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Monday, August 4, 2014

Guest Editorial: We Need to Fight for Affordable Housing on Many Fronts

Posted by on Mon, Aug 4, 2014 at 6:00 AM

Democratic State House Speaker Frank Chopp, from Seattles 43rd District
  • Chopp Campaign
  • Democratic State House Speaker Frank Chopp, of Seattle's 43rd District
I have served as an activist for affordable and low-income housing my entire adult life. As a student at the University of Washington, I built and lived in a geodesic dome in a downtown Seattle parking space to protest the demolition of low-cost housing and to raise awareness of the need for more affordable housing. A lot has changed since then, but my passion for affordable housing has not.

As a community activist and as a legislative leader, I have championed housing for years. I was one of four founders of the Low Income Housing Institute here in Seattle. I secured funding to build affordable housing all over the state, including over 70 apartment buildings right here in the 43rd District and many more throughout Seattle. Go to 12th & Jefferson or Broadway & Pine and you will see housing that was built using state dollars because of legislation we passed to help thousands of people throughout Seattle.

With the help of many advocates, including the Washington Low Income Housing Alliance, we are working on a comprehensive, multipronged agenda that looks out for those who pay rent—as well as others in need, like our homeless youth, individuals with disabilities, homeowners, and those who have found themselves underwater in tough times.

There are three major fights we need to focus on so that we can continue to make progress.

Expand Tenants’ Rights

As rents go up in Seattle, especially in high-demand neighborhoods like those in the 43rd District, the call for rent control has also increased. I support removing the state preemption so that the City of Seattle and its citizens can decide if that option is right for Seattle.

As a cofounder of the Seattle Tenants Union, I have a long track record of tenant advocacy. We need to do more to help renters. For example, one of the bills I passed out of the state house was the Fair Tenant Screening Act. This would save money for applicants looking for an apartment by allowing them to provide landlords with their own current screening report, instead of being required to pay a fee to each potential landlord. This would save applicants about $40 to $50 per report and potentially hundreds of dollars over the course of searching for a new apartment. Because of Republican opposition, this common-sense bill failed in the state senate.

We also need to pass stronger tenant protections. I support efforts to require more advance notice of rental increases and stronger protections against wrongful evictions.

Increase Community Ownership

The best way to control the cost of rental housing is for our community to own a significant part of the rental market, through nonprofit community organizations. This guarantees that the rents will stay affordable permanently. A key part of this strategy is to increase funding through the state Housing Trust Fund. As a cofounder of the Housing Trust Fund, I have shepherded close to a billion dollars in state investments to build affordable housing, including thousands of apartments in Seattle. Our next step for garnering more funding is to build on public support to provide homes for homeless families with children (young people can do better in school when they have stable housing) and for those in our community suffering with mental illness (lives are saved when they have a stable home).

Another strategy is leveraging Seattle’s thriving tourism industry to support workforce housing. I led the way in passing state legislation that dedicates 37 percent of the hotel-motel tax in King County to build or purchase affordable workforce housing (a revenue stream that will help us leverage about a billion dollars for affordable housing over the next several years). Hospitality workers, waiters, janitors, and other low-wage workers should have homes that are affordable and close to their place of work.

With my leadership, the state house also passed legislation to provide the “air rights” above transit stations and parking lots at no cost to nonprofit organizations to build affordable housing with easy access to transit throughout the region.

The City of Seattle should also start buying foreclosed properties to refinance the mortgages to allow people to stay in their homes, or convert them to affordable housing for local nonprofits to manage or cooperatively own. With my leadership, the legislature enacted the Mortgage Foreclosure Fairness Act, helping homeowners with assistance like free counseling, legal aid, mortgage renegotiation, and financial literacy education.

Help Those in Need

We need to make housing more affordable for working people and ensure that our most vulnerable have a safe place to live.

In the legislature, new revenue was secured through the Affordable Care Act and the expansion of Medicaid. I am working with many others to provide funding to help homeless individuals with severe health conditions to stay in safe, healthy homes.

I am also advocating for the implementation of the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act to enhance services for homeless youth, including the expansion of 24-hour youth shelters. In addition, I created the Home Security Fund and enacted a document recording fee on real-estate transactions that is now providing $60 million per year to pay for housing and support services for the homeless.

A Continuing Fight

Seattle is a very desirable place to live. We have a growing economy, and affordability is an issue we are going to have to continue to manage. While it will take a multifaceted approach to ensure more affordable rent, the most effective and proven tool is more nonprofit community ownership of rental housing.

Though I may not look quite the same as when I lived in a parking lot as a young affordable-housing protester, I will always have that same fire to fight for the people of this great city.

And by the way, years later, that parking lot was redeveloped by a nonprofit organization, which built low-income housing for homeless women, funded in part by the state Housing Trust Fund.


Comments (87) RSS

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Cato the Younger Younger 1
The problem this corporate owned clown doesn't/won't realize is that low income housing is only PART of the problem. As much as we need more low income housing we need housing options in Seattle for the middle income earners who don't qualify for housing subsidies but can't afford a $500K mortgage.

It's a growing problem that's apparently going to go on being ignored yet again.
Posted by Cato the Younger Younger on August 4, 2014 at 7:05 AM · Report this
trstr 2
Well, Frank, with all that stuff you say you've done, your constituents' rents are still skyrocketing out of control.

The problem is obvious, and neither you nor your challenger mention it. We've seen investors swoop in en masses to buy up properties and immediately jack up rents. My building has been sold three times over the past few years, and each time my rents got jacked up, and I'm now paying double what I was five years ago. We're seeing numerous new housing complexes being built which few of us current residents can afford - except maybe if we want to live in a small 200 square foot box with a kitchen we have to share with three other units and no bath, paying the same amount for it that one bedrooms were going for just a few years ago.

The paltry reforms you suggest (a little more money for low income housing) will do nothing to prevent your constituents from being pushed out of their homes by the thousands and replaced with a new and more rich urban professional population. And given your lack of attention to this, I don't think that bothers you at night. Not one bit.
Posted by trstr on August 4, 2014 at 7:11 AM · Report this

These efforts are of course, fruitless. The only answer is to build out -- away from Seattle -- and have fast regional travel with something like a Long Island Rail Road.

Then those who really, really want to live in a big city will and those who merely want access to a job, or an occasional ball game will glide in.

Meanwhile, it's obvious that all other efforts will not hold back the tide of high prices. And in some sense, at this point, maybe even suburban housing wouldn't help. Looking in Yakima, Tri-Cities, Spokane...might.

Affordable Housing Draws Middle Class to Inland Cities

Newcomers in Oklahoma City have traded traffic jams and preschool waiting lists for master suites the size of their old apartments. The sons of Lorin Olson, a stem cell biologist who moved here from New York’s Upper East Side, now ride bikes in their suburban neighborhood and go home to a four-bedroom house. Hector Lopez, a caricature artist, lives in a loft apartment here for less than he paid to stay in a garage near Los Angeles. Tony Trammell, one of a group of about a dozen friends to make the move from San Diego, paid $260,000 for his 3,300-square-foot home in a nearby suburb.…
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on August 4, 2014 at 7:28 AM · Report this
TomJohnsonJr 4
Thanks for all you've done, Speaker Chopp. Yes, you are sometimes indelicate with your power, and some of your notions can go a bit bonkers (hello, Choppaduct!) but you've always done really well to protect vulnerable citizens from the depredations of the truly deranged and cruel state GOP. And not just for us in our district, but for folks across the state. People who have no idea who you are, whose vote you'll never get, are better off thanks to your work.

You're even livening local politics, now that each election cycle draws a Sawant or Spear using you only to sharpen up for their City Council runs.
Posted by TomJohnsonJr on August 4, 2014 at 7:56 AM · Report this

Maybe it's time we started talking about the real corruption in Washington State politics...all the sweetheart deals for Longtimers plus a state that is not willing to allocate the full and market-rate costs of fair property taxes across all its citizens.

What we end up with is a fiend like Gregoire who spend her entire sinecure forcing the tunnel on the state. Meanwhile the 60% of the people who moved here since 1990, and who live in suburban King County, have almost no representation in the centralized institutions.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on August 4, 2014 at 8:42 AM · Report this
@3 and @5 have nailed it perfectly:

The easiest, fairest, most efficient way to help the housing situation is MASSIVE investment in public transit -- that will allow people to move around cheaply and safely from high-cost areas (with jobs and entertainment) such as downtown Seattle) to lower-cost housing areas such as White Center, Burien, Lynnwood.

The public should not use limited subsidy money so that people "prefer" to live on QA or Cap Hill much less should we use use rent control which will only lead to a contentious, protracted fight. (There is a huge difference between supporting $15 and supporting rent control.)

Posted by caution&daring on August 4, 2014 at 8:53 AM · Report this
@5, Spear is not making "headway" and politicians place campaign articles in media every campaign cycle.

Chopp has power, and he uses it for the good of his constituents (and in his case, he considers his prime constituents to be people who can't make it anymore in this rich society). That's the most you can expect of a politician, and he delivers. The comments said about him by people who have no idea what a hard fight it was and is to advocate and legislate for low- and middle-income people in this increasingly wealthy area are small-minded and short-sighted. If you vote for a socialist SIMPLY BECAUSE she's a socialist (and she has no other experience), then do so, but it would be a stupid and damaging move.
Posted by sarah70 on August 4, 2014 at 9:14 AM · Report this
In the past when rent was cheap because the local economy wasn't strong, people complained about the lack of jobs.

It's a catch 22 and someone is always going to get screwed. Even if Seattle takes on a massive low-income housing program, rents will continue to rise for all the people that aren't lucky enough to get into a rent-controlled unit (which will be a vast majority).

Look to san fran for what is in store for seattle.
Posted by db206 on August 4, 2014 at 9:24 AM · Report this
Yeah. That's how it goes. High value real estate commands high rents. And if it's a good investment, oddly enough, real estate attracts investors.

But you want to know a secret, well secret to you and your ilk anyway? You don't have a constitutional right to live on Capital Hill. If you can no longer afford it, seems to me you have two choices. Make more money or move. Choice 3, stealing money from homeowners in property taxes or developers in inequitable fees to make your life work is just that- theft.
Posted by Seattleblues on August 4, 2014 at 9:25 AM · Report this
Fnarf 11
@5 has also neglected to notice that a massive transit program is underway at this very moment, with station construction well underway at Roosevelt and the U District, and the link from downtown through Capitol Hill and on to the stadium 87.2% complete. Despite the desires of uninformed Socialist Alternative voters, train lines do not just fall out of the sky one day, fully assembled. Vancouver has a twenty-year head start on us.

Voting for Spear because you want more transit is ridiculous. Spear replacing Chopp would result in less transit, not more. The state Republicans want to kill all transit in the state. How is Spear going to be able to stop them? She can't even organize a pair of shoes, while she is running against the best organizer in the state.
Posted by Fnarf on August 4, 2014 at 9:30 AM · Report this

I liken the situation in Washington State to that of the Rotten Boroughs of England prior to the Quiet Revolution. You have people commanding resources from the state without any corresponding payment or bearing of costs.


We've spent billions of dollars over two decades.

We have one train line and a lot of expensive tunnels.

In that same amount of time, and for a lot less we could have built elevated rail all over King County and Puget Sound.

With such as system there is no reason to put each and every centralize resource like a stadium in the most congested area -- downtown.

Even San Francisco realized this when they moved the 49ers stadium to a conveniently accessed suburban location served by multiple transit lines.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on August 4, 2014 at 9:45 AM · Report this
@11, what do you think about all your derogatory comments about rent control, now that your pal Chopp has said cities should be able to set it?

But seriously, I think that this article is interesting. I really welcome Franks support for overturning the ban on rent control, and his record on housing is a good one. But I would have said that, as a 20 year incumbent, it's still the case that not enough people have seen the rewards of the programs Frank mentions. And I think that that's a shame, because some of them are good ones.

I have to say though, that there is also some element of passing the buck here. So Chopp agrees with overturning the ban on rent control, what does he think should happen then? I agree that it would be down to the city of Seattle and its citizens, as Chopp says, but what would Chopp campaign for?

I think it's great that Chopp has written this article, but it's clear that he's written it in response to Jess Spears campaign. One of the main issues that Jess has argued for is rent control. I think that, in this election race, it is Jess Spear who is setting the agenda, not Chopp.
Posted by 23kid on August 4, 2014 at 9:46 AM · Report this
@1, @2

Last week the debate was over affordable housing for the needy.

But now you're not interested in the needy anymore, now you're only interested in your own rent.

If you're not in need, and you want to live in the same neighborhoods that lots of other people want to live in, but without paying the prices that lots of other people are willing to pay, then perhaps you shouldn't be looking for a democratic political cure for the resentment you're feeling.
Posted by robotslave on August 4, 2014 at 9:56 AM · Report this
Here are some a few suggestions:

1) Make the process of building less complicated and less expensive. Less expensive and more plentiful units (increased supply) will lower rents.

2) Concentrate vertical housing --high rises in density packs on main arterial which have good transportation lines to and from work centers.

3) The city needs only let builder construct higher buildings. The taxpayer pays zero in taxes as the sky is free.

4) Make commuting by rail more efficient. Its high time Seattle had a "bridge and tunnel crowd" component to its work force like any other major metro region.

Holy crap we can't all live on Capitol Hill and make $15 an hour flipping burgers.

5) For Heaven's sake, get the government out of the public housing market. The City is terrible at building, maintaining and managing public housing. Just look at Yesler Terrace if you have any doubts.

6) Give housing credits, subsidies or rent credits funded by taxpayer dollars to support low income residents and let them choose freely where and how to rent unit in the private sector.

7) Forget Rent Control --it doesn't work. It reduces the number of unit on the market and leads to really run down, poorly maintained units. Look at SF rent control district is an absolute hot mess of derelict buildings, drug user and crime.
Posted by mistral on August 4, 2014 at 9:56 AM · Report this
For all the people complaining about affordable housing.

The is a simple formula to determine the rate of increase in housing costs.

Job Growth / Housing Growth. If jobs are growing faster than housing than the rent is going up. If you block development and cap rents in Seattle than the suburbs are going to grow and sprawl raising the cost of transportation and all the problems of a car centered community.

You either need to grow housing or stop job growth to truly get rents under control.
Posted by gomer on August 4, 2014 at 9:59 AM · Report this
Fnarf 18
@14, listen up, you lying sack of shit. I HAVEN'T MADE derogatory comments about rent control. I'm not a fan of rent control, based on what I've seen in other cities, but it's an idea. What's NOT an idea is demanding rent control and promoting it on campaign signs when you know perfectly well that it's illegal. The first step isn't shouting about rent control, it's repealing that law. Which is what I said, over and over, into your lying deaf ears.

Frank wants to repeal that law, but he's not pushing for it in the legislature because he knows that it's a non-starter right now. I will say what I've said repeatedly here and elsewhere: IT DOES NOT MATTER WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT RENT CONTROL. You don't have the votes. FULL STOP. I know that twits like you think you can stamp your foot and pout and get what you want, but you can't. You have to do it Frank's way.

One thing is absolutely certain, though: Spear is not setting any agendas, here or in the future.

What is most annoying about Spear and her supporters? The stupidity, or the dishonesty? I can't decide.
Posted by Fnarf on August 4, 2014 at 10:01 AM · Report this
Does Chopp seriously think that poor people are moving IN to the pike/pine area? For the 70 buildings he's helped build, rent is skyrocketing and ordinary (non microsoft and amazon employees) are being pushed either far north or far south in this city. Chopp could have pushed for increases in public transit, or at least allowing more progressive taxation, but hasn't delivered for 20 years.

Posted by j-so fresh on August 4, 2014 at 10:03 AM · Report this
Fnarf 20
@122, you're an idiot, but we already knew that. As for your lovely Levi's Stadium, notice that after the Earthquakes-Sounders game, people's fears of a clusterfuck of traffic getting in and out of the place were massively realized. Freeways at a standstill, side streets (and note that in San Jose "side streets are six lanes wide) at a standstill, transit ludicrously overwhelmed. The team is already recommending getting to the stadium FOUR HOURS EARLY, whichever way you come.

So, strike 41,893 against Bailo, but you're still batting. Why is that?
Posted by Fnarf on August 4, 2014 at 10:06 AM · Report this
You are a lying sack of shit (your favorite term for anyone who disagrees with you) or just stupid (which is not so) if you think that Sound Transit's ONE line is a massive transit program.

ST is at best a feeble start. I am not blaming anyone. Obviously the politicians reflect the will of the voters and voters -- over many decades -- don't want to spend the kind of money it takes to do transit right.

If we are to use transit as way to deal with housing affordability then buses must be a big part since buses can be on the road in month, not decades.

But it is incorrect to characterize ST is "massive."

Btw, if you don't agree with me then you must be a lying sack of shit.

Posted by caution&daring on August 4, 2014 at 10:19 AM · Report this
trstr 23

So it's okay for Chopp to declare they're for rent control but not Spear. Because. Got it.
Posted by trstr on August 4, 2014 at 10:20 AM · Report this

Chopp has not declared support for rent control.
Posted by robotslave on August 4, 2014 at 10:21 AM · Report this
This coming from the coward who gave us the reinstated I-747 which has decimated government revenue in this State.

Chopp is a traitor to this state and to the voters who elected him. It's time for him to go.
Posted by giffy on August 4, 2014 at 10:30 AM · Report this
trstr 26

Ack. I fell for Chopp's trap of sounding like he's supporting rent control in order to swing votes away from Spear. Crafty guy.

Still, there's nothing wrong with staking a position on issue regardless of its legality. I can just imagine fnarf screaming at women in the 60's "You can't say you're for abortion rights, you sacks of shit! IT'S ILLEGAL!!!"
Posted by trstr on August 4, 2014 at 10:33 AM · Report this

Should've taken light rail? Well, maybe not. There were horror stories about the trip from San Jose, one that should have taken 30 minutes and instead took over an hour. On one train, the air conditioning went out, the train stalled, and passengers tried to pry open the emergency windows.…

Gee, isn't that a combination of the heavy demand for transit to the location but with a lack of organization.

And yes, this was the first day the stadium was ever give them a friggin' chance, Fnarf!

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on August 4, 2014 at 10:36 AM · Report this

That analogy doesn't quite work, I'm afraid; Chopp has declared he's in favor of cities having rights to rent control.

What you'd have Fnarf screaming there is "you can't say you're for abortions, they're illegal!"
Posted by robotslave on August 4, 2014 at 10:38 AM · Report this
Tingleyfeeln 30
Will the Stranger please do an in depth exposé on the vacancy rates at many of the new apartment buildings? Interview people who were turned down, people who turned down the apartments, property managers.
Some people claim that building more units will control rent increases, but that's not happening. Allegedly, the highest vacancy rates are in Ballard, where the greatest increase in units has also occurred.
Posted by Tingleyfeeln on August 4, 2014 at 10:54 AM · Report this
Fnarf 31
@22, you are just completely thick, aren't you? I was not, obviously to anyone who can read English, referring to the existing Link but, obviously to anyone who can read English, to the second line from downtown to Northgate via Capitol Hill, the U District, Roosevelt, and Northgate, which is currently under construction. TBM Wendy reached 500 feet from its Maple Leaf starting point towards Roosevelt the other day.

In addition, plans are proceeding apace for the East Side. Oh, yeah, and you apparently are unaware of the city to the south called "Tacoma", which also has a couple of miles of Link, built and paid for by the same authority as Seattle's. That section is also in planning to link up with the airport line.

All told there's about 70 miles of system already built, under construction, or in advanced planning. That's way more than SkyTrain in Vancouver has -- the gold standard, according to @5!

Yes, by the time all that opens Vancouver will still be ahead, having opened up more lines as well -- remember, they have a twenty-year head start. Remember also that large portions of Link are subways, which cost a fortune compared to elevated systems.

If you want to quibble about the word "massive", go right ahead, halfwit. It is obvious that you have no idea (a) how large transit projects get built nor (b) what is going on right under your feet. I repeat: you want large fully-assembled transit systems to fall out of the sky when you snap your fingers.

Your characterization of voters being unwilling to pay is also pig-ignorant. Voters WANT transit, and have authorized every one of these expenditures. It has obviously escaped your notice, but Washington Republicans want to impose the will of Eastern Washington neanderthals on the voters of King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties and PREVENT us from spending our own money on transit. That's where a guy like Frank Chopp comes in handy. Jess Spear? She doesn't even know what the MVET is. She has NO CLUE what's going on in transit planning or funding. Neither do you.

Posted by Fnarf on August 4, 2014 at 10:57 AM · Report this
Thanks Frank for the great reminder here. Most of this will come as news to all the newcomers, folks who act and sound like they just stepped off the airplane. Yes, I'm including Ms. Spears in that group of uninformed.
Posted by RDPence on August 4, 2014 at 11:54 AM · Report this
You are so defensive, Fnarf. (Or Chopp.)
Also needlessly offensive.
Also not quite as smart as you'd like to think you are.
Or else deliberately mis-representing the way the world works.
In any case, you are not worth engaging at the moment.
Posted by caution&daring on August 4, 2014 at 1:40 PM · Report this
Chopp's talking out both sides of his mouth, like every other mainstream Democrat on the team that we keep getting to vote for.

Unfortunately up til now the only other option has been to vote for a derpy Republican.

For the idiot @33, I have lived here 24 years, and I've watched quality of life for normal people decline under Democrats. The party that allegedly stands for working people really stands here for downtown developers.

Fuck all of you. We need genuine populist uprising here, and Frank Fucking Chopp is not part of it.
Posted by certaindoom on August 4, 2014 at 1:43 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 36
@24, @26

Chopp told Capitol Hill Seattle blog that rent control is something he "supports, but doubts it would get enough votes to pass."

I guess he could have been lying to them.

Or he really does support it but won't work to gather votes. Apparently it's somebody else's job to corral support and enlist votes. Once that work is done and there's enough votes to pass it, the Speaker of the House swoops in and takes credit.

Of course pot legalization and gay marriage and repealing DOMA and climate change and a million other issues are different. Then it's OK to be a lone voice of reason trying to turn a minority into a majority. When it comes to helping the poor pay the rent, it's not the Speaker's job to build a winning coalition. Instead he throws a couple more bucks into 'Housing Programs' and basks in the glory.

I don't know. Chopp was probably just lying anyway, right? Rent control? Frank Chopp? Nah.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn on August 4, 2014 at 1:55 PM · Report this
Rujax! 37
Fuck Seattleblues.
Posted by Rujax! on August 4, 2014 at 1:56 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 38
I want to point out once again that Fnarf dismissed Sawant for advocating rent control because the issue will never "come before the council". With the state ban, it's not the council's decision.

Ergo, if you want rent control, first step is to run for the statehouse.

Now here comes somebody who is running for the statehouse, on the platform of working to overturn the state ban, and Fnarf weirdly declares you can't because rent control is illegal.

I mean it's obviously fucked up to say a state house of representatives candidate can't work to overturn a state law. It's fucked up to say any citizen is proscribed from advocating legalizing something. Changing the law by due process is governing.

But it's also really two faced to have said Sawant was running for the wrong office, yet Spear isn't. Somebody is really fucking worried about Frank Chopp's future. So worried they're losing it.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn on August 4, 2014 at 2:17 PM · Report this
A winning strategy to protect and expand affordable housing requires a deep commitment to the issue and a smart and politically astute action plan. Chopp’s long track record of passing funding and policies that support affordable housing and tenant rights makes him the best choice for office on all fronts.
Posted by VTB on August 4, 2014 at 2:32 PM · Report this
Lissa 40
@37: Thank you. Between us my husband and I make six figures and we are being priced off the Hill. He's lived in the same building for 17 years, and they are raising the rent 42% on units like his. The 3 bedroom above us just got their rent raised to 4 grand a month.

As usual SB has no idea what he's talking about.
Posted by Lissa on August 4, 2014 at 3:07 PM · Report this
Pridge Wessea 41
@40 - He's like a clock with one hand and all the numbers in the wrong places. Hell, his clock probably has random letters on it.

Hopefully something like JBITSMFOTP.
Posted by Pridge Wessea on August 4, 2014 at 3:36 PM · Report this
We need genuine populist uprising here

You GOT one. They were called The Tea Party. That's your "populism."

And it's 100% reactionary dumb shits.

More populism isn't going to help. Populists only break things. They never build anything. They fuck around while grown ups do all the heavy lifting.

God damn it. Adults are in short supply in this country.
Posted by tkc on August 4, 2014 at 4:47 PM · Report this
Sigh, to all you dipshits who say rent control doesn't work, travel 3 hours north to Vancouver, it seems to work pretty well there
Posted by j2patter on August 4, 2014 at 6:44 PM · Report this
@23 Chopp has said a number of times he supports rent control. What is he doing to advance it, I have never heard a peep. Maybe when he is done giving away the state treasury to Boeing he will get around to it?
Posted by Philip Locker on August 4, 2014 at 6:45 PM · Report this
Lissa 46
@41: Indeed! :)
Posted by Lissa on August 4, 2014 at 6:58 PM · Report this
Lissa 47
@43: We've found a great little house in Georgetown, so not all eyes will weep for our plight, but the fact remains that it is not unreasonable to expect a two income family making well over 100k to be able afford a two bedroom apartment on the Hill.
Posted by Lissa on August 4, 2014 at 7:06 PM · Report this

How old are you?

Vancouver abolished rent control in 1983.

Since then, they've fiddled with policy off and on to arrive at the current state of affairs, which allows annual rent increases 2% higher than inflation, with a provision that gives a landlord an avenue to obtain permission to raise rents by more than that if the adjusted rent would be below market value.

It's a policy that arguably can't even be described as rent stabilization, because the 2% allowance allows rents to increase much faster than the cost of living. It certainly can't be called "rent control," in any commonly used sense of the phrase.

And of course, nobody in Vancouver is happy with it. Not tenants, not landlords, and certainly not the poor or the needy.
Posted by robotslave on August 4, 2014 at 9:20 PM · Report this

Which hill would that be?

Beacon Hill in Boston? You're going to have a hard time finding a 2-bedroom for $2500 a month (that would be your max affordable rent at 30% of $100k/yr)

Nob Hill in San Francisco? Doubt it.

Capitol Hill in Washington, DC? Unlikely.

Lots of cities in the US have wealthy, desirable neighborhoods with lots of expensive amenities right inside the city, close to lots of high-paying jobs. And now Capitol Hill in Seattle is one of those neighborhoods.

It shouldn't surprise you or anyone else that rents are very high in such a neighborhood-- unless you're comparing it to Capitol Hill in 1985, when the restaurants weren't as numerous (and nowhere near as fancy) and the high-paying in-city jobs hadn't started to arrive yet. You'd be comparing a funky lower-middle-class neighborhood that simply doesn't exist anymore to the very wealthy and decidedly less funky neighborhood that sits in the same place today.
Posted by robotslave on August 4, 2014 at 9:48 PM · Report this
Um Robotslave:…

The province only allows tenants to increase rents by 2% for 2014. This may not be "rent control" as you'd like to define it, but it's a set of laws that define that allows the government to control how much the landlords can raise the rent each year....So yeah, if you want to keep defining "rent control" as a failed strawman such as SF/NY implantation, go ahead, but MANY places outside of the USA have Governments that regulate the rental industry and protect renters from unfair tax hikes.

What does Washington State have? Fuck all. They allow landlords to raise rent 10000% if they wanted to, as long as they give enough notice.

Posted by j2patter on August 4, 2014 at 10:17 PM · Report this
Also fucktard, "not rent control" in Vancouver looks a lot like "rent control" in SF,

Allowed increased in BC:
•2012: 4.3%
•2011: 2.3%
•2010: 3.2%
•2009: 3.7%
•2008: 3.7%
•2007: 4.0%
•2006: 4.0%
•2005: 3.8%
•2004: 4.6%

Allowed increases in SF:
come in and talk to a counselor) Following are the annual rent increases for past years:

March 1, 2012-February 28, 2013–1.9%
March 1, 2011-February 29, 2012—0.5%
March 1, 2010-February 28,2011—0.1%
March 1, 2009-February 28, 2010—2.2%
March 1, 2008-February 28, 2009—2%
March 1, 2007-February 28, 2008—1.6%
March 1, 2006-February 28, 2007—1.7%
March 1, 2005-February 28, 2006—1.2%
March 1, 2004-February 28, 2005—0.6%

Landlords in SF can also petition for other increases as well.

So yeah SF is a couple percentage points shorter then Van, but Van is a fuckton better then Seattle.

And just for fun, here's the Toronto numbers:
come in and talk to a counselor) Following are the annual rent increases for past years:

March 1, 2012-February 28, 2013–1.9%
March 1, 2011-February 29, 2012—0.5%
March 1, 2010-February 28,2011—0.1%
March 1, 2009-February 28, 2010—2.2%
March 1, 2008-February 28, 2009—2%
March 1, 2007-February 28, 2008—1.6%
March 1, 2006-February 28, 2007—1.7%
March 1, 2005-February 28, 2006—1.2%
March 1, 2004-February 28, 2005—0.6%

Posted by j2patter on August 4, 2014 at 10:24 PM · Report this
Bah, sorry, I didn't copy the Toronto numbers correctly, here they are:

2013 - 2.5%
2012 - 3.1%
2011 - 0.7%
2010 - 2.1%
2009 - 1.8%
2008 - 1.4%
2007 - 2.6%
2006 - 2.1%
2005 - 1.5%
2004 - 2.9%

Posted by j2patter on August 4, 2014 at 10:25 PM · Report this
Lissa 54
@50: Actually in 1985 Capitol Hill was pretty swanky. There were expensive furniture stores on Broadway, and restaurants that you couldn't get into without a jacket and tie. But yes neighborhoods are cyclical. Hell, in the early 80s the U District had a Nordstrom's on the Ave. When I moved to the Hill in the early 80s it was fancy, but on its way down. Now it is swinging back up again, but in a way that is destroying why people wanted to live here in the first place, which is sad. But ya know, the cool people and such will move on to another neighborhood, and for a while the Hill will be like Bell Square on a Saturday night, full of Dude-bros and Am-holes, until it isn't any more. Culture is portable. In a decade or so we may be fighting for the soul of Sea-Tac in the face of hipster robots with fat virtual wallets full of bit coins :)
But we are not SF or NYC yet, so yes, it is still appalling that earning over 100k isn't enough for a two bedroom apartment, and the cavalier dismissal of the vast majority of those who don't make even remotely that much, and yet still need homes, is even more so.
Posted by Lissa on August 4, 2014 at 10:41 PM · Report this

I don't think you have any understanding at all of what "2% above inflation" means.


Rent control, as defined the way that every policymaker, economist, and social scientist uses it, is absolutely not a success story outside the USA. You yourself are unable to provide the name of a single city where rent control has achieved adequate housing for the poor and the needy.

Now, public housing, on the other hand, is very common all over the world, in some places at a scale that hasn't been even suggested, let alone attempted, inside the US. And in a lot of places, it works. Unlike rent control.

What's more, the people helped by public housing are exactly those who need it: the poor and the needy. As opposed to economically secure people who simply resent those who can afford to pay more rent than themselves — that is, the natural constituency of the rent control advocate.

The government in the US, of course, does regulate the housing industry. And it should— building codes are a good thing. We even have public housing programs! Which ought to be greatly expanded.

You seem to know the names of cities where rent control has failed, and naming those cities clearly makes you very angry. But you can't name a single city, anywhere in the world, where rent control has achieved adequate housing for the poor and the needy.

Because no such city exists.
Posted by robotslave on August 4, 2014 at 10:42 PM · Report this
@52, @53

If you had any conception at all of what "2% above inflation" means, or why it's important, you'd realize that far from demolishing my argument, the numbers you've provided buttress it.
Posted by robotslave on August 4, 2014 at 10:46 PM · Report this
@55 where in anywhere in the link about BC does it say "above inflation", it doesn't. it says:
"The allowable rent increase for 2014 is 2.2%." Period, dot, no "above inflation". So I don't think you know how to read...

And dipshit, you can say that Toronto doesn't have "rent control", but it does…

So keep defining "rent control" as any failed rent regulation, I'm going to define "dipshit" as roboslave.

Oh and dipshit, Ontario only allowed an 0.8 percent TOTAL increase in 2014.…

Read fucker. No where does it say "above inflation", so yeah rent control does work outside of America, even if you want to say otherwise, dipshit.

"The monthly rent of an apartment is $800 beginning August 1, 2013. With proper written 90 days notice to the tenant, the landlord could lawfully increase the rent 12 months later on August 1, 2014.
For example:
 The guideline for 2014 is 0.8 per cent.
 The rental increase is 0.8 per cent of $800 = $6.40.
 Therefore, the new rent on August 1, 2014 could be up to $806.40 ($800 + $6.40)."
Posted by j2patter on August 4, 2014 at 10:54 PM · Report this

I'll grant you that capitol hill is changing in a way that destroys the reasons that people used to want to live there. However! It's patently obvious that more people than ever before want to live there now, changes and all. They might not be Our Sort Of People, but then, maybe they're clamoring to move in because they're seeing a lot of Their Sort Of People on the street.

I'll let them have it, personally. They seem to be having fun, and like you, I've found there are plenty of My Sort Of People in the Other Neighborhood I live in now.
Posted by robotslave on August 4, 2014 at 10:56 PM · Report this

OK, so you're not only economically illiterate, you also don't know how to look up legislation (pdf).

A landlord may impose an Annual Rent Increase up to, but not greater than, the percentage amount calculated as follows:
     inflation rate + 2%
Posted by robotslave on August 4, 2014 at 11:07 PM · Report this
@59 yep dipshit, the numbers I posted had inflation in them. Seriously, go look up inflation in BC and add 2%, you'll get the same numbers I posted, that's why the website doesn't say "4% plus inflation" it says 4%. IE ALL THE NUMBERS I POSTED WHRE THE FINAL MAX ALLOWED RENT INCREASE FOR THAT YEAR.…

If this isn't "rent control", then what is it? Do you really think what Washington state has is better? I'd take a 4% rent increase over a 10x one any day.
Posted by j2patter on August 4, 2014 at 11:19 PM · Report this
Also dipshit, SF, the failed rent control policy is tied to inflation, it's just 0.6% * CPI instead of Van which is inflation + 2%....Hmm...Vancouver's is higher and yet it's not considered a failure.

Ontario's is just the average CPI.

No one's screaming about how Ontario/BC is a failure. And sorry dipshit this is rent control. All three are formula's to control rent increases based on inflation/cpi. The big difference is in Ontario/BC it applies to ALL THE BUILDINGS, whereas in SF it's only some.……
Posted by j2patter on August 4, 2014 at 11:25 PM · Report this
62… - more economist who consider what Ontario has as "rent control".
Posted by j2patter on August 4, 2014 at 11:28 PM · Report this

Way to gracefully admit you were wrong, there. Really gives everyone a clear signal that you're arguing in good faith.

And you still haven't grasped an inkling of the significance of allowing increases 2% above inflation per year. Is it just economics you don't understand, or do you have trouble grasping multiplication, as well?

It's not rent control (or even rent stabilization, arguably) because it allows rents to increase faster than rate of increase of the cost of living (more familiar to the economically literate as "CPI inflation"). And rather significantly faster, to those who understand simple geometric progressions.


I'm reading up on Toronto now (the only major city in Ontario). It appears they have the most massive per-capita public housing program in North America! Almost 7% of the city's citizens living in government-owned housing, that's commendable, and it looks like it's working, too.

So the poor and the needy in Toronto are, clearly and overwhelmingly, served by public housing.

Not by rent control.
Posted by robotslave on August 4, 2014 at 11:39 PM · Report this
ilikefood 64
all i want to know is, will the safeway on capitol hill have handles on its paper bags for charles? because he might write another story about that....
Posted by ilikefood on August 4, 2014 at 11:47 PM · Report this
I love how robotslave is smarter then economist. And dipshit Ontario is severed by both, it doesn't have to be an either or but I bet your dipshit brain can't handle that, just like your dipshit brain can't understand that rent control can exist outside what neo-con in the USA defines it as. Washington state needs laws regulating rent increases, and other places do this and do it successfully, plain and simply. That's my point dipshit, so I have yet to see you prove me wrong, the only thing you want to do is set a narrow definition of rent control to scare people off any rent regulation.

Also dipshit Toronto just surpassed Chicago in population size and is much larger than Seattle.
Posted by j2patter on August 5, 2014 at 7:39 AM · Report this
Oh and rent crony ok isn't just about the poor, it's also about helping the middle class, dipshit.
Posted by j2patter on August 5, 2014 at 7:42 AM · Report this
trstr 67
robotslave, who gives a fuck about Toronto when you were dead wrong about Frank Chopp supporting and his support for rent control? You can reach deep into Ontario's rental legislation, yet a local interview with Chopp evades your eyes.

Pack it in and stop talking like you know shit.

And yeah, I've lived on the hill for a long time. I should be pushed out of my neighborhood just because people think it's hip? Is that really the world you want to live in where people lose their neighborhood and their neighbors to the whims of the market?
Posted by trstr on August 5, 2014 at 8:04 AM · Report this
Lissa 68
See, and that's the other thing. It is on a whim. When I l first lived on the Hill in the 80s there were plenty of people with a crap ton of money living there. Enough to support a Mercedes dealership, a Jaguar dealership and a Ferrari dealership, not to mention high end boutiques and not one, but two formal wear shops, one of which was bespoke. And yet! I, as a student with a part time job could afford to live there. It was possible to have housing for people at all different income levels then, and it should be possible now. They are building, building, building like maniacs up there, so a shortage of units is not what's driving up the rents.
Posted by Lissa on August 5, 2014 at 8:50 AM · Report this
@68 Lissa is right.

All this talk about gentrification - like it's all the fault of those high paying jobs that everybody said we needed and wanted for years - is bullshit. Gentrification - in the sense of higher income young professionals invading the hill - has ALWAYS been here. Sure there is no much higher demand. That is not the real issue we need to control.

I've lived on The Hill for over twenty six years. There were always families up here. Always rich people. Always young people. Always upscale businesses.

And they ALL coexisted with working class businesses and working class families. Rents were proportionally much more stable. That is why everybody loved this neighborhood.

The overwhelming difference between then and now is there didn't yet exists massive investment property groups and banks who monopolized inventory and owned huge swaths of rental properties and go nearly completely ungoverned and unregulated. This is the real problem.

Not Amazon. Not rich kids. You can't regulate where people want to live. you can't regulate the high tech job sector growth. You SHOULDn'T even if you could.

The problem is greedy god damned developers and investment property people. And THOSE we can regulate. And some form of rent controls is one way to that.
Posted by tkc on August 5, 2014 at 11:30 AM · Report this
Lissa 71
@70: What lifestyle would that be exactly? I've lived on the Hill as a student, I've lived on the Hill working full time at low paying jobs and high paying jobs. Oh and I own a home in Issaquah which I'll be selling, so my husband and I can consolidate. Like I said between the two of us we make over 100k a year. You ain't subsidizing shit.
Posted by Lissa on August 5, 2014 at 12:50 PM · Report this
Lissa 73
Nope. I'm pretty much in the same camp with tkc.
Posted by Lissa on August 5, 2014 at 1:55 PM · Report this
@70 I am a home owner. I've owned three homes on the hill. I've lived on and had a business on the hill for over two decades. I have a stake here. This is my home. I'm not going anywhere.

We're the ones that made this place attractive and livable. We're the ones who paid the taxes, volunteered, lobbied, and struggled. We're why Amazon and all the other big dollar businesses located here in the first place. The people who have been living up here for decades, guess what? We're subsidizing YOUR lifestyle.

What makes this community work is diversity. And you can't have that with developers and banks running rough shod over everything.

If you want what has happened in places like the upper west side of Manhattan — investment properties galore with no community stake, sky high rents, totally devoid of culture and no small businesses — to happen here, then go ahead, let your mighty market decide. Then you'll be stuck with a sterile chain store shithole. I'm going to do my best to make sure that doesn't happen.

If that means you and me have to pay more of the the real life costs of living somewhere dynamic and compassionate in the form of rent controls or public housing or what ever, then so be it. Prepare to pony up, asshole.
Posted by tkc on August 5, 2014 at 1:59 PM · Report this
Lissa 75
By which I mean regulating the property developers a little more stringently.
How that would be done, I'm not sure, but the business model now is not sustainable. There are only so many Amazonians to go around after all. Developers keep building cracker box high rises willie nillie on the Hill for ridiculous rents, and are forcing out every one else. They will run out of Dude-bros to fill their tiny over priced hamster high rises and then what? The whole thing is greed driven and shortsighted.
I mean seriously, you think a 42% rent increase on a unit in a building built in the early 70s is ok? You think that 100k isn't enough to be middle class? Should every one but the captains of industry be forced to live further and further away from where they make their living?
Does this kind of income and housing stratification not give you pause?
People will be as greedy as they are allowed to be. Letting developers run amuck does nobody any good in the end.
Posted by Lissa on August 5, 2014 at 2:17 PM · Report this
For a city that brags itself part of the Creative Class there is a stunning dearth of imagination reflected in the comments here.

There has to be more than one way to do rent controls, public housing, and implement developer regulations. All the cynics and negative comments have basically given in to the Just So stories and developer propaganda.

"Golly. There is just no way to successfully interfere in the market place!"

Well. You're wrong. It can and has been done. Vienna. Vancouver. Amsterdam. All over the world.

As a business owner I'm as capitalist as they come. But the market has to serve us. Not the other way around. As it stands now big investors with no stake are fucking over entire cities.

While I'm not convinced that Spear or Sawant are the people to do it, they have the right idea. And I think their rather dogmatic brand of populist socialism is rather soft headed at times (I mean, seriously, collectivizing Boeing and shit like that? Ridiculous). But they are driving stagnant liberals in the right direction.

Talk of rent controls and regulation will put the fear of god into developers and maybe bring them to the table where otherwise they have ignored their civic and social responsibilities.
Posted by tkc on August 5, 2014 at 3:09 PM · Report this
@76 Oh. I get it. My bad. You're an idiot. We can ignore you now.

Posted by tkc on August 5, 2014 at 3:12 PM · Report this
Lissa 81
@80: Well he is right that Bellevue is a lot more diverse than people realize, especially up around Crossroads, but you are correct that other than that, our new friend Home Owner does appear to be, if not an idiot, at least not a very deep thinker, and uninterested in arguing good faith, as evidenced by his need to shoe horn an implication that I am a prostitute into his reply to me. I mean really. Misogyny as a rhetorical device is so boring.
Posted by Lissa on August 5, 2014 at 3:45 PM · Report this
You know bullshit about development & construction.
If you want to whine as a consumer, fine.
But cut out the rest since you know nothing about how real estate works.

But you do know enough and I offer you one piece of advice:
If you care about affordable housing, when you sell your house in Issaquah, sell it for the same price you paid (plus any capital improvements) when you bought it.
Will you?
Posted by caution&daring on August 5, 2014 at 4:14 PM · Report this
Lissa 84
@83: Aww Grasshopper thanks for the advice, but I'll listen to my realtor regarding my condo and my friends in the commercial real estate industry regarding this topic in general if you don't mind. If you're worried that I'm going to sell it at a jacked up price and make a killing don't be. Due to the crash in '08 there's no way I'll get what it went for when I bought it, but at least it's not underwater any more!
But yes, I'll be doing my bit to keep Issaquah affordable. :)
Posted by Lissa on August 5, 2014 at 4:38 PM · Report this
Lissa 85
@82: Look at you losing more and more credibility with every new comment.
Are you sure you didn't use that example because those are the only terms regarding private you could understand?
Posted by Lissa on August 5, 2014 at 4:50 PM · Report this
Lissa 86
Edit: private *property*
Posted by Lissa on August 5, 2014 at 4:51 PM · Report this
@ Lissa.
You missed my point, sweetheart.
Posted by caution&daring on August 5, 2014 at 6:18 PM · Report this
Lissa 88
Have I? Would you be so kind to rephrase then?
Posted by Lissa on August 5, 2014 at 6:57 PM · Report this
Hey #8, #11, what's with the kneeling cowardice?

If you're working class, one of the 99%, of course you should always vote for the Socialist Alternative and $15Now candidate -- against the capitalist snake-oil salesmen, against their Democratic-Republican two-headed snake.

Vote with your class, for your class!

And in this particular contest, what a splendid Socialist candidate: JESS SPEAR .
-- Director of Kshama Sawant's victorious 2013 Seattle city council run.
-- Director of $15Now spearheading (no pun intended!) the magnificent relative triumph in Seattle of the $15 minimum-wage struggle.
-- Will never accept a cent from any corporation, big or small.
-- Together with her co-fighters, courageously put her freedom on the line with the rail-track protest of last week; arrested by BNSF police; locked up.

In addition to voting for Jess Spear, make Socialist Alternative and $15Now your very own party -- join it, fund it, build it, influence it.

Whereas what a contemptible candidate the capitalists' Democratic-Republican apparatchik Frank Chopp is:
-- Gives $8.7Billion of our money to Boeing Corporation, which then promptly steals its machinist employees' pensions! He's "Cougar Chopp" when he springs into action to give our money away to the corporate fat cats!
-- But he's "Lamb Chopp" when it comes to defending our living standards: His anemic $12 per hour minimum-wage proposal he hasn't even put to the WA house vote, nor letting cities impose rent control, nor stopping BNSF oil Bomb-Trains, because "Ooh, those horrid house Republicans!"
-- Chopp accepts donations -- blood-money -- from BNSF.

BNSF vaporized 47 of our sisters and brothers at Lac-Megantic, Quebec, in 2013.
Since then, 5 more derailments and explosions.
The BNSF executives should be facing trial and jail for that, but instead they've got off scot-free to send more Bomb-Trains through places like Seattle.
Two weeks ago one of those derailed under Seattle's Magnolia Bridge, but thankfully did not explode -- this time.
If one such explodes in Seattle and turns us all to ashes, BNSF will again cry copious crocodile tears; heck, they might even send each one of us a magnolia wreath, accessorized in our favorite colors!

Frank Chopp reminds me of a budgie,
And budgies are so wise and so sage.
When he gives a little chirrup
One's heart turns to syrup
But I wouldn't fancy cleaning his cage.


Dump the Elephant, Dump the Ass! Build a Party of the Working Class!
Posted by socialistworld on August 6, 2014 at 3:48 AM · Report this
Lissa 90
@89: Is there some kind of Socialist Strunk and White style book? Because seriously you guys all sound the same.
Posted by Lissa on August 6, 2014 at 11:37 AM · Report this
@89 Once again, if I was a rightwing think tank bent on discrediting socialist ideas? I would invent a ridiculous buzzword spouting caricature like you.

And how is Sawant or Spear "working class" exactly? Not that it matters that much. I mean I don't doubt they care about working people, but they aren't "working class" themselves.

FFS Sawant and her husband were Microsoft millionaires! Spears was an academic and has an MA in climate science.

Neither are from "working class" families. Neither has ever belonged to a union. Neither were dock workers or truck drivers or some shit like that.

Chopp was a fuck load more "working class" than either of them.

So do yourself and your cause a favor and drop the nutty sloganeering nonsense.
Posted by tkc on August 6, 2014 at 12:00 PM · Report this
Hey #90,
A genuinely socialist (as opposed to a capitalist) party always speaks and fights as one:
Socialist Alternative members all decide upon policy together, and then every member publicly fights for exactly that same policy.

Totally different from a pack of capitalist leading liars like with the Democratic Party (or with the Republican Party) -- Obama says one thing and does another, Clinton says something else and does something completely different altogether, Chopp accepts BNSF's blood-money donations while disliking their bomb-trains!
An "Orchestra" -- Fiddles and Lyres (liars).

Hey #91, everybody who works is working-class, by definition.
And in JESS SPEAR's and Kshama Sawant's case, they furthermore are splendid fighting representatives of the working-class.

Don't be fooled by the capitalist liars' socio-babble where they try to divide us by telling us we're "lower class", "middle class", "upper class" or any other such gibberish.

A social class is a collection of individuals in society who have a unique and specific relationship to the means of production.

You, I and the 99% sell our labor-power.
We're the working class.
The capitalist class owns the means of production -- which includes their owning us, as a class.
They're the ruling class.
But only until we, the 7 billion throughout the planet, throw them off our shoulders.

Dump the Elephant, Dump the Ass! Build a Party of the Working Class!

Posted by socialistworld on August 6, 2014 at 6:21 PM · Report this
Lissa 94
@92: You misunderstand me. I wasn't referring to a similarity in policy, but in turn of phrase. And I'm afraid I am dubious regarding your claim to such astonishing levels of group cohesion among Socialists. It is axiomatic that the Left eats its own, so I'm gonna go out on a limb and guess you're actually pulling our leg here.
Posted by Lissa on August 6, 2014 at 8:36 PM · Report this
Excellent! seriously -- a Strunk & White for socialists :)

And how did you get so smart in just 24 hours!!??
Ah, I know, you have finally listened to my advice.
Posted by caution&daring on August 6, 2014 at 9:47 PM · Report this
Probably an agent provocateur.
In fact Socialistworld is probably Fnarf, just trying to make Spear look stupid.
Posted by caution&daring on August 6, 2014 at 9:48 PM · Report this
Lissa 97
@95: About that, you said in your comment @89 that I had misunderstood you? Would you care to clarify?
Posted by Lissa on August 7, 2014 at 6:39 AM · Report this
Hi #94,

Actually, there's nothing to be "dubious" about.

Every member of every national section of the Committee For A Workers' International (CWI), such as Socialist Alternative in the US, democratically participates in formulating national policy -- and then fights for it in public as one voice throughout that country!

If you want confirmation of that from Jess Spear, please do ask her:

Or Kshama Sawant:

Or anybody in any section of the CWI, of course:

Because we're not a talking-shop, not a mere debating society.
We strive to win over the huge majority to our ideas, and to broad working-class organizations such as $15Now -- against the capitalists' Democratic and Republican parties.

Regarding "turn of phrase", of course we use different slogans to try to reach different sections of our class:
"$15 and a union now!" in the magnificent and largely-victorious Seattle Minimum Wage struggle.
"Equal Pay for Work of Equal Value!", "The Right to Free Safe Abortion", "The right to walk on the street without being whistled at or otherwise insulted", etc., as part of the fight for Women's Liberation.
And to try to win over nursery-school students: "Socialism means free ice-cream forever!"

Not at all, the Left does not "eat its own".
The Democrat leader liars, just as much as the Republican, are not left but actually extreme right (without being fascist).
Obama the White House Slender-Man is "disgusted" by the Israeli regime's murder of 10 Gaza kids at school -- so much so that he keeps sending Israel $3Billion a year in "military aid"!
Hillary Clinton and her equally-sadistic husband won't release Puerto Rican independence activists from 30 years of prison -- because they have the temerity to not renounce acts, sometimes foolish, committed in their now far-bygone youth!
Frank Chopp "dislikes" BNSF's oil bomb-trains -- so much so that he accepts BNSF's blood-money donations!

Whenever such specimens face us in public debate, we'll "eat" them all right!
Yep, we'll have them for lunch.

Dump the Elephant, Dump the Ass! Build a Party of the Working Class!
Posted by socialistworld on August 7, 2014 at 2:12 PM · Report this
Some other time? :)

I was only trying to make a joke about how everyone wants affordable housing except people are eager to sell their own house at the highest price possible. Which is totally normal, human etc etc. but simply pushes housing prices into "unaffordable" range."

Posted by caution&daring on August 7, 2014 at 8:28 PM · Report this
Lissa 102
@100: So no, I didn't misunderstand you at all then.
And as I'll be selling my condo for quite a bit less than what it was going for when I bought it, and not contributing to the rising cost of housing, it looks like the joke is actually on you.
I'm just happy the place is now worth slightly more than I still owe in it and I can move on.
Posted by Lissa on August 8, 2014 at 10:23 AM · Report this
Nice of you to acknowledge that there are multiple fronts to attack this problem, but most of what you're talking about is small potatoes, and you didn't really talk about the biggest thing that needs to be done to make housing more affordable: BUILD MORE!

In the end, high housing prices are a straightforward result of the law of supply and demand. Any "fix" that doesn't involve dramatically expanding supply will be, at best, only mildly effective and only in the short term. It comes down to musical chairs: if there aren't enough units in Seattle to house the people who want to live in Seattle, some people will be forced to live elsewhere.

Seattle needs to stop trying to micromanage development and allow the developers to build the housing that the market is demanding. Everything from luxury condos to row houses to family-size apartments to apodments, as long as it's safe and not eye-searingly ugly and doesn't demolish something particularly historic it should be allowed. Stop wringing your hands about the character of the neighborhood and sightlines. Compared with the ability of people of modest means to enjoy the amenities of urban living at a reasonable price, those things are just not important. If traffic is a problem, use the tax revenue from the newly-added households to build more transit and add more buses.
Posted by Always east coaster on August 9, 2014 at 10:21 AM · Report this

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