by John Fox and Carolee Colter, Seattle Displacement Coalition reprinted from Pacific Publishing newspapers April 2016
The Seattle Displacement Coalition has deep roots in Seattle’s neighborhood movement. We’ve written this “Outside City Hall” column, featuring important neighborhood issues, for 13 years. We personally know most of the leaders of Seattle’s active community councils, and our views are nearly always in synch with theirs.
For example, the Laurelhurst Community Council, representing one of Seattle’s toniest neighborhoods, was among the first to back a tough demolition-control law barring developers from tearing down our city’s affordable housing stock unless units were replaced one-for-one at comparable price.
City Hall NOT YET responsive to neighborhood livability concerns
Last Tuesday (4/19/16), Mayor Murray hosted a Livability Night Out between 6:30 and 8:30PM at the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) at the south tip of Lake Union. The first section of the evening program (6:30-7:15PM) encouraged participants to “mix and mingle” with various City departments that had set up tables and white boards surrounding the MOHAI lobby. The thirty City departments included among others: Parks, Sustainability & Environment, Transportation, Codes & Inspections (formerly DPD), Planning & Community Development (also formerly DPD), HALA, Neighborhoods, Housing, and Arts & Culture.
Seattle Displacement Coalition: Why we oppose and urge you to oppose the Grand Bargain, and HALA upzone plan and why we would never sign the petition some groups are circulating supporting it.
by John Fox, Seattle Displacement Coalition
The HALA "Grand Bargain"
A Blueprint for more displacement and gentrification and loss of low income housing in our city.
The petition some groups are asking people to sign has been put forward by "Seattle for Everyone" (SFE). Except for two or three of its participant groups, it is little more than a front group made up primarily of development interests and groups affiliated with development interests. It's purpose is to lay the groundwork, convey the appearance of broad public support for across-the-board upzoning of our neighborhoods.
The trade-off that brought some 'advocacy' groups into this "unholy" alliance, was the promise that these massive displacement inducing upzones would be accompanied by an inclusionary housing requirement requiring developers to set aside a handful of low income housing units. This was dubbed the "Grand Bargain" but it is little more than a grand sell out for the cause of economic and social justice in our city.
by Sarajane Siegfriedt, Lake City
Josh Feit wrote in his Publicola blog 4/5/16:
“Speaking of HALA and how it dovetails with the housing levy: As people were testifying about the levy in council chambers, neighborhood representatives from the newly created HALA focus groups were meeting downstairs in the Bertha Knight Landes room. And in another coup for the mayor, the group wasn’t so much meeting to debate the HALA plan—which also includes neighborhood upzones, a commercial development linkage fee for affordable housing, urban village boundary changes, and the inclusionary housing requirement—but rather, they were tasked with how to make it all work.
The City “…rebranded mandatory inclusionary zoning as “Mandatory Housing Affordability,”… This serves to bury the intent of Mandatory Inclusionary Zoning (MIZ), which is to build 5% or 7% of moderately affordable housing within midrise buildings throughout the city. However, one developer predicted that no developer would want to hamper his resale value by actually including the rent-limited units and that “everyone” would pay the in-lieu fee instead. This would delay creation of affordable units by at least three years, while the City goes through the competitive process of finding a nonprofit developer who must find land and additional funding, then build the building.
by David B. - rumblecrash.com
New York Mayor Bill De Blasio just passed a suite of “affordable housing” legislation (analogous to HALA), over the opposition of most community groups and borough councils.
Critics say it does not require enough of developers, but – from what I can tell – it requires a lot more than our Mayor Murray is getting: There are 4 options for developers, "which start at setting aside 20% of units for people making an average of 40% of the median income, or $31,000, with rent about $775."
De Blasio plans clear Council, despite community opposition (NY Daily News)
Here’s something that explains Seattle For Everyone: "Faced with rejection from local community boards and borough presidents, de Blasio's office mounted a major campaign to get the plans passed, mustering unions and senior groups to support it. The AARP became a major ally.” Divide and conquer!
Paul Krugman weighs in for the urbanists (New York Times)
This is annoying! Has anyone else noticed him getting all patrician and self-involved lately?