Afternoon Jolt

Today's loser: Low-income housing supporters. 

Three city council members, along with representatives of the city's departments of housing and development, are holding a hearing about so-called micro-housing, or "aPodments" next month.

The buildings, which include small (200-to-250-square-foot) apartments with shared kitchens, are controversial among some neighborhood activists who oppose increased density in close proximity to single-family neighborhoods.

Image via Kauri Investments.

The only problem?

The meeting is on a weekday—Thursday, April 18—at 11:30 in the morning, an hour when most of those who would presumably support aPodments (low-to-middle-income working people, in other words) are likely to be at work. The timing will almost certainly guarantee an audience of opponents—something city council member Tom Rasmussen (who, as we first reported, is considering a moratorium on such developments) appears to be seeking, judging from the wording of his announcement. 

Several Councilmembers and I are sponsoring a two hour meeting to review what is occurring due to the strong interest and concern we are hearing in the neighborhoods. A portion of the meeting will include an opportunity for the public to provide comments and recommendations on what, if any, regulations should be enacted for this unique type of housing.

Rasmussen has not returned a call for comment. 

2. No winner or loser here, but certainly a Jolt!

Trying to turn the conservative mantra against taxes on its head (as well as steal the Republicans' business base), nearly 200 small business owners from all over the state—from ECO Auto & Tire in Vancouver to Christiano's Pizza in Marysville, from Wells and Co. in Spokane to Triangle Bait & Tackle in Snohomish, from Borden's Auto Parts in Raymond to Plum Bistro in Seattle—signed and delivered a letter to the governor and to state legislators today calling for new state revenue—"whether it's closing tax loopholes for big corporations .. or other solutions that support the middle class."

You'll notice they avoid the word "taxes." Rather—stealing the GOP script about taxes—they sub in the word "cuts," as in: "Small businesses need investments that fuel consumer demand, not cuts that take money out of the pockets of consumers. We need customers—not cuts!"

They write:

As small business owners, we know what it means to invest and take risks in order to make a profit. Our profits are usually invested back into our businesses, our family and our community.  We also know the less we invest, the less we grow, and no business can succeed without investments.

A strong economy also relies on investments to sustain and grow. It’s what creates jobs and supports small businesses. Small businesses need investments that fuel consumer demand, not cuts that take money out of the pockets of consumers. We need customers – not cuts!

That’s why we believe it’s time to refocus our political debate on generating revenue to create the investments we need to support small businesses. Investments in our community, like schools and hospitals, education and infrastructure create the customer base that small business owners need.

Gov. Jay Inslee has already said he will propose hundreds of millions of dollars in new revenue based on cutting tax preferences. And the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee presented its report to the house finance committee on closing tax breaks last week.


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