It's Friday. Time for the latest installment of Likes & Dislikes, our regular Fizz week in review column. Occasionally, we hand L&D duty over to other folks in town—the bloggers at Seattlish, former longtime KUOW host Steve Scher, former vet Seattle City Council member Richard Conlin, and cantankerous anonymous city insiders.
This morning, we asked longtime PubliCola favorite, local blogger Carla Saulter, aka Bus Chick, who ran outreach and communications at another PubliCola local favorite, transit advocacy group Transportation Choices Coalition, for several years—to sound off on the news. Bus Chick has plenty to say about buses and transit, but she's also worked up about affordable housing, the job market, racism, the city budget, the state budget (regressive taxes), and Ferguson. And, of course she is. Her transit obsession included, all these issues are connected.—Editors
The Seattle Housing Authority has released a new proposal (Erica broke the news late last week) for serving “work-able households.” Currently SHA charges residents 30 percent of their total income in rent. If their incomes go up or down, their rent follows suit. Under the new plan, able-bodied people between the ages of 24 and 61 would “see their rents increase gradually over time,” regardless of what is happening with their incomes.
If I ran the world, “the market” would not dictate people’s access to shelter.
While I understand that the SHA’s constrained budget is buckling under the weight of the need in this city (thousands on the wait list and thousands more waiting to apply), and I LIKE the intention to serve more people and the emphasis on providing folks with training and other assistance, I DISLIKE this plan as a whole.
Without a reasonable supply of living wage jobs or affordable private housing options, raising rents on poor people is a recipe for disaster. If I ran the world, “the market” would not dictate people’s access to shelter.
Props to the Seattle City Council/Transit Benefit District for setting aside $2 million of future “Proposition One Revenue” (fingers crossed!) to make applying for and obtaining a low-income ORCA card as simple and accessible as possible. I very, very much LIKE the low-income fare program and am pleased to see there is real effort being put into implementation, despite all of the other transit-related challenges we are dealing with. Now if they could just work on the process for getting a youth ORCA card…
Now if they could just work on the process for getting a youth ORCA card.
Speaking of transit-related challenges… I DISLIKE that, whether or not Seattle’s transit ballot measure passes, thousands of Seattleites will lose their ride. There are currently no plans to restore Seattle routes scheduled to be cut in September.
The 27 (a route I LIKE), runs along Yesler from downtown, through the Central District, and all the way to Lake Washington, and is one of the routes on the September chopping block. The 27 serves—among many other key destinations—Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic, Carolyn Downs Family Medical Clinic, Cannon House, Douglass-Truth Library, Catholic Community Services, the Central Area Senior Center, and Leschi Elementary (which, by the way, will also be losing school bus service in September).
If Prop 1 passes in November, it is projected to raise $45 million, which is more than enough money to preserve all of Seattle’s existing service. The city council needs to make staving off these cuts, or, at the very least, buying back this service, a priority.
It is beyond frustrating to live in a growing, prosperous city—where you can’t throw a rock without hitting a doggie daycare (have I mentioned that the old Facts building has been converted into one?), “luxury condo,” or artisan foraged food—that is not able (or willing?) to fund shelter and basic mobility for all of its citizens. I DISLIKE our taxing constraints (and also, the legislature).
So, of course I LIKE that 37th Legistlative District state senate candidate Pramila Jayapal is ready to put a statewide income tax back on the table. Let’s do this!
There is not a word strong enough to express how much I DISLIKE police brutality, militarized police forces, and this nation’s historic, persistent, unrelenting disregard for black life. I DISLIKE the criminalization of black corpses and communities.
As I type, police are occupying the town of Ferguson, Missouri with tanks, rifles, tear gas, and every other weapon they’ve been able to get their hands on through the Fed’s War on Bla—er, Drugs, because its citizens refused to look the other way when an officer killed an unarmed black teenager while he knelt in the street.
I LIKE (actually love) that the people of Ferguson are rising up and saying no more. That they are facing a police force with weapons more powerful than many of the world’s armies and insisting on answers. Insisting that we acknowledge Michael Brown’s humanity. Insisting on justice.
I LIKE that yesterday afternoon, people around the country, including here in Seattle, joined them in mourning Michael. And Dante. And Eric. And Kimani. And Oscar. And Kendrec. And Timothy. And Ervin. And Sean.
Whose child will be next?
[Editor's note: Vox published an insightful Q&A yesterday about Ferguson and police militarization with former Seattle police chief Norm Stamper; Stamper resigned with his head hung down after Seattle's infamous police crackdown on WTO protesters in November 1999. Stamper has since become a leading critic of American policing tactics.]