Caffeinated News & Gossip

1. Proponents and opponents of so-called aPodments, or micro-housing developments, squared off last night in a sweltering (and sunless) church basement on Capitol Hill, although the audience was clearly stacked about two to one against the small apartments, which are exempt from Seattle design review because they share a kitchen. 

Opponents, including Capitol Hill neighborhood activist Dennis Saxman and Wallingford activist Greg Hill, argued that the buildings are unsafe, don't include "basic" amenities like elevators, and discourage people from cooking all their meals at home, a la Michael Pollan. (They also argued that aPodment dwellers would clog up neighborhood streets with their hypothetical cars). The nightmare scenario, in opponents' view: "Eastern Europe" during the Soviet era, with concrete-block buildings stuffed to the rafters with renters.

"If a fun-size bar is all you can afford, that math equation doesn't really matter."

Proponents, meanwhile, argued that microhousing allows people to live closer to where they work, don't tend to own cars, and are "quiet," bringing quality tenants who are invested in the neighborhoods where they live. The nightmare scenario of a world without options, in proponents' view "Beijing," with air so filthy from car pollution that people have to wear filtration masks. 

In the best metaphor of the night, Seattle Transit Blog's Adam Parast, a proponent, likened aPodments to mini candy bars: They may, as aPodment opponents pointed out, cost more per ounce (or square foot) than giant chocolate bars, but if a fun-size bar is all you can afford, that math equation doesn't really matter.

2. You won't find many surprising answers or differences of opinion when reading the mayoral candidates' responses to this year's King County Democrats’ candidate questionnaires.

The candidates—all of them except long-shot candidates Mary Martin, a socialist, and real estate broker Charlie Staadecker have filled one out—focused on education, transportation, job growth, and public safety in their written responses. And all stayed in lockstep in response to Yes or No questions about Democratic litmus tests—such as: Do you support charter or voucher schools? (No); Do you support a woman's absolute right to reproductive freedom? (Yes); Do you support government regulation of greenhouse gases? (Yes), Do you support the right of public sector workers to bargain and strike? (Yes); Do you support the DREAM Act? (Yes), Do you support federal repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act? (Yes); etc.—with one exception.

 

"I think it’s a backend intervention and that the cause of equity and access is better served with front end proactive and preventive measures."

Greenwood neighborhood activist Kate Martin was the only candidate to answer that she did not support affirmative aAction or the repeal of 1998's I-200, which ended affirmative action in Washington State.

To qualify her "No" answer on affirmative action, she wrote: “I did support it at one time, but I think it’s a backend intervention and that the cause of equity and access is better served with front end proactive and preventive measures.”

CORRECTION: Tim Burgess, who has been supportive of the ed reform movement, gave a "qualified" answer on the charters question. He wrote:

I did not support the charter school campaign last year as I viewed that effort as a distraction from some of the larger issues we need to address related to public education. I’m a strong advocate for innovation and reform in public education, but these initiatives should be pursued in cooperation with our teachers, principals and parents. We have seen significant reforms in Seattle Public Schools through the collective bargaining process; for example, teacher evaluation protocols and creative approach schools.
McGinn also gave a "qualified" answer on the charters question, writing:
Regarding Charter Schools: I believe we should monitor the 40 charter shcools authorized statewide by the statewide initiative to determine whether they generate better outcomes for students, and deserve to be replicated.
Read his full answer here, which also stresses his support for collective bargaining rights and public oversight.

3. Fizz ain't saying which City Council member it was, but two of their colleagues who are running against Mayor Mike McGinn wouldn't be very happy about this one.

One council member, and it wasn't Mike O'Brien, thinks Mayor Mike McGinn is doing a good job these days (they even used the word "collaborative") and hinted that we may be surprised come endorsement time in the general election.