Recent decisions show city ignoring will of residents
Seattle residents should not be deceived. Mayor Murray and the City Council’s decision to eliminate support of neighborhood district councils, and Mike O’Brien’s proposed changes to back-yard dwellings, are subversive and dishonest means to eliminate any resistance and opposition to mayor Murray’s HALA and growth plans that the mayor and City Council are determined to implement regardless of very limited public support, and regardless of the lack of the infrastructure needed to support the such density.
By eliminating support to the independent district councils, and replacing them with “robust community engagement plans” under the direct control of City departments, Mayor Murray and the Council will effective control the discussion regarding increased density in Seattle, and filter any negative feedback received. They will also be able to direct City employees as to how to put a positive spin on the negative impacts increased density (as they did with the pending development of the former Seattle Children’s Home site.)
Several months ago Mayor Murray’s draft neighborhood growth plans, which proposed the elimination of single family zoning restrictions, was leaked to the press. After much public outcry, Mayor Murray quickly denied that intent, indicating it was only a draft document that should not cause concern. Here we are, several months later, finding the Mike O’Brien and the mayor promoting the construction of multiple dwelling units in single-family zones. As the saying goes, “it’s the same old wine in a brand new bottle.”
In previous decades people would call this dishonest. For the mayor and Mr. O’Brien it is apparently business as usual.
Affordable housing doesn’t have to come at expense of neighborhoods
As you can see from Seattle Times story of July 27, 2016, Seattle will meet and exceed HALA goals for market rate housing and, this fall, double funds for low-income housing. As I have suggested many times before we can provide more homes at market-rate and below market-rate without destroying Seattle's greatest feature - our world class urban environmental and sustainable neighborhoods.
Thanking Washington’s congressional delegation for bipartisan effort
This election season with all of the negative rhetoric makes it hard to believe the two parties could ever work together to pass legislation. Recently, the entire Washington State Delegation signed a letter to the President asking him to continue America’s robust support of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria. Congressman Kilmer organized this opportunity for both Democrats and Republicans to sign on to this letter. The Global Fund is on course to save 22 million lives by the end of this year (since 2002). If the funding continues, 8 million more lives can be saved by the end of 2019. So thanks to all of our delegation members for setting a positive example for the rest of the country.