The Next City Council Weighs in on Rent Control in Seattle

Comments

1

Well I guess the bright side is pushing the small rental operators who generally have lower rents out of the market increases rents and building values for those who choose to put up with the hassle. The most qualified tenants will gravitate to sophisticated small operators who stay in the market, these units will increasingly be filled not by advertising but by referral. Affordable private rentals for people who need them most will decrease. In retaliation, there will be calls for more punitive ordinances against landlords by advocates like Rich Smith who believe the problem is more restrictions on housing providers instead of working together cooperatively. the cycle perpetuates. It’s already happening.

3

@2 If your point is that when something is run badly, you get bad results then nobody is going to dispute that. The evident solution is: don't run them badly. Your inevitable "can't trust the state to run anything" is pure Reaganite superstition.

What you can't trust is a state dominated by the interests of the wealthy to reliably fund programs intended for benefit of the poor.

In the end, there's really nothing for you to worry about - until the bottom half of the income distribution votes with the regularity of the top half, nothing is going to change.

4

@2 Even for you it's a remarkably laughable comment considering conservatives' disastrous decades long war on drugs, 3 strikes and you're out, etc ... that made the USA champion of incarceration, especially for black people.

6

@5: I hope you're not in the medical field, Dr. Quack.

7

Typical boomers, sitting around glued to cable news thinking all public housing is one failure after another, because Fox News never stops reminding them of anti-urbanist towers-in-the-park nightmares like Cabrini Green or Pruitt-Igoe being dynamited after years of crime and decay.

The irony of any Seattle boomers thinking public housing doesn't work is that this city his home to counter examples public housing that did work, Yesler Terrace being one that's right there. It's been there for 80 years. You can't miss it. It's famous. It's in the middle of the city, on top of a hill.

Why are there 25 year olds running around Seattle that know more about Yesler Terrace than 70 year olds? You've had 45 more years to get educated. Just thank God Heidi Wills didn't win; she was excited to take us back to towers with huge setbacks surround by, you know, golf courses basically.

If you don't get what a city is or how a city thrives, you're probably going to suck at building one. If you prefer the suburbs, get thee to the suburbs and let the city be a city. Suburbanite, conservative mentalities are what make public housing fail.

8

@5 Your comment is spot on.

Alas, in Seattle you'll get the predictable arse wipes who will take what you say or your observation and twist it into something you didn't say. Just ignore them.

The solution is to simply build more units. The private sector can to this easily if:

a) The zoning laws are changed to provide higher density.

b) We reduce the red tape, fees and impediments to building in this city.

c) Quash the rent control half wits...nothing turns off a builder or an incentive to build than having the government's bony, cold finger up your ass with regards to what one charges for rent.

d) Get government out of public housing ...for the reasons you very correctly stated. They are terrible at housing, can't manage worth a damn and can build anything on a reasonable budget.

9

Rich: Do you have any data on how many Seattle landlords are large commercial landlords as opposed to small (say, 4 units or fewer) landlords?

10

Predictably, the free market zealots who demonized the homeless and city council to avoid paying taxes, now claim the market will take care of the low income housing shortage it as if they had any credibility left.

11

"If you don't get what a city is or how a city thrives.."

I don't think anyone gets how a modern city thrives which is why they actually don't.

Modern cities have only existed for four generations of human history. Prior to the auto, modern cities were polluted hellholes clustered around rivers, lakes, oceans, mines, and railroad tracks.

Post-auto, modern cities immediately changed. Post-highway, changed again.

13

@10: No, it was a debate over tax law. Nobody's evading taxes, and nobody is demonizing the homeless.

Demonizing the city council, however, is a Seattle culture thing.

14

Rightwing nutjobs existed in 500 BC and 1000 AD and 1500 AD and 1900 AD. Rightwing nutjobs called cities polluted hellholes in ancient times and they never stopped saying that. Too (((cosmopolitan))) is what really bothers them. Too many books and too much speaking truth to power.

The inventors of democracy, science, medicine, universities, social mobility, religious tolerance, racial equality, the Enlightenment, printing, and so on and so on and so on liked their polluted hellholes just fine.

The people who sat out in the countryside hating ancient Athens or Rome or Heidelberg today sit out in Kirkland and Bellevue listening to Jason Rantz and Dori Monson, creaming themselves to tales of urban squalor. Same as always. It only becomes a problem when we start listening to them. Ignore them, and we can build some much needed housing.

16

”Sawant’s legislation caps rent hikes at inflation as determined by the Urban Wage Earners (CPI-W)”
WOW! Not to be apocalyptic, but that would signal the last dime of private money spent on building or Investing in rental housing in the city. The market for rental housing investment would collapse shortly after, as investors fled as fast as they could. It would be great news for condo buyers, though. But let’s remember that Sawant is a self proclaimed revolutionary Marxist and therefore opposed to the very notion of property ownership or private ownership of any portion of the economy. Under this scheme the majority of residential rental property would fall into the ownership of the city by tax default. This is a pretty clever back-door route to that end, but wildly radical. Is this really what we want? For those who disagree with this prediction, I would like to hear a reasonably argued alternate view of the consequences of this rent increase cap. Thanks for your thoughtful replies.

17

@4 The war on crime might also be why crime rates in the US hit 50 year lows.

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@16 - I think what Sawant and her college-sophomore ilk really want is for rental housing to become un- or less-profitable, which will in turn crash property values so that more people will be able to afford to buy houses. The problem with this is that most of the wealth that the middle class has in their houses, so that they'd be seriously harmed by this strategy.

20

What a charlatan Sawant is. Unless she's dumber than I think, she knows all of this is just bluster to keep her almost adorably naive followers content with future dreams that will never happen.

21

@2, you do realize that public housing didn't just stop in the 70's and that there are forms of public housing other than huge tower blocks, right? The big mid-century style housing projects proved problematic, so the public (and quasi-public) housing paradigm shifted towards smaller projects mixed in over a larger area. These have mostly been pretty successful and have avoided the pitfalls of the big centralized projects. Nobody trying to get more public housing built in this day and age is talking about building big tower blocks, and evoking the old style projects is a total straw man argument.

22

@21 is right; see the High Point development. However, I think High Point took at least 10 years to build and that got started decades ago. I would imagine the same type of development could take longer today.

BUT - those tower blocks were considered innovative for their time, until they weren't. Especially if a big name architect was involved. Same thing could happen to any attempt at low income housing a few decades down the road.

23

Ken Melman, whatever the source of your deafness, it's not Kshama Sawant on single family zoning:

"I support citywide policy changes to increase multi-family affordable housing, and to increase density throughout the city. I believe density is integral to making urban spaces both sustainable and affordable. But we need higher density to go with creating affordable housing for working families and communities of color. Seattle has been the construction crane leader four years running. Yet working people, the LGBTQ community, and people of color continue to be rapidly gentrified out of our neighborhoods, with more than 90 percent of new housing built as luxury apartments and condos." She disagrees with the Seattle Times.

https://www.thestranger.com/slog/2019/06/03/40379916/heres-where-the-seattle-city-council-candidates-stand-on-upzoning