1. People like their free parking, I guess: KIRO reports that West Seattle residents are mad as hell that a new aPodment-style microhousing development, which will house 30 people, doesn't come with a mandatory parking garage. The problem is that the building is in a dense urban village, where apartment developers aren't required to include expensive parking garages (and where renters are less likely to have cars anyway).
But that hasn't stopped neighbors from howling. The West Seattle Herald also reports on the controversy, citing neighbors who say new residents will force existing homeowners to walk "two or three blocks" to their houses (walking that far being too much exertion, we suppose.)
At any rate, as we noted yesterday, it's actually a neighborhood complaint that's holding up new regulations on microunits—on Capitol Hill, microhousing opponent Dennis Saxman has complained about new regulations that would make it harder to build microapartments on the grounds that the city hasn't adequately considered the potential environmental impacts of the new rules.
2. KOMO TV, meanwhile, expresses amazement that Wallingford residents weren't happy with a proposal by the CVS pharmacy chain to build a generic, suburban-style one-story drug store in their neighborhood: "It's not every day you hear neighbors actually complaining a proposed development is too small and should be taller," the station reports.
The proposed CVS, as we reported back in September, would be a disaster from an urban-planning standpoint, filling in what is, by law, supposed to be a pedestrian-oriented space with the urban equivalent of a Costco. City Council member Richard Conlin (who could soon be replaced by socialist Kshama Sawant, who has expressed an interest in letting neighborhood residents, not the city, decide whether they want density) is pushing legislation that would require developments like the Wallingford CVS to include housing for people, not just single-story structures for cars.
3. Some progress on transportation, finally? The Seattle Times reports that state senate Republicans are open to a potential 11.5-cent gas tax to pay for roads and road maintenance, as well as a potential new revenue source for King County Metro (provided that that revenue comes from inside the county and is voter-approved).
4. The Times also reports on a plan by U.S. Senate Democrats, including Washington state's own Patty Murray, to provide free preschool to 3- and 4-year-olds whose families make up to $44,000 for a family of four—a move the paper implicitly criticizes as being "defiance of federal austerity."
But wait a minute: Doesn't preschool offer widely acknowledged benefits—benefits that help the fiscal state of the nation, such as better brain development in kids, moms who are able to go to work and benefit society by paying taxes, jobs for teachers, lower spending on health-care costs, and a better-educated population (pretty important once those kids eventually enter the workforce)?
Never mind all that. According to the Times (with the exception of one sentence that briefly mentions a "correlation" between preschool and "payoffs" down the road), it's all about austerity and spending—some $6,800 per year per student, a cost the story fails to mention would be more than paid back by the many benefits of giving poor and moderate-income kids a healthy start in life.