimination, that should be a huge concern for them.

However: this document is not calling anyone in 2015 racist. It's stating facts about 20th century planning and development that are, in broad strokes, uncontested (though people do really need to stop saying "racial zoning" when they mean redlining). Ask any legit historian. Ask any planner worth their salt. Google "redlining map" for the city you grew up in, and see how your town was shaped by racism and exclusion. Look up school districts. Look up the planning rationale for iconic suburbs like Levittown.

Now is that redlining map's existence a sign that you're racist? No. But it's a sign that your housing choices and opportunities were made within a racist polity. Facts. Take it in. No one is calling homeowners racists.
Anyone who is offended by the language in the HALA report would probably be better served reflecting on why they perceive it as playing a "race card" when clearly it doesn't.

And seriously, if you have to preface a statement with some variation of "I'm no racist, but..." well, yeah, you probably are, you just don't believe you are.
Is opposing a building with zero parking planned for a neighborhood without bike lanes, buses, sidewalks, and off street parking racist?
Not every neighborhood has the same infrastructure as SLU, Ballard, and Capital hill.
Many SF neighborhoods do not have that infrastructure. Trying to solve that infrastructure problem while the upzone cheerleaders are implying that opposition to out of scale (to the available infrastructure) is implied to be racist is needless friction.
This is an infrastructure problem being fought with emotional arguments rather than actual city planning.
As some commenters are starting to get at, you actually have it backwards, Ansel... The HALA committee actually wants everyone to think that single-family zoning is racist, so that we can have the entire city opened up to developers to make lots of money building. And much of what they want o build may increase 'density' but it will be neither 'affordable' nor 'racially diverse.'

I'm reminded of when Establishment folks somehow managed to convince everyone in the Rainier Valley that it was racist to put the light rail in a tunnel underground because that was so rich, white people could ride the train to the airport and not have to look at the community and be encouraged to spend money there. Yeah... what we got for that was scraping away blocks and blocks of properties along MLK for developers to build upon and rapid gentrification in the neighborhood as the businesses that were long there disappear along with their customers.

Let's not fall for that trick again, eh?

Please wait...

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