Quite an interesting and thought provoking piece, Councilmember Sawant. Thanks for contributing.
Aww, poor @1&@2. Not interested in commenting on our guest Ms. Sawant's insights, but rather predictably trolling for a sideshow that has yet to materialize. How rude. Cold stale popcorn, yuk.
"We need to fight to cancel rents, mortgages, utility costs, and debt payments for renters, working-class homeowners, struggling small businesses, and small landlords". Interesting ideas. I would like to see them fleshed out regarding cost, eligibility and funding source. How would all this work ITRW?
The eviction moratorium should continue. There should be no means testing. Small landlords have likely already worked out agreements with tenants (with those that are able to pay doing so). Large landlords can tough it out. They are largely simply losing a small amount of interest (which in this economy amounts a small amount of money).
Cancelling rent is a different story. That wouldn't be fair. Amazon pays nothing. Tenants in very expensive apartments pay nothing. But landlords pay for all of it. At a minimum there should be means testing, although in many cases, it might be better if the tenant just declares bankruptcy. In general, it should be part of a larger system designed to reduce homelessness. The city (or some other public agency) should negotiate with the landlords, and be the payer of last resort. Which doesn't mean they will pay everything (if the tenant declares bankruptcy, they get nothing) but they should negotiate so that both tenants still have a home, and landlords aren't left with nothing.
@2 that is pretty much the only reason The Stranger even prints her manifestos. Get the clicks baby. Not many people, including her colleagues on the council, really take her seriously though.
Would you please support a city-wide upzone to spur a large amount of housing construction and keep people housed? I know it goes against your normal way of thinking, but there's room for everyone under this tent. We need to stem the rate of homelessness, and ease the housing price burden on the middle and lower income tiers. In our tight housing market every home built puts a roof over someone's head.
This doesn't preclude public housing - we need that too. But let's ease our ban on new housing in this city.
Fuck off, Ksarma. Your 15 minutes are up.
You should run for mayor and prove that the people (all the people) really support your policies. But you won’t. Cause you’re a coward, just like Trump.
knocked that silly strawgal
Right off her high horsey
ya did. well done Scot
you oughtta Run!
Rather than a tenant means test, a reverse means-testing is necessary: make the landlords prove their profits after expenses meet a threshold to qualify for assistance. This could easily be done using rental income tax returns.
@5 - what's wrong with means testing? There are lots of tenants who have kept their jobs and who are not facing hardships. Just cancelling everyone's rent is a windfall to them and makes it harder to help those who actually need it. And BTW, a lot of the tenants I am speaking of are (horrors!!) relatively high-income people. Lots of people who make wll into 6 figures are renting in this town.
@7 - dead on. The reason housing is unaffordable here is because there is not enough of it for everyone. If you want to stick it to the landlords, the most effective thing you could do is upzone a lot of the city so that supply comes into balance with demand. But apparently it is a lot more fun to fantasize about taking all those $100 bills that your landlord burns to light his cigars and distributing them to the peasants who he forces to inhabit his slum dwellings.
@12 - We are not talking about profits after expenses. We're talking about a situation where no one is paying rent because the City and its magical workers' paradise alternate reality says they don't have to. In other words, they'd have no income and therefore no profit. I can assure you that anyone who has a mortgage on his/her rental property, or pays property taxes, needs to have rental income coming in in order to meet those expenses. Do you disagree?
@4 - I applaud your asking an actual question that brings up the practicality of these schemes. Be assured you will not get a sensible or sincere answer.
"one of the most-evicting landlords in Seattle/King County"
That would be LIHI, Kshama.
@14: In retrospect it was more than a bit clueless to think there might be some substance behind the rhetoric.
Sez the doofus who thinks posting the SLOG equivalent of a "like" emoji constitutes "commenting on... Ms. Sawant's insights" and then goes straight into rather predictably trolling for the sideshow he criticizes the previous commenters for predicting...
You're on the side of renters or real estate investors and your choice says a lot about you.
in thee Richest
Country on the
Planet which has
NO Healthcare as a
Human Right. eh? Will
we Ever join the Rest of
the Industrialized World?
@21: For the same reason food isn't a right. Our rights our legal, not material.
Of course that doesn't preclude the moral obligation to feed and house the poor.
Fascinating how the same people who hate the homeless and vilify the poor want more people out on the streets, more people suffering in abject poverty, more people suffering, sick, and dead.
Evicting hundreds of thousands of people will worsen the pandemic. But hey, the money matters most, amirite?
Here's a thought:
People that have the money to pay their rent or mortgages should pay their rent and mortgages. There is a significant portion of the population that is able to do that and they have been doing that all along.
People that do not have the money to pay their rent or mortgages should not be evicted from their homes and forgiveness of rent payments and mortgage payments not made need to be forgiven.
We are either going to create a much bigger problem that will significantly increase the number of suffering, sick, and dead in this country due to the pandemic or we are going change how we run our society, period.
There is absolutely nothing good that will come from evicting tens of millions of people from where they live. Nothing. Not one positive thing will come from it.
America’s Eviction Crisis Is A Public Health Disaster Waiting To Happen
Pushing millions of people out of their homes could prolong the coronavirus pandemic and trigger a wave of long-term impacts.
“It’s extraordinarily shortsighted and cruel to allow this many evictions to occur,” Yentel said. “This was entirely predictable. And the solutions are simple even if they’re not easy.”
*tens of millions not hundreds of millions (at first, though if you read the entire article evicting tens of thousands of people will end affecting the health and well being and livelihoods of hundreds of millions).
I think Amazon would be out of money by now (save operating expenses) with all of Sawants demands.
and all those Biz (cum Profits) they've
managed to replace (by One guy)?
might your little plan bring 'em
all back jakkky?
cancel property taxes as well, right comrades?
Property Taxes are taxes levied on most peep's (homeowner's) largest assests -- their Domicle.
do we tax the Rich on their largest assets (they may own several homes but the Size of their Assets may easily dwarf the Value of all their homes)?
shall we just Wait till the Masses
no longer Tolerate such Sillyness?
perhaps Capitalism will have Devoured
itself by then anyways. thnx Republicans.
"... our failure to maintain the Commons (see: infrastructure, education, etc.) has left large swaths of society forced to tread water harder and harder just to keep from sinking." --@mrB
it's also left those huge Swaths with
No Idea of the Rights and Responsibilities
Citizenry brings with it so fuck YES to Education.
and Daycare and Healthcare
amd all the shit Modern Countries
take for Granted. whilst our Billionaires
just Take. skim. suck.
@31: You say 1980? Consider this song from 1921 "Ain't we got fun":
Every morning, every evening
Ain't we got fun
Not much money, oh, but honey
Ain't we got fun
The rent's unpaid dear
And we haven't a bus
But smiles were made dear
For people like us
In the Winter in the Summer
Don't we have fun
Times are bum and getting bummer
Still we have fun
There's nothing surer
The rich get rich and the poor get poorer
In the meantime, in between time
Ain't we got fun
7 "Councilmember Sawant, Would you please support a city-wide upzone to spur a large amount of housing construction and keep people housed"
Fuck you, you fucking fuck. Are you a fucking developer?
A large reason we HAVE a homeless problems the HALA up zone which bulldozed so much low income housing. On my block alone four low income houses were torn down in the last 5 years, and the low income residents scattered to the winds. The entire South Lake Union area and much of Roosevelt are forever gone forever to developers. And who owns these buildings now?- Republican, Trump supporting companies.
'Leftest' can be as stupid, and become just as much at tool for the rich, as MAGNA. Just say the magic word 'density' and Seattle will love you as kick out the poor, and make more people homeless.
@34: HALA passed in 2019, so it must have been powerful indeed to cause change years before then. Meanwhile, Paul Allen started re-developing South Lake Union in the 1990s. More housing is obviously one solution to housing affordability, but that has little to do with our current homelessness crisis. Rising rents have not been causing homelessness.
Homelessness in Seattle results primarily from influx of already-homeless, unemployed drug users. This has been well known for years, see https://humaninterests.seattle.gov/2017/03/03/city-of-seattle-2016-homeless-needs-assessment/
-- Less than one-third of homeless said they were originally from Seattle;
-- Less than half of homeless said Seattle was the place they most recently became homeless;
-- A majority reported using alcohol or other drugs. (Some reported coming to Seattle because cannabis is legal here.)
@34 - the problem with your logic is that not building more housing is bound to leave some people out. The reason that the crappy low income houses you are bemoaning lasted is because their owner was told by the city that he'/she could not do something with the property to house more people. That's all very nice for the few who live in those houses but it pretty much guarantees that another, larger, number will not have places to live. In other words, housing is rationed by priority order of who got into the inadequate housing stock first.
But that's really no solution. If 100 people want to live in a city (and this is not the USSR, where we can tell people where they can have residency permits), the only real answer is to build 100 houses or apartments. And that is not possible when the entire city is zoned SF5000. What it DOES so is to make it very hard for anyone to move into the city, and drives up rents for everyone else.
If there were as many housing units as people who wanted them, or (optimally) a few percent more, there would not be intense competition for vacancies and the upward pressure on rents would slow or stop. And I say this as a small landlord, who benefits from that scarcity (at least in the short term, although destroying the economic sustainability of the city is not in my best interest) but can also see what the obvious problem is.
And yes, some large companies own some of the housing. Welcome to a capitalist economy. Are you suggesting that only small non-corporate investors should be allowed to own rental housing? If you want to ensure that no major projects (which house lots of people pretty efficiently) never get done again, that would be a great policy.
@24 xina - spot on. The answer to this is figuring our who really needs the help and helping them. We don't need blanket rent cancellations to do that and we don't need blanket mortgage cancellations either. People who have not lost their jobs probably don't need to be included and doing so would make it harder to help those who need it.
HOWEVER, a certain councilwoman DOES need to pitch "tax the rich and give all of you free stuff" in order to make her sophomoric electorate happy.
Designating winners and losers without drawing any distinction between them, absent any realistic solution (workable or not) is why Kshama Sawant will never get my vote.
I respect that "The Stranger" is struggling financially so it offers you this platform. But you are really not worth listening to (or reading about). You are cast in the Donald Trump model: make a lot of noise, choose enemies that can pay and friends that need payment, provide a well-crafted campaign of why 'those others' need Taxation yet 'these others' deserve support, fail to provide that support, and create greater problems for more citizens as you polish your own brand.
Your legislative initiatives are the only reason I am no longer an entrepreneur. The only reason I made "away" with any profits after taxes, is unwillingness to bear the risk of bankruptcy your policies created forcing me out of the rental real estate marketplace. You went to war for the Tenants against Landlords big and small, and poisoned that market place in favor of "big businesses" who you expect to pay for the inequities of the 'whole capitalist systems'. Grow up.
Inability to assess renters' criminal records prevented me from safeguarding my neighborhood. Inability to evict according to statue means that I might be insolvent, unable to pay mortgage and lose the non-liquid assets that are my life savings. I could shoulder neither the burden nor the risk of the responsible correction of global human inequity you chose to force upon me. So I folded, hoping we can afford living in the city we love, and have helped grow.
For the record: nationally ~64% own, 36% rent. I appreciate you trying to support the minority (36%) and 'those at-risk'. Please realize that you have made Seattle hostile to the Landlord-Tenant relations you want to foster, and in the process you have bolstered "Big Business" Real Estate holding corporations, and management companies at the expense of small businesses you claim to support.
I don't know why you get any traction with an educated public. You offer the opposite of what you claim, offer zero real world solutions, and offer another term in office at our own risk. The only reason you are in office is the protest vote vs. an insane funding campaign against you. Just like what your actions, Amazon's spending and attention ensured your re-elected, and they got the opposite of what they claimed wanted.
Like me, I guess legislative changes will mean that you will be forced into early retirement as well. You may want to make plans for your own early exit. Best of luck with that transition.
@38 the whole point of these regulations is to drive private landlords from the market altogether. First you get rid of the small guys like yourself and increase the pressure on the housing crisis which in turn generates more outcry for government led solutions. This allows Sawant and her acolytes to further demonize the corporate landlords and pass more regulations ideally including rent control. Hopefully that crashes the rental market when the business model is no longer workable and then the city can move in to buy up these buildings and turn them into publicly subsidized housing. Once people are dependent on you for their housing then they will have no choice but to vote for you lest they lose their homes. This isn't about unintended consequences. She knows exactly what will happen and she is more than delighted to keep pushing. Fortunately as a city councilperson she has little power to invoke her broader agenda so instead she'll continue to try death by a thousand paper cuts.
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