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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Sally Clark Says I'm Trying to "Intimidate" the City Council

Posted by on Wed, Mar 20, 2013 at 1:09 PM

As you may recall, the Seattle City Council is considering a moratorium on building aPodments, a type of small, affordable rental that houses lots of tenants in what are essentially dorm rooms inside of town houses. They're popular, they produce affordable rents without any government subsidies, and they drive neighborhood homeowners nuts (poor people could live nearby!). Listening to those concerns, Council Member Tom Rasmussen has floated a freeze of their construction. I posted recently about why I disagree with Rasmussen, noting that he owns a large, expensive home in West Seattle, and followed up by asking every member of the council if they support a moratorium.

Most council members skirted the question, saying they hadn't seen a bill or they wanted to remain open to conversation, so I pressed harder on Council President Sally Clark (who also chaired the land use committee for several years):

From: Dominic Holden
Sent: Wednesday, March 13, 2013 9:33 AM
To: Clark, Sally
Subject: Backing a moratorium on aPodments

Are you supportive or opposed? Since the impact is unambiguous—either it freezes construction of them or doesn't—you don't need to see legislation first. So... yes or no?

Dominic Holden
News Editor, The Stranger

Clark, Sally wrote:

Hi, Dominic — Sorry. I breezed by this yesterday and didn't get back to you.

I heard you posted Rasmussen's home (a pic?). Did you really do that? Could that be taken as intimidation? I'm really not comfortable with the idea that we shouldn't discuss all the options. We may discard options through debate, but this thing about "don't even talk about it" is a little weird.

Council President Sally J. Clark

From: Dominic Holden
Sent: Thursday, March 14, 2013 6:09 PM
To: Clark, Sally
Cc: Rasmussen, Tom
Subject: Re: Backing a moratorium on aPodments

Hi, Sally.

Thanks for writing back.

First, nobody said "don't even talk about it" or that you "shouldn't discuss all the options." That's a straw man. I asked if you support a moratorium. You can discuss all the options while still opposing a moratorium. I'm sure there are many options you would oppose, like mandating them in single family housing zones, but you'd still be allowed to talk about it. You know this issue inside and out—I interviewed you about it four years ago—so it's reasonable to press you for a decisive, informed opinion. And it's reasonable to expect an answer without you trying to dodge this by pretending there's censorship at play. So do you support a moratorium?

Second, I posted a link to the online King County report for Tom's property, which includes a photo, but to say I posted a photo is false. Could that be taken as intimidation? No. That's preposterous. Tom's property info comes up with a quick Google search—it's readily accessible information online for any land owner, and an elected figure has no presumption of privacy of data that's already very public. Also, I didn't tell people to do anything threatening with that information—I posted it because it was relevant to the story. Tom was floating a freeze on a type of affordable housing; the fact that Tom lives in a big, expensive house with lovely water views is pertinent.


Clark, Sally wrote:

No, no. You should own that putting the link out there is intended to intimidate. It's intended to make Tom look like he doesn't care about or understand affordability.

Have I misconstrued these fb posts?

"What an unbelievable asshole. City council member Tom Rasmussen wants to freeze construction of affordable housing."

"Even considering a moratorium is nuts."

I think aPods/micros should go through streamlined design review and that we need to get our own house in order when it comes to counting units for the purpose of permitting and multi-family tax exemption. I'm working on how we get there. Interim regulations (moratorium isn't an accurate description) are one option, but they're a serious step and I'd want to be sure it's necessary. That's the best I can give you this week.

From: Dominic Holden
Date: March 19, 2013 5:40:03 PM PDT
To: "Clark, Sally"
Subject: Re: Backing a moratorium on aPodments

This is the decisive Sally Clark I wish we saw more.

But in this case, your bold advocacy is being used as a shield to deflect from a real policy discussion. Still, to address this distraction, there is no intimidation of anyone going on here. Tom's address is easily found online—it's not like there are a lot of Tom Rasmussens running around—and the internet where people read about his home, on our blog, is the same internet where it's easy for anyone to pull up a property report. His property is also relevant, as the man considering a bill to freeze aPodment construction, because it concerns the size of people's homes, their income, and how much they pay for that home.

You quoted a few comments on my Facebook page—those aren't on Slog, but if you want to bring those up, I stand behind them. I said Tom was being an asshole because I think he was being an asshole. He was floating a moratorium on a popular form of affordable housing. Honestly.

You're now defending him using an intellectually dishonest attempt at deflection, trying to pose city council members as the victims. You're not a victim—you make a huge salary and you make decisions that affect a half-million people, but when someone criticizes you, you put on a victimhood performance as ironic as priests in the Catholic Church.

But unlike altar boys and people who do business before your dais, not everyone is going to genuflect. You're dodging a simple question—if you support a moratorium, an unambiguous policy position—by saying you're remaining open minded. You can be open minded and you can have a conversation about your options, but you can also put a limit on how far you're willing to go. You wouldn't support a ban all construction in moneyed South Lake Union, right? Then you can oppose a moratorium.

I just wish you could be half as bold when it comes to housing the poor as sending an e-mail.


Call me a dick if you want for linking to Rasmussen's property report or butting heads with Clark, but the nonprofits that represent low-income tenants are often too overworked to fight these fights. Moreover, they usually need to preserve relationships with council members (for future funding) and aren't willing to be so blunt. So yeah, I'm being kinda dickish here because I think someone needs to be.

In my campaign of dickishness, I assigned trusty news intern Ben Steiner to help me get their positions on the record. Rasmussen needs seven votes to pass an emergency bill. If three council members are opposed, his moratorium is dead. So I wondered if thee council members would have the guts that Clark, Licata, Burgess lack. Of course, some council members were equally squirrelly: Champion of the Poor Nick Licata weaseled out twice when asked if he would oppose a moratorium; so did Council Member Tim Burgess.

But not every council member was so evasive.

Council Member Richard Conlin opposes a moratorium, he said in this e-mail:

I do not support a moratorium. There are some land use code changes that are needed to ensure that micro units are covered in the city's regulatory system but we can accomplish that through the normal land use code legislative process.

Councilmember Richard Conlin

Council Member Mike O'Brien's opposition was equally clear:

I do not support a moratorium on the private development of affordable housing. At a time when the city is struggling to meet its affordable housing goals, private development that is helping fill a housing need is a good thing. I think there are some legitimate concerns about the process, but I also think we can make some reasonable fixes to our zoning and design codes to address those concerns. I encourage DPD to get to work right away to develop some options for Council to consider in the very near future.

Council Member Bruce Harrell was opposed to a moratorium, but he left wiggle room:

If a moratorium were presented tomorrow, I would not support it. I have supported moratoriums in the past, as have everyone else here when compelling arguments have been made but I have heard no such arguments in this matter; heck, there isn't even any paperwork on this issue. I have heard anecdotally there were something like 40 developments being planned and the parking issue seems to drive concerns from those opposing them (which I have not) but that in and of itself does not support a moratorium and I have publicly stated my support for all kinds of affordable housing, including these types of dwelling units, even though many may find them undesirable. The fact is, these units provide valuable affordable housing for an important segment of our population.

Kudos to Conlin and O'Brien for having the guts to defend poor renters (and a kudos—with caveats—to a slightly less gutsy Harrell).

I hope that the council has a thorough conversation about aPodments—do they need administrative review from the city, should neighbors be notified, should there be a comment procedure?—because that is a valid conversation to have. But in the meantime, Rasmussen's repugnant moratorium appears dead.


Comments (55) RSS

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Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 1
Dominc Holden? Intimidation? Why I never!

Other than various times you published lists of names and addresses of people you disagree with. One time it was Eastside Republicans, right? Now it's a council member's home. It's not like Sally Clark pulled this right out of thin air.

So. You know. Shoe fits, right?
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn on March 20, 2013 at 1:22 PM · Report this
sally knows the stranger is a front for the right-wing national chamber of commerce. i tell people that every day right in front of dominic. fuck dominic.
Posted by tim koch on March 20, 2013 at 1:25 PM · Report this
TVDinner 3
This is advocacy journalism at its best and most controversial, Dominic. Good on ya for taking some of the heat as you hold their feet up to the fire. Someone needs to.
Posted by TVDinner http:// on March 20, 2013 at 1:28 PM · Report this
Sean Kinney 4
I support your stance regarding aPodments generally but I think publishing emails is unnecessary. Sally Clark is a public figure, yes, but there is the presumption - at least there should be - that two people engaged in peer-to-peer email communication should expect that what is said cannot be posted, verbatim, in the Slog.

You could have paraphrased this, or selectively quoted relevant points [and yes... paraphrasing Ms. Clark - who has no clear policy position other than a commitment to procedural best-practices - is a grim exercise.

Still this seems like a pretty clear invasion of privacy.
Posted by Sean Kinney http:// on March 20, 2013 at 1:30 PM · Report this
pfffter 5
Okay, you're a dick.
Posted by pfffter on March 20, 2013 at 1:33 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 6
What @2 said.

Remember, the concept that waterfront properties near a lake near a landmark icon would go up in value and be developed to 20-40 stories is just so unusual that it has never ever happened in any major city, other than in 100 percent of them.
Posted by Will in Seattle on March 20, 2013 at 1:34 PM · Report this
"Advocacy journalism" for apodments. I think good old-fashioned "whoring" is more accurate.
Posted by Unbrainwashed on March 20, 2013 at 1:37 PM · Report this
Dominic Holden 8
@4) A public official writing from a city e-mail account is a public record; it isn't a private communication. She was even sending it to a reporter who was asking for her position on the record.
Posted by Dominic Holden on March 20, 2013 at 1:37 PM · Report this
I wouldn't have been as confrontational with Clark, who was stonewalling you. (And Nick! Of all people! I'm so disappointed.) But good for you for picking up this flag... because no other news outlet is. I know Citizens United has sold our democracy to the highest bidder, but this specious argument to block affordable housing is disgraceful. I'm particularly surprised that Licata supports it, or at least doesn't oppose it. (Come on, man! Am I missing something?) How many times have I voted for him?

But I wouldn't say the moratorium is dead with much confidence. There's still time for rich NIMBYs to finagle and buy the support they need.

I'm willing to give Conlin my vote just over this.
Posted by floater on March 20, 2013 at 1:43 PM · Report this
watchout5 10
Dominic Holden. Valiant slayer of the pure and innocent Seattle city council. Good for Clark for sticking up for her positions, oh wait, she didn't do that.
Posted by watchout5 on March 20, 2013 at 1:44 PM · Report this
Sean Kinney 11
@8. You can do this, but should you? There is an ethical question of how journalism should proceed, and an a question of editorial judgement.

It's just tacky. The statements within the email are fair game, but this whole presentation is a cheap shot.

I'm old. Sorry.
Posted by Sean Kinney http:// on March 20, 2013 at 1:50 PM · Report this
Big Sven 12
Dom- her point is that posting pictures of Rasmussen's home and his address is a dick move. And she's right. You're encouraging people to go to his house, which is a shitty thing to do to an elected official.

Didn't you guys get in trouble for this a couple of years ago?
Posted by Big Sven on March 20, 2013 at 1:51 PM · Report this
"No, no. You should own that putting the link out there is intended to intimidate. It's intended to make Tom look like he doesn't care about or understand affordability. "

Um, what? "Intimidation" means threatening to cause real and tangible harm, like trying to get someone to throw a rock through his window. Trying to reduce his job security by making him look out-of-touch is normal contact-sport politics and if Sally Clark can't handle that, she shouldn't be in politics. Seriously, what a baby.
Posted by I have always been... east coaster on March 20, 2013 at 1:51 PM · Report this
TheMisanthrope 14
This is not a popular form of affordable housing. This is a form of housing that is affordable, and that appeals to a certain segment of the population while ignoring others.

It's nice to hear you rally on for the kind-of poor young single up-and-comers (which is really who this housing is for), but how about some housing for the actual working poor families? Advocacy for this type of housing will eventually ignore the true type of housing, even if it is a 1 or 2 bedroom apt, that needs to be built.
Posted by TheMisanthrope on March 20, 2013 at 2:01 PM · Report this
I find it offensive that people find it offensive when politicians are pushed to answer questions.
Posted by politickling on March 20, 2013 at 2:10 PM · Report this
Fnarf 16
It seems to me that it is Clark, not Dom, who is saying "we shouldn't discuss all the options". She's discussing discussing the options, which isn't the same thing at all. She appears to be bending over backwards to avoid even mentioning apodments, and don't think it's because she's an aficionado of attractive language.

@14's got a point, though. Apodments make life easier for single young people trying to stretch out that dorm lifestyle another few years. But they do nothing at all for the people who are really fucked in this city and in this economy: people with low or even medium incomes. But then, neither does anything else; it's off to Auburn you go.
Posted by Fnarf on March 20, 2013 at 2:11 PM · Report this
Sean Kinney 17
@15. Which is a misreading of the various criticism leveled here. Is it up for debate that said Council President is not a strategic communications bot?
Posted by Sean Kinney http:// on March 20, 2013 at 2:16 PM · Report this
Dominic, No you are not being anything but a reporter exposing the Truth and not trying covering it up.
I have heard and seen so much passive aggressive double talk brought on by the City's elected and City appointed committees and commissions and City department agencies it would gag a maggot.
I have lots of e-mails to and from the City Council members and the former and present mayor that might trump the run around non answers you are receiving from our "stellar" elected and appointed ones.
And yes anything written to you and/or from anyone is a Public Document. I was thought this at a convention by the WA State Coalition For Open Government. Heck you can even Google a low income housing agency's apartment building(s) name and/or the address and get the Bed Bug Report(s) for said building(s).
You keep up the good work of reporting and digging for the Truth, as there are not many like you out there and I know it is a tough job and sometimes, as I received, Retaliation and Harassment.
I was finally told by someone within the City "it is what it is, just forget it" What a thing to say and attitude to have.
Posted by Gray Panther on March 20, 2013 at 2:20 PM · Report this
bleedingheartlibertarian 19
Bad stenographer! No cookie for you!
Posted by bleedingheartlibertarian on March 20, 2013 at 2:23 PM · Report this
TomJohnsonJr 20
I admire the needling very much! Reminds me of many a family reunion. Is it right to say that support for apodments makes other affordable housing less likely to be built?
Posted by TomJohnsonJr on March 20, 2013 at 2:32 PM · Report this
Being dickish in the face of power is sometimes all we have.

Keep up the good work.
Posted by Brooklyn Reader on March 20, 2013 at 2:44 PM · Report this
Kudos to you, Dom.
Posted by UberAlles on March 20, 2013 at 2:54 PM · Report this
I wish Conlin were running for mayor. He seems to understand these issues better than the other folks (O'Brien excepted). Even if you disagree with Conlin on an issue, he lays it out there. Most of the council is weak and wishy-washy. I wish they would just come out and say "Yes, it will increase the rental costs for the people in the area, and that will indeed trickle through the rest of the city, but parking is important. We don't want too many people living in one area unless the builder provides plenty of parking."

By the way, that is really what this is all about. The exact same building can be built with fewer units and no one complains. Somehow building a unit with 7 kitchens and 30 apartments is taking advantage of a loophole. But building the same building with 7 really big units is OK. No review, no parking requirement, just build it.
Posted by Ross on March 20, 2013 at 2:57 PM · Report this
fletc3her 24
It sounds like the city council member is trying to intimidate the reporter to me.
Posted by fletc3her on March 20, 2013 at 2:57 PM · Report this
I've hated Sally Clark and her pandering since day one. Pro-affordability my ass. I work at a housing non-profit. Apodments are great-- they build affordable housing WITHOUT public money. Let a thousand Apodments bloom.

I normally hate Conlin too, but for once he's right, so credit where it's due. Thank you Conlin, O'Brien, and Harrell.
Posted by fix the process if you must, but not the outcome on March 20, 2013 at 3:32 PM · Report this
@4) A public official writing from a city e-mail account is a public record; it isn't a private communication. She was even sending it to a reporter who was asking for her position on the record.

How little respect for your readers do you have, Dominic? That's complete and utter bullshit.
Posted by fetish on March 20, 2013 at 3:49 PM · Report this
Dominic Holden 27
@26) What part is inaccurate?
Posted by Dominic Holden on March 20, 2013 at 4:05 PM · Report this
@2 This is not advocacy journalism at its best. This is, at best, sandbox bullying. The problem is that Dominic doesn't know the difference. Particularly when it comes to City Council.

A reporter shouldn't have to stoop to name calling and intimidation to get a story or a quote. There's muckraking and then there's falling back on schoolyard tactics. Unfortunately I think we're looking at the latter.
Posted by M. Wells on March 20, 2013 at 4:22 PM · Report this
Good for you Dominic!

13...completely agree.
Posted by darling unicorn on March 20, 2013 at 4:24 PM · Report this
raindrop 30
I prefer to have those firetraps egg carton pods out of my neighborhood. Peace and serenity is why folks move the 'bedroom' communities away from the riffraff, loud rock concert block parties, pit bulls, and meth heads.
Posted by raindrop on March 20, 2013 at 4:44 PM · Report this
@26 You are wrong, wrong, wrong.
I worked for the city of Seattle for years. We were constantly reminded that anything produced on a city computer is public; ergo, never write anything that you wouldn't want showing up in the newspaper (or some blog). I'm sure Sally Clark is well aware of that little rule of thumb.
Posted by crone on March 20, 2013 at 4:46 PM · Report this
@27 anyone with a brain can see that 1) it sure is meant to be intimidating to post a picture of a persons house - public figure or not and 2) the e-mail conversation was indeed personal - from an official account or not. Arguing otherwise is to spit in [our] faces.
Posted by fetish on March 20, 2013 at 4:49 PM · Report this
@32: There's no doubt the emails (as well as the property records) are public records.

Which doesn't mean it's not a dick move to publish them like a petulant little schoolboy who can't get his way.
Posted by bigyaz on March 20, 2013 at 5:16 PM · Report this
Dominic Holden 34
@32) You're wrong again. I didn't post a photo--read the post--I linked to a property report that was already online.

@33) I do hate it when I don't get my way... but weirdly, it looks like the moratorium is dead, so this isn't one of those times.
Posted by Dominic Holden on March 20, 2013 at 5:35 PM · Report this
raindrop 35
Dominic - just because information is freely available on the Internet doesn't absolve a reporter from reporting on that information ethically which means respecting privacy and in ways that you yourself would want to be treated.
Posted by raindrop on March 20, 2013 at 5:54 PM · Report this
Honestly, in a city where there is a serious shortage of housing inventory, I can't believe that the council continues to attempt to block anything that might begin addressing the housing shortage. The moratorium on the mother-in-law apartments was incredibly short sighted, and even if you personally would not want to live in one, doing the same to the aPodments is not the answer. We live in a desirable city and the only solution to keep it so is not to keep people out, but to increase the housing stock (of all types!) to allow more people to benefit from living in a vibrant city.
Posted by eweb on March 20, 2013 at 6:11 PM · Report this
thatsnotright 37
@27 Sorry, but Dom is right about the public nature of city and state employees' email accounts. There is no nice/not nice about it. City and state employee email is subject to access upon request by any citizen. Clark knows the law and she knows that when talking to Dom, online or off she is performing her public service job publicly.
Posted by thatsnotright on March 20, 2013 at 6:34 PM · Report this
TomJohnsonJr 38
Clark should be glad there are a few reporters still working who care enough to engage on this stuff. I hope she realizes how rare and lucky it is to have someone always poking at you to do better, to live up to your promise. Who isn't your mother.
Posted by TomJohnsonJr on March 20, 2013 at 6:49 PM · Report this
Although I love this paper, this is a prime example of how The Stranger has become more and more like a lobbying firm, and less and less like a news organization. It is unfortunate, because some very good reporting happens at The Stranger, but using the paper (any newspaper) as a way to push an agenda is wrong.

That is what Fox News does.

Give us objective journalism and report on the issue, not just on what elements of the issue serves your own political agenda. And BTW, I am on your side on the apodment issue...
Posted by scratchmaster joe on March 20, 2013 at 7:04 PM · Report this
bleedingheartlibertarian 40
The only journalists with an ethical obligation to be objective are those that claim to be objective. If any of The Stranger's staff have ever made such a claim, it would be news to me.
Posted by bleedingheartlibertarian on March 20, 2013 at 7:21 PM · Report this
Free Lunch 41
Dominic -

Without the link, your article would have read "...according to King County property records, they own a house valued near $1 million." Source cited and everything.

If your aim wasn't to intimidate, wouldn't that text WITHOUT the link have made the exact point that you claim over and over was your only intention?

That you respond with pearl-clutching shock that anyone would construe as intimidation publishing the address and photo of someone's HOME makes you look ridiculously dense or completely disingenuous.

And then splitting hairs between linking and publishing - and THEN equating publishing the link to readers Googling it themselves (LOL!) - doesn't make your claim look any less ridiculous.

You fucked up, Dominic. Just own it, and maybe actually learn a lesson this time around.
Posted by Free Lunch on March 20, 2013 at 7:24 PM · Report this
raindrop 42
I feel compelled to redress my flippant retort in @30.

Zoning is key. Having apodments sandwiched between two single houses, or even w/mother-in-laws, will torpedo those adjacent house values, or let's just say risk depreciating them.
Now, you can say "oh boo hoo" on those homeowners all you want, but it doesn't negate their loss on a very sizable investment they worked their whole lives for.
A better zoning would be to restrict apodments to blocks of their own or flanked not by homes, but by trendy shops and boutiques. That's making a win-win situation!
Posted by raindrop on March 20, 2013 at 7:51 PM · Report this
Apodments = housing for college educated white middle class hipsters going boheme for a few years who don't want to live in affordable housing near actual colored people but in a cool 'hood filled with other white hipsters.
Posted by Apodments = stuff white people like on March 20, 2013 at 8:19 PM · Report this

If it is clearly not intimidating to post a link with information regarding the address and picture of a person's place of residence, then perhaps you could quiet those in disagreement by posting a link that leads to your home address and a picture of your residence.

If you do that, then you trump everyone, and if you don't, you not only confirm that it is threatening, but come off looking cowardly to boot.

I'll up the ante, I'll post mine if you post yours... Email me if you accept the challenge. I've made enough unpopular comments here over the years (and will for years to come) that posting my address could actually result in real harm, so I know where my offer lands me. And I'll write an open apology to you, retracting all my statements and agreeing with you wholeheartedly, just to sweeten the pot.
Posted by scratchmaster joe on March 20, 2013 at 8:38 PM · Report this
raindrop 45
All in all, Dominic has the ingredients and passion for a splendid career as a reporter, investigator, or wherever he directs his passion.
He just needs to, step back and pause, and look before he leaps.
Posted by raindrop on March 20, 2013 at 10:42 PM · Report this
This is solid stuff.

Yes, you send email from an email address, and it's public. I honestly think all publicly available data should be publicly available instantly - it could be a lot cheaper to make public information ALWAYS public than to have to issue public disclosure requests, anyway.

Clark's attempt to pivot to a nonsense issue is telling. She shouldn't support a moratorium - or even design review - on apodments, because she herself knows that design review adds cost to units. The multifamily code update she helped with created "a new streamlined administrative design review process for townhouses" because design review is too expensive for smaller buildings.

This moratorium flies in the face of her values, but she refuses to take a stand against it - why?
Posted by Ben Schiendelman on March 21, 2013 at 8:03 AM · Report this
Ultimately, your story is a failure. You can tell that from the remarks above. If you had taken the time to report it accurately - even from a point of view, rather than outright opinion - you might have sold your idea. The mistake was in not winnowing things down, quoting from the emails and coming to conclusions. Instead you lazily posted the complete emails and didn't make your point clear, leaving you open to justified criticism and allowing readers to wander away in discussions about use of the email and whether the story was done correctly. The news editor needs a news editor.
Posted by menace2society on March 21, 2013 at 9:11 AM · Report this
Back to the issue, I think its a farce to present a POD ments as affordable housing. As a single mother who lives paycheck to paycheck (Two paychecks a month: one paycheck pays for daycare, and one paycheck pays for rent, the rest of my expenses are handled by second jobs or movin money around, huslin'), I really dont care for the idea that my affordable housing option is going to be a little box somewhere. That little box being the 'affordable' option, driving up the prices of the other affordable options that actually have ROOMS and a kitchen and bathroom and such. NO THANK YOU. Every time something gets scaled down and presented as affordable, it makes the prices of everything else SKYROCKET. Its the 'let them eat cake' of housing and I DONT LIKE IT.
Posted by AllTorso on March 21, 2013 at 10:01 AM · Report this
Apodments are a huge profit drive for developers...
Posted by fredpajorden on March 21, 2013 at 10:21 AM · Report this
Oh shut up #48. It's not about making your life easier. It's about developers and their profits.
Posted by Unbrainwashed on March 21, 2013 at 10:44 AM · Report this
Posted by AllTorso on March 21, 2013 at 11:08 AM · Report this
Dominic and the posters who say "the emails are public info from" so no foul don't understand the difference between rules and ethics. All behavior that follows 'the rules' is not ethical. Dominic agreed as much when he says his behavior is "dickish." Acting like a prick in public also undermines both his credibility as a journalist as well as his ability to influence elected representatives and voters.

I agree with the posters pointing out that apodments are not affordable housing beyond a very specific demographic (@16: "single young people trying to stretch out that dorm lifestyle another few years"). And building rooming houses serves the interests of the money makers far more than any need to increase housing available to most lower income people.

p.s. I am not a huge fan of Sally Clark's conflict avoidance, nor do I think Tom Rasmussen's call for a moratorium is productive. The only way that would work is if he had an ordinance drafted and lined up the necessary votes first.
Posted by TobyinFremont on March 21, 2013 at 1:22 PM · Report this
Ethically speaking, all email from public officials is public record, and should be posted online instantly when it's sent. Anything else is a barrier to public knowledge.
Posted by Ben Schiendelman on March 22, 2013 at 10:54 AM · Report this
Fenrox 54
@Dominic, people in Seattle are the worst, thank you for constantly making everything better. Reading these comments is sad, like coming out in HS and realizing that the only gay group is also a huge racist group.
Posted by Fenrox on March 22, 2013 at 11:32 AM · Report this
Ben @ 53: I am an ardent supporter of the state's Public Disclosure Act (I use it a lot), and oppose efforts by municipalities to weaken it. But your suggestion is absurd. How about we make them scan every piece of paper they produce (same day!) and put them on the big PDA server in the cloud? If not all employees, just elected officials? Wire them up like we should with cops on duty? Talk about a burden on local governments; imagine the huffing and puffing against PDA in Olympia if your suggestion were implemented. Not to speak of the destruction of email as a communication tool.

Not only is your suggestion unworkable but your post proves my point about the difficulty many people have distinguishing between ethics and law. Compare with "Legally speaking, all email from public officials is a public record..."
Posted by TobyinFremont on March 22, 2013 at 3:23 PM · Report this

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