Friday Likes & DISLIKES—HALA edition.
1. With no asterisks about rent control or a blanket linkage fee, an impressive coalition of the city’s social justice, labor, environmental, and progressive community sent a letter to the city council and special HALA committee chair council member Mike O’Brien emphatically supporting mayor Ed Murray’s HALA committee recommendations earlier this week.
Specifically, the group—which includes Puget Sound SAGE, Futurewise, SEIU 775, One America, the Tenants Union, Real Change, the Seirra Club, Working Washington, El Centro de la Raza, the Church Council of Greater Seattle, UNITE HERE Local 8, the Muslim Housing Council, the Housing Development Consortium and, frankly, just about every progressive group in town—LIKES HALA’s “grand bargain” that mandates a fee on commercial development for affordable housing plus mandates affordable housing (at 60 percent of the are median income) in exchange for an across-the-board upzone in the city’s prime development zones.
Putting the “Grand Bargain” in the context of Murray’s recent grand bargain on the minimum wage, the letter from states:
We urge your strong commitment and timely action to adopt HALA’s Grand Bargain: a mandatory residential inclusionary housing program, commercial linkage fee, and corresponding upzones to achieve construction of 6,000 affordable homes in 10 years. By tying affordability to increased development capacity in select zones, we will be able to serve thousands of low-income individuals and families and build housing for our growing workforce.
While Socialist city council member Kshama Sawant and few of her election, slate-like allies, former Tenants Union director Jon Grant and Nick Licata aide Lisa Herbold, have also signaled support for the HALA deal, their support has come with an asterisk. They want to add a blanket linkage fee on all development. And in Sawant’s case, rent control is also a must have in any affordable housing policy.
Something I LIKE about the letter—it also includes some developer interests such as Schemata Workshop, SMR Architects, and Tonkin Architecture. Frankly, it would make no sense for a group hailing a grand bargain not to include factions on both sides of the bargain.
The letter also supports some other key HALA recommendations—suggestions that highlight the give from the developer side: doubling the housing levy and local .25 percent Real Estate Excise Tax.
2. Another aspect of the HALA committee recs that got a shout out this week: In its presentation to the council’s planning committee this week, Capitol Hill Housing, an affordable housing nonprofit that serves Capitol Hill, came out for HALA’s suggestion to second guess council legislation that limited pod apartment production. They want to know if the new rules have undermined housing production.
(Our own reporting found that the council’s new rules have practically halted pod apartment production—there’s been a 97 percent drop in production— though council member O’Brien told me revisiting the new rules is not a priority.)
3. The state GOP DISLIKES the McCleary ruling. 19 Republican state senators have signed a letter condemning the state supreme court's sanctions on the legislature over not fully funding education in accordance with McCleary.
4. Finally, the 36th District Democrats LIKE the idea of putting a temporary homeless encampment in Ballard, something, as Erica C. Barnett has reported, the neighbors have freaked out about.