1. Nearly 1,400 people have signed an online petition protesting mayor Ed Murray's effort to shut down Seattle's hookah lounges.
2. The League of Women Voters has filed a complaint against No Election Vouchers, the campaign against I-122, a city initiative to give every voter a $100 coupon that he or she can contribute to any candidate (as long as the candidate isn't accepting any contribution above $250 nor money from outside groups.) The scheme would cost the city about $3 million, the campaign says.
I-122, dubbed "Honest Elections"—which comes with a whole battery of campaign finance reform measures such as prohibiting elected officials from taking money from groups that spend on city lobbying—also calls for real time disclosure on campaign spending, which seems to make LWV's complaint pretty delicious. Citing "feverish" press work against the initiative, they complain that the anti-I-122 group hasn't reported any corresponding campaign funding or expenditures. (LWV also notes that the anti-122 effort has retained a treasurer.)
No Election Vouchers spokesman Sandeep Kaushik (whose original press release against I-122, the subject of LWV's complaint, called the voucher idea "cockamamie") tells Fizz: "It's a nonissue, and really a juvenile attempt to cast false aspersions because we dare to oppose the flawed...scheme. We filed the appropriate...forms that showed the campaign has raised no money yet. And it is not clear yet that it will. So, there was no expenditure or debt."
What about Kaushik's press work? (Kaushik's political consulting firm is called Sound View strategies.) He says: "[The Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission] suggested we amend [the July report] to shown an in-kind contribution of $750 from me to the campaign to cover the small amount of time that I've spent, which we've done."
This amended report, including a $33 in-kind contribution for treasury work as well, posted at the SEEC site yesterday.
Full disclosure: Six years ago, before Seattle Met mag bought PubliCola, and before we were a shoestring startup, Kauhsik was a founding adviser.
3. The city already seems to be following one HALA recommendation—selling city owned land to create affordable housing.
The city signed off on mayor Ed Murray legislation yesterday to sell a 7,200 square foot city parcel at 6th and Yesler for $1.4 million to Stream Real Estate to build a 140-unit building. The units will be affordable to households earning less than 80 percent of area median income, about $53,000.
And the city says the money from the sale will be used to build more affordable housing.
“The Mayor tasked the housing affordability committee with finding innovative ways to increase housing options in our City,” Faith Pettis, co-chair of the HALA committee said in a press release yesterday afternoon. “This proposal’s use of city resources, nimble response to new opportunities, and commitment to effective partnerships is a great example of what we can do.”
“This is a win-win-win,” Steve Walker, Director of the Office of Housing, added in the same statement. “By working with Stream Real Estate, we will enable affordable housing to be built on site and the city will receive additional resources to add to the existing 12,000 units of income-and rent-restricted housing already funded by the Office of Housing.”
"Not bad. Only 19,860 more units to go," Murray spokesman Viet Shelton told Fizz, referring to the mayor's goal of building 20,000 affordable housing units in the next ten years. (Murray's goal makes the units available at 80 percent of AMI, though the HALA goal was at 60 percent.)
And of course, adding 140 units in the ID keeps low-income residents out of single-family zones. A win-win Seattle!