Tag Archives: Lisa Herbold

Seattle Council votes to repeal new business head tax just weeks after they approved it

re elections meme

Did you know seven of the nine Seattle City Council members’ terms expire next year?

In early May the Seattle City Council approved a new business head tax to combat the homelessness crisis. From my post:

“The tax is an amount businesses pay per employee ($275 per year), with a sunset clause of 2023. The head tax was approved by a unanimous vote.

The main target of this new business tax was Amazon, which was not pleased with the tax. “Amazon had strong words for the Seattle City Council as it questions its future in the city. “We are disappointed by today’s City Council decision to introduce a tax on jobs,” Amazon Vice President Drew Herdener said in a statement.”

Immediately after the tax passed, a group calling themselves “No Tax on Jobs” gathered enough signatures to put the matter on the November ballot and let the voters decide. They needed 17,000 signatures by June 14 and surpassed that amount.

On Monday, Council President Bruce Harrell announced that he had called a special meeting for the council to discuss repealing the head tax. (Harrell’s term expires next year.) They already had a draft bill prepared for the repeal.

Mayor Jenny Durkan issued a statement regarding the consideration of the repeal. Excerpts from her statement:

Over the last few weeks, these conversations and much public dialogue has continued.  It is clear that the ordinance will lead to a prolonged, expensive political fight over the next five months that will do nothing to tackle our urgent housing and homelessness crisis. These challenges can only be addressed together as a city, and as importantly, as a state and a region. 

We heard you. This week, the City Council is moving forward with the consideration of legislation to repeal the current tax on large businesses to address the homelessness crisis.”

Less than a month later the council has voted to repeal the head tax.

The council yesterday repealed the head tax by a vote of 7 to 2. More details from MyNorthwest.com:

“Seattle Councilmember Lisa Herbold said the opposition to the tax was just too great. The opposition, she said, has “unlimited resources.

Teresa Mosqueda, one of two council members to vote against a repeal, said she is concerned that a repeal will result in months of inaction and more regressive taxes. The process to implement a head tax took months, she pointed out. And, if the city wants to continue getting people off the streets, it will need additional funding. She called on businesses who opposed the head tax to come to the table with progressive ideas.

Numerous people in support of the head tax expressed similar concerns as (socialist) Councilmember Sawant, who accused her peers of making a last-minute decision and “caving” to Amazon. “Backroom betrayal” and “caving” were thrown around frequently.

“Jeff Bezos is our enemy, he is our enemy,” Sawant said before the council voted.”

Read the whole story here.

I can’t believe the Seattle citizens are putting up with this clown council with a socialist member who is calling the owner of one of their largest employers an “enemy” in a public forum.

Yet I gather from the comments on this article and also at the Seattle Times that some proggies in Seattle are finally waking up to the madness they elected as the majority have had it with the council members. Next year’s re-election cycle is bound to be a hoot.

DCG

PS: Jason Rantz from KTTH Radio tweeted from the repeal meeting (see his Twitter timeline here). A bunch of socialists/proggies were there to support the crazy council member Kshama Sawant. A few of Jason’s tweets:

  • “Lunatic just claimed the Council is pushing “the Trump agenda.”
  • “Priest is mad that Christians don’t ideologically agree with him and now claims you can’t call yourself a Christian if you support capitalism. This guy is a lunatic.”
  • Sawant activists in the crowd shouting down speakers whom they disagree with. But remember: they’re fighting fascism or something.”
  • “We’re done with Trump tactics,” said one lunatic at the meeting.”
  • Crazy women being removed by security now but because she’s a Progressive activist, the crowd doesn’t mind and she’s getting a pass from the crowd.”
  • “Socialists think the couple hundred of them that worked to pass the Seattle head tax is more important than the 45k who signed on to repeal the . They don’t know how numbers works: it’s why they’re Socialists.”
  • “Sawant said she’s now talking as an economist and some in the crowd just laughed at her. Loudly. That annoyed her.”
  • “CM Sawant – “I’m speaking as an economist….” People in chambers break out in laughter….”

Sounds like the meeting was a whole lotta crazy!!

Is the City of Seattle going to ruin their economy with the new head tax?

government solve all problems

Last week the Seattle City Council approved a new head tax on big businesses. The tax is an amount businesses pay per employee ($275 per year), with a sunset clause of 2023 (don’t hold your breath that this tax will actually cease to exist at that time). The head tax was approved by a unanimous vote.

I’ve told you what has led up to this head tax vote. See the following:

Amazon had strong words for the Seattle City Council as it questions its future in the city. “We are disappointed by today’s City Council decision to introduce a tax on jobs,” Amazon Vice President Drew Herdener said in a statement.

More from King5 News:

“Herdener said Amazon, which had paused planning on two downtown Seattle office towers pending the outcome of the vote, would resume construction planning on one of them — Block 18. The 17-story building, which will have 1 million square feet of office space, is meant to house between 7,000 and 8,000 new employees.

But he said Herdener then went on to suggest Amazon’s expansion in the city may be curtailed.“While we have resumed construction planning for Block 18, we remain very apprehensive about the future created by the council’s hostile approach and rhetoric toward larger businesses, which forces us to question our growth here.”

Herdener then turned the tables, suggesting the people holding the city’s purse strings are the problem.

“City of Seattle revenues have grown dramatically from $2.8B in 2010 to $4.2B in 2017, and they will be even higher in 2018. This revenue increase far outpaces the Seattle population increase over the same time period. The city does not have a revenue problem – it has a spending efficiency problem. We are highly uncertain whether the city council’s anti-business positions or its spending inefficiency will change for the better,” Herdener said.”

Starbucks also wasn’t too happy and had harsh words for the city:

“The company released this statement, attributed to John Kelly, senior vice president of Global Public Affairs and Social Impact at Starbucks:

This City continues to spend without reforming and fail without accountability, while ignoring the plight of hundreds of children sleeping outside. If they cannot provide a warm meal and safe bed to a five year-old child, no one believes they will be able to make housing affordable or address opiate addiction. This City pays more attention to the desires of the owners of illegally parked RVs than families seeking emergency shelter.”

Author Travis H. Brown, MBA (read about his background here), predicts that the council just voted to ruin their economy. Travis is the author of several books including “How Money Walks.”

Travis wrote an opinion on Saturday entitled, “How Seattle’s new tax to fight homelessness could ruin its economy.”

Travis describes the city’s actions as shortsighted and a zero-sum game that will do more harm than good.

Excerpts from his piece at MSN:

“These are laudable aims (end homelessness and build affordable housing), but it’s hard to imagine a more destructive strategy for realizing them. The potential damage to Seattle’s economy from this blunt instrument runs into the billions of dollars. Some may believe that California businesses could still flee their high-tax environment for Seattle, but in reality, Seattle is competing with many other cities for this income. One example is Phoenix, which has posted the best income growth of any Metropolitan Statistic Area (MSA) since 1992. Phoenix has capitalized on its proximity to California by luring businesses and people with a low-tax environment that nets them $1,539 in income every single minute. Compared to Seattle, this is nearly $1,200 more per minute, or $70,348 more per day. The numbers are staggering, and Seattle can’t risk putting itself further behind.

Seattle’s $20 million benchmark for the new tax refers to gross receipts, not income, meaning it will hit high-volume, low-margin businesses (think grocery stores or construction wholesalers) just as hard as more lucrative counterparts, promising price increases for consumers as businesses pass along costs. Service industries with big headcounts are firmly in the crosshairs, threatening this key employment category for young and low-skilled workers.

Amazon isn’t the only big employer eyeing the exits. Real estate portal Zillow, another new economy trailblazer, faces millions in additional tax burden. Alaska Airlines, Expedia, PayScale, Whitepages Inc., and Coinstar opposed the tax in vain, pleading in an open letter to the city council and mayor that taxing companies for creating jobs is like “telling a classroom that the students who do the most homework will be singled out for detention.”

Perhaps the most frustrating part of this exercise in illogic is the city government’s failure to enact other commonsense measures to combat homelessness: zoning reforms and infrastructure improvements to facilitate construction of affordable housing; shifting funds from underperforming shelters to ones that deliver; and coordination of the city’s homeless strategy with other municipalities in King County.”

Read his whole opinion piece here.

The background of the Seattle council members:

  • Lisa Herbold: Has been working for government politicians and government agencies since 1997.
  • Bruce Harrell: An attorney who began working in “public service” in 1979 by working for the Seattle City Council.
  • Kshama Sawant: A SOCIALIST.
  • Rob Johnson: A progressive urban planner and transportation advocate who spent ten years working for a statewide nonprofit coalition before working for government agencies.
  • Debora Juarez: A lawyer who concentrated on providing legal and financial counsel to Native American tribes.
  • Mike O’Brien: Served as CFO for a law firm prior to election to city council in 2009. He likes to silence constituents.
  • Sally Bagshaw: First elected to the council in 2009. She began her legal career by working for government agencies and has been working in the public sector since.
  • Teresa Mosqueda: Came to Seattle City Council following a long career effectively advocating for working families.
  • Lorena Gonzalez: Came to Seattle City Council with a decade of experience as a civil rights attorney and community advocate.

Somehow I don’t doubt that business leaders at Amazon, Starbucks (and all the other businesses against this head tax) and Travis know more about Econ 101 than any of the professional advocates/public servants and taxpayer money grabbers on the Seattle City Council.

DCG

Big government at work: Seattle set to prevent landlords from considering applicants’ criminal records

government solve all problems

Get this: While permitted to deny housing to a registered sex offender, you STILL have to provide a LEGITIMATE reason for doing so. Liberals are insane.

From Seattle Times: Seattle landlords would be almost completely prohibited from screening prospective tenants based on their criminal histories, under a proposed ordinance approved by a City Council committee Tuesday.

The only people who could be denied housing based on their criminal histories would be those listed on sex-offender registries due to adult convictions. And landlords denying housing to such sex offenders would still need to state a legitimate business reason for doing so.

The proposed ordinance cleared the civil-rights committee with a 6-0 vote, which means the full nine-member council will almost certainly approve it. A final vote is scheduled for Monday.

Some landlords say they should be allowed to consider the criminal histories of prospective tenants in order to better protect their property and other tenants.

Proponents of the legislation say people who already have served their time shouldn’t be again punished by landlords. They say people denied by landlords based on their criminal histories can end up on the street and are more likely to reoffend.

“Nobody is more safe when people who have criminal backgrounds are unhoused,” said Councilmember Lisa Herbold, chair of the committee and a sponsor of the ordinance with Council President Bruce Harrell.

The version of the legislation that Mayor Ed Murray sent to the council in June said landlords would be allowed to consider criminal convictions less than two years old, and it said landlord-occupied buildings with four or fewer units would be exempt.

But the civil-rights committee voted unanimously Tuesday to eliminate the 2-year look-back clause and nix the exemption for small, landlord-occupied buildings.

Councilmember Mike O’Brien brought forward the amendments, receiving support from Herbold and council members Debora Juarez, Sally Bagshaw, Kshama Sawant and M. Lorena González. Harrell and council members Rob Johnson and Tim Burgess didn’t attend the committee meeting.

A Herbold amendment approved Tuesday calls for the new regulations to be evaluated by the city auditor, with a report due by the end of 2019.

In addition to criminal convictions unrelated to sex-offender registries, the proposed Fair Chance Housing ordinance would prohibit landlords from looking at pending criminal charges, arrests not resulting in convictions or juvenile records, including juvenile convictions causing people to be listed on sex-offender registries as adults.

Under current law, landlords can deny housing to tenants for arrests that happened within seven years, including arrests not resulting in convictions, according to Herbold. “Landlords will still be able to screen applicants based on employment, credit scores, income ratios or other criteria,” Herbold said in a statement.

“For a criminal justice system that disproportionately arrests people of color, punishing someone who hasn’t been found guilty is a true injustice,” she added.

“Blocking formerly incarcerated people from accessing stable housing or a job is an extrajudicial punishment and is also a recipe for recidivism and less safety for our communities. I would expect anyone in favor of a safer Seattle to support this bill.

The ordinance would take effect 150 days after being signed by the mayor, with the Seattle Office of Civil Rights taking responsibility for enforcing the new regulations.

There may be new costs to the city, but those have yet to be determined, according to a City Hall analysis of the legislation.

The push for the ordinance began in late 2015, when a group of local organizations led by the Tenants Union of Washington State and Columbia Legal Services started a campaign called FARE — Fair Access to Renting for Everyoe.

In early 2016, Murray convened a task force on the issue, including representatives from both landlord and tenants groups.

Tuesday’s meeting was the fourth at which Herbold’s committee discussed the legislation.

DCG

Facing rental crisis, Seattle creates a renters’ commission to explore new laws

government solve all problems

And by “explore” they really mean “implement.”

From Seattle Times: The Seattle City Council on Monday voted unanimously to create what is believed to be the nation’s first renters’ commission, which will push laws to help a growing group that makes up 54 percent of all households yet has a weak voice in City Hall.

As rents have skyrocketed across Seattle and long-time tenants have been priced out, advocates for renters have said it was a constituency that hasn’t been heard as a unified group.

Renters could individually contact council members, or take time off work or school to come to a daytime meeting. But they had nowhere near the organized clout of homeowners — who had long dominated city-sanctioned neighborhood groups to push politicians on their agendas — or landlords, who pool money for lobbyists and opposed the renters’ commission.

The 15-member group of renters will meet regularly and pass their ideas directly to City Council members who make laws, and to other officials who help shape and enforce them.

“To renters, your life and your voice matters and the City Council affirmed that today,” said Zachary DeWolf, who first proposed the commission idea and is president of the Capitol Hill Community Council.

The new commission is mandated to seek out members of long-marginalized communities to sit on the volunteer board, such as immigrants, low-income residents, felons, those who have been homeless and members of the LGBTQ community. The average Seattle renter earns about half of what a homeowner makes, and is disproportionately more likely to be a person of color.

The commission itself won’t have any direct power, but it will provide a direct line to City Hall for a constituency that historically has had a very difficult time organizing.

The commission will set its own agenda after the group is formed. Among the hot topics its members are likely to wade into are the pace of apartment construction, laws to protect tenants from being evicted, Airbnb and other rental services, and rent control — which is illegal statewide.

They’ll also be required to help make sure that existing laws to protect tenants are actually enforced, including a new regulation to cap move-in fees, and a first-come, first-served application process for tenants that landlords are suing over.

Even with the very topic of renter civic engagement on the agenda at Monday’s council meeting, only a handful of renters showed up.

“We’re busying working to pay off rising rents in this city, we don’t have time to come to City Council meetings,” said Mathew Ellenberger, a University of Washington student who spoke at the meeting. He lamented that when he began renting here two years ago, he had no clear, central resources to figure out basic things like what to pay for a security deposit.

Landlord groups opposed the commission, saying it was unfair to give renters a special line to City Hall when most legislation pits the interest of renters against landlords. Property owners say rising property taxes have all but forced them to raise rents, and they fear further regulations would make their situation even harder.

Sean Martin, a spokesman for the Rental Housing Association of Washington, which represents landlords, says it’s disingenuous to say renters’ voices aren’t being heard when several pro-renter laws have passed in recent years. “Right now, tenant advocates, anything they throw against the wall, it sticks,” Martin said.

Martin said landlords asked for non-voting positions on the commission but the city didn’t include that in its plans.

Councilman Tim Burgess spearheaded the legislation to create the commission and found co-sponsors in Council members Lisa Herbold, Mike O’Brien and Debora Juarez. Mayor Ed Murray will sign the bill, his office said.

Read the rest of the story here.

DCG

Seattle landlord wonders why he can’t choose the ‘nice and clean’ renters

The landlord has no choice because demorats run Seattle.

electionshaveconsequences

From MyNorthwest.com:  As long as he isn’t discriminating, a Seattle landlord asks why he can’t choose who he rents to. Hugh Brannon told KIRO 7 that before the Seattle City Council passed a renter protection ordinance on Monday, there was already a “whole list of protected classes.”

“As long as you’re following that, is there no human element left in this business?” Brannon asked.

Brannon says landlords should be free to screen people and choose those who they believe will be a responsible renter. That includes the ones who look “nice and clean” and will take “better care” of the rental unit, he says.

But in about a month, the decision won’t be left to the landlord’s discretion. Under the council’s ordinance, landlords will no longer be able to choose which tenants they believe will be best. Instead, they will have to choose the first applicant who qualifies. The goal of this, KIRO 7 points out, is to prohibit discrimination against people with different forms of payment, such as vouchers and subsidies.

The only exception is for landlords who are living in a house in which they are renting a unit from the same property.

lisa herbold

Council member Lisa Herbold* said Seattle is the first city in the nation to require a “first-in-time” policy. “It’s considered to be a best practice among rental housing providers,” Herbold said. “When rental housing providers can establish that they follow a policy like this, they can also use that policy as a basis to argue that they’re not discriminating.”

Brannon said there could be a problem if landlords are forced to accept short-term vouchers. Herbold told KIRO 7 that about 80 percent of people with short-term vouchers stay in their housing by paying for rent on their own.

The approved ordinance follows investigations into renters experiencing unbalanced treatment. Twenty-three property owners were accused of housing discrimination in May. Some building owners advertised move-in specials for tech employees, along with employees of other large businesses.

Landlord groups say the measure will backfire, because a first-come-first-served system will benefit those with access to a car or the internet.

The city will conduct an audit of the new policies 18 months from their taking effect.

*Herbold is also spearheading regulations for employers to provide “livable schedules” for employees.

DCG