News Jun 22, 2022 at 3:43 pm

Last-Minute Paid Signature Gatherers May Have Saved HON’s Ass

Though the social housing campaign turned in fewer signatures than recommended, organizers expressed confidence in their ability to put the question to voters in November. HK



This initiative builds no housing. It raises no money. It completely duplicates the Seattle Housing Levy. I'm a "no."


@1 How can it simultaneously duplicate a levy which specifically collects taxes to fund housing and also raise no money? Seems like a statement lacking a basis in research...

Anywhoo, fingers crossed!


"Seattle Approves turned in its signatures earlier this month, and the King County Records and Elections Division only accepted about 62% of them."

No, the King County Records and Elections Division stopped checking signatures after it had validated the required number of signatures (26,442) plus a "cushion" of 500 signatures (for a total of 26,992). This total happened to be ~62% of the total number of signatures submitted by Seattle Approves. King County Records and Elections Division did not "accept" (or, for that matter, "not accept") the rest of the signatures submitted, because it had no reason even to look at them.

@2: Perhaps you need to read the Stranger more?

"The [I-135] campaign did not include a mechanism for new funding to actually build the housing. While the initiative requires the city to get the PDA up and running for the first 18 months, public developers don’t have taxing authority. That means if the voters pass HON’s measure, the city or the state would have to set aside money if they want to keep it going." (

So, the three statements @1 are all correct. (See what happens when statements have bases in research?)


@3 I always appreciate tensor fact checking.


@2 so again, how can it be a duplicate of the levy when the levy specifically raises taxes that has resulted in built housing? You've pointed out a pretty fundamental difference there, and there are others, like how the housing would be managed once it's built (by tenant councils vs owners or managers), and who would be contracted to build the housing (a public contractor vs private contractors), and whether the city has to prioritise selling public land to the people building the housing before they can try to sell it to anyone else (they do vs they don't). These are statements backed by research.


As noted above, the number of signatures validated for Seattle Approves was 26,992, which is just below 27,000, or 90% of the "just under 30,000 signatures" HON submitted. Therefore, HON needs 90% of the submitted signatures to be valid, or no more than 10% disqualified. Compared to signatures collected by pure volunteer effort, paid signature-gathering tends to produce a larger number of signatures overall, but a larger percentage of those signatures are deemed invalid. It's a basic quality vs. quantity argument.

Between the payment of some signature-gatherers, and the rushed nature of the final collections, halving the usual rate of disqualification (given as 20% in this headline post) would appear to be a really bad wager. The rate for Compassion Seattle's paid effort, again based on numbers in this headline post, was over 46% disqualified. Even with 20 additional days, making up a 20 - 40% shortfall (3,000 to 9,000 valid signatures, or 3,600 total signatures minimum) would seem like a stretch.

@5: So, you agree with the first two statements @1, correct? "This initiative builds no housing. It raises no money." Just wanted to be sure we all agree on those.

While I'm not responsible for the exact verbiage of the third statement @1, it appears that commenter used "duplicates" as an abbreviation for "duplicates intent," because I-135 would provide no money and no funding mechanism, whilst the Housing Levy, being a levy, does actually provide real money to build houses.

As for the rest of your concerns, well, let's wait to see if I-135 even reaches the ballot, shall we?


Let's hope it doesn't make the ballot. Its just a flawed initiative ..... one in a series of half ass, ineffectual efforts which misses the underlying problem at hand.

We have a drug addiction problem.... not a housing crises. One has to treat the drug abuse first...otherwise you are simply providing the drug addicts with nicer digs to shoot up in and prolong being messed up.

As to affordability of housing, the more sure method is to increase the supply and that can best be done by intelligent change in zoning, decreasing city administration costs/needless regulations and acting in concert with developers as opposed to the city being an adversary.


In a broader perspective, one has to wonder about the mentality of a city, and to some degree this slog, which seeks to drive out and antagonize businesses (Amazon, Boeing, Microsoft etc) which provide jobs, tax revenue and embrace homeless, drug addicted vagrants.

In effect you deprive the city of:
-- revenue (budget shortfall on the horizon) due to poor business decisions
--defund the police (crime wave already here)
--drive away high paying jobs (they have moved out or to Bellevue)
--frustrate housing stock increases by poor zoning, poor city planning and unnecessary admin. burdens
--drive up the min wages and create even more barriers to employing the unskilled
--enact legislation hostile to business

and then wonder why we have a homeless problem.

The only question remains is how messed up is this city and the city council?


@7: Seattle has both a housing affordability crisis, and a homelessness crisis. Their causes are not closely related, but the effect of focusing on the latter has deprived the former of attention and money. The former is very simple: over just a few years (2015 - 2018), Seattle's population increased BY an amount equal to the entire population of Bellevue. Many of those newcomers had six-figure jobs from Amazon. This drove housing prices dramatically upwards. (Contrast this with the 40 years from 1960 to 2000, whose census figures for Seattle were almost identical. It took Seattle thirty years, 1970-2000, to recover from the Boeing Slump.)

The homelessness crisis was also caused by persons moving to Seattle, but they had no six-figure salaries awaiting them. The Sackler family turned Purdue Pharma into an opiate pusher extraordinaire, on a scale not seen since perhaps the Opium Wars themselves. The result was huge numbers of broken lives from opiate addictions. Puget Sound's temperate climate, and Seattle's welcoming attitude, which extended to big lies about how these newcomers were "our friends and neighbors," did the rest.

Money which should have gone towards housing affordability for Seattle's long-term residents was instead thrown at Seattle's newly-arrived population of homeless addicts. This generated little housing, but did create a massive homeless-industrial complex which organized to keep the funds flowing to itself, and effectively lobbied the City Council for immune status. This complex needs visible suffering on Seattle's streets to keep the money coming, hence bitter opposition to encampment sweeps -- even as encampment sweeps are recognized as the most effective way to get homeless persons into housing.

Why the Stranger refuses to tell most of this story is beyond me. Perhaps their cult-like worship of CM Sawant, who also needs visible suffering on Seattle's streets to validate her ideology (and to supply an easily-exploitable source of cheap labor for her endless political theatre productions) caused them to sympathize with the factors exacerbating both crises.


@9 .... it appears we are saying the same thing... I'm just a little more concise in stating it.

"In a broader perspective, one has to wonder about the mentality of a city, and to some degree this slog, which seeks to drive out and antagonize businesses (Amazon, Boeing, Microsoft etc) which provide jobs, tax revenue and embrace homeless, drug addicted vagrants."


More non-nonsensical garbage from Oliver - "Capitalism forces us to pay people to do work for us but really we should be able to round up some "volunteers" to support our cause!" What an idiot. Hopefully the voters continue to keep this moron far away from any leadership position.


@11: I love the identification of Oliver as "a long-time Seattle organizer," as if readers of a political blog in Seattle would not know of voters' repeated rejection of Oliver's attempts to get elected to citywide office. (And as if readers of the Stranger would not know Oliver as a self-described "queer black woman of color,"

@10: "@9 .... it appears we are saying the same thing... I'm just a little more concise in stating it."

No, you completely ignored the real housing-affordability crisis, and how mistaking the homelessness crisis for the real housing-affordability crisis has exacerbated both. That's why your version was slightly shorter.

(But, as a commenter who constantly extols the virtue of personal responsibility, of course you gave yourself credit for work you didn't even attempt to accomplish.)

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