Politics Rep. Pedersen. Good Record Tainted by Condo Bill
posted by April 30 at 10:56 AMon
Note: I hadn’t seen that Eli posted on this earlier. Eli’s coverage of Pedersen, which Pedersen used as a campaign hand out, is here. I’m happy to have voted, along with Dan, Annie, Erica, Sarah Mirk, and David Schmader for Stephanie Pure, who, I believe would have been a solid legislator, particularly on renters’ rights, where Pedersen flopped. Having said that, as my post below shows, Pedersen got due credit from me during the session.
Following up on their cheer leader coverage of the Democratic majority, this morning’s PI gives freshman state Rep. Jamie Pedersen (D-43, Capitol Hill) the kind of fawning press you’d expect from his local Capitol Hill Times or the SGN.
Most of the ink in the article— “Rep. Pedersen ‘hits the ground running’: First-year lawmaker gets 6 bills passed”—focuses on Pedersen’s role in getting domestic partnerships OS 1 passed.
I also gave Pedersen props for his role in getting that done. However, if you ask me, the giant Democratic majority in Oly could have passed a full civil unions bill this year like Oregon et al. Furthermore, there were about 400 partnership rights left off the table. And, annoyingly, the bill bars young het couples from getting domestic partnerships.
Having said that, the DP bill is a strong start—I get the incrementalism strategy— and Pedersen was the work horse legislator on the bill. (Peeved e-mail from Sen. Ed Murray landing in my in-box in 1…2…3….)
Additionally, Pedersen brought some helpful legal brain power down to Oly this session. Reports from his colleagues say he was a master at “actually reading the bills” and doing immaculate dentistry to make sure the laws actually lined up legally.
Indeed, Pedersen’s protest vote against an anti-funeral protests bill took courage and legal smarts. I wrote a column early in the session giving Pedersen props for his stand..
Meanwhile, it’s true that he sponsored 6 bills that passed. Some of them good: money for youth housing; providing more health care grants; strengthening no-contact orders; and democratizing corporate boards. And most important for his district—Pedersen was the point person for protecting night life by reforming a costly sprinkler requirement bill for clubs. (He extended the deadline.) Another bill was cool, but mostly symbolic: recognizing Juneteenth as a day of remembrance.
He also had a couple of cool bills die: a civil unions bill and limiting hazardous pesticides in schools.
Here’s one annoying thing though. On one major issue that is a keen concern to his district—renters rights—Pedersen was on the wrong side of the issue. Pedersen did not support giving Seattle the authority to cap condo conversions. He believed that progressive provision would have jeopardized the success of the larger bill which mandated assistance to displaced renters. Pedersen’s timid approach didn’t pay off. The basic bill got killed anyway.
Props to Rep. Pedersen for a diligent and successful session, but he needs to have more awareness of renters. There were 2,352 condo conversions in Seattle in 2006, which is particularly alarming for renters given that 3,900 lower-priced rentals have been either converted to condos or filed for conversion in the last two years. The average price of new condos is $250,000.