OOBT
1. aPodment haters, avert your eyes: Olympia is building some really small housing, although these units—standalone cottages smaller than 150 square feet—are aimed at the recently homeless. The New York Times profiles Quixote Village, a self-governed, 30-unit complex on an industrial park outside Olympia where a group of former tent city residents now live in "micro-units." The amenities—beyond the roofs—include showers, laundry facilities, and a shared kitchen. 
Image via Quixote Village.

The concept is new, so it will take time to know whether micro-living is an option that works for the long-term homeless. The immediate question is whether such communities are scaleable. The architect who designed the cottages took just half his usual fee, but the cost still worked out the $88,000 per unit—cheap compared to a Seattle condo, but a lot more expensive than a tent.

And the population of Quixote Village represents a tiny fraction of the region's homeless population; in King County alone, the most recent One Night Count of the homeless, in January, found more than 3,000 people sleeping outside.

2. City council member Tim Burgess links a new report from the Brookings Institution, which  concludes that Seattle's level of income inequality—as measured by the gap between 20th-percentile income earners and 95th-percentile income earners—is "relatively low," largely because those at the 20th percentile (that is, those who earn more than 20 percent of the population) have a relatively high median income of $26,000. 

But don't get too excited: There's a dark cloud behind the silver lining. The reason Seattle's wages are relatively high, the report continues, is because poor people are living in the suburbs, where they can afford housing.

We aren't so much a city of haves and have-nots as haves and have-mores.

3. The News Tribune's Peter Callaghan is less than impressed with state senate Democrats' decision to punt on ed reform legislation that they originally supported—a decision that "floored" Fizz earlier this week, given that the legislature now stands to lose $38 million in federal education money.

Currently, the state gets that money through a waiver from the most onerous aspects of No Child Left Behind; the bill, by mandating that test scores be included as a significant factor in measuring student improvement under the law (currently, the law only says they may be included), would have allowed the state to keep the waiver. 

Democrats have expressed confidence that U.S. Sen. Patty Murray will secure an extension of the waiver. Callaghan isn't so sanguine. "What makes them so confident in rumors that the feds aren’t serious or that a powerful U.S. senator like Patty Murray can fix it all with a phone call to Education Secretary Arne Duncan?" Callaghan writes. For his part, state education secretary Randy Dorn "says he has gotten zero indication that Duncan will do for Washington what he has not done for any other state – back down on waiver requirements."What makes them so confident in rumors that the feds aren’t serious or that a powerful U.S. senator like Patty Murray can fix it all with a phone call to Education Secretary Arne Duncan?"

"It’s all risky business for Democrats, one with big political upside if it works but devastating policy downside if it doesn’t. Risky enough that I would have thought they would have decided that it wasn’t worth it."

Josh talked to Sen. Murray's office earlier today, and Callaghan's concerns are justified.

The quote Murray's spokesma Sean Coit gave PubliCola was pretty limp.

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