The Grand Bargain is a Grand Giveaway

by Jon Lisbin

The Seattle City Council is considering massive upzones in the University District as the grand-bargainfirst implementation of it’s “Inclusionary Housing” strategies throughout the city.

Truth is, if I was Mayor, I may have taken the same approach. Put together a panel of experts and stakeholders to come up with strategies to address Seattle’s affordable housing crisis. Unfortunately, that’s where intelligence ended and corruption began. The composition of HALA (Housing and Livability Agenda) Committee was heavily weighted toward developers and their interests.  The resulting skewed report was biased towards special interests.

I know, at this point you are saying “another conspiracy theorist”. However, the facts behind my assertion are quite compelling.  Maybe I can speak in a language city officials are familiar with?

  1. Whereas, of the 65 HALA strategies there are few if any recommendations that actually address livability, ie. “No L in HALA”
  2. Whereas the City Council is focused on only one HALA strategy; upzoning?
  3. Whereas the city’s set asides that developers are required to contribute towards affordable housing, pale compared to other cities.
  4. Whereas government intervention of market forces, intended to help the poor with housing, has historically failed.
  5. Whereas, impact fees that would potentially moderate development, add value to neighborhoods, and encourage developers to pay their fair share; are not being considered

Therefore, it is evident that the city has divested its responsibility to truly help the affordability crisis and instead is contributing directly to it!

I know the train has left the station. I know it would take true courage to stop it now. I ask that our city leaders have that courage!


* Seattle’s current plan calls for 3 – 8% Set Asides, significantly below other major cities, but not set yet.


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