Capitol Hill Community Post | Neighborhood Ad Hoc Group meets about sale of Hilltop station

On October 28th at Victrola, in the late afternoon, a group of Capitol Hill Residents met to discuss issues related to real-estate development and change in Capitol Hill, especially around the 15th Ave Business District. The main focus was the impending sale of the property at the corner of E. Mercer and 15th Ave E. currently occupied by the independently owned full-service gas station Hilltop. The participants wish to be able to have public input in future development.

Hilltop News
Ray Angel, owner of Angel’s Shoe Repair, reported that the clean up of Hilltop’s out-dated gas tanks would take a very long time and that Mike Burke, Hilltop’s owner, may be able to stay in business as a station that services cars, but does not sell gas.

Ellen Taft, who called the meeting, reported that she is trying to connect with non-profit housing associations to buy the property and develop it with longer-tem underground parking, a street level service station ( perhaps with electric charging stations for electric cars) and affordable housing reserved for the retail employees who work on 15th Ave E, Broadway, and 19th Ave E. Currently many of them are commuting to Tacoma and Everett. She believes that the neighborhood would be able to supply a lot of fund-raising for these organizations. Also the group wants to make sure that other properties coming up for sale have neighborhood input, and are developed in ways that sustain the community.

Mail Box Corner 15th Ave and E. Republican
Concerns were raised about the removal of the U.S. Mail Box at 1463 E. Republican, the site recently vacated by Postal Plus. Everyone wishing to have the mail box replaced should email:

ernst.a.swanson@usps.gov and/or sign the change.org petition:

https://www.change.org/p/ernstswanson?recruiter=5049026&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=share_email_responsive.

There are three reasons to restore the mail box 1) many people living close by are handicapped and cannot walk to the nearest Mail Box, near Kaiser Permanente and 2) hopefully it will decrease loitering by increasing legitimate foot traffic 3) It was right in the hub of the neighborhood near the Walgreen’s pharmacy, near the QFC and at a crucial corner of foot traffic, it was a neighborhood sustaining amenity.

Ramon Khanna, of U.S. Rep Pramila Jayapal’s office, is setting up a meeting for the residents with representatives of the Post Office to talk about this and other postal concerns, after the new year.

Smoking Cannabis in Public
Many people raised concerns about the smell generated by smoking Cannabis in public. Residents were encouraged to report violations to the WA state Liquor Control Board- Report a Violation form. https://lcb.wa.gov/enforcement/report-violation. Also call the local police non-Emergency phone number: (206)-625-5011 then dial 2 and then dial 8.

Capitol Hill Community Post | Affordable Housing Crisis-Rescind the sale of Yesler Terrace- Collect Uncollected Revenue

Camping is not compassionate, uncollected revenues is government malpractice.

Like many Seattleites I am completely underwhelmed by our former Mayor’s so-called state of Emergency response to the homeless crisis. Sometimes I think that perhaps the homeless were imported in order to create a crisis so that the Mayor could do what the Dino ( Democrats in Name Only) Mayors of Seattle do so well-siphon off tax-payer funds to private developers to put up bogus affordable housing units in unaffordable buildings.

Here are some solutions to the affordable housing crisis I see:

• Rescind the sale of Yesler Terrace, and put in public housing instead
It is close to the hospitals and downtown, places of employment, so that families with two working parents, would not have to commute from Tacoma and Everett to jobs in Seattle

• Pass a law forbidding the sale of any Seattle Housing Authority property to private developers ever. After all, it is the tax-payers who financed SHA.

• No more tax subsidies for private developers.

• More public housing, and not just two bedroom units but, three, four even five bedroom units where families can live.

• Change the factors when calculating income for “affordable housing.” It should not be a percentage of the mean income of the area, it should be a percentage of the mean income of renters in the area. If Bill Gates’ income is calculated into that equation, no wonder so much subsidized so-called affordable housing actually costs more than housing available on the open market.

• Give tax-breaks on City property taxes for people to rent out extra bedrooms. When I lived in West Germany, for example, each person in a family was assigned a certain number of sq. meters, if the family exceeded that, they forfeited the tax-break on their mortgage. This just might lower rents on all those $1500 studio apartments.

• Give City Grants to elevate foundations so that basement apartments could be put into single family homes in pedestrian neighborhoods with access to public transportation, along with strict provisions for no-parking for the basement apartment resident.

Let’s face it: Tearing down beautiful well-made houses and trees in the Central District and Capitol Hill, to put up ugly tacky environmentally-damaging one-generation-lasting Leggoland town-houses, does not actually increase density and the sacrifice to the environment is disastrous. Can the fire-trucks even get through to the row-houses at the back?

To deal with the immediate crisis of homelessness.

Use empty buildings, and perhaps ships in the harbor to house the homeless
• For example: The Old Immigration Jail, now an artspace might be suitable. It has dorms, cells, bathrooms. The arts are important, but in an Emergency, perhaps the artists could sacrifice their spaces

• There are other empty buildings in the city.

• How to pay for it?

Audit the Budget Stupid!

In the endless debates about the homeless, no one has had the imagination to actually realize that there are uncollected revenues-just ask one of the 2013 Mayoral candidates who told me “ You wouldn’t believe the amount of uncollected revenue and government waste there is!”

• There is the $1.5 m that is lost every year because only 20% of dog owners license their pets. In the last 25 years the City has lost $30 million and Mayor McGinn refused to collect it, preferring to raise parking rates.

• There are 35 government department, not all are revenue generating, but until the tax-payer gets a full audit of the budget, until irresponsible dog owners have to pay their share of maintaining Animal Control, the City should not be raising taxes, nor claiming that they do not have the financial resources to shelter the homeless.

New Taxes

Hidden sugar in savory products, we spend how much on diabetes research, insulin etc. ?
Taking hidden sugar out of chicken noodle soup and spaghetti sauce is more cost effective.

Tax excessive packaging-it adds a lot to the carbon footprint

Ellen Taft
Capitol Hill