Reply from Candidate John Persak

posted Jul 24, 2015, 7:07 PM by PRCC Webmaster   [ updated Jul 25, 2015, 11:51 AM ]
1. No. I agree that we need ADUs and DADUs that can provide affordable housing and build wealth for the middle class, and that the rules restricting these should be loosened. However, an effective and categorical up-zone of SF areas means homeowners will be pressured or enticed to sell, which will place profits into the hands of developers, and overturn 30 years of neighbor driven community planning. It will fundamentally alter these neighborhoods.

2. No. I believe that we have the capacity in our current urban villages, in conjunction with the loosening of rules for ADUs/DADUs, to meet the needs of population growth and the demand for more affordable housing. Seattle has already absorbed a disproportionate amount of growth in King County.  Transit Oriented Development in practice leads to displacement, and we need to link up our existing communities with transit in a way that works for Seattle's unique topography and community needs--not on a disconnected ideology. 

3. I believe the rush to eliminate parking is inspired by the drive to deregulate zoning very quickly, and doing so will impact each community in a different way. That is why I believe people who live in these areas need to be part of the discussion before any policy decisions are made or ordinances passed. One community recently has successfully sued the city on this issue and many other aggrieved communities may follow. There has been no adequate inquiry or planning as to how other modes of transportation will absorb these changed mobility needs. The proposal to reduce parking requirement exacerbates an already existing and complex problem without examination.

4. I believe that some height increases may be necessary to lessen the demand and impact on areas of the city where up-zoning would be a detriment to the livability of the neighborhood. However, I reject the notion that increasing supply will result in affordability. The basis for this strategy is called "supply side economics" and has been debunked repeatedly by mainstream economists and by the practical effects of "Reaganomics" which has jumped off wealth disparity for the last 35 years. The HALA inspired incentives to build in affordable units are weak and provide little recourse or leverage, should developers not collectively fulfill their obligation. Instead, market restraint in the interests of low/no income earners will produce affordable housing. The lack of fees assessed in exchange for 6,000 units (the "grand bargain") seems to evoke an economic concept known as "trickle down", which has also been a historical failure for solving economic inequality, and it will fail here. 

5. The Mayor's recommendations do not do enough, and in some instances actually would do damage. There are too many built in incentives for upscale development that cancel out the policies that may encourage affordable housing. The proposed up-zones/code changes would go into effect sooner and have impacts sooner, than any or all of the corresponding policies that would ameliorate the upward pressure on housing costs--if any or all of them were adopted at all. Once developers have their needs met there is no incentive for them to give back, and the people of Seattle, or even city council, will have little leverage to make any demands after the fact. If the HALA report was realistic about true affordability, the requirement would be to implement ALL of the measures to preserve and build affordable housing and to keep neighborhoods livable, *before* any kind of deregulation occurred for developer interests.

Thank you,

John Persak