Our Sponsors:

Read more »

Our Members

Many thanks to Pamela Grinter and Nancy B Evans some of our many supporters.

ALL MEMBERS »

Like Mike: Seattle's next mayor will be McGinn-esque

Commentary: The city's new chief exec will readily play his or her part in a powerful, public-private “urban regime” that enforces its own set of priorities and crowds out other agendas.

McGinn has learned to play the game.

McGinn has learned to play the game. Photo: Mike McGinn

When people ask me to speculate on who will win the 2013 Seattle mayor’s race, my answer is “Mayor McGinn, though not necessarily Mike McGinn.” 

What follows are my reasons for thinking that this is a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) election, resulting in a McGinn-like mayor, maybe even McGinn himself, being elected next November (and beyond). It's a contest of the Mike-Alikes.

This race is not about contesting McGinn's progressive, business-oriented agenda, since it fits so well with contemporary Seattle politics. The policies are stipulated, so the race will be about style and effectiveness (especially with McGinn's setback in trying to get the Sacramento Kings), with a few quibbles about some details.

One reason for this consensus is that Seattle politics is now brightly “red-lined,” in the sense that no politician can challenge the consensus on major issues enough to disturb the McGinn status quo. Well-organized interest groups such as bicycle clubs, nightlife businesses, developers, environmentalists, gay-advocacy groups, low-income-housing developers, city employee unions and social-service-delivery organizations enforce these red lines so forcefully that all mayoral candidates (to be serious) are now essentially look-alikes, agreed on all the major issues.

Cross those red lines (for instance by complaining about too many bike lanes), and you are subject to a drone attack. Of the serious contenders, only Peter Steinbrueck, a long-shot candidate struggling to raise money, is pushing the envelope of consensus.

Had Maud Daudon, the current president of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, decided to run for mayor on a pull-everyone-together platform, she might have crossed a few red lines (notably on public safety and rolling back mandatory sick leave). It would not have been pretty. She instead will remain a key inside player in the shadow government that is a main orchestrator of the current consensus.

Seattle politics is now a classic illustration of “urban regime” politics. Urban regime theory, which has dominated recent academic discussion of urban affairs, argues that certain cities have their agendas firmly controlled by a “regime,” consisting of dominant power coalitions — business interests, major civic leaders (not always the mayor), unions, developers and law firms — who agree on and enforce priorities and invite in (or co-opt) others who agree to abide by the regime agenda and bring some real resources to the effort.

The agenda is never made public. The media are not privy to it. Voters don't get to express their opinions on the master agenda or vote for its shadowy leaders. Even so, all who want to join the club know exactly what the agenda is, and how they must behave in order to be invited in.

Seattle has long been a company town, successively dominated by timber, Boeing and now Technopolis. It has lacked an Establishment of old line families or powerful corporations to call the shots, but has instead fashioned broad power coalitions to set the agenda. Lawyer and dealmaker Jim Ellis was a master in orchestrating the shadow government, building up the Boeing-led city and region in the years after the World's Fair. Another illustration is what I call the "Great Consensus" on state politics, built around the Cold War economy, quarterbacked by such leaders as former Congressman Norm Dicks.

Mayor Greg Nickels followed the formula of finding common ground among big labor, big government and big business. The South Lake Union boom Nickels initiated is an excellent example of the new consensus: technology, in-city living, a singles lifestyle, transit, density, University of Washington research. He may have been bounced from office by an insurgent Mike McGinn, pushing a deep-green agenda, but it only took about two years for McGinn to join the club.

In robust regime cities, there is no two-party system. Those outside the regime consensus are marginalized. Other agencies who show signs of heresy are tamed and incorporated into the consensus. Public-private partnerships dominate.


Like what you just read? Support high quality local journalism. Become a member of Crosscut today!

Comments:

Posted Tue, Apr 30, 7:29 a.m. Inappropriate

1 of 2

Hear, Hear! Pretty damn good essay, David.

I’d like to make two add-on points.

First, we don’t have an “antiquated tax system”. It is post-modern. It is the most regressive in the country and it got that way during the past three decades. It is meant to target individuals and families with the least economic means the hardest. It is taxing designed to exacerbate the gap between the rich and the poor, and it is meant to keep families with the least from gaining economic clout.

Obama wants to cut taxes to the poor and middle class. Around here though we’ve got state and local democratic party leaders that like to slam the poor with regressive taxes. The only politician on the federal level who pushes high sales taxes is Mike Huckabee (R-Bible Belt). Apparently he is the taxing strategy guru for our local government policy makers.

The following blog entry centers for the most part on the regressive taxing structure in the south, but it’s as bad or worse here:

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/09/in-the-south-and-west-a-tax-on-being-poor/

That’s right – the deep south and we have identical -- and extremely UNPROGRESSIVE – policies about taxing.

This piece notes that this is a one-party town. With a post-modern taxing regime such as this there is no need for the republican party: our democratic party political heads with all the power are doing exactly what republicans, the rich, and corporations want them to do. The democrats behave no differently than would their ostensible rivals; there are no substantive differences between McKenna and Ferguson as AG (as one example), and even though two “D” state legislators switched parties to supposedly give “Rs” power in Olympia absolutely nothing in changed in terms of the legislative output this session due to that switch.

crossrip

Posted Tue, Apr 30, 12:15 p.m. Inappropriate

I agree with your comment about what the Democratic Party has done. Under the guise of "progressive," it has pushed a series of highly destructive and corrupt policies in Seattle. What's tragically comic about all of it is how mayors like McGinn have kept the loyalty of the aging hipsters by brushing a crumb here and there to some bicyclists or farmers markets.

What's really and truly sad is the nearly complete lack of discussion, or investigation, of the blatant corruption. Say what you will about places like New York, Chicago, Boston, and Philadelphia, but at least they recognize at some level just how crooked their politics and politicians are.

In Seattle, if you should happen to utter the "c word," people stare at you like some confused dog, all while public officials run around in plain sight, snatching money at every turn. Is it something in the water?

NotFan

Posted Tue, Apr 30, 1:01 p.m. Inappropriate

@ NotFan:

You need to keep in mind that our “urban regime” is not flourishing just because of “what the Democratic Party has done”. It relies as well on the ongoing silence and complicit activities of republicans, including McKenna, Freeman, Gorton, von Reichbauer, Eyman and Dunn.

I also disagree with another of your premises. If “public officials [were] run[ning] around in plain sight, snatching money at every turn” I’m confident there would be prosecutions. King County Prosecuting Attorney Chuck Carroll was indicted for taking bribes to look the other way when it came to graft. Also, several years ago the SEEC sanctioned Richard McIver for authorizing suspect payments to cronies:

http://www.seattlepi.com/local/article/McIver-charged-with-ethics-violation-1272695.php

The endemic official corruption in this neck of the woods these days is of an entirely different stripe. It stems from judicial officers acting dishonestly to ensure their uncontested re-elections (they can’t afford to act against the interests of our “urban regime”).

crossrip

Posted Tue, Apr 30, 3:54 p.m. Inappropriate

Compare that with what happens even in Chicago and New York. What, someone was "sanctioned?" Give me a break!

NotFan

Posted Tue, Apr 30, 8:41 p.m. Inappropriate

Chris Vance knows how to log in and post at Crosscut.

Hey Chris: from the perspective of the state republican party, do you guys disagree with any of the representations in this article or in my comments?

We could discuss the republicans' role in and responses to Seattle's democratic-headed urban regime. You're down for that, right?

Calling you out to post here on these issues isn’t disrespectful, Chris. No other overt “Rs” post at Crosscut. That's why your observations could be helpful. Sure, it’s more public than you’d like, but you’ll do fine.

crossrip

Posted Tue, Apr 30, 7:30 a.m. Inappropriate

2 of 2

More evidence of the power held by our dominant political/legal/economic cadre (our "urban regime") is how it has corrupted the judiciary. At this point we’ve got some private lawyers representing public-sector entities that routinely enlist their complicit lawyer-friends to bring bogus lawsuits to get ever more unwarranted case law out of the dirty judiciary. It’s a big part of how the key players in the cadre operate, and they are shameless about how they go about it because they have the judges and justices by the short and curlies. Two examples of these bogus lawsuits now pending are the one Talmadge brought relating to the proposed WSDOT handover of highway infrastructure to Sound Transit in the I-90 corridor and the one Jurca/Bagshaw brought relating to the Port’s purchase of the eastside rail corridor from BNSF.

The reason the ruling elite feels free to bring bogus claims to get dishonest case law from the judges and justices around here is because that is how the robed politicians have been conditioned to operate, and like machines that is what they do for this interest group. They hand out case law that puts governments above the law like it’s candy.

Here’s an essay describing four majority opinions by the state supreme court that demonstrate the manifest pattern of corrupt behavior that gets the justices reelected in cakewalks:

http://susan-owens.webs.com/

These are the citations to those four exceedingly important opinions:

1) Sane Transit v. Sound Transit, 151 Wn.2d 60 (2004);

2) Sheehan v. Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority, 155 Wn.2d 790 (2005);

3) Larson v. Seattle Popular Monorail Authority, 156 Wn.2d 752 (2006); and

4) Pierce County v. State, 159 Wn.2d 16 (2006).

A fundamental principle of our three-branch system of government is that the judiciary is supposed to act independently. The highest court in this state won’t do that though – it is owned by, and subject to, the entities that benefit from local government taxing and spending practices (e.g., the cadre described in this Crosscut piece). That essay explains how the justices play that game.

The majority’s dishonest techniques in those four opinions are crass:

-- It repeatedly misrepresents the legal claims that actually are raised by the individuals.

-- It ignores the meritorious legal challenges laid out in the briefing.

-- It invents lame legal arguments for attribution to the parties it wants to lose.

-- It ignores fundamental legal principles in order hand out unjustified case law to the rich entities in whose favor the justices are biased.

The justices behave this way to curry favor with the most powerful interest group in this state, the one that gets richer off of excessive general taxing targeting people. The ruling cabal’s lawyers always are representing the taxing entities. In their efforts to suck up to that interest group the justices come unhinged from ethics, core legal principles and good judgment. Again, it’s entirely likely we can expect lots more of the same – they’re conditioned to behave this way.

I’d be interested in hearing about any other metro areas that are experiencing what “urban regime theory” describes that also have judicial officers that routinely act corruptly to benefit those “regimes”. We may be special that way.

crossrip

Posted Tue, Apr 30, 9:16 a.m. Inappropriate

Dark but good. Thanks David.

kieth

Posted Tue, Apr 30, 10:26 a.m. Inappropriate

The fact that there is a regime, lending coherence to our politics, is not necessarily "dark" or ominous. It depends on how enlighted and inclusive the regime is, and in Seattle's case it is quite broad-based and progressive. But it is not transparent, and it crowds out the kind of vigorous "conflict" politics of other cities.

Posted Tue, Apr 30, 2:09 p.m. Inappropriate

Logan and Molotch beg to differ. Their 1987 book "Urban Fortunes" listed all the many components of the Growth Coalition— key word, similar to yours: "big."

Little doubt either that Richard Morrill, often pegged as representative of the other side of the political spectrum, wouldn't beg to differ. For example see: http://www.newgeography.com/content/00857-the-geography-class-greater-seattle

I join those thanking you for even mentioning the regime, whatever one wants to call it. You are right about most citizens not wanting to know about it. As to transparency, occasionally the suits feel so pleased with themselves, they come out to take their bows in front of the video tapes local governments use to document meetings. Marvelous examples are the Quality Growth Alliance's 2008 presentations to the City and County Councils.

The Seattle Council's "Reality Check Debrief" can be found here: http://www.seattlechannel.org/videos/watchVideos.asp?program=councilBriefings

Scroll down until you get to the 7/7/08 Council Briefing, starts at ~44 minutes, gets to the Kool-Aid ~70 in. The County Council debrief is interesting because they even had the gall to look the gift-horses full in the mouth. Sorry, I didn't save its tag.

afreeman

Posted Mon, May 6, 3:15 p.m. Inappropriate

Kudos for your excellent essay. I agree with most of it. Your apt description of the evolution of Seattle describes why I moved from Seattle to the Eastside in 1996. It was the propensity voters to elect community organizers, political dilettantes, and representatives of the special interests whose advocacy is responsible of the failing public schools, over taxation, spotty public safety due to incompetent and politically correct micromanagement of the police, and fiscal incompetence.

Seattle, regardless of the claims to the contrary, has the same kind of unfunded employee pension and benefit liability problems that plague other cities. The actuarial assumptions for growth and discounts rates are about 7.75%. Consequently the asset values, growth rates and quantification of liabilities are significantly overstated. In the private sector, the actuarial rates used are in the 3% to 4.5% range which are both historically and currently what has and is currently being achieved. The prospects for economic improvement and no better than the present.

Sometime in the not to distant future, the impacts from the flawed actuarial rates will become apparent. Seattle taxpayers will have to make up the short fall.

How could this happen? The undue influence and the inherent conflict of interest that exists between Seattle government and public employee unions are the direct cause and a barrier to any remedy.

In your essay you failed to distinguish between the private sector unions whose influence is waning and government workers unions whose power continues to grow.
The unsustainable specified benefit pensions are a danger to the state and every county, city and town in WA.

The only solution is to replace the public pension with defined contribution plans along the lines of what is ongoing in Wisconsin. This is unlikely considering that the power and influence of public employee unions is strangling government. Moreover, I don't believe that a person with the willpower and guts to obtain the needed changes can be elected in western WA.

BillL

Posted Tue, Apr 30, 9:50 a.m. Inappropriate

Oh GAWD. After reading this, I'm ready to move out of Seattle altogether. Sounds like we are living in the Borg Collective!

Posted Tue, Apr 30, 10:01 a.m. Inappropriate

David,
You say that "the flight of kids" could be a "big-issue agenda" for Seattle. But what on earth do you mean?

Seattle isn't losing kids, it's gaining them. In fact, in recent years Seattle has finally begun to close the big "child gap" that opened up during the 60s and 70s. It was during that period when Seattle first became relatively childless compared to the rest of the state and it's only just now that Seattle is now adding children faster than the rest of the region.

Data and explanations are here:
http://daily.sightline.org/2011/06/09/crosscuts-flawed-take-on-families-in-seattle/
http://daily.sightline.org/2011/05/03/children-in-the-northwest/
http://daily.sightline.org/2010/11/11/childless-in-seattle/

Posted Tue, Apr 30, 10:23 a.m. Inappropriate

Interesting data from Sightline. Two observations: Seattle may be gaining, but it is still (along with San Francisco) the poster child for childless cities. It is gaining children in part because of growing hispanic population, but many families are leaving the city when the young children are old enough to go to school.

Posted Tue, Apr 30, 10:45 a.m. Inappropriate

There's no question that Seattle is still relatively childless, but what's really interesting (to me anyway) is that in recent years Seattle has been gaining thousands of kids when other places are not. In fact, even on a per capita basis, Seattle has stronger growth in kids than any other city in the Northwest other than Salem and Bellevue.

I'm highly skeptical that Seattle's performance is a result of a growing Hispanic population. That is occurring everywhere in the region, and it's happening much faster in many places outside the city.

Posted Tue, Apr 30, 12:17 p.m. Inappropriate

Eric la Place, since 1990, more than 80% of this region's population growth has taken place outside of Seattle. Most families who move to these parts avoid Seattle's horrible public schools. You and Sightline do nothing but cherry pick data for the purpose of spouting the usual set of policies favored by the real estate developers who you never tire of shilling for.

NotFan

Posted Tue, Apr 30, 12:58 p.m. Inappropriate

Seattle Schools' population has been growing steadily for the last three years and yes, continues into next year. They've added about 1,000 kids each year.

So say what you will but not everybody is moving to the suburbs or going private.

westello

Posted Tue, Apr 30, 3:50 p.m. Inappropriate

That's a trivial increase compared to what the rest of the region has seen. I realize that "progressives" hate numbers and facts, but take a look, if you dare. The enrollment increase comes from people who are trapped here, i.e., low income. Just about everyone with choices avoids the Seattle Public Schools like the plague they are.

NotFan

Posted Tue, Apr 30, 5:17 p.m. Inappropriate

No,it is NOT just low-income people in Seattle Schools. The largest growth is in the NE. Eckstein is overflowing. Nope.

westello

Posted Tue, Apr 30, 10:37 a.m. Inappropriate

Mr. Brewster,

You say "To grasp the sway of the regime, consider these recent examples of the Seattle corporate-political regime flexing its muscles: ... railroading the proposed SoDo basketball arena;...", but then you mention the Port's marginalization from the regime in their fight against the arena. It can't be both ways.

George

Posted Tue, Apr 30, 10:44 a.m. Inappropriate

Great article. I have a few comments.

First, whatever public impressions, McGinn was a creature of Vulcan well before he ran for Mayor. Great City Initiative had a Vulcan led agenda, vivisble for those who followed it. Vulcan's vision has some components that Great City got us all behind - such as conning the public into playing for the road infrastructure and parks to support the implementation of their vision. McGinn spins great tales that tug at peoples' emotions, like the SODO arena backroom speculative deal where now many sheeple give up all rationality because a speculator (hedge fund managers blow away millions on loads of things on spec) invested SO much $$ so it must be the best idea since sliced bread??

Second, I wish a demographer would be able to get access to enough good data to assess the following:
- How many more families are in Seattle, as a function of what? Are folks who settled here during the 90s version of a tech boom now settling down and staying in the city?
- What are the characteristics of the workers who populate and will populate the offices built in SLU and Denny Triangle where we are seeing our growth in jobs. Certainly, we have the highly educated researchers. Certainly, we have the service workers and restaurant employees. But, who are the bulk of the Amazon workers, what is their marital status, do they have children, and where do they live? My impression from being out on the streets in SLU every day is we have an new incoming population of primarily young men, and a lot of H1B visa holders -- most of whom live in the burbs in shared housing and some of whom have families.

Finally, lower birth rates is not a bad thing if one considers the real reason why we are in an environmental mess. But, a city that is only a place to live for singles, wealthy families, and the very poor is a recipe for another type of disaster.

Posted Wed, May 1, 12:23 a.m. Inappropriate

Editor's pick. My pick. Great post!

Seneca

Posted Tue, Apr 30, 4:02 p.m. Inappropriate

Interesting piece David. I realize one must edit the work to be concise but the following observation seems incomplete,

"The Sierra Club, which tried to buck the consensus over the waterfront tunnel, may have helped to elect Mayor McGinn, but that battle was lost and today the club is much diminished as a political force. The same holds true, largely, for unions."

Labor backed the tunnel and was not a key component in Mike McGinn's election so I don't see now "the same holds true." It appears there is another element of your analysis you failed to address unless I'm missing the nuance.

Posted Tue, Apr 30, 4:15 p.m. Inappropriate

Mr. Freiboth makes an appropriate correction. I meant to suggest that unions have less clout and less independence from the regime consensus. They were full partners in the Mayor Nickels years, who suffered a setback when McGinn was elected with only small union support. So there are some parallels with the Sierra Club, an outlier in the environmental coalition, but not concerning the tunnel issue.

Posted Tue, Apr 30, 8:38 p.m. Inappropriate

Good commentary and analysis. The "regime" meme is not new; there is a robust literature on the aptly named "growth coalition" that seems to be a similar construct. http://www2.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/local/growth_coalition_theory.html

Your observation that "the environmental groups have mostly joined the regime consensus" is accurate in my experience. Unfortunately. The further they buy into that consensus, the less real power they have to influence necessary changes.

louploup

Posted Wed, May 1, 5:22 p.m. Inappropriate

There is no such thing as a Seattle environmentalist who's involved with the crony club that runs the town. Lots of "progressive" fake environmentalists, though.

NotFan

Posted Tue, Apr 30, 11:30 p.m. Inappropriate

David, your piece is excellent...what I expect from Crosscut, but unfortunately am seeing less and less of with the arrival of new and inexperienced staff.

The "urban regime theory" you refer to is nothing but current-day recycling of age-old verities: power can be achieved and wielded individually by tyrants (Greece, c. 500), warlords and strongmen (many examples, ancient and modern), or by combinations of "kings and noblemen" who find it convenient to join forces in order to enjoy shared hegemony.

You mention Peter Steinbrueck as a progressive outlier among candidates who are probably coopted in this old-fashioned net of influence-trading, and I tend to agree; I think the jury is still out on Mr. Harrell.

It will be interesting to see whether Mr. Steinbrueck can convey a compelling vision for the city, project a convincing executive persona, and parlay those qualities into enough votes. If he does, we may see Steinbrueck vs. McGinn in the November final.

In "new Seattle," the Steinbrueck name and its connotations are known to fewer voters now. Do enough of them still put value on safe neighborhoods, forward-looking but reasonably-paced development, and preservation of a unique Seattle character?

Seneca

Posted Thu, May 2, 2:46 p.m. Inappropriate

I expect McGinn to be re-elected. He's a disaster, but Seattle voters are so disengaged and out of touch that he's pretty much what they deserve.

NotFan

Posted Wed, May 1, 8:36 a.m. Inappropriate

I liked this article because it makes explicit what everybody know but hardly anyone talks about, which is that Seattle politics, like politics almost everywhere, is an inside game. Elections, the outside game, matter in a kind of crude way, but it doesn't matter who gets elected because mayors, or governors, or legislators come and go, but the insider regime stays in place. Nothing gets done unless there is consensus within that unelected regime to do it. Sure, within that regime there are squabbles and disagreements, but the rest of us need not bother about that.

Mr. Brewster in a comment above tells us that's not a bad thing, so long as the regime is enlightened, and we're lucky in Seattle to have such an enlightened regime. After all so many of those who compose it are his friends. And so the biases of so much of the writing here at Crosscut reflect the "regime consensus". Any ideas outside that consensus are not to be taken seriously by serious people. It's all very circular. The writing here is more intelligent and probing than the fatuous stuff that typifies the Seattle Times editorial page, but it reflects that same consensus. His remark about education reform and the "reactionaries" who oppose it typifies the mentality.

Posted Wed, May 1, 11:59 a.m. Inappropriate

The corporatist hypocrites who call themselves "progressives" (and get away with it) will brook no independent thinking. Without it, there is no innovation. Take an honest look at Seattle, and you see an ossified city full of increasingly inbred, inward-looking, corrupt, self-dealing, double-talking cronies. You know, sort of like the Spanish after about 1500.

NotFan

Posted Wed, May 1, 12:49 p.m. Inappropriate

What are you doing about it?

louploup

Posted Wed, May 1, 4:28 p.m. Inappropriate

Everything I can, in spite of your best efforts to perpetuate the "progressive" frauds.

NotFan

Posted Wed, May 1, 10:22 p.m. Inappropriate

What does "everything I can" mean beyond posting at publicola and crosscut? Let's hear something specific.

What "progressive frauds" do you think I'm trying to perpetuate?

louploup

Posted Thu, May 2, 12:15 p.m. Inappropriate

"The writing here is more intelligent and probing than the fatuous stuff that typifies the Seattle Times editorial page, but it reflects that same consensus. "

Just when we think we have Crosscut and the ST pegged, the latter cuts to the chase, gets most of the facts straight, and picks the truth out of that. Could there be hope after all?

ST 4/29/13 Editorial:
"Seattle should impose controls on ‘aPodments’ and conduct larger housing review

THE ballooning cost of rent in Seattle has provoked the return of an old solution: the itsy-bitsy, dirt-cheap, single-tenant rental unit.
Just as the single-room occupancies, or SROs, of Pioneer Square served workers a century ago, today’s surging supply of micro-apartments, or “aPodments,” are a savvy, market-based relief valve for an overpriced housing market.
Students and low-wage workers are snatching up the 200-square-foot units as fast as they are built. At $500 or $600 a month, aPodments cost half as much as a regular apartment, even if they are little more than a bed and a bathroom.
But it’s time for policymakers to take a breath and consider the impact of micro-housing.
Most of the 2,100-or-so aPodments built in Seattle since 2006 cropped up within a loophole in the city building code.
It counts kitchens, not beds, as housing units, and aPodment buildings usually have one kitchen for every eight units.
Buildings with fewer than nine kitchens aren’t subject to the same official review as traditional apartment buildings. That effectively allows aPodments to dodge design and environmental scrutiny.
A 56-unit building can pop up with no consideration for its fit in a neighborhood, or impact on sewers or parking, because the city’s Department of Planning and Development sees it as an eight-kitchen building.

Meanwhile, another arm of city government — the Office of Housing — was granting affordable-housing tax exemptions to aPodments based on the number of units, not the number of kitchens.
The two city agencies admitted last week they’d known for months that aPodment developers were gaming the system, but didn’t stop it. That’s a failure of Mayor Mike McGinn’s administration.

The Seattle City Council is now being asked for a moratorium on aPodments.

A better approach is to quickly institute short-term controls, including streamlined design reviews for all aPodments, and begin a larger assessment of Seattle’s growing need for affordable housing.
It’s worth remembering that the SROs of yore aged into poorly maintained fire traps. Today’s developers should heed history. Build, and maintain, for the future, not just the present."

On the other hand there is this: http://www.thenation.com/article/173867/how-the-one-percent-rules

afreeman

Posted Sun, May 5, 10:08 a.m. Inappropriate

David, I've been meaning to say that your post was the best description I've ever read of how Seattle actually works. Excellent job..

NotFan

Posted Mon, May 6, 10:39 a.m. Inappropriate

Insightful article -

My only departures from the conclusions about what issues are going to bubble up to the top of the "to-be-dealt-with-soon" category are those around the Port of Seattle and the generally failing roadway surface conditions.

The Port is doing just fine with SeaTac airport, but the big elephant is the Seattle Waterfront container yards - just from casual observation of the number of ships steaming south down the Puget Sound passing by the shores of West Seattle, and the dearth of ships berthed at the waterfront along Alaska Way during the week, it seems clear that the land use along this waterfront will, by plain economic reality, switch over to something else. Inertia will be a factor, and the labor pushback strong, but this something else will be clearly an action issue soon - probably when the distractions of the Tunnel project are over. The Port taxes the citizens of the City and uses the Waterfront as a big stick to continue doing so...

SDOT's curation of the roadways, especially the arterials (for example the roadways that the "C" and "D" line route structure runs over outside of the core of Downtown) is clearly compromised - this is a combination of funding issues, lack of attention by the "Urban Regime" to the dwellers in these outlying areas (I'm not sure if 'outlying' is the best descriptor), and a historically (but improving) inept engineering and construction process carried forward by SDOT.

todrodman

Login or register to add your voice to the conversation.

Join Crosscut now!
Subscribe to our Newsletter

Follow Us »