Dear President Trump,
Dang, I just did it again – as I dutifully typed my polite salutation to you, my fingers got going too fast and I typed “Dear President Ru.” Juvenile Freudian slip, I guess.
Have you been following what’s happening here in Seattle around the City Council’s proposal to build low income housing for homeless people through a $520 per worker tax on companies that gross at least 20 million annually? After three years it would switch to 0.7% of each person’s salary; for Amazon this works out to about $700 per year per corporate employee. As you might guess, Jeff Bezos is quite unhappy about it. Other large companies are upset about it too and are talking about how they could bring more jobs here but they could also put them elsewhere. Our mayor, Jenny Durkin, who I’ve liked so far, is opposed to the CC plan and has countered with one that would net about half. I was dismayed, but not surprised, to see in one of the local weekly papers that her campaign received $350,000 from Amazon. Hmm. The final CC vote is Monday and if there are still only 5 yes’s then Durkin could veto it.
You might be poo-pooing all this, thinking that us liberal Seattlites are making mountains out of molehills. Well, you would be wrong about that. Seattle currently has nearly 12,000 homeless people living within the city limits. And things are getting worse. Last year Zillow found that for every 5% increase in rent in Seattle, 258 more people became homeless. Last year rents went up 13.5% here so about 590 more people lost housing last year and are now living on the streets. By the way, Zillow is one of the companies threatening to take their marbles elsewhere.
I’m not going to pretend I understand even half the layers of this issue, but would it really be such a bad thing if Amazon or Zillow didn’t bring more jobs here or if some jobs went elsewhere? Would it be so bad if the pressure on our housing stock dialed back a few notches? I don’t think so. The final speaker at the public forum yesterday works at the major homeless shelter and he said “I don’t see that anybody who is opposing this is going to die on the streets or not be able to pay their mortgage or not be able to wear clean clothes. But our clients could certainly use that help.”
May we all have safe, secure places to live.
May we be happy to recognize we don’t always need more.
May we care about each ones’ health.
May we recalibrate so all children have their own beds to sleep in at night.