Is there lead exposure risk in your community? Find out here.
Ta Nehisi-Coates is now writing comic books?! Black Panther features the first black superhero in mainstream American comics. Ta Nehisi-Coates gives you a behind-the-scenes look at this new Marvel comic book.
You knew this already, but here are more damning details: Fossil fuel giants and their trade groups spend an estimated $115 million per year blocking climate policies. (And in case you missed it—I did—the oil and gas trade groups, the American Petroleum Institute and the Natural Gas Alliance, merged last year, making one big PR and lobbying powerhouse.)
Economic Opportunity Institute has worked up an interesting analogy for talking about taxes in a productive way, and reinforcing paying taxes as a community activity, not a solitary one: A potluck dinner. I like where they’re going:
After all, even if I don’t necessarily like or need every item being served (tater tot casserole, anyone?), there’s something for everyone — and far more than I’d ever be able to prepare or provide on my own.
Many indigenous tribes are on the front lines of climate change. If you are around the Seattle-Bellevue area this Sunday (April 10), you may want to see if there’s still space available to attend the Indigenous Climate Solidarity Forum. The East Shore Unitarian Church is hosting representatives from four tribes [Lummi Nation (WA), Quinault Indian Nation (WA), Northern Cheyenne Nation (MT), and Ft. Bernard Reservation (ND)] who will share how their communities are being impacted by fossil fuels and climate change. They will also offer ways that other community members can join local tribes to curtail the expansion of fossil fuels extraction and transportation in the Pacific Northwest. More info here.
This week I listened to a wonderful radio interview with Peggy McIntosh, the Wellesley women’s studies scholar who wrote “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” and David Owen, chair of Philosophy at the University of Louisville. They discussed how the concept of “a good fit” becomes a way for organizations to perpetuate a homogeneous staff, since people who are just like the hiring party can’t help but “fit” the best. “Fit” is a concept found most often in the nonprofit sector, where the majority of workers are women, which explains how the nonprofit sector can have what looks like gender diversity but still struggle with workforce diversity and inclusion in the areas of ethnic and cultural diversity, retaining staff under 30, and having a staff that reflects the composition of the communities the organization serves.
Back in the day “yuppie condo” was a favorite epithet for gentrification. But these days in Seattle, it’s actually a shortage of condos that is becoming a culprit of gentrification. That’s because when there are no condos to buy, the only other ownership option is single-family houses or townhouses, both of which consume far more urban land per unit than high density condos. Less capacity for people in the city means more unmet demand and higher housing prices, which are the root drivers of gentrification. The condo shortage limits options for first time buyers in particular.
The Daily Journal of Commerce has the rundown showing that the limited inventory of condos in Seattle is getting snatched up fast. The main reasons for the squeeze:
“Thousands of well-paid renters now in expensive apartments could become buyers, and home values have recovered to the point that more empty-nesters are ready to downsize.”
“The challenge with high-rise development is demand can rise much quicker than the supply.”
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“Banks prefer to finance apartments over condos, and institutional investors are gobbling them up.”
“Right now, [builders] are going to get sued whether lawsuits are frivolous or meaningful.”
That last reason has the potential to be the most stubborn, long-term bottleneck because the risk of lawsuits enabled by State law scares off would-be condo developers, as discussed in this Puget Sound Business Journal article:
“The Washington Condominium Act has remarkably onerous construction defect laws.”
One might think that that real estate lobby would be powerful enough to fix the State Condo Act, but they are up against a foe that is no pushover: the trial lawyers’ lobby. Stay tuned: reforming the Condo Act is a recommendation in Seattle’s Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA), and this summer the University of Washington’s Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies will publish an analysis of impacts and remedies.