Seattle bureaucrats: Single family homes racist

Seattle_from_Kerry_Park_(1)In an article published earlier this month, J.D. Heyes says that bureaucrats in Seattle seriously considered scrapping neighborhoods in Seattle consisting of single-family homes, calling them racist and outdated.

“We can still be a city for everyone, but only if we give up our outdated ideal of every family living in their own home on a 5,000 square foot lot,” read a letter from the co-chairs of the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda, or HALA.

“Seattle (single-family) zoning has roots in racial and class exclusion and remains among the largest obstacles to realizing the city’s goals for equity and affordability,” the letter adds.  Of course, no proof was provided to back this claim up.

Fortunately, Heyes added, the change has been rejected, but if passed, it “would have empowered the government to authorize the construction of multi-family housing units in all neighborhoods. And while some have labeled the idea nothing more than an outrageous Internet rumor, GovtSlaves.info noted, it is anything but.”

According to the letter, the committee even recommended abandoning the term “single family zone.”

No surprise, really.  After all, this is Seattle, a city that elected and re-elected a Socialist to the city council.  It also once banned the terms “citizen” and “brown bag” from official documents for fears of, you guessed it, racism.

According to a Seattle Times report, the “committee of citizen volunteers voted 19-3 to recommend replacing single-family zoning with a ‘lower density residential zone’ that would allow duplexes, triplexes, rooming houses and more backyard cottages and mother-in-law units in areas now dominated by single houses on lots with a yards. It’s unclear how much of the city this would include.”

And it seems the powers-that-be didn’t care much for the news being made public.  The Times added:

“My co-chair and I are very disappointed that you and The Seattle Times have chosen to undermine the efforts of the HALA, a citizen advisory group, by prematurely releasing an unapproved draft of our report,” Faith Pettis and David Wertheimer, the co-chairs, wrote in an emailed statement.

I elected to publish it anyway because I have always felt these advisory committees on crucial topics facing the city should be open to the public, not conducted in secret.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray distanced himself from the HALA recommendations, as well as the panel itself, as a result of the Times’ report.

“To advance the broader conversation about affordable housing and equity, I will no longer pursue changes that could allow more types of housing in 94 percent of single-family zones,” he said.


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Joe Newby

A 10-year veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, Joe ran for a city council position in Riverside, Calif., in 1991 and managed successful campaigns for the Idaho state legislature. Co-author of "Banned: How Facebook enables militant Islamic jihad," Joe wrote for Examiner.com from 2010 until it closed in 2016 and his work has been published at Newsbusters, Spokane Faith and Values and other sites. He now runs the Conservative Firing Line.

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