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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Tuesday Morning News

Posted by on Tue, May 20, 2014 at 9:00 AM

Martial Law Declared in Thailand: Interim prime minister Niwatthamrong Boonsongpaisan has dispatched troops and called for an August 3 election after months of protests. Quartz reports, "The military has deployed armed soldiers at key intersections, shopping malls, protest sites, and TV stations, but the mood is calm, with bystanders taking pictures at the barricades."

Why Would Anyone Listen to Anti-Housing Activists? Seattle NIMBYs packed City Hall last night to protest small, affordable apartments.

When Society Could Collapse: Independent researchers, working with NASA funds, found that "global industrial civilisation could collapse in coming decades due to unsustainable resource exploitation and increasingly unequal wealth distribution," the Guardian reports.

Let's Be Done With This: Macklemore had no idea he was dressed up as a Nazi caricature of a Jew and he's supes dupes sorry.

Another Way to Save Metro Bus Service: A proposal from two Seattle City Council members would bring back the so-called Head Tax, which charges businesses a fee for employees.

Fuckin' Bears, Man: "A woman out jogging in Alaska was attacked by a brown bear but managed to stagger, bleeding, for three kilometres to find help."

Just Amazing Journalism: NPR investigates the trend of counties paying for their expenses by charging defendants for everything from warrants to thousands of dollars for their own public defenders (who are supposed to be provided for free to those who can't afford counsel). And when they can't pay? They must serve another jail sentence. Long story short: The poor in America are getting jailed twice—once for their crimes and a second time for being poor. It's criminal and the investigation begins right here in Benton County, Washington. This is a must-listen:

Today's Primary Could Hurt the Tea Party: Lots of primaries today, including Kentucky, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Arkansas, and Idaho. NBC says the Republican establishment will prevail.

Microsoft: Will release another tablet thing in its losing war against Apple.

If You Have to "Go On the Offense" a Week Late, You're Losing the Debate, Bro: New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger is apparently trying to "seize control" of the narrative over firing executive editor Jill Abramson last week by giving interviews and saying "a lot of what’s out there is untrue,” Politico reports.


Comments (40) RSS

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TheMisanthrope 1
"Small affordable apartments" = Apodments = Overpriced closets driving up rent for real apartments

Dominic, you're such a fucking shill.
Posted by TheMisanthrope on May 20, 2014 at 9:24 AM · Report this
dnt trust me 2
Not being all that familiar with this Macklamore guy before two days ago, all I can say is if someone apologizes with 'supes dupes', they must be a supa fly ok person.
Posted by dnt trust me on May 20, 2014 at 9:29 AM · Report this
delirian 4
Alaska is one of those places where you legitimately have a need to carry a gun (as well as bear mace). I wouldn't do shit out in the wilds in Alaska without being armed.
Posted by delirian on May 20, 2014 at 9:36 AM · Report this

Citation for your assertion, please.
Posted by COMTE on May 20, 2014 at 9:40 AM · Report this
Everyone be sure to study up on your racist stereotypes, you don't want to be the only one not stoning the racist do you???? Ignorance of what racists think Jews look like is no excuse! Be more racist to be less racist! It all adds up!
Posted by peskypoop on May 20, 2014 at 9:46 AM · Report this
Owning a house in Seattle automatically makes you a NIMBY? C'mon, Dominic. (Also, most of us started out as renters so it's not like most people have not experienced both things.)

As for that poor woman in Alaska, as Stephen Colbert says, the number one threat to us is...bears.
Posted by westello on May 20, 2014 at 9:59 AM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 8
I'm really hoping the teabaggers do well today. Every time they open their mouths, the stupid rolls out. But maybe, just maybe, losing today will piss them off enough to start a real fight. Cry's of " Rhino conspiracy" could be very entertaining as well.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on May 20, 2014 at 10:02 AM · Report this
Kind of sucks that Macklemore had to apologize because his Phineas Freak costume, when looked at in a certain perspective was found "offensive"

Posted by Arturo Bandini on May 20, 2014 at 10:09 AM · Report this
TheMisanthrope 11
@5 Method 1: Most news sources like Seattle Times use statistics like "average rent" which includes Apodments' overly expensive closets. This prevents people from knowing how much rent has actually jumped in recent times since they're normally built en masse and have a fairly decent lowering effect.

Method 2: Apodments' rent have been going up. Back in 2009, rent for Apodments were at $550. In the five years since Dominic first started shilling, rent at that building has gone up $65/mth, and rent at Calhoun's new property have been well over 30% more. This sets a baseline for what other landlords of real apartments can charge to scalp renters. Hey, if a closet can change $750/mth, a studio can be $1000! Market value!

Method 3: By keeping the average rent down, the volume for the outrage over the rent crisis that started right as the economy down turned has also been kept down. Only recently has there been a huge outcry over rising rents, and it is too late to do anything to bring rents back down to affordable levels. Rent regulation needed to start years ago, but because the average rent remained artificially low (see method 1), nobody noticed until now.
Posted by TheMisanthrope on May 20, 2014 at 10:35 AM · Report this
Sean Kinney 12
Density is a necessity. Stay with friends in NYC if you have the opportunity - compared to sharing a tiny apartment with three other overworked stress balls, apodments seem rather luxurious. Having been on both sides of the having tons of shit/having minimal shit divide, I don't think the having tons of shit is a good thing in of itself.
Posted by Sean Kinney http:// on May 20, 2014 at 10:36 AM · Report this
Some other idiot (Jewish) claims he was horrified --- in writing a piece in Der Stranger --- about this rapper's costume --- oh grow the bloody fuck up!

First of all, if he wants to be horrified by anything non-trivial, how's about being horrified that international war criminal, Henry Kissinger, has yet to stand trial!

How's about being horrified at the number of super-criminals who are Jewish and involved with the Global Economic Meltdown! (Robert Rubin, Arthur Levitt, Larry Summers, Neal Wolin, Lloyd Blankfein (Geithner's half-Jewish, so can't count him, and Jamie Dimon is a stinking Greek, as is Peter G. Peterson).

All these so-called professional Jewish whiners make real Jewish-American non-retards look bad --- or extremely sane by comparison!

(Hardly a day goes by when someone, somewhere, completely represents the experiments of the great Jewish-American psychologist researcher, Stanley Milgram (who sadly passed away at a relatively young age), and most of those idiot detractors are Jewish-Americans. For shame!)

This is all so much ado about nothing! There are far more important matters at hand, like understanding Thai politics with its many layers (oligarchs>>>royal family>>>politicians and their thugs, etc., read John Burdett for a better understanding, and his books are pretty good, also).

Or this, a piece that sensationalist Paul Constant would never mention:

Posted by sgt_doom on May 20, 2014 at 10:44 AM · Report this
raindrop 14
@12: The objective is to not make Seattle like New York City. One NYC per planet is sufficient.
Posted by raindrop on May 20, 2014 at 10:46 AM · Report this
Anne18 15
Dom - While I'm really, really for affordable housing and don't think banning apodments will solve the NIMBY's concerns about the drastic change in their neighborhood, I wish you wouldn't be so glib about the whole thing.

As a Ballard resident, I've watched landmarks like the Viking disappear, along with my semi-afffordable rent, and feel I'm slowly being pushed out as well. I'm not in a point in my life where I could live in an apodment and if my rent goes up again I'll have to move. I think the NIMBY's frustration is misdirected, but it's very real.

Apodments are an incomplete part of the solution towards the problem of affordable housing. I wish The Stranger would delve deeper and champion other solutions as well.

Posted by Anne18 on May 20, 2014 at 10:50 AM · Report this
What A Jackhole! ! !

[Column #3, The Shell Game]

Within the last 48 hours Credit Suisse pleaded guilty to the tax evasion business (helping clients avoid taxation in America) and will be fined over $2 billion, with the outcome that their stock shot upwards, increasing the valuation of that bank.

Now why would this be? Because they refused to identify any of those American citizens who used their banking services to avoid paying taxes, that is why!

Now Credit Suisse will write off that penalty as a loss, probably spread over several years, shifting the bulk, if not all, of that tax writeoff, to the USA.

So the American tax base, the American taxpayers, get shafted twice:

first by the rich and the super-rich not paying any taxes, and

secondly by the loss of the penalty from the tax base when Credit Suisse deducts it!

[Now, people will claim this is not so, but be sure and respond to them that they will only be believed if the all the financial records, financial statements and SEC filings of Credit Suisse are made public!]

What A Jackhole! ! !

Posted by sgt_doom on May 20, 2014 at 10:52 AM · Report this
@13 correction:

"..when someone, somewhere, completely represents the experiments .."

Sorry that should have been,

"..when someone, somewhere, completely misrepresents the experiments .."
Posted by sgt_doom on May 20, 2014 at 10:55 AM · Report this

Here's the real problem with housing:…

All the tech jobs in two counties.

Spread the more "Seattles" -- Yakima, Tri-Cities, Spokane.

It's already happening!
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on May 20, 2014 at 11:02 AM · Report this
Dominic Holden 19
@15) That's a straw man. The Stranger has written extensively about other ways to make housing more affordable.
Posted by Dominic Holden on May 20, 2014 at 11:11 AM · Report this
keshmeshi 20
Good on Macklemore for apologizing, especially since the idiot "you're a bigot for acknowledging bigotry" contingent has been out in full force.
Posted by keshmeshi on May 20, 2014 at 11:17 AM · Report this
keshmeshi 21

You also claimed that you supported aPodments being regulated and being put up for design review (like any other multifamily housing in this city). And yet your blurb yesterday made it clear that you're hostile to any regulation. So which is it?
Posted by keshmeshi on May 20, 2014 at 11:19 AM · Report this
venomlash 22
@13: You've been talking to Juche at the weekly Batshit SLOG Knuckleheads Association meetings, haven't you?
Posted by venomlash on May 20, 2014 at 11:25 AM · Report this
Dominic Holden 23
@21) I don't believe I said that I'm hostile to any regulation, actually.
Posted by Dominic Holden on May 20, 2014 at 11:28 AM · Report this
laterite 24
I'm no MS fanboi but that Surface 3 Pro looks pretty legit. The Surface 2 was a vast improvement over the original version, and this will be a leap over that. Even with superior market share, Apple is treading water with the iPad, and the various Android tablets run from cheesy to OK. The Surface is somewhere between tablets, which are mostly still used for casual content consumption, and a full-fledged laptop.
Posted by laterite on May 20, 2014 at 11:35 AM · Report this
mikethehammer 25
Pennsylvania judge just ruled unconstitutional on same sex marriage ban...
Posted by mikethehammer on May 20, 2014 at 11:40 AM · Report this
roddy 26
Thanks for posting the link to the debtors incarceration story in Benton County. But one thing didn't make sense, how can it make economic sense to incarcerate someone at $65/day for court fees and other costs? How much, if at all, do you suppose the state is subsidizing the county for incarcerating their "debtors"?
Posted by roddy on May 20, 2014 at 11:42 AM · Report this
raindrop 27
@19: Well then, do your job - provide a list of links.
Posted by raindrop on May 20, 2014 at 11:43 AM · Report this
@24 Yeah but, heh, micro$oft, amirite???
Posted by Agrippa on May 20, 2014 at 11:46 AM · Report this
keshmeshi 29

If Working-Class People Can Afford to Live in the City, Then There Will Be Poors Everywhere! The city council will hold a hearing on microhousing—the small apartments that have shared kitchens and therefore make neighborhood "activists" and blog commenters throw irrational tantrums about how other people are supposed to live—tonight at 5:30 p.m. to consider new regulations on size, scale, parking, and reviews.
Posted by keshmeshi on May 20, 2014 at 11:51 AM · Report this
@29: how do get from that quote to "hostile to any regulation"? Saying that people throw irrational temper tantrums may hurt their delicate feelings, but isn't the same as saying there shouldn't be any regulation.
Posted by gnossos on May 20, 2014 at 12:01 PM · Report this
Can someone please post a list or chart of all the bigoted stereotypes we should be striving to avoid coming anywhere close to sort of resembling? I'd like to print it out and hang it by my son's mirror so he doesn't accidentally commit genocide like Adolph Macklemore did. My sincere condolences to the families all those innocent people that macklemore gassed and burned last night. Never forget!
Posted by peskypoop on May 20, 2014 at 12:02 PM · Report this
raindrop 32
This term "poors" is interesting. Back when I was young, making low wages, sharing apartments, living in studios, lofts, and dumpy hotels I considered myself just starting out working for a better job. It never even occurred to me that I was poor.
Posted by raindrop on May 20, 2014 at 12:02 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 34

Every time this issue comes up Dom never misses an opportunity to shit on people who want aPodments regulated. You do the math.
Posted by keshmeshi on May 20, 2014 at 12:15 PM · Report this
Tingleyfeeln 35
The problem with the apodment controversy is that it has become a prominent detail in a bigger issue, but it is being debated like it is the issue. There needs to be sets of standards around these things regarding unit size, location in proximity to transit with variety of destinations, and neighborhood walkability.
Ultimately, regarding the density issue, we need to remember why we are concerned about creating it. There are jobs here, there is a culture that attracts people here, and people, for economic and sometimes ethical reasons, want to live in walkable communities. Seattle is baring the brunt for much of this. The best solution is a growth management act that sees the co-relevance of transportation, housing, jobs, and the environment. We need regional transit developments, with increased density near hubs, with hubs for development primarily around higher density areas. Just because more peoe want to live near density doesn't mean they want to live in seattle. Increasing density in other regional cities could ease some of the cultural strain in seattle, as some of these people moving here seem to not appreciate what they are moving into.
Posted by Tingleyfeeln on May 20, 2014 at 12:49 PM · Report this
If You Have to "Go On the Offense" a Week Late, You're Losing the Debate, Bro . . . except when you're winning the debate, Bro, as Sulzberger clearly is as the week wears on.

It's one thing for a progressive organ (like The Stranger) to knee-jerkily choose a zero-day favorite (like Abramson) in an exploding wavefront of speculative reporting, and knee-jerkily attach the event to a chosen thematic cause celebre (gender equity).

It's quite another to hew to the resulting narrative as it disintegrates under subsequent public inspection,h investigative reporting, and verifiable exposure of factual errors in earlier reporting.

Point to your chosen scapegoat and declare "FAIL!" to your heart's content, but the informed debate has already moved on without you, Bro.
Posted by RonK, Seattle on May 20, 2014 at 1:08 PM · Report this
Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In 37
Dom, that "Nazi" reference is both inflammatory & trivializing. Yes, Nazi Germany made great strides in the science of propaganda, but they by no means originated the Jewish stereotype. Antisemitism was a standard throughout Europe, the only variation was the degree in which it was instituted. The "rich Jew" was an image that went back centuries, so it is trivializing its historical legacy by trying to contain it to a single political movement.

It is inflammatory, as pretty much any use of the word Nazi is. It would be a useful term if Macklemore sang a rap about how great it would be if all the Jews in the world were dead. Invoking the Nazis, unless you're discussing real, actual racists who are organized politically and/or militarily, is just cheap histrionics.
Posted by Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In on May 20, 2014 at 1:17 PM · Report this
treacle 38
@26 - I was wondering the same thing.

"charging defendants for everything from warrants to ... their own public defenders"

It's unclear how jailing people who are forced to owe money for legal costs --when the state will incur even more expenses by keeping them in jail -- is in any way effective at anything except: (1) putting money in the pockets of private prisons, and (2) destroying people's lives.
Posted by treacle on May 20, 2014 at 2:39 PM · Report this
@1 -- Completely the opposite. You really don't understand supply and demand if you think otherwise. Really, you don't have to understand complex economic theory; you just have to walk through the steps, like you are playing the last moves of a chess match.

OK, let's walk through this together. Demand is really high right now. So high that people are willing to pay a fair amount of money to live "in a closet" as someone put it. So high that developers are willing to buy property, tear down whatever exists and construct a new building with these "closets" so they can charge rent. Rent is so high that building with twice as many units makes sense, even though each one is tiny. There is nothing stopping a developer from building an apartment with fewer units, it's just that demand for units is so high that you can make more money by making more units (even if they are small). So, let's assume that these developers aren't allowed to build that apartment. What do you suppose the renters do? They push up prices.

Sorry, I probably went too fast there. OK, I'll slow down. OK, imagine that the Apodment has room for 40 people. Now, because of regulation, only 20 units are built. What do you suppose happens to the other 20 people? They try and find other apartments in the neighborhood. And what does that do to prices? Still not with me? OK. Imagine you are a landlord, who rents out cheap apartments. They aren't new, or pretty, but they are clean and affordable (relatively speaking). Suddenly twenty people just asked you if you have rooms available. Do you raise your rent? Sure, why not? Chances are no one will leave, because there is no where to leave to. Meanwhile, you have twenty people who said they are interested because there really aren't alternatives. It's like that, only on a grand scale as long as we put artificial limits on growth in this city.

There are plenty of reasons to oppose new construction. But if the construction is as dense as possible, then affordability is not one of them. Quite the opposite.
Posted by Ross on May 20, 2014 at 4:12 PM · Report this
@11 -- My God, man, that is idiotic. Really. Cheap apartments keep the cost of apartments high because they make it look like apartments aren't that expensive? Sorry, that is crazy. People know that apartments are really expensive, but they don't care. Or, they are too stupid to realize that if you put restrictions on development; whether it be Apodments, small lot housing, mother in law apartments or house conversions pushes up prices. It is much easier to focus on "evil developers" or some such nonsense.

Here is a little thought experiment for you. What do you think would happen if Seattle basically got rid of all the zoning restrictions? What if they said you can tear down (or better yet, convert) a single family house to a duplex or apartment of any size. Guess what? Housing gets really, really cheap. Hell, I own a house, and I might add a little bungalow out back. Why not? Make a little money and there is less yard work.

I'm not saying that it would be a good thing to do this. There are trade-offs. But any restriction that limits density pushes up prices. That is the trade-off. The thing is, most of Seattle doesn't support any change. None. They don't want to see duplexes or apartments in their neighborhood because they are ugly (I don't blame them, there are a lot of ugly ones out there). They don't want to see a house converted to an apartment because they are afraid of parking. They are willing to let people pay more rent because that isn't there concern. Either that, or they somehow have the idea that zoning restrictions don't actually effect pricing. They are wrong, and comments like yours perpetuate the myth.
Posted by Ross on May 20, 2014 at 4:33 PM · Report this
@ 35 -- The problem with the apodment controversy is that it has become a prominent detail in a bigger issue, but it is being debated like it is the issue.

I agree completely. The problem is that we have sky high rents right now, and no one seems to realize the trade-offs involved with dealing with it. Here are a handful of trade-offs when it comes to zoning:

For development:
1) All things being equal, more dense development means cheaper rents. That first phrase is key. If demand goes away (if Seattle goes into a recession) then rent will go down on its own. But all things being equal (e. g. continued high demand for housing in Seattle) restrictions on development just push rent prices higher.
2) Increased density can improve a neighborhood. Anyone who has lived here for fifty years or so (like me) knows this. Fremont was boring. Most of Capitol Hill was boring. Ballard was somewhat interesting, because it was Scandinavian. The U-District was probably the most interesting part of the city, but there was no nightlife there, or anywhere else in the city. No brewpubs, very few Thai restaurants (I don't remember any) and only a handful of Mexican and Chinese restaurants. Like I said, boring.
3) The more people live in a place, the more affordable public infrastructure projects become (per person). Underground light rail doesn't make sense unless you have a lot of people who can pay for it and ride it.

Arguments against development:
1) New buildings can be ugly.
2) Some people don't want to live next to big buildings.
3) Car traffic can get worse
4) Parking is more difficult.

These are trade-offs, but some are worse than others. Personally, I have sympathy with folks that don't want to see ugly buildings being built or see a huge building built next to them. Unfortunately, the parking requirement makes buildings uglier. Likewise, there are already height restrictions in place, even for single family housing. I would keep those in place, but do the following:

1) Base restrictions on the dimensions of the structure, not the number of occupants. So, if you are allowed to build a two story house, then you are allowed to build a two story apartment. You are also allowed to build three tiny row houses.
2) Get rid of the parking requirement.
3) Greatly liberalize the mother-in-law apartment rules.
4) Allow for the conversion of houses to apartments (while keeping the outside the same).

The last two could be done and would address the "ugliness" issue. For some neighborhoods, who are worried as much about "monster houses", this would be a welcome compromise. In other words, preserve the existing house, but allow for a conversion (regulation would state how much you have to preserve).
Posted by Ross on May 20, 2014 at 5:06 PM · Report this
TheMisanthrope 43
@40 Wrong. People have only been starting to scream about skyrocketing rental prices in the past 2-3 years, even though they've been going up since the early 00s, well past even the median salaries.

They really started to take off in 2008, about the time that microhousing started being developed. Dominic Holden started hardcore shilling for the developers, even though the apodments being built were just a little bit less than an average 0-bedroom studio.

When the rents for the studios+ sized apartments really skyrocketed, also buffeted on the other side by overpriced new apartments which were more expensive than the old apartments, nobody really noticed. Even in 2010/2011, some assholes around here were claiming their rents were being cut (they were probably living in Pioneer Square).

Starting in 2012, The Stranger finally started noticing the skyrocketing rents, and they've been occasionally giving lip service to rental regulation...enough to placate, but not enough to piss off the developers who pay their bills. And, most of it is in the form of laments from already displaced renters, as opposed to being proactive about any of it.

It's people like you who believe that supply and demand is going to completely fix this problem. It's not. Nor will cheaper apodments. If Apodments were ACTUALLY cheap alternatives (like $350/mth max) instead of actual money grabs ($750 is outrageous), I'd have no problem with them. Instead, they're a part of the problem, and as much a symptom as a perpetrator.
Posted by TheMisanthrope on May 20, 2014 at 8:24 PM · Report this
Let's Be Done With This: Macklemore had no idea he was dressed up as a Nazi caricature of a Jew and he's supes dupes sorry.

Nope. He very, very obviously knew what he was doing, and his "apology" was therefore a litany of deflections and lies. There were Bar Mitzvah jokes and the man knows his way around a shofar. I'm aghast that anyone is buying the ignorance defense.

It's excellent that he didn't mean any harm. But he still hasn't apologized for what he actually did wrong.

That makes it not over.
Posted by d.p. on May 20, 2014 at 8:44 PM · Report this

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