Slog PM: Seattleites Flee the Heat, Delta Variant Spikes in California, the Amish Don't Want the Jab

Comments

1

All these people complaining about not having A/C.... as if A/C is a toy for the rich...you know portable A/C units are very inexpensive and are abundant in places like Home Depot and Lowe's if you buy one ahead of time, i.e. not in the middle of a heat wave. Try to see around corners. If the wildfire smoke the last few years didn't inspire you to buy an A/C then there is no hope for you.

btw, I'm really enjoying my A/C. It's a nice 74 in my house. The air is a little dry though.

2

"I don't know enough about bureaucracy to know how renaming something can help dismantle it and finally solve our housing crisis, but maybe I should just trust the (Seattle) process?"

OMG! The Stranger in a nutshell. Nat, I'm so glad it makes sense to you, it tells me oodles about you.

3

@1 tempur-tempur: Thank you for beating me to it. I don't have an A/C, but live in a ground floor unit equipped ahead of time with two box fans, purchased from Home Depot and Fred Meyer.

Everyone stay cool, healthy, hydrated, and safe.

4

@1
Lots of portable ACs are garbage that will barely cool 1 small room and are so poorly made they won't last more than a couple years.
To get something that will take care of a space larger than 100sqft, and last a reasonable amount of time, is going to set you back between $500 and $1,500.
I'm doing okay with my swamp coolers and fans, and I'll probably buy a portable AC sometime in November to prepare for next year.
But I have the luxury of being able to drop that money on an Item I'll only use for a week a year. Lots of people don't.

5

Right, “peasants “ have disposable income to pay Seattle area hotel rates. It’s seemingly impossible for the stranger to post anything without blathering about supposed equity issues?

It’s Seattle, hardly anyone has AC, rich, poor, black, white, and so on.

6

I love how people assume anyone and everyone can afford an A/C. Or to pay for the cost of running an A/C. Or that they live in a place that has the correct electrical wiring to put in an A/C. But hey, keep on living in your fantasy land.

Blaming the poor for being poor (and calling them too stupid to know they TOTALLY could get an A/C if they weren't so poor and stupid) is unbelievably revolting.

In a city where A/C was never a thing until recently, with buildings that are old and do not have electrical outlets/wiring/etc. to support the use of A/C, there are many people who are not able to have A/C for any number of reasons. A/C is also not free and utility bills are a thing, right? Oh, yeah, I forgot, if you're too poor to be able to pay for A/C then you deserve to die!

Also, it's super sweet of Amazon to open a 1000 person cooling center, since they're one of the main reasons the number of homeless in Seattle has skyrocketed in the last 20 years.

Seattle certainly never fails to be as self-centered and fucking obnoxious as possible.

The COVID-19 recession has made it harder for many Americans to pay their energy bills.
Energy is a basic need, and many Americans are struggling to afford it in the COVID-19 recession
https://theconversation.com/energy-is-a-basic-need-and-many-americans-are-struggling-to-afford-it-in-the-covid-19-recession-140416

Several months into the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, lower-income families are struggling to pay their energy bills. That’s a big concern during extreme events like summer heat waves, which can be deadly – especially for elderly people, young children, people of color and the poor.

Air conditioning for all? Hotter world faces risk of 'cooling poverty'
https://news.trust.org/item/20190910181834-grgsy/

Air-Conditioning Is a Luxury the World Can’t Afford
https://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2012/06/21/should-air-conditioning-go-global-or-be-rationed-away/air-conditioning-is-a-luxury-the-world-cant-afford

7

How air conditioners contribute to inequality and ‘energy poverty’

Imports and use of air conditioning are rising in many countries.
Households spend as much as 42% more on electricity when they own air conditioners.
Air conditioning can drive low-income households into energy poverty.

https://coolcoalition.org/how-air-conditioners-contribute-to-inequality-and-energy-poverty/

8

@6

Your post is spot on with the exception of blaming Amazon for the increase in the homeless in Seattle. Amazon had little if anything to do with the rise of homelessness in Seattle. Correlation is not causation.
To explain the rise of homelessness in Seattle I would look towards the policies of the Seattle City Council over the last 20 years.

9

@6 & @7 xina: Thank you for sharing informative articles regarding those struggling with high utility bills, and who are vulnerable to the current heat wave.
I used a poor choice of words in @3. I was in agreement with tempur-tempur @1, not about owning an A/C or laughing at those who don't have one but about stocking up and being prepared for such inclement weather situations like this. I do not have an A/C--yes; agreed on utilities--I live in a 100+ year old building and am unsure if I have the correct wiring needed for an A/C. In extreme weather like this, I keep my blinds closed, one window open, and use both fans at night. As a veteran on VA disability I doubt I could afford an A/C. I feel for those who have little choice but do the best they can while fully exposed to the elements.

10

@8 I said Amazon was a major contributor (not the sole cause). And they are. There are literally 1.8 million results when you Google "how amazon has caused homelessness in seattle"

Amazon is looking for a home for its second headquarters. But in its current home, critics say rising house prices and growing inequality have damaged the city
https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2018/jul/04/is-bezos-holding-seattle-hostage-the-cost-of-being-amazons-home

Amazon helped create a housing crisis in Seattle
"If we saw [Amazon was] responding with solutions around housing or solutions about unaffordability or homelessness or health care or education, that would be different," Lee said. "If they were doing too much, it would be fine to say you're doing too much. But nowhere are they anywhere near doing what they ought to be doing."
https://www.wusa9.com/article/news/local/amazon-helped-create-a-housing-crisis-in-seattle-dc-already-has-one/65-ca8a875e-d3ce-4134-b29e-bf54727ff6ab

Seattle's homelessness crisis is getting worse – no amount of big tech philanthropy can undo Microsoft’s damage
The city’s housing problems must be understood in the context of how its richest residents, Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos, made their money
https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/microsoft-seattle-homelessness-bill-gates-jeff-bezos-amazon-housing-crisis-philanthropy-a8741581.html

11

The air conditioner is one of capitalism's greatest inventions.

12

The irony that climate change might be a factor in the intense heat that is causing roads to buckle is not lost on me.

On another note, the sign that Tour de France spectator was holding translates to "LOOK AT ME I AM A STUPID ATTENTION WHORE!!!"

13

@11 Another reason not to have an A/C, especially if you can do well enough without one.

14

Low Income people can get on the City Sponsored Utility Discount program: 60% of power, and 50% off water/sewer/garbage (and if you live in an apartment, they give you a credit for the WSG.)

https://www.seattle.gov/humanservices/services-and-programs/supporting-affordability-and-livability/utility-discount-program

In any event, City Light doesn't cut people for non-payment. They haven't done that in years.

15

The solution is to make A/C greener and more affordable for everyone everywhere who needs it.

16

Well if there’s a google hit for Amazon and homelessness, it MUST BE TRUE!!

Homeless existed before Amazon. If you “end Amazon”, homelessness will still exist and another Amazon will come along because… and pay attention… people like Amazon (despite what Stranger lefties think)… that’s why Amazon does billions in sales.

Why is the far left so intellectually lazy? Guess you shoulda majored in something useful while you were accumulating those student loans, huh?

17

16, you are just one serious illness away from poverty.

18

@15 Unfortunately, the laws of physics have a major say in how efficient AC systems can be. And not having Scotty around to break the laws of physics, we're kinda stuck with a substantial level of inefficiency. The things that make a system more efficient (like higher working pressures) also tend to make it more expensive. There are somewhat more efficient refrigerants available, but they've either been banned for good reason for destroying the ozone layer or aren't really suitable for home use (hello anhydrous ammonia!).

19

@16 -- You keep misrepresenting the argument. One more time. No one is saying that Amazon is solely responsible for the homeless situation in Seattle. No one. So just stop with the straw man bullshit.

What they are saying is that they are partially responsible. Of course they are. It is very simple:

Amazon added lots of jobs in the area.
This pushed up the cost of housing. (https://www.self.inc/blog/cities-biggest-increase-rental-prices)
Increased housing meant increase homelessness. (https://dupagehomeless.org/research-demonstrates-connection-between-housing-affordability-homelessness/).

Obviously more jobs is a good thing. But it also comes with increased costs. In a more advanced society (Europe, Japan, etc.) the wealthy who profit would pay a bigger portion of those costs at the national level. Then the federal government would pay for more public housing and make other changes to lower the cost of housing. But that went away with Reagan and his New Federalism. So instead, states and cities are asked to do it by themselves. But a city like Seattle is limited in how it can tax Amazon, while Amazon fights these taxes at every turn. Amazon, meanwhile, is not acting like a responsible corporate citizen, and trying to address the problem. Quite the opposite -- it has threatened to leave if they are asked to pay a significant amount of their enormous profits dealing with the problem.

The root of the problem is not with Amazon, but Amazon has played a big part in increased homelessness in Seattle, and has fought against paying to reduce it.

20

@18 -- Yes, but there are plenty of alternatives to a conventional air conditioner. Swamp coolers can be very effective if it is dry, which is common with heat waves in this area (we aren't D. C.). Heat pumps can be very energy efficient in both heating and cooling. Most heat pumps in the area are air source heat pumps (or air-to-air). These are usually a lot more energy efficient than normal electric heating and air conditioning. Even better are ground source heat pumps. These are very energy efficient, but are likely overkill for most areas. Then there is passive heating and cooling (designing houses and apartments to be more naturally temperate).

21

@20 Whole house AC and heat pumps in cooling mode are the same thing, at approximately the same efficiency. Geothermal/ground source is very efficient, but requires drilling a bunch of holes in the ground for the piping. That works great on buildings with big lots (hello schools!), but not so much where most or all of the lot is already covered. When it's really hot here like the last few days, it also tends to be more humid, making the swamp coolers less attractive.

I'm not saying there aren't gains to be made with better technology, but a "Well let's just make AC cheaper and more efficient" statement like @15 isn't terribly realistic.

@6 and 9, you don't need any special wiring in your house for window units or the small freestanding ones that exhaust outside. Those just take regular 110V wall power from whatever socket you have handy. You probably don't want to run the hair dryer or vacuum at the same time the AC is running so you don't blow a fuse, though.

22

@20:

When I checked over the past few days, the relative humidity here was generally hovering in the mid-30%, which makes a swamp cooler largely ineffective; you're just trading off hot, somewhat moist air for slightly cooler, but more humid air, which for all practical purposes doesn't make you feel significantly cooler.

As for the general AC debate, the problem isn't just that older buildings are underwired (e.g. most that haven't had major electrical upgrades still have old-style two-prong ungrounded plugs, which is the case in our 60 year old-plus building) and which makes using AC's problematic or even dangerous, depending on the condition of the wiring and capacity of the circuits. Additionally, many mid-Century apartment buildings here have cranking windows that aren't compatible with in-window units; ours is a case-in-point. We DO have a couple of 5000-8000 BTU portable units and I've been able to rig adequate window plugs to seal the openings and vent the hot air exhaust, but as others have noted above, they really aren't effective for cooling more than one small room at a time (say under 400 sq. ft.), so we only use them in our bedrooms, but even then you can't run both at the same time, as the load will trip the breaker, since those rooms are on the same circuit. So, we run one during the afternoon, and switch to the other in the evening. But, in an unreinforced masonry building it's a losing battle: the brick absorbs heat all day, sending the interior temperatures up into the mid-to-high 90's, and then it dissipates that heat at night, so our un-cooled rooms have been at least in the lower-to-mid 80's no matter what the time of day.

23

@22:

And before anyone else mentions it, we have adapters that can accommodate three-prong plugs in two-prong sockets in pretty much every outlet in our place, because you can't run just about any modern appliance that draws more power than a television without one.

24

Raindrop dear, AC is already much more efficient and affordable than it was, and will surely get more so.

One of the things I am hoping to see as part of the stimulus package is big incentives for heat pumps.

25

@19 These shit bags have no problem claiming Kshama Sawant is magically responsible for twenty year long trends of homelessness and real estate inflation etc, etc... but the uncontrolled growth, gentrification and strain to the city brought on my the big tech companies ... nope. (You know. Actual economics).

Won't somebody please think of the billionaires!

26

@6: "Also, it's super sweet of Amazon to open a 1000 person cooling center, since they're one of the main reasons the number of homeless in Seattle has skyrocketed in the last 20 years."

@19: "What they are saying is that they are partially responsible."

Here are some actual facts about our homeless population, told by the homeless themselves:

Only 11% said a rental increase was part of the reason they became homeless. A majority arrived in Seattle already homeless. A majority reported using drugs. "The highest percent (71%) of respondents reported that they could afford a monthly rent of less than five hundred dollars, followed by 24% who reported they could afford between $500 and $1,000 monthly."

(http://coshumaninterests-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/City-of-Seattle-Report-FINAL-with-4.11.17-additions.pdf)

Putting that last sentence in context, this data was collected in late 2016. By that time, the last $500/month apartment rental had been gone for twenty years, and the last less-than-$1000/month apartment rental had been gone for several years. Rising rents didn't drive most of this population out into the street; Seattle's homeless population hadn't been able to afford living here for quite some time, if ever.

If you want to look at why Seattle has such a large and intractable homelessness problem, try looking at opiate and meth' addiction. True, there are no easy, feel-good solutions, like a "[Blame] Amazon Tax," but at least you'll have some idea why Lisa Vach died, and why bloody needles can be found near many encampments.