Seattle Times op ed “Don’t believe HALA upzone hype”

Excerpt from the Seattle Times op ed written by Seattle Fair Growth board member Susanna Lin:

“The city has produced a biased study that does not honestly or accurately assess the impacts of those zoning changes on displacement, the loss of tree canopy, school capacity, historic and cultural resources, transportation, small businesses and infrastructure. The city’s document also fails to study alternatives beyond upzones that could better address our affordability crisis with fewer adverse impacts

The concern about the city’s upzone proposals are so great it has spurred more than two dozen community groups from across Seattle to come together to file a legal appeal challenging the adequacy of the study. The new coalition is called Seattle Coalition for Affordability, Livability and Equity. It is composed of neighborhood, housing and homeless advocacy groups, small business and environmental groups from across Seattle. sdr

To read the full piece, click on this link:

To donate to the Coalition’s appeal against the HALA upzone impact study, click here:



Seattle Fair Growth mentioned in the French publication Le Monde diplomatique…

“Susanna Lin, of the Seattle Fair Growth association, lives in the Wallingford district, recently invaded by developers. She said: ‘You can’t just let the developers build and build and build, and not also build schools, and not also invest in transit, and not also invest in sewers, in roads, in fire protection.”

For the full story, please follow this link:

The Amazon Debate

by Jon Lisbin

A recent article in crosscut debated how “Amazon earned Seattle’s Scorn – and whether it’s deserved.”

I personally think this is all about relationship building. If the city wants to work cooperatively with Amazon both parties must form a better relationship. One based on mutual trust.

Amazon isn’t a cold edifice. At the risk of sounding like Romney, it is composed of people, most of them who live in our community. I am sure the company wants to see improvements in transportation, safety issues and housing for the 10’s of thousands of Amazon employees trying to get to work and live in this city.

It’s not a black and white issue. For the city to have any leverage it does need a reset, but to me that means building a relationship that balances concerns rather than the transactional one it currently has.  What are your thoughts?



Get out the vote!

**Ballots due November 7th**
Seattle does not need more developer-funded elected officials in City Hall.  Seattle Fair Growth recommends the following candidates for City Council:
  • Vote: Jon Grant, City Council position 8
    Jon Grant is a housing advocate and grass roots organizer.  He is not taking any campaign contributions from developers or CEOs.  He is advocating for a tax on our wealthiest corporations to build 5,000 units of public housing, which would virtually end unsheltered homelessness in Seattle.  If you want someone with real solutions to our housing crisis, vote Jon Grant for City Council, position 8
  • Vote: Pat Murakami, City Council position 9
    Pat has decades of experience advocating and volunteering for our neighborhoods, public safety and our schools.  She is a strong voice against developer-driven policies and upzones and is not taking political campaign contributions from developers.  If you want a strong neighborhood voice on City Council, vote Pat Murakami for City Council, position 9.

Wallyhood: “The life and death of our Neighborhood Plan”

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Using Wallingford as an example, this post on the Wallyhood blog shows us how much our neighborhood planning process has fallen over the years.   Click here to read the full blog post.

Attend the city hosted meeting on October 26th to demand the City return to a neighborhood-driven planning process.

Comprehensive Plan Amendment Meeting:
Thursday, October 26, 2017, 6 – 7:30PM
Hales Brewery (in the Palladium)
4301 Leary Way NW, Seattle, WA 98107

Two topics covered: (1) City asking you to write single family zoning out of our Neighborhood Plans, (2) What impacts should be studied for proposed backyard cottage/in-law apartment legislation

Meeting announcement:

Seattle Fair Growth weighs in on new upzone in Uptown

KOMO News Interview 2

“It is simply a raw deal for our community. The actual affordable housing is not going to be built onsite. The majority of it is going to be paid in lieu. So unfortunately a lot of people think they’re going to get affordable housing, but it’s not even going to be in the areas that these zoning changes are occurring.” Jon Lisbin from Seattle Fair Growth

To view the full KOMO news story, follow this link:



Jon Grant is raising money from everyday people, not downtown developers and special interests. That is why you should vote for him.

I am excited at the prospect of having Jon Grant as a City Councilmember and I am proud to endorse him. Formerly the Executive Director of the Washington Tenants Union, Jon is now running for the open seat on City Council, position 8 on a platform of empowering community voices and addressing our affordability housing crisis.  I encourage all of you to support his campaign and vote for him in the general election when you receive your ballot in October.


As a neighborhood activist and blogger, I am someone who is always pushing for transparency in our local government. I am disappointed by many of our current elected officials and the HALA propaganda show that has been coming out of City Hall. We need a livable Seattle and equitable housing policies, not upzones that benefit large developers like Vulcan at the expense of everyone else. As so much money is entering our region, it is important that those with the green do not exploit our Emerald City.

Jon Grant is a man of the people. He understands that too many of the current City Councilmembers are in the pockets of big developers and special interest groups. I respect and trust Jon because he is not accepting donations from developers, corporations or CEOs.  In contrast his opponent, Teresa Mosqueda, has accepted a maxed out donation from Maria Barrientos, a developer who helped negotiate the “Grand Bargain” and whose development in Queen Anne is displacing the beloved Teatro Zinzanni.

Jon understands that the current HALA “Grand Bargain” is a bad deal for the neighborhoods.  He was the only member of the Mayor Murray’s HALA committee who abstained from the final vote because he knew that neighborhoods and the community were getting a bad deal.  Jon does not support one-size fits all upzones and feels that neighborhoods should have a say in how they grow.  He has advocated for higher affordability mandates in every upzone before the Council thus far and has worked in coalition with neighborhoods like the Chinatown/International District in fighting gentrification and displacement.

Jon is advocating for 25% of all new development to be affordable to working people, which is comparable to other cities with similar programs (currently the city is only requiring developers to set aside 2-9% of units as affordable or pay a fee).  His opponent does not support increasing affordability mandates.

His opponent fully supports HALA’s upzoning and has been endorsed by City Council Land Use chair Rob Johnson, who is leading the push to rezone the neighborhoods while requiring very little in return from the wealthy, downtown developers.  In contrast, Jon Grant has been endorsed by Councilmember Lisa Herbold, who is currently the strongest advocate on the Council for neighborhood-friendly policies.  Jon Grant would make a strong ally with Lisa Herbold to push back against Rob Johnson’s pro-developer policies.

Jon will fight for those least fortunate, people who are at risk of being displaced from our current development boom and those who have already been displaced and are living on our streets.  His first volunteer job as a teen was for Real Change and he has been advocating for the homeless and to prevent homelessness ever since.  Jon, together with Seattle’s People’s Party and Councilmember Kshama Sawant, has announced a plan to build 5,000 homes for the homeless in five years.  This would effectively provide shelter for all of those communities currently living on our streets.

Jon Grant is a true, grassroots neighborhood organizer who has a strong history of fighting for the underrepresented and standing up to wealthy developers and special interests.  This is not a time to sit passively by, get involved in Jon Grant’s campaign and take back our city from the monied interests who are currently pulling the strings.  And above all else, vote for Jon Grant when you get your ballot in October!

Why you should vote for Jon Grant

by Jon Lisbin

john-grant_1I am throwing my support behind Jon Grant for City Council position 8, and I’d like to explain why you should too. I believe he fits both the values of our community as well as mine as a small business owner.


Neighborhood Policies:

  • Jon was the only member the top down Housing and Livability Agenda committee who abstained from the final vote because he knew that neighborhoods and the community were getting the shaft.
  • He supports developer impact fees so growth can pay for growth and address the school capacity crisis Seattle is facing.
  • He wants to bring back the voice of the neighborhood by funding the neighborhood councils that the city recently cut ties with.
  • He understands that we need to tie infrastructure to growth. They must be concurrent!

Small Business Policies:

  • A city sponsored pension plan to attract talented workers.
  • B&O tax exemption from $100,000 to $1,000,000 in gross revenue
  • Commercial rent control to protect against rent hikes
  • Zoning incentives to provide new commercial space for small businesses
  • Municipal bank to provide low interest loans

I have witnessed the displacement of small businesses throughout the city due to the pressures of high end development.  We’re seeing that now in lower Queen Anne as upzones (changes to zoning which allow greater height in exchange for “affordable housing”) are being proposed that will displace small businesses as affordable office space gets bought by investors and redeveloped into high end Class A units.  What will happen to all the artists, small architectural firms, marketing companies and entrepreneurs who no longer can afford their leases? Seattle is growing at an incredible pace and its economy is soaring; but we must ensure that we don’t kill the goose in pursuit of the golden egg.

Special interests and Independent Expenditures have had a corrosive effect on City Hall.  Democracy Vouchers are being used for the first time this year for the purpose of leveling the field.  Jon has received $300,000 in Democracy Vouchers which has funded 90% of his campaign. Now is time to elect leaders, like Jon, who truly represent their constituents.

Jon is endorsed by community advocates like Nick Licata and City Councilmember Lisa Herbold. His opponent is endorsed by the build at all costs wing of the council including Mike O’brien, Sally Bagshaw, Rob Johnson and Lorenza Gonzalez.  It’s critical that we change that balance now!

In summary, Jon represents the neighborhoods, small businesses and the people who live in Seattle; not downtown developers, real estate and business interests. In fact, he refuses to take donations from developers, big corporations or CEO’s.   I hope however he will take money from me 🙂