Friday LIKES & DISLIKES
1. I DISLIKE Seattle city council member Jean Godden's invite to her campaign kickoff. After noting in the letter that Godden is facing "four similar newcomers," Godden's consultant Cathy Allen ends with this: "P.S. I'll be leading a special training on how to write really negative direct mail pieces. Bring your facts and fiction about our four novice white guy talk-alikes running against Jean."
For starters, it's not as if Godden is running against Kshama Sawant's staff. (Until Sawant finally hired a young woman in the last month, it's was a parade of Socialist Alternative Party white guys during her first year plus in office).
Second, that was fast.
Third, the batch of candidates aren't novices (Rob Johnson, for one, has been the executive director of Transportation Choices Coalition for seven years).
Allen is charging Godden enough, $3,000 alone in February, nine months out from the election.
And fourth, the candidates hardly sound alike: Neighborhood council leader Tony Provine led the resistance to an upzone near Roosevelt light rail; super straight guy Johnson and gay Democratic activist Michael Maddux—the only gay guy in the race—are all in on upzones ("We don't have enough room between bodies of water to grow out, so we have to grow up," Maddux, told me yesterday, in fact); and I'm not sure Taso Lagos—whose parents ran a Greek restaurant on the Ave—counts as part of the white male hegemony. Lagos, by the way, also appears to sound very different than Johnson and Maddux on the defining density question. At a forum this week, Lagos said: "We are not a vertical city."
I'm looking forward to Allen's followup to her tacky email—her first negative direct mail piece. Heaven knows she's charging Godden enough. Despite having raised nearly $50,000, according to the latest campaign finance reports, Godden only has $15,000 cash on hand, which puts her behind Johnson, who has raised $20,000 less, but has more in the bank.
2. Speaking of the Roosevelt upzone: Last Friday I DISLIKED that the city announced it was turning housing property in the upzoned turf into a park. Green architect Rob Harrison, while recognizing that seizing the blighted property that's currently on the site was "laudable" and "bold," ultimately DISLIKED it too and wants the city, according to a petition he sent to the mayor and council, to honor the "hard work" and "community process" that led to the upzone because "affordable housing is a public good of which the city unquestionably needs vastly more."
We recognize and support the community process and hard work of numerous community members, advocates, Sound Transit and City employees that led to the zoning designation of these parcels of NC2P-65, and
We acknowledge the investment of the City in Sound Transit’s Link Light Rail station and the positive effects that investment will have on the Roosevelt neighborhood as well as the impacts of additional residents, and
Affordable housing is a Public Good of which the City unquestionably needs vastly more.
Harrison's petition, signed by Maddux by the way, asks the city to used the property for affordable housing for families earning less than 50 percent of the median income; make the development the city's first multifamily Passivhaus or Passive House (a supergreen design) by having a public competition; and "here's the perfect part," Harrison, a Passivhaus designer, told me: vacate the street across the from the property and turn that into a park.
Therefore, we the undersigned, propose and endorse that,
1) The City allocate the parcels in question to affordable housing, in perpetuity, for families earning less than 50 percent of Area Median Income (AMI) through either a long-term (99-year) lease or the establishment of a land trust, and
2) The City designate that the parcels shall be used to create Seattle’s first multifamily Passivhaus building, developed by one of Seattle’s non-profit housing corporations, selected by a public competition, and
3) The Right-of-Way of 14th Ave NE between NE 65th and 66th Streets be vacated and a new innovative green multiuse public open space created on that land, designed in conjunction with and in support of the proposed multi-family developments to the west and east.
3. I LIKE that the council is putting off the encampment legislation a week—from March 23 to March 30— so that all the council members will be present.
Kshama Sawant's amendment, supported by Mike O'Brien and Nick Licata, to study allowing encampments in residential neighborhoods, failed at the committee level when council member Tim Burgess, an opponent of the amendment, held things up so that a third no vote, Godden, could hustle in and help vote the amendment down.
Now, in a bit of possible poetic justice, O'Brien, who was flummoxed by Burgess' move, helped postpone next Monday's vote so that the proponents of the amendment will all be there. Bagshaw, the key fifth vote, will be out of town on the 23rd, but will be back on the 30th.