Here's On Other Blogs Today (OOBT) ... not to be confused with On Other Blogs Yesterday (the more pronounceable OOBY.)
1. Over at Seattle Transit Blog (in a piece titled "The Future Isn't Going Away"), Matthew Johnson makes the case for why legislation to severely regulate ridesharing companies like Lyft and UberX isn't going to work in the long run.
The city council, as we've reported, is likely to vote Friday on legislation that would restrict ridesharing cars to 300 citywide, and require drivers to either obtain one of a limited number of for-hire car licenses or cut their hours to 16 per week.
2. At the Guardian, former Seattleite and founder of Worldchanging.com, Alex Steffen has a long piece arguing that big cities like San Fransisco (where he now lives, and where he saw a friend get outbid for a rental apartment by a rival wannabe renter who simply agreed to pay the rent for an apartment for an entire year) should expand their housing supply if they want to keep housing affordable in dense urban centers.
Build enough housing and (economists and experience both tell us) prices should at least stabilize. Want social justice? Build a lot more housing.
"The demand for urban housing has far outstripped supply in cities around the world," Steffen writes. "And when lots more people compete for the same homes, prices soar. Scrambles for real estate are reality now from Shanghai to Sao Paulo."
"To make housing affordable again, we need to catch up to decades-worth of unmet demand, over the next few years. In many cities, this means goals measured in the tens of thousands of new homes; in the fastest-growing cities, it means hundreds of thousands. Build enough housing and (economists and experience both tell us) prices should at least stabilize. Want social justice? Build a lot more housing."
3. An affordable city is also impossible without public transit—one reason King County Metro (which raised fares four times between 2008 and 2011) has proposed a Transportation Benefit District, which would allow county voters to tax themselves (in the form of a $60 vehicle license fee and a 0.1 percent increase in the county sales tax) to stave off potential cuts of as much as 17 percent to Metro service.
As the PI.com reports, the King County Council voted unanimously yesterday to put the TBD measure on the April 2014 ballot. Without the TBD, to quote Metro general manager Kevin Desmond, the agency will have to slash at the "meat and muscle" of Metro's bus service.
4. The News Tribune reports on the crimes and convictions of the current nine members of Washington state's death row, whose sentences Gov. Jay Inslee announced today that he will not allow to be carried out under his watch.
The C Is for Crank's take on the death penalty, and Inslee's decision to place a moratorium on it, is here.