Welcoming Wallingford, a local community group advocating for HALA, is hosting a candidate forum on September 14th at the Wallingford Presbyterian Church (1414 N 42nd St). One of their members sent along the following announcement:
Welcoming Wallingford [https://www.facebook.com/welcomingwallingford/] is hosting a Seattle City Council Position 8 candidate forum with Jon Grant and Teresa Mosqueda on September 14. Wallingford, and all of Seattle, is grappling with housing affordability and renters’ rights, the opportunities and challenges of growth, and neighborhood livability. At this forum, we’ll hear from the candidates their plans for action on these and other issues, as well as have time for neighborhood questions.While this forum is hosted for Wallingford, others are of course welcome.Date & Time: Thursday September 14, from 7:30-9:30 pmLocation: Wallingford Presbyterian Church, 1414 N 42nd St.You can RSVP using the Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1486512751387633/ (It’s not required, but will help us gauge attendance.)For more info on the candidates, see:And, if you’re interested, both candidates will be accepting campaign contributions, and both accept the new Seattle Democracy Vouchers.
Who finances this pro-HALA group?
Someone paid for the yard signs (that you see almost none of) and that pep-rally at the pizza place.
Don’t know about WW’s funding, but I do know that “Seattle for Everyone” and those “HALA Yes” signs get taxpayer funding. Nice, huh? You’re being forced to pay for the outreach and advertising for an organization with an agenda many of us object to. On the other hand, the orange and black “Keep Seattle Livable” signs are paid for entirely from donations.
Meanwhile, the same people associated with these groups argue that SF homeowners shouldn’t have any say in the process. Just shuttup, pay what we demand in taxes, and comply.
Residents of Seattle regardless of what type of home they own or rent get a say in many ways including open meetings, public debates such as this, by voting in city elections* and ultimately by choosing to continue to live here. (* Only citizens get a vote.)
Gotta love (or perhaps pity) the fact it appears hard for some people to understand that some people might voluntarily contribute their own money to help other people
What’s to understand? I voluntarily contribute my money and my time to organizations like the Wallingford Community Council. Because they’re a great organization that helps other people. After all, you urbanists say the character and charm of houses in a neighborhood means nothing, it’s “people” that make a neighborhood, so we shouldn’t let those qualities stop developers from slapping up big ugly boxes everywhere. So the WCC supports the PEOPLE in our neighborhood by fighting an agenda will harm their neighborhood.
Meanwhile, the city and its cheerleaders in the YIMBY movement are doing everything they can to silence our voices, while forcing us to contribute to organizations that support the upzoning agenda the developers who fund their campaigns. These aren’t simply taxes going to support infrastructure and services like schools and roads. We are being forced to support an ideology.
That’s a fact, and it suits the YIMBY’s just fine.
Why? Were you planning on contributing your own money to help some random strangers who don’t even live here buy a house they couldn’t otherwise afford?
Yes, we all are going to give up a little to help some random strangers rent or own in our city. That’s is exactly what affordable housing policy means. We will all get so much more back in return.
“We will all get so much more back in return.”
Uh yeah, thanks, but I’m pretty sure my wife and I are better suited to decide what’s in our family’s interests than the city council or a bunch of YIMBY activists. And daily parking hassles along with big ugly uninspired boxes that house people who for the most part will live in them for just a year or two before moving on are definitely not a net positive for us.
But this thread got going because of a discussion about voluntary charity (like the WCC) versus compulsory charity (like the YIMBY’s Seattle for Everyone). So if you actually wanted to help random strangers yourself, you and Bryan abd there urbanistcrowd should set up a YIMBY housing fund to help those random strangers buy their houses that they couldn’t otherwise afford. Or another suggestion would be to voluntarily pay more taxes than you are required to. Because like I’ve seen Bryan say on several occasions he’s actually “happy” to pay those taxes. So don’t hold back, give, and give generously!
Fortunately, in Seattle have a representative democracy. The council members and mayor make policy based on public option. Those policies lead to burdens and benefits we all share. The benefits are so much greater that the burden. That is the great thing about living in a community.
On this issue, it appears you are at odds with the consensus opinion. Since you feel strongly should resist the temptation to be cynical about the system. Seattle’s elected officials are very open and accessible. Let them know what you think. If you’re not happy find other candidates to support. You may even be able to run for office yourself.
“The council members and mayor make policy based on public opinion.”
Oh really? So what do you call it when years ago the city council overruled the public’s opinion not once but 4 times when we voted in favor of a monorail expansion? How’d that turn out?
Or how about when the public decisively told the city council no, we don’t want to help pay for a multi-billionaire’s fancy new stadium? And now Paul Allen is sticking it to us once again with his HALA upzones benefitting Vulcan (sorry, “Seattle for Everyone”) and other big developers.
Or on the county level, take the example of King County cynically denying the will of the people to be allowed to vote on whether or not we want to turn Seattle into a junkie magnet when, despite them getting way more petition signatures than were needed, they won’t issue of safe injection sites to be on November’s ballot. King County sees the writing on the wall with that one, because six other cities in Puget Sound area have already said no, we don’t want them.
But hey, if you’re okay with the idea of listening to the will of the people then I guess you have no problem with the last few decades of the city council deciding to keep zoning for single-family housing right?
Sometimes elected officials have to do something unpopular because it is the right thing to do. That is why we have a representative democracy and not a direct democracy. Once in awhile they will even get it wrong, e.g. the monorail. These are exceptions and don’t mean the system is broken.
On the issue of affordable housing, the people of Seattle see the benefits of helping people of different means live in the city even if a minority are fearful. We should do better to help you understand that affordable housing will make Seattle better for everyone.
If you really think the city and county governments have been so bad for so long why don’t you run for office?
(I know non-citizens and some other can’t seek election, sorry if I made a bad assumption)
Why don’t I run for office? Because I hate fundraising. Unlike Rob Johnson, I don’t have big developers to rely on for campaign contributions.
Accept democracy vouchers. If people agree with you they will fund you.
A home here they couldn’t otherwise afford solely because of exclusionary zoning, yes.
(And already have contributed.)
Really? You actually gave some of your money to a random stranger to help buy a house?
What’s so unbelievable that some people would help random strangers? And really it’s not random. It’s people who are in the same region. We are not talking about volunteering in third world countries.
I asked Bryan that to get him to clarify what he meant by “already have contributed.” My guess is he was talking about contributing to some pro-HALA organization and not a random stranger. And I’m skeptical that he would just give away what would need to be a big chunk of money to a random stranger to live in the more expensive neighborhood when they probably be able to forward the place in a less desirable or expensive place. Especially when there are so many much more worthwhile causes to donate to.
It’s a pity we can’t have an assumption of good intent in this conversation. Heyduke and the anti-HALA people wants what is best for Wallingford, so does Bryan and the pro-HALA people. There are also many people who are in between whose point of view gets lost in the push to have everyone pick a side. Let’s talk about the issues and not debate what individuals do with their own lives, its irrelevant. Yes, I’ve been guilty too.
Giving my money to a random stranger to help them buy a house in the neighborhood they don’t even need to live in is something I would never do. So I would have nothing but praise for Bryan if that indeed was the case with his contribution. It would be a donation that gets him nothing back in his favor with his urbanist political goals, and it doesn’t compel anyone whose opposed to HALA to do anything or sacrifice anything they don’t want to. So I would have no problem with him doing it, just so I’m clear on that.
The idea is not about giving money for strangers to live in an expensive neighborhood. The idea is about making the neighborhood less expensive. The biggest contribution of HALA supporters who own houses in the area is by helping to reduce the value of their houses by advocating an increase in supply to meet the increase in demand.
Still, what’s so unbelievable for somebody to be not very selfish? I know selfish is considered an American virtue in general, but not everybody has to follow it all the time.
Well this whole thread is going sideways, and if Bryan would simply clarify his answer to what I asked him several posts ago it that wouldn’t be happening. But now I’d like to ask you to clarify what you mean by, “what’s so unbelievable for somebody to be not very selfish?”
I’ve never heard of someone doing so, but does it follow that if someone isn’t selfish if they give a lot of money to a random stranger to help them buy a house they couldn’t otherwise afford, are they selfish if they DON’T want to give?
And to follow up, I’m not so sure their house values would go down if HALA passes. A lot of folks think they’d go up. I’d say certainly at least the land values would go up. But I have to ask, if they’re selfish for not wanting their house values to go down, which translates into losses of tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars if they ever choose to sell, how is that any different from not wanting to simply write a check to someone so they can buy a house?
Discuss ideas; not people.
Giving money to individuals to buy or rent a home in a place where housing costs have been inflated by legal fiat through exclusionary zoning is like giving somebody as aspirin without intervening to stop the person punching them in the face.
Of course I’ve contributed (in multiple ways) to creating conditions where many people have a fair shot under favorable conditions for affordability , not one (or two or however many till our money runs out) lucky winner under needlessly expensive conditions.
Just as I thought. Thanks for clarifying.
House? No one with HALA Yes signs wants to buy your stupid house, other than to get it demolished and build something more reasonable for a “city”, as opposed to “burbistan”, in its place. I’d donate money for that.
Although come think of it, if I could contribute money to allow someone to buy in spite of your NIMBY redlining, I might do that to.
Yeah, I don’t think that’s going to happen. YIMBY’s and social justice activists always want to use someone else’s money confiscate their property to create their utopia. They want government mandates, rather than sacrificing on their own.
Are you kidding me? Zoning is a government mandate if there ever was one. Nimbys use this government mandate to appropriate as an effective club good both the things built with taxes like transit, and amenities created by others in the neighborhood.. I dunno what sjws want, I want all but the most basic zoning to be abolished, to remove the parasitic leeches. Free market will then decide how the land is to be used. It will also benefit the sjws, given the racist past (and effectively present wrt eg public schools), so yeah.
And you think the free market will create affordability and equitability in neighborhoods like Wallingford? Even with government meddling with it’s top down mandates like affordable housing levies and HALA/MHA, which lets developers opt out of building just 2% to 10% of their units as “affordable” if they pay a fee to the city, they’re still just going to build expensive market rate housing here. And the first places to get torn down will be the older, run down affordable places. You must be new here, or you’d know that already.
Unless you think developers will magically make their units affordable because they’re such nice people?
And as for transit, I see light rail being built in places like Tukwilla, Raineer Beach, and Othello, not neighborhoods like Wallingford.
Nah, developers will magically make their units affordable because there will be too many units. In Bellevue in 2010, I went to a spankin’ brand new luxury high rise and got cheap rent, 2 months free bonus and free parking for a year, because there were way more units than people wanting them.
Obviously, such a radical imbalance will not happen absent another big recession, but small steps definitely will. Moreover, as people drain from older housing into the new units, those will be forced to reduce prices.
While there is competition among apartment buildings, you may get a free month’s rent or free parking for a year. But your rent will never go down. That’s because developers build with borrowed money and their lenders aren’t going to reduce their loan payments. Moreover not everyone wants to live in a luxury high-rise. Those who are happy to live in an older building expect to pay less rent and their landlords may lower rent a bit, but the increase in taxes in the last five years makes that unlikely too.
“That’s because developers build with borrowed money and their lenders aren’t going to reduce their loan payments.”
This is why developers sometimes go bankrupt.
Rent go down with time. The most common form of affordable housing is old apartments. The problem in Seattle right now is the expansion happened so fast. If we don’t start building more higher density buildings now, we’ll be forever using the same excuses and ending up like San Francisco: a city that could have hold way way more people with tons of cheap housing but never set out to do it.
Have you ever had your rent reduced? Rents don’t go down except for some exceptional reason such as bankruptcy, as Bryan notes below. Mostly they end up lower in comparison as higher rents emerge.
Change Wallyhood to a “single family plus one zone”. Everyone with
a house in Wallyhood should open one room for a boarder. If people had dinner
every evening with a young Amazon engineer from Indian or a UW graduate student
from China they would be much more accepting of newcomers. The supply and demand equation would be balanced, rents would be affordable, and no house needs to be bulldozed!
And would we be allowed to charge market rate rent to these boarders? Or do we need to give them a room for free or at a cut rate, just to make things “equitable?” If it’s the latter, do we get to pay no property taxes in return?
Market rate and you pay tax on the income in addition to your existing property tax. You make the money not the property developers and you get a new member of the household.
As long as it’s optional and completely your decision, then I have no problem with that idea.
Optional, of course. We don’t force people to do things in Seattle, we only force them not to do things. The city, employers, chamber of commerce, civic groups, etc should promote the hell out of the idea. Let’s see Rent-A-Room signs instead of HalaYes/No signs. And an easy website, perhaps with automatic background checks (both sides). Let’s welcome as many people as we can into our homes. Purr!
I think anyone, anywhere in Seattle can do this now. I don’t think boarders are regulated, just creating an ADU.*
*Or else I know people breaking a law who aren’t aware or concerned about it. But one neighbor who’s had boarders is a lawyer so I assume he’s know the ins and outs.
It may be legal but it is not encouraged.
Nah, change every neighborhood without a landslide risk to mixed/midrise, at least. The nimbys can move to Sammammish, or hold on to their houses between the new buildings. I’ve seen one such house in Richmond BC… a great amusement that is.
It’s that kind of talk that polarizes this debate.
I didn’t have my rent reduced directly, however I did have a situation when I moved out (despite only a token increase) and my unit was rented out for less than I paid. My rent this year was flat, no increase. OTOH in San Francisco, where they don’t build as a matter of principle, I received a 10% increase offer that I’ve declined; a week after I moved out I received a forwarded letter about them removing the laundromat in the building.
Price is a function of supply and demand. If you want to control price you must increase supply and/or reduce demand. Reducing demand will be far more damaging to Seattle than increasing supply.
When “demand” means out of control growth, no.
No, the consequent development gold rush won’t control prices, because it will come to a crashing halt as soon the economic bubble starts to run out of air, and until then it can’t catch up. Land use policy is not the reason we’re short of housing units
And no, it is damaging Seattle. The spiraling cost of living. The tacky fast bucks development, hence the opposition to the city’s panic mode land use initiatives.
“consequent development gold rush won’t control prices, because it will come to a crashing halt as soon the economic bubble starts to run out of air” – why would it halt? This statement is self-contradictory… it will come to a halt only when noone can make money on it. Which pretty much definion means prices going down.
Spiraling cost of living is caused by NOT building. Look at SF.
Texas zoning laws are very lax and housing there is way cheaper. So yes, less regulations would mean higher affordability.
Your comment about light rail is misleading. The coverage of an 30 minute walk zone from light rail station covers more Wallingford than Tukwilla. The Rainier Beach light rail station isn’t inside Rainier Beach neighborhood, just like the ones serving Wallingford aren’t inside Wallingford, but that doesn’t mean these neighborhoods don’t have light rail access.
“Texas zoning laws are very lax and housing there is way cheaper. So yes, less regulations would mean higher affordability.”
And yet cities like Houston are Sprawlsville regardless. Go figure. Fact is, you could virtually eliminate zoning in Seattle tomorrow all across the city and it wouldn’t do a damn thing for affordability in desirable neighborhoods.
The problem isn’t about desirable neighborhoods only. The problem with Seattle is there are just not enough housing period, and strong regulation is a key reason.
But yeah, to put affordable housing in desirable neighborhoods, you need regulation in the opposite direction of the current one. You need to force high density into desirable neighborhoods as opposed to just let free market do it.
If it’s more affordable housing you want, the city and non-profits would be able to build far more of it in less expensive, less desirable neighborhoods. Not to mention that the cost of living is less in those areas. No amount of top-down, government-forced density will change that reality.
Of course government force can work. How else did Tokyo suppress housing price growth?
Our problem isn’t even that. Our problem right now is government force actively act in the special interest of existing single-family house owners to prevent density.
Actually, to see how density provides affordable housing you should look no further than south of DT Bellevue. Superimpose Redfin and the zoning map, and you can see a thin strip of multi-family that has condos, those seem pretty expensive! Seems like density doesn’t do any good for affordability, right? Until you look just outside of this band, into single family zoned areas like 5 blocks away, where houses are $1.5M-3M; despite there being way more single-family-zoned land than multi-family. Which would be obvious who thinks for about 5 minutes… developers would build whatever makes them money (yet, most of the money would still be pocketed by the land owner because the land price would rise accordingly). No matter how expensive you try to make a highrise (and those condos are not even highrises, they are like 3-story buildings IIRC), a few single family houses on the same lot will by definition be much, much more expensive. Same demand, much lower supply.
The free market won’t find best solution for all. We need a government to design zoning to avoid the tragedy of the commons.
This is a vacuous statement. It’s like saying ” We need a government to design anti-trust laws to avoid the tragedy of the commons.” while arguing the monopolies should be allowed to thrive and perhaps wield private armies. A technically correct statement that has nothing to do with a matter at hand.