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As new legal fight against upzones is launched, D3 candidate says she didn’t approve group’s Valpak campaign

As a Seattle anti-growth group is launching yet another legal challenge against the city’s Mandatory Housing Affordability plan, a District 3 candidate says she didn’t approve a recent coupon envelope mailer distributed around Capitol Hill that appeared to endorse her run for the City Council while taking a swing at planned upzoning.

“My campaign did not do this, nor is it anything I would ever have budgeted for,” Pat Murakami told CHS earlier this month about the Valpak flyer warning about “loss of public view and decreased property values.”

“I never open the Valpaks that are mailed to my home, and I assume the majority of folks don’t open them either,” she said.

The coupon-sized flyer was distributed earlier this month and promotes the CHARM group — North Capitol Hill Against Rezoning Misuse. CHS reported on the group’s last-ditch efforts to stop a planned upzoning in the Eastlake neighborhood as the City Council passed the expansion of Seattle’s Mandatory Housing Affordability program and upzones in the city’s densest areas.

While she said the Valpak promotion was a surprise, Murakami does support the message. “I support the neighborhood plans that the City has chosen to ignore,” she tells CHS. “They took existing residents needs and concerns into account and allowed for adequate density and growth, with a vision of how Seattle would look in the future. We planned for urban centers with the businesses and services that would be used by the nearby community, thereby reducing auto use and transit demands. It is a shame we’ve allowed out-of-state/country developers do what they want without concern for the surrounding neighborhoods. I want win-win developments.”

Representatives for CHARM have not responded to our questions about the promotion. Murakami said last week she was also waiting to hear back from the group so she can declare the marketing as an in-kind donation or reimburse them. A Valpak campaign of this scale can cost as little as $300.

CHARM has supported and shares legal representation with the Seattle Coalition for Affordability, Livability and Equity group which announced Tuesday it will appeal the Mandatory Housing Affordability upzone ordinance to the state Growth Management Hearings Board. “Issues include displacement of existing residents, preservation of trees, historic resources, and failure to consider alternative policies,” the announcement reads.

Murakami, meanwhile, also faced criticism last week for her statements at a transportation forum held near 16th and Jackson when she said she had to drive to the event because of concerns for her “personal safety.”

We asked Murakami to explain her statement and whether her concerns were specific to the Central District or Seattle in general.

“I know too much about where and when crime occurs in Seattle,” Murakami said. “Most of the street robberies in my neighborhood take place within 300 feet of mass transit stops. A woman was shot to death for not giving up her purse, right in front of her house – followed home after getting off Light Rail. There are many non-compliant sex offenders living on Seattle streets, and while I’m not as likely a target as someone younger, senior women have been raped on occasion.”

Murakami said she “stopped wearing a lovely necklace” given to her by her husband “because necklaces have been snatched off women in broad daylight.”

“I drive with my car doors locked after 5pm because I know about the attempted carjackings that have taken place in my community,” Murakami writes. “I always pay attention to my surroundings, turn around when I hear someone approach me from behind to make eye contact. I never let my cell phone serve as a distraction or wear earbuds in both ears when walking. As a result, I’ve never been assaulted or robbed, and I’d like to keep it that way.”

Find the latest CHS coverage of Election 2019 here.

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19 thoughts on “As new legal fight against upzones is launched, D3 candidate says she didn’t approve group’s Valpak campaign

    • One resident’s view and a view available to the public will be replaced by a larger building with an unobstructed view. Just another flavor of entitlement and commodification of views.

      • Such is life in a city. If you want to protect your views…buy the property. Otherwise, whoever owns it is generally free to do with it as they see fit.

      • Ironic when it’s a property owner complaining about their potentially lost view, the answer is “if you want to protect your view, buy the property”, and “whoever owns it is generally free to do with it as they see fit”. Except when it comes to rent. Then you’re not free to charge what you want, some of those same people unsympathetic to the property owner scream “we deserve rent control!” (not saying that’s you). Empathy seems to come and go depending….

      • Don’t mis-term is as a “public view”. It’s one private view being replaced with another private view. It’s not actually a public park’s view or anything like that.

  1. Pat Murakami sounds very fearful in these quotes. While I would like to see Seattle do more to address repeat offenders, violent crime levels here are low. She sounds like she needs to rethink her media diet. I hope she finds peace of mind.

  2. That view from Harvard is iconic. I don’t live there but I bike it on way to work. And it is something that should belong to all of Seattle. I don’t see why such an accommodation to developers is necessary – I am a big proponent of density but our city has to be livable. That street is amazing for walks and evening strolls for anyone. You had really good reporting on this before. Sad to see that the measure passed – I wonder if there is a way to reduce the height there. It’s an amazing view – it should not be for sale.

    • I agree completely! The view from that stretch of Harvard is beautiful, for homeowners and other Seattleites alike, with Lake Union in the foreground and the Olympics to the west. It should be preserved for us and future generations.

      An important part of this is that the housing along that part of Boylston Ave E (on the west side of the freeway) is now relatively affordable, and this would eventually be demolished to make away for very expensive apartments and condos.

      • The decision to only allow single family mcmansions to proliferate on that stretch of Harvard limits its usefulness for all Seattleites and your comment about affordability may has well have been made from Mars.

      • Are you just trying to be argumentative, or did you not understand my comment? My comment about affordability pertains to Boylston Ave E, on the west side of the freeway. Currently, there are modest bungalows and apartments there, and they are reasonably affordable compared to what will be there if the zoning challenge is unsuccessful.

    • It’s amazing how people talk about livability when they are proposing to limit the amount of housing in cities when there is a major affordability crisis, because you want to preserve a view. How lovely it must be that you have that privilege. What would be even better is if hundreds more people were able to have that same view, live close to where they work, and not spew greenhouse gases into our atmosphere in a time looming of climate crisis.

      I consider myself a liberal, but I am ashamed of the people in our wealthy metropolitan (coastal) cities who do everything in their power to make it harder for other people to live near these places. It’s disgusting.

      • The view is currently accessible to anyone, rich or poor. Building a wall-like apartment/condo complex will limit the view to the few dozen building residence with west-facing units. Residential units with views always cost more. If new construction on that street contains affordable units, they will be the ones facing I-5.

      • The view currently can be enjoyed by anyone – anyone who is walking, using a wheelchair, a bicycle. It is a gorgeous part of the city. By allowing an upzone right there the view is commodified – those will be expensive units not low income housing. I am pro-density. What is happening to the zoning of single family homes on harvard? If you build apartments on Harvard and not boylston you will preserve views and increase density. (yikes, this will make those people who live there mad but this idea still preserves the view for the rest of us. This is not ‘any city’ it is a gorgeous beautiful place. We live in a very special place and need to treat it that way).

  3. Never buy a place for the view, unless you own air rights or it’s unobstructable for some other reason. Just ask the residents at the Onyx at 12/E Olive Street. I rented a condo there and had an awesome view of Cal Anderson Park and the skyline…now it’s a brick wall.

  4. Just another right-wing extremist using fear tactics to create some interest in her campaign. Apparently if she were to take office she’ll require a pope-mobile to haul her and her precious necklace through the streets of her district so that her constituents can “connect” with her. Yep, she sounds super keen to serve all the people.

  5. Hey, I remember that hysterical Stranger piece. More insightful and accurate are the comments about that article. Serious personal bad blood between Hilary and Pat.

    As for the necklace thing, there was an ongoing problem of grab and run for a while affecting older immigrant women who like to wear gold chain often with a cross or a Buddha or Buddhist monk amulet. Young kids would rip it off their neck. My partner’s mom told us she was warned not to wear her 24K jewelry or anything gold looking when she takes the bus to the ID from Beacon Hill. Stuff like this doesn’t grab news headline or politicians’ attention, but among the targeted communities, people talk. A lot.