17 Replies to “Podcast: Endorsements”

  1. Aww I miss having John Roderick in the race. It sucks that Grant has a legit chance for victory, along with Herbold and O’Brein, which means we’re going to have terrible land use outcomes for the next four years at least. We need to figure out how to push Bagshaw (who prob wants to become county exec if Dow runs for governor) and Gonzalas into supporting good land use outcomes to counteract the retrograde candidates on the council.

    1. Why assume the worst? It’s not over until the votes are counted. It’s not worth assuming what the council will be like until we know. There may be several other people with your same concerns who are voting right now.

    2. Actually O’Brein is the one on our side. He’s made some disappointing votes, but he mostly agrees with us.

      1. At a minimum, more than his opponent does.

        People are being awfully fatalistic about Grant, given the gap between him and Burgess in the primary. I expect it’ll be close, but is there any good reason to think he’s not in the underdog position right now?

  2. A couple of extremely pertinent points that don’t appear in these discussions:

    1. It’s a bad habit to use terms “home” and “house” (or “housing”) interchangeably. A home is a living place that’s part of a way of life including work, friendships, and a habit of voluntary common effort. Over time-frames closer to ten years than one. To a Romany family, a trailer on a planet of highways can truly be home. But it’s a lucky wartime soldier who can so call a field tent.

    2. So, for a city, it’s not only important to have an economy allowing people with a variety of incomes-including family with a succession of different pay-grades over time-can willingly stay to constantly develop the city.

    3. Single-industry economies are risky. Detroit used to have one. From what I’m hearing, the one now developing there is based on things like financial services. Meaning gambling, whose profits depend hugely on irrational forces unconnected to anything actually being produced. Like housing prices. Not the building of houses or homes.

    4. And recalling the measures that actually did make stable home- and work- life possible in this country- like a life advanced manufacturing whose workers both enjoyed and knew what they were doing- strong labor unions which handled affordability by paying people enough to have a home on what they earned. Not borrowed.

    Mark Dublin

    4. So I’d like to see these policy discussions include some determined thinking about what will happen if 2008 marked only the first brick falling off the chimney? And also some honest and serious talk about why anybody thinks it isn’t?

    Mark Dublin

    1. “Home” for house is a real-estate marketing ploy to make it seem like you’re buying a good feeling as well as a house. Compare Marlboro Man and zooming a luxury car in the mountains.

  3. With these objections to duplexes, triplexes, etc., someone really needs to show some of these people what good conversions of older houses look like.

    My biggest complaint is that modern zoning renders them illegal. It’s vast blocks of apartment complexes or acres of single family houses, and never the twain shall be mixed as in the days of old.

    1. Greenwood: http://www.cottagecompany.com/Communities/Greenwood-Avenue-Cottages.aspx

      Langley, Whidbey Island: https://www.google.com/search?q=cottage+community+langley&biw=1280&bih=639&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0CDwQsARqFQoTCPmn4uSV0MgCFQjjYwod9QQDgQ&dpr=1.5

      Glenn, these “cottage communities”, one across Greenwood to the east of Shoreline Community College, and the other in Langley, on Whidbey Island, have been in place, I think, for at least 20 years. I’ve seen them both, and my wife and I would have moved in immediately had we been able.

      Especially one in or near Ballard.

      Would these communities be zoned out of Seattle now? And if so…Who gains by doing something so clearly counterproductive? NOBODY can say that these places do anything to a neighborhood besides improve it.


      1. If they are single family houses (and they would appear to be) then that is probably just fine according to Seattle’s current laws.

        The problem is trying to make them work with today’s Seattle land values.

        What we are getting in Portland is such houses being demolished and replaced with exurb style HUGE places, such as two bedroom one bath houses on a single level replaced with three floors and probably dozens of rooms.

        From what I have seen, this same thing is happening in parts of Seattle: zoning intended to “preserve the character of the neighborhood” is just making an expensive suburb in an urban area.

        That doesn’t increase density at all, except on a square footage basis.

      2. @Glenn: Since they share a lawn they probably share a lot, which means they’re probably effectively condominiums (both for zoning purposes and for the owners legally). This means owners wouldn’t own the land outright, would be limited in what sort of construction they could do, and probably wouldn’t be able to rebuild like that without buying out the whole lot. I’ve heard of or seen a few other developments with at least some of these characteristics, in Mountlake Terrace and Kirkland. I walked by the Kirkland lot while it was under construction; I think it was a single big lot previously, possibly with a church on it, and a sign on the lot advertised prices from the 950s or so (land values are crazy near downtown Kirkland). I linked the overhead images to point out that there are probably similar arrangements all over the area just based on what the lots look like overhead (there’s no way individual lots in Kirkland are small enough for a lot of those to be one-house-to-a-lot).

    2. +1 Glenn. Does anyone feel up to putting together a gallery of current Seattle housing we should have more of, and what’s hindering those kinds of buildings? There’s a disconnect between what people emotionally want and what the policies they support build. What’s missing is the visual: what exactly they’re outlawing. The little brick bungalow houses or courtyard apartments are not threatening or dreadful: people are lining up to buy them or live in them because they’re so pleasant.

      1. Gallery is an excellent idea, Mike. Which should include, however, the rest of the “townscape”, from business district to parks and museums. But also, most important the surroundings in which the people work.

        But Glenn, careful about using “land value” to mean current price. Owners’ pride, skill, and responsible use add value to their land. Case in point, crop rotation and selective logging for farms and forests. The present carcinomic burst of speculation (tell me again why the Crash of 2008 was a one-timer) isn’t adding any value, and its inevitable reverse won’t destroy any.

        Though while the Crash of 20(fill in the blank) won’t destroy value by itself, evicting owners and tenants and leaving empty homes to deteriorate certainly will. Which of course drops the price, which enrich the bank accounts of the perpetrators. Whose actual personal value to anything there aren’t enough decimal places under zero to calculate.

        BTW, if “homes” is bad, “Estates” used to make Valley Girls roll their eyes and go “Gag me with a spooooo-oon!” Do fifteen year old girls still do that, or did it go out with “Twenty-three skiddooooo?” and the Chareston?

        The term “Character” now means exactly what you said. You know a place has the correct character if it takes you five hours to find your way out after three hours looking for somebody’s residence because Homeowners’ Associations think landmarks attract the poor.

        Speaking of which, I will actively campaign for any legislative candidate who’ll fight for making these Association’s dictates on door colors, paint schemes, and shrubbery unenforceable in court. And actionable for the sheer gall of even trying.

        And meantime the VFW should stage protests outside -Community gates demanding that any Association or landlord that doesn’t like the US flag on residents’ homes be deported back to their home countries like Ireland, Germany, Sweden, Norway, England or Scotland.

        Meantime, I think a good first gallery exhibit should be Ballard- at least if the boat repair yard a block from Downtown still defines the community in any way. If definer is now what I think- wide choice of boutiques.


  4. Martin, what did you mean that Lynnwood is the most forward-thinking, density-friendly of the suburbs?

    1. They have pretty ambitious plans for a dense town center. Their ST3 request also suggests that park-and-rides aren’t even desirable. This is light years ahead of most suburban cities.

  5. Widening 145th requires Shoreline and DOT taking between 24-58% of the full properties along the road. This is something I learned at the last 145th meeting at Shoreline city hall. These facts are buried in this presentation http://cityofshoreline.com/Home/ShowDocument?id=21752 .

    I don’t think it is right to take up to 135 homes in an affordable neighborhood. I also don’t like how the people doing this are calling this property impacts, which makes it sound like they are just going to take a part to make sidewalks. The presentation talks about taking full parcels.

    1. Single-family houses are not affordable. 135 houses is a drop in the bucket compared to the housing needs which are in the tens of thousands. Even just one of those blocks could fit two 65-unit condos at a cost per unit less than any of those houses. Apartments would be even more affordable and easier to get into, but I’m using condos so as to be comparable to houses.

      1. The single family homes in that area are affordable for the area. The people who own them are lower and middle class. Once again, the lower income homeowners must make all the sacrifices so the upperclass can buy 500k condos or rent new $2500 a month apartments. You guys are insane if you think a 240k house will not be replaced by a mur building where each unit goes for 450k+.

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