1. The he-said (council president Tim Burgess) she-said (socialist council member Kshama Sawant) standoff yesterday over rent control has led a group of local developer and business interests to say: A plague on both your houses!
Sawant, who’s been pushing council to pass her pro–rent control resolution, hailed the council’s eight-to-one vote to approve Burgess’s milder version yesterday. It calls for local control over rent regulations, but doesn’t support rent control. Sawant claimed that her movement had forced the council to act, while Burgess claimed his version was an explicit rejection of Sawant’s terms and fiery rhetoric.
Ryan Bayne, a spokesman for the Coalition for Housing Solutions, a group that represents the chamber, realtors, builders, and land use attorneys, says: “It used to be that when the council would pass bad policy, it was at least popular with Seattle voters. Now, if you get a few loud folks with banners in the room, they’ll pass policy that is both counterproductive and unpopular with Seattle voters.”
Bayne, whose business coalition has joined with affordable housing advocates like the Housing Development Consortium and Puget Sound SAGE to support the mayor’s Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda “grand bargain” for upzones and mandatory affordable housing, is referring to a poll last June showing “rent control” wasn’t exactly something Seattle voters were rallying around.
2. Have an opinion about last month’s Capitol Hill street closure pilot wherein cars were not allowed to drive on Pike Street?
Local property owners and retailers have raised concerns about the August pilot, complaining that street closures help brand Capitol Hill as a party district instead of a dynamic neighborhood.
There’s a meeting tonight at the 12th Avenue Arts building from 6pm to 7:30 where you can weigh in; Survey Monkey poll here.
SDOT director Scott Kubly was mum when I asked for his take on how it went, but Office of Economic Development staffer Heidi Hall, who’s currently analyzing surveys about the test run, told Fizz: “Anecdotally we heard from a lot of people that they liked having more space to walk around and felt safer, so we will see how the data plays out. People responded very positively to the community programming on the August 22 pilot night, some saying it brought out people who don’t typically come out on a weekend night and that it set a more positive tone for the night.”
The city’s initial data from the surveys made a compelling case for the street closure. Hall reports that 70 percent of people were walking, biking, using transit, or using ride share as part of their trip to and from the neighborhood, and adds: “a majority of people are coming to Pike/Pine in the evenings without a car.”
Those numbers are only likely to increase when the Capitol Hill light rail opens early next year (fingers crossed).
3. State Public Disclosure Commission investigators say they've found evidence that ubiquitous antitax initiative hawker Tim Eyman used campaign funds for personal use.
PDC investigators tracked money raised for a 2012 ballot measure and said in their findings that they “found evidence that Mr. Eyman made personal use of approximately $170,000 of those funds, using them for personal living expenses to support his family.”
Citizen Solutions was paid more than $1.1 million to qualify Eyman-backed Initiative 1185 for the 2012 ballot.
The report says that while Citizen Solutions was to receive $3.50 per voter signature as part of an initial agreement on I-1185, records indicate Citizen Solutions paid petition coordinators between $1 and $1.40 per signature, keeping at least $2.10 per signature.
The PDC said Citizen Solutions then paid an unreported $308,185 in July 2012 to a limited-liability company formed by Eyman.
4. Last week, we reported that despite the widely acknowledged affordable housing crisis, mayor Ed Murray had passed on an innovative plan to build affordable housing near the future Roosevelt light rail stop. The plan called for building housing on the dilapidated property across the street from Roosevelt High School on 14th Avenue Northeast between 65th and 66th.
Instead, the mayor is using money—$2.9 million in fines on the longtime delinquent landlord and property owner Hugh Sisley—to build a park.
Yesterday, green architect Rob Harrison, who had led the charge for the housing solution (along with Roosevelt neighborhood activist Katherine Mackinnon) sent a letter to the city council urging them to reject Murray’s plan and pointing out that “The parcel in question provides the capacity for an additional 50 to 60 dwelling units to be built within about 200 feet of the new Roosevelt Link Light Rail Station. Eighty-two point two percent of area residents live within a quarter mile of a park.”