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Monday, April 30, 2007

Rep. Pedersen. Good Record Tainted by Condo Bill

posted by on April 30 at 10:56 AM

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.

RSS icon Comments


You know, Josh, for those young heterosexual couples that are worried about not having all the rights of marriage, there's a really simple solution. They can fucking get married. It pisses me off to no end that people who have all the rights we're fighting for and with no question of legitimacy of their relationship whatsoever have the gall to complain about not also having extra legal rights too, like marriage just isn't good enough for them. Fuck them! They can get married, and not only did my husband and I have to spend $500 to get wills, powers of attorney, and other paperwork, then go to Portland and Vancouver for marriages that this state won't recognize, now I have to go and get a fucking domestic partnership that leaves off most of the state rights of married couples and all of the federal ones, and they have the sheer chutzpah to complain that they can't get a domestic partnership?

Posted by Gitai | April 30, 2007 11:12 AM

Gitai's right.

And the perfect is the enemy of the good.

Posted by fnarf | April 30, 2007 11:23 AM

Quit the bitching about young heteros not getting DPs. Get a marriage license already.

Posted by Justy | April 30, 2007 11:32 AM

Yes, but frankly, if the legislature didn't want to include all straights in the domestic partnership bill, then they shouldn't have included het seniors.

Posted by keshmeshi | April 30, 2007 11:32 AM

I don't know what steps un-partnering involves when dissolving a registered DP, but one can assume it is much less costly than a divorce. Even an amicable divorce is expensive, and while it's certainly less of a stigma today than it was in the past, there are still negative associations with the status of "divorcee." Like a stink of failure. Your name is forever linked with that person - my mom, despite being divorced for almost 20 years and not living at a residence she ever share with my father, still gets mail for him. Also, there are heterosexuals who don't like the religious connotation and role-identification of "marriage," and maybe don't want to be someone's "husband" or "wife," yet would like some of the benefits afforded by the new DP status. When does "common law" consideration take effect, seven years? So if you've been together for six years, you're out of luck? I'm not well-informed on this, so feel free to correct me. Still, it seems strange to restrict only young heteros from being DP'd. I'm not crying "entitlement," just saying there are reasons it might be logical to have that option.

Posted by Aislinn | April 30, 2007 11:47 AM

(Peeved e-mail from Sen. Ed Murray landing in my in-box in 1…2…3….)

HILARIOUS. Ed is a good guy but really needs to switch to decaf.

Posted by StrangerDanger | April 30, 2007 11:53 AM

The median condo price for 2006 was $289,950, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Not $250,000.

Posted by BB | April 30, 2007 11:55 AM
like marriage just isn't good enough for them. Fuck them!

Are you kidding me?

I can't speak for everyone who's concerned about this, but my (now) wife and I didn't want to get married because we don't particularly believe in marriage the way it's currently codified in the law. Part of the reason we don't believe in it is because queers can't do it and we didn't want to take part in a legal procedure that other Americans are barred from based on their orientation. So we got binding powers of attorney and all that other stuff. Then, about two years after we got power of attorneyed, she got into grad school in Europe and we ended up getting married so I could get a work permit when I went over there with her. But prior to that we were willing to boycott marriage until it was open to everyone. And if DPs were available to everyone, we'd probably think about switching for approximately the same set of reasons.

So hey, you know, fuck you too.

Posted by Judah | April 30, 2007 11:56 AM

DP for all hets should be available.

I'm looking forward to the day where the legal component of marriage is disconnected from the religious component. This should be the case here; it is in other countries.

If some church doesn't want to let me and my partner get married in their church, as long as its privately funded and has no tie to government or its dollars I say that's fine by me, just as an all gay church might not want to perform het marriages or the equivalent for whatever reason.

Civil unions and marriage from a civil standpoint should be available to all. A "domestic partnership" should also be available to all for the reasons outlined above.

I agree with Josh that it's lame we don't prop civil unions up on the table just like Oregon has. The leg has a pretty sizable majority. For the '08 elections, if the Dems continue to make gains those of us in the LGBT community must ask our legislators why they aren't addressing it more quickly.

Posted by Dave Coffman | April 30, 2007 11:58 AM

I don't know why our reps snooze on renters issues. I wrote Chopp an email on that one, didn't get so much as a form letter in response.

Posted by exelizabeth | April 30, 2007 12:05 PM

Milgard Windows & Allied Trade Group (which sells plumbing and lighting fixtures) are clients of Jamie's. Think they want a cap on condo conversions? Me neither.

Posted by DOUG. | April 30, 2007 12:06 PM

Josh seems to be suggesting that my coverage of Jamie Pedersen was... well, here's what Josh writes:

Eli’s coverage of Pedersen, which Pedersen used as a campaign hand out, is here.

Just to clarify: Josh was my editor at the time I wrote that piece. And when a local campaign consultant wrote him to ask whether Pedersen really deserved the attention he got in my piece, Josh wrote back:

First in a series on the election. Focus was on Jamie cuz the facts stand: He's got some early advantages. Namely cash and gay I.D. for Murray's seat. The intent was to make that point, but then set him up as simultaneously vulnerable with all the challengers. I believe the ending and Murray quote get at that.
Posted by Eli Sanders | April 30, 2007 12:09 PM

"And, annoyingly, the bill bars young het couples from getting domestic partnerships"

As a lesbian this REALLY annoys me. Marriage is a fucking civil contract you whining assholes, so get married if you want all those rights that my partner of 12 years and I can't have, and shut the fuck up already.

I am really irritated by this. There is no requirement at all to have a church wedding or a ceremony of any kind to get a marriage certificate if you are straight. You don't even have to tell anybody. You just go to the County clerk and pay your $50 and your done. You get all the rights and privileges (state AND federal -- like your spouses social security benefits when they die).

I really can't take straight people whining that they can't have domestic partnerships. Do you know how condescending that is? For crissake you fucking idiots get a damn clue.

Posted by Annoyed young homo | April 30, 2007 12:16 PM

It is worth noting that the condo conversion bill that Pedersen supported, which Josh notes was too progressive to pass anyway, would have effectively permitted cities to ban condo conversions. The bill eliminated the meager $500 cap on the assistance requirement for building owners to pay to low income people displaced by the conversions (the very people that the Seattle Displacement Coalition sought to protect), and permitted cities to determine the amount to be provided. Theoretically, Seattle could have passed an ordinance under the legislation that Pedersen supported requiring building owners to pay the displaced people $10,000; $20,000; or $100,000 - thus effectively stopping condo conversions. Ultimately, under the version supported by Pedersen or by the Coalition, the end result would have turned on the political will at the municipal level.

Posted by read the bill | April 30, 2007 12:27 PM
As a lesbian this REALLY annoys me. Marriage is a fucking civil contract you whining assholes, so get married if you want all those rights that my partner of 12 years and I can't have, and shut the fuck up already.

This comative tone is almost funny. Almost.

It's not exclusively a civil contract, and the way you can tell it's not exclusively a civil contract is that you and your partner of 12 years can't take part in it. You're allowed to enter into any other kind of valid civil contract, but not marriage. The only reason, to the extent that one is ever presented, that you're not allowed to take part in that contract is because you're queer. And the only reason for denying queer people legal rights is as a matter of religious doctrine.

Are the libertarians keeping you from getting married? Is big business conspiring to keep you from having rights because of some profit motive? No, and no. It's the religious extremists, stupid.

So straight people who believe in secular government have a compelling interest in the question of DPs.

Fuck sake, climb down off the cross and join the party; we're on the same side.

Posted by Judah | April 30, 2007 12:51 PM


Stupid no-spell-checker-having Microsoft browser.

Posted by Judah | April 30, 2007 12:55 PM

Marriage is a big jump.

We're young, we're modern, we're casual. We just want the few rights granted by a limited domestic partnership. (And then they'll grow as we grow! Ha ha ha!)

Serously, though. We want a DP.

Posted by Hey, We are young, hetero, and want a DP! | April 30, 2007 12:58 PM


Straight people who have the right to get married whining about wanting domestic partnerships is irratating and VERY condesending.

Hey, I'm glad you are on my side but you obviously don't get it. I have heard these tired ass arguments from straight people before and somehow you think you are 'on my side' and that we are buddies and all on this. Don't get me wrong. I am glad you will fight for my equal rights. BUT THIS ISN"T ABOUT STRAIGHT PEOPLE and how you are being wronged.

What the Washington State Leg did this year means something to gay people who are denied full and equal access under the law (state and federal rights) but it is VERY VERY FAR from getting even close to equal access. It is a step and I get that polically but it is NOT equal. Straight people CAN get a marriage license and you don't need to check in with a church, declare a religion or have a ceremony. You get the rights no matter. To whin about straight people not being able to get DP is just condescending and arrogant.

Posted by A.Y.H | April 30, 2007 1:07 PM

Social conservatives have long predicated that the fight for same-sex marriage would weaken the institution of marriage between heterosexuals. And if straights can get watered-down domestic partnerships, they'd be sadly right.

About condos: the more condos on the market, the lower the price. And that's a good thing, especially for renters looking to get into a starter property.

Posted by Econ 101 | April 30, 2007 1:09 PM

More condo's on the market does not necessarily mean lower prices. Take the next class for more information.

Posted by Econ 201 | April 30, 2007 1:13 PM

And prohibiting condo conversions or new development doesn't necessarily keep rents down.

Posted by Econ 301 | April 30, 2007 1:14 PM


More condos doesn't mean lower prices for rentals.
It just means less rentals. And, Econ 101, less rentals means higher prices for rentals. Duh.

Posted by Josh Feit | April 30, 2007 1:14 PM


Assuming that none of those former renters buy condos.

Posted by Econ 301 | April 30, 2007 1:21 PM

And , Straight young hetrosexuals who want domestic partnerships (and think they are 'gay-cool') should not be allowed to rent condos OR buy condos. They should all live in the tent city to show there comraderie with the homeless and donate their salaries to a benefit cooperative for old gay people who don't get their dead spouses social secuity benefits!

Posted by Econ 2040 | April 30, 2007 1:23 PM
BUT THIS ISN"T ABOUT STRAIGHT PEOPLE and how you are being wronged.

No, dumbass. It's about queers and how they are being religiously discriminated against in a country where the separation of church and state is built into our constitution. I have a stake in that discussion whether I'm queer or not. And you need me to have a stake in that discussion: queers make up something like 10% of the population. The only way queers get rights is if the rest of us believe that the conduct of our government towards queers and other minorities is everybody's problem.

The principle of a secular government is one of the moral foundations of American democracy. So the question of religious influence on the civil contract of marriage is a question that all Americans, queer, straight or other, need to deal with.


But if it makes you feel better, you just go ahead and keep thinking this is all about you. It honestly doesn't make a fucking bit of difference to me one way or the other. I was just making a point.

Posted by Judah | April 30, 2007 1:40 PM

Judah, My point is that currently, for straight people, you CAN get a marriage certificate with all the rights and privileges so why the hell do you also want domestic partnerships too.

Believe me, I understand where the discrimination is coming from on gay marriage / civil unions. I get the point about the foundations of a secular government. I understand who they enemy is and their religious basis for discrimination.

My only point is that straight people whining about not being granted domestic partnerships when they can go and get a stupid marriage license (in about 15 minutes and $50) is more than a little insensitive.

So there, you're a dumbass too. And, you think this is all about you. Nahnahnah!

Posted by A.Y.H | April 30, 2007 1:59 PM

Eli @12 - Josh said your Jamie puff piece would be one of a series ... but it wasn't, was it?

Posted by A series? | April 30, 2007 2:02 PM

I for one am indignant about the injustices that straight people are facing by being denied domestic partnerships. We should not be denied the same opporunities currently granted to gay people to get less rights under the law. I don't think it's fair that we should have to have ALL of those marriage rights if we don't want them.

It used to be that gay people always got better music and clothes, cooler dance clubs, and that big old parade but we finally put our foot down. It's time for straight people to fight for our desire to get less rights under the law.

Posted by Straight Power | April 30, 2007 2:07 PM


welcome back strangerdanger.

Posted by Jason B | April 30, 2007 2:37 PM

Just because a marriage license is easy to obtain and you can be legally married by a non-church official, that doesn't mean marriage as a concept is divorced from (sorry) religious connotations. As Judah has been saying, the reason "marriage" is being denied to homosexuals (and that there are people who say a "civil union" is alright, just don't call it "marriage," even if the benefits are identical) is because of all the religious associations tied up in that word. So, A.Y.H., just because we CAN get one, doesn't mean we necessarily should have to want one, if the "institution of marriage" isn't something we believe in. It is not condescending to acknowledge that DP's are "marriage-lite," that's just the facts, and especially coming from people who believe it is not enough and that we need to keep working until full marriage equality is available, I don't understand why that's offensive. How does it harm you if young heterosexuals say that some of us might prefer to have that option, as well?

Posted by Aislinn | April 30, 2007 2:50 PM

Judah, you're incredibly insensitive. You're whining about not being able to get a DP when you can get married. If you had more than a superficial sensitivity to what it's like to have your relationship devalued by society as a whole, you'd realize what an asshole you sound like when you whine about not having more choices about how society will recognize the legitimacy of your relationship and grant you all manner of rights. Boo hoo. There are religious connotations to the civil institution that protects your rights. At least you have them! And you are being horribly selfish. Once the battle for gay marriage is won, and we have equal rights, then would be an appropriate time for you to start agitating for even more straight rights.

Posted by Gitai | April 30, 2007 3:19 PM

Look, just go to BC, get married, then under NAFTA you're married.

How hard is that?

Posted by Will in Seattle | April 30, 2007 3:26 PM

Gitai: So because your problem is bigger, it's not okay to say that we have a small problem, too? That is incredibly silly logic. Is it not okay to talk about rebuilding Louisiana, because Iraq has more things to be rebuilt? I understand being frustrated by the fact that you're not receiving rights that you completely deserve, but you're taking that frustration out on the wrong people.

Posted by Aislinn | April 30, 2007 3:50 PM
Judah, you're incredibly insensitive. You're whining about not being able to get a DP when you can get married.

What the fuck are you talking about? People all over the country want queers deprived of all kinds of civil rights because they think homosexuality is either a perversion, a crime against god, or both— and you’re here climbing up my ass because I’m “insensitive” about my insistence on equal rights for all Americans? Remember that ad campaign, “Human rights, not special rights?” Well that’s my agenda. And here you come, fuckhead that you are, bitching about how my position that equal rights are a matter of principle in our democracy, is “insensitive”? Eat shit and die. If queers ever get full civil enfranchisement, it’ll definitely be in spite of people like you.

As to the question of my sensitivity or lack thereof—whatever, Maynard. You have no idea whatsoever what my background is or to what my experiences with gay rights are. I might lay it out for you if you were bringing anything to the table but, honestly, you’re just not worth the effort.

Posted by Judah | April 30, 2007 4:09 PM

@14: Interesting conspiracy theory, dude. But, the real reason the bill's drafters went after the $500 relocation cap was because it's an inadequate amount of money to pay for a move (a boost to $2,000, plus the removal of the requirement that renters be "low-income" would be a reasonable fix). And you really think the Seattle City Council is going to ban condo conversions? You're dreaming.

Posted by J.R. | April 30, 2007 4:32 PM

Aislinn, you don't have a fucking problem. No one is denying you any civil rights. A domestic partnership for you wouldn't be equal rights, it would be a special right. If heterosexual couples had been included, you'd get marriage, and domestic partnerships, while we queers would still be unable to marry.

As for Judah, your quest for a domestic partnership is pure academic wankery. You don't seem to get that for all your support, no one's questioning your right to get married, and you don't seem to get that the effect of this debate on you is peripheral at best. Quit trying to portray yourself as a martyr for gay rights because you put off marriage until it became too inconvenient for you. At least you had the fucking choice.

Posted by Gitai | April 30, 2007 7:26 PM

It's shit like this that makes me seriously question giving a shit what anyone wants period. if this is the way that straights who ostensibly support gay rights are treated, then what's the point? if this is how you treat people who are supportive of your position, then really why the fuck should I care? i won't vote against you, but i don't really feel like my support is welcomed or appreciated so... good luck with your crusade and all. i don't give a shit anymore what happens to you.

Posted by straight dude who wants to care | April 30, 2007 9:04 PM

If you ever actually cared about gays or their rights in the first place, then a comment thread on a blog wouldn't change your opinion.

Posted by Jon | April 30, 2007 9:23 PM

@37 This is how I react to anyone who's got it good and whines about it, from a friend in college who drove a Lexus and lived in a $300,000 house to straight people who can marry and gripe that they still don't have enough rights. Your comment makes you sound like an even bigger asshole though. "I don't like one person's viewpoint, so I'm going to withdraw support for an entire community." Shit, you sound like the racists I grew up with who'd gotten into one altercation with one black person and began using the n word with abandon.

Posted by Gitai | April 30, 2007 9:32 PM
Quit trying to portray yourself as a martyr for gay rights

And again, you have no idea what you're talking about. It'd be funny if it weren't so pitifully misguided.

This is how I react to anyone who's got it good and whines about it

And again: you're missing the point. My interest in getting a DP has nothing to do with the rights that may or may not be associated with it. I'm not looking for marriage light. I'm looking for marriage equal. I'm not whining about anything. The privileges I'm getting with my marriage work just fine for me. But as long as you can't get married, my marriage is built on some religious bullshit that I don't believe in or agree with.

And here's you, whining like a little bitch about how I "want your rights," like I'm somehow trying to elbow in on your persecution complex. What the fuck're you, like, 12 years old?

Posted by Judah | April 30, 2007 10:16 PM

Judah, I said you want more rights, and you are acting like a martyr for gay rights when you could have gotten married any time you wanted to. You stayed unmarried, making such a gallant sacrifice for us, and then you actually needed to get married, so you did. Some sacrifice. If you had sucked it up and applied for a separate work permit to join your girlfriend in Europe, I might be able to take you more seriously, but really, you only "toughed it out" until the price was too high. As it is, you still get all the rights of marriage, and you're still trying to act like you're persecuted in some manner. Just admit that you're part of the privileged majority, that you're looking for even further additional rights, and that any claim that your desire for a DP is equivalent to my desire for a marriage is so much tourism.

Posted by Gitai | April 30, 2007 10:30 PM

You mention the average price of new condoes is $250K, but do you have any idea what the average price of condos that had been converted from rental units is? Given that one bedroom condos on Capitol Hill and Bell Town go for about $500K is it possible that the rental condo conversions are the ones that are pulling the average down to $250K? Is it possible that these conversions are the only affordable real estate in the city? I think it would be worth while finding an answer to those questions.

Posted by Rod | May 1, 2007 7:48 AM
You stayed unmarried, making such a gallant sacrifice for us, and then you actually needed to get married, so you did. Some sacrifice.

I never claimed it was a sacrifice. Did I say I'd held off getting married in solidarity for all the poor queers who can't? No. That's not the point. I didn't not get married because I said I didn't get married because because I was dissatisfied with the religious overtones of the contract. Those overtones are demonstrated by the denial of marriage rights to queers. It could be the denial of marriage rights to Hindus, it'd rate about the same with me.

I've been saying all along that I'm the privileged majority. I'm perfectly aware of it, I'm not the least bit inclined to feel guilty about it, and I am in no way trying to "tour" your fucking ghetto.

As it is, you still get all the rights of marriage, and you're still trying to act like you're persecuted in some manner.

No, persecution is your trip, and you're projecting. I've never said I was persecuted. I've never even implied it; you're projecting your priorities onto me. And I have to say, it's one of the less endearing traits of Gen-X and Gen-Y queers that "persecution" is such a priority for them. They act like the comparatively little bit of shit they have to go through around being queer is some kind of badge of honor. I imagine it's because large numbers of them are from white middle class homes. After growing up with so much privilege, the shock of having anyone deny you anything just fries your delicate little circuit boards.

Good luck with that.

Posted by Judah | May 1, 2007 8:02 AM

Josh @ 22. Sorry, sir. It's "fewer".

Posted by Can I count it? | May 1, 2007 8:51 AM

Judah, Aislinn and other Straight Allies

By not treating marriage as what it is under the law - a simple civil contract - could you possibly be giving the religious undertones of legal marriage more credibility? By not taking advantage of marriage rights because some kooky theological zealots wrap it up in religious doctrine, you might just be lending credibility to them. And as you say and we would probably all agree, marriage is and should be seen under the laws of our country as a civil contract and a civil right. We probably need to spend some MORE energy defining the term ‘marriage’ as a CIVIL institution.

My deal w/ straight DP is that it is a distraction from the real issue of equality. I appreciate your support for me and my partner but I think it would do gay rights better if we all worked to get gay people full rights rather than spending time trying to get straight people access to the lesser rights associated with DP's. Gay people need either federal marriage or federal civil unions with ALL of the same legal rights. If you and Aislinn and other “Straights for Gay Rights” people want to help us in our fight then please do, because we need you. My guess is most of the gay people on this post would much rather have your help focused obtaining true equality.

What I tell my straight friends who say they won’t take advantage of marriage until gays can get married is this…We need our straight allies to be strong. Leaving all the additional advantages denied us, your gay friends, is a really nice gesture but don’t weaken yourself at my expense. I need you to be strong and denying yourself rights is not the best way to get there. Fighting for straight people to get access to something as institution that provides us with less than full and equal just seems like a diversion of resources, energy and focus.

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