Council sidesteps Sawant, passes Burgess' rent control resolution
at 4:28pm by David Kroman
Days after it looked like rent control was dead in the Seattle City Council, Council President Tim Burgess played legislative Lazarus and introduced his own (slightly) more moderate version of a resolution, saying the State should lift its prohibition on cities’ enacting rent controls. The new resolution is largely stripped of rhetoric that would suggest the city is in favor of rent control, instead emphasizing the “local control” of what legislation the city can and cannot pass concerning rents for apartments.
After a 3-3 split committee vote on a rent control resolution from Councilmember Kshama Sawant and Nick Licata last week, the resolution looked to be headed to defeat in the full council. But the council approved Burgess’ version 8-1, with only Councilmember John Okamoto voting against it.
The passage was clearly bittersweet for Sawant, who made it clear she did not believe Burgess’ resolution would have happened without the efforts of herself and her supporters. “Let’s be clear,” she said, “the majority of this council has been in office for years and has shown nothing but inaction on issues of housing affordability. … Why is this happening now? Because our movement has brought pressure to bear.”
Licata, on the other hand, was not as concerned. “I appreciate good penmanship,” he said, “and I don’t really care who has the pen.”
Burgess’ opponent in this November’s election Jonathan Grant quickly sent a response, accusing Burgess of trying to “appear progressive” and calling the language of the new resolution weaker than the original.