1. San Francisco mayor Ed Lee was in town last night speaking with Seattle Mayor Ed Murray at Seattle University about the homeless crisis.
Similar to Seattle (even more so, in fact) San Francisco is facing a dramatic increase in people experiencing homelessness. Seattle puts its unsheltered homeless population at about 3,000 and San Francisco puts theirs at about 6,700; SF is slightly bigger than Seattle—by about 200,000 people.
Local workhorse reporters Erica C. Barnett and Heidi Groover both tweeted the discussion. And Barnett has a germane story up on her blog The C Is for Crank, detailing San Francisco’s low-barrier-to-entry Navigation Center homeless shelter—something Seattle wants to emulate.
Groover also posted a germane detail: A map that might explain why both city’s housing costs are so high; both cities cordon off abnormally massive swaths of land for single family zoning. Seattle is about at 65 percent and San Francisco’s? Whoa.
Actually, it's not as dramatic as the swath of yellow makes it look. It's really about 25 percent...but...
By way of comparison, Portland only sets aside about 3 percent of its land for single family homes exclusively. I’m not saying Portland doesn’t have a homeless problem, but Portland is roughly the same size as Seattle—619,000 people versus Seattle’s 668,000 people. And their homeless population is about 33 percent smaller than ours.
2. Seattle's newest member of congress, U.S. representative Pramila Jayapal (D-WA, 7), quickly responded to President-elect Donald Trump's firm announcement that congress needed to repeal Obamacare with some statistics about Washington state.
The numbers are worth publishing in full:
Young people in the state under the age of 26 will not be able to get health coverage under their parents’ plan. Currently, about 55,000 young people in Washington have taken advantage of the Affordable Care Act by staying on their parents’ health insurance. A repeal of the law means they will be forced to purchase their own health insurance, or take the risk of staying uninsured.
Washington women would have to pay more for health care. Before the Affordable Care Act, women were forced to pay out-of-pocket for basic preventive health care like routine breast cancer screenings, birth control and Pap tests.
If the Affordable Care Act is repealed, nearly 4 million Washingtonians who rely on employer-sponsored health care will be impacted. The Affordable Care Act gives tax incentives to encourage small business owners to provide health coverage to their employees.
More than 50,000 Washingtonians who have gained health care due to Medicaid expansion will lose health coverage. The Affordable Care Act expanded Medicaid, giving life-saving coverage to thousands of Washingtonians who couldn’t afford health care before.
People with pre-existing conditions could be denied coverage. In Washington, almost 3 million people have a pre-existing condition. Repealing the Affordable Care Act would allow insurance companies to go back to the days when they could deny coverage to individuals with pre-existing conditions like diabetes, cancer or asthma.
Jayapal added: “Health care is a right, not a privilege. Instead of rolling back the progress we’ve made, we need to strengthen and expand the Affordable Care Act.”
3. And speaking of whoa! Amazon is planning to hire 100,000 new employees during the next year and a half.
"Amazon said Thursday that by 2018 it plans to have more than 280,000 full-time U.S. employees, versus 180,000 at the end of 2016. The jobs cover a wide range of disciplines, from developers and engineers that work on cloud computing to warehouse operators that handle millions of packages."