POPKIN SPEAKS OUT
I was surprised by your article that said I was in "hot water again," referring to my work at NewHolly and a lawsuit concerning the rules for property owners and holders of Section 8 housing certificates [News Clips, "Section 8 Struggle," Dec. 13].
My success in developing low income and affordable housing at NewHolly has been recognized by many organizations as exemplary, [including] the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). NewHolly will create $200 million in new affordable housing. As a result of NewHolly's success, the Seattle Housing Authority (SHA) has received more than $70 million in additional grants from HUD for redevelopment of other properties. SHA will leverage these funds to create an additional $450 million in new affordable housing. It is absolutely not true that I sat "on the committee that determined how the contracts would be awarded" for NewHolly [see Section 8 Mistake, this page]. After evaluating a complaint by a housing advocate, HUD determined that I had done nothing wrong by competing for, and being awarded, a contract for NewHolly.
In regard to the legal action alleging discrimination against a Section 8 certificate holder, I believe we have the right to treat Section 8 certificate holders as we would any other applicant. This is exactly what the City Council said when it passed the ordinance making Section 8 certificate holders a protected class. The applicant in question did not meet our income and credit requirements. We also required a six-month lease.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has held that a property owner is allowed to offer lease terms of less than one year in the Section 8 program. Moreover, Section 8 is a voluntary federal housing assistance program that the city of Seattle has decided to make mandatory in its fair housing ordinance. The problem with the ordinance is that it requires a property owner to accept numerous nonnegotiable terms and conditions from SHA and HUD, including that SHA determines the rent paid to the property owner, and the tenant has the right to occupy the unit indefinitely. [Thus], the city's ordinance results in a public taking of an individual's property for another individual's private purpose. As recently as last year, the Washington Supreme Court found this type of legislative action to be unconstitutional.
As a community, we all need to do more to provide affordable housing. I will continue to do my part to achieve this goal.
QUITE CONTINENTAL; NOT QUITE INTERNATIONAL
Hey Weekly—out of 12 books reviewed in your Stuck Local, Read Global section [Winter Books, Dec. 13], only three were actually written by people who don't currently live in North America or Europe. How international!
Thanks for your excellent tribute to the Quiet Beatle ["So Long, Quiet One," Dec. 6].
I had a friend who thought that George was the most talented of the Beatles [and] that he was the best singer. It's one thing to recognize a person's worth, but let's not go overboard. John Lennon and Paul McCartney were better songwriters, and almost no one in rock music could hold a candle to them as vocalists. And as good as he was, George wasn't even the best guitarist in the Beatles. I had always admired the searing guitar solo on George's great song "Taxman." Some years ago, when I went back and drenched myself in the Beatles' music and literature about them, I discovered that it was Paul who had played that solo. George was a fine guitar player with a distinctive style, but even he decided that Eric Clapton should play the lead on "While My Guitar Gently Weeps." George Harrison was a fine human being—maybe the most personally admirable of the Beatles. While John bounced from Primal Therapy to other fads, George's spirituality remained genuine throughout. He suffered financial reverses and personal setbacks, but he always came back. That he only recorded one great solo album means that, as much as he might not admit it, he needed the other three. Especially when you consider that the one great album consisted of songs that he wrote while with the Beatles. Imagine a Beatles' album with "My Sweet Lord" or "What Is Life."
SINGLE ABLE-BODIED MALE
In regard to Geov Parrish's piece "Poverty.Net" [Dec. 6], the lack of a "safety net" is nothing new to the "able-bodied" single male, recession or not. I find it amusing to hear activist Jean Colman say cuts in the DSHS budget will have a "disproportionate impact" on women—which has a perverted kind of logic, since outside of food assistance, there is nothing [to help men].
While George Bush and his wealthy Republican cronies seek to finish their massive giveaway programs for the rich that were (slightly) curtailed last spring, the current recession, which promises to be a long one, isn't inspiring much hope for the hopeless. Finding yourself on the street is surprisingly easy in times like these, particularly if you're one of those "able-bodied" men caught between the cracks. I suppose that as long as you don't let pride get in the way, unemployment insurance ought to tide one over until some "menial" job is to be had, but what if you are "too old" or "too shabby" to be "employable"? And then you're told by the Community Service Office that because you are a single male, you are eligible for nothing in the way of tangible assistance?
Well, there's always the "good old boys" network—if you happen to have wealthy relatives or be a white yuppie or CEO type, which most [men] are not. Now, when I look out on the street, I can understand how some of those guys just gave up hope.
A PIECE OF ART FOR PEACE
I really appreciated your article ["Enlightenment in a Box," Holiday Survival Guide 2, Dec. 6], as I so often find that during this holiday season, the gift giving is done without intention beyond immediate gratification. Time and experience has shown the whole world that gifts supporting positive energy and healing are seeds that keep on giving in unexpected ways!
I would highly [recommend] Peace at Hand (www.peaceathand.org), a new nonprofit organization that is Seattle based. Its charter is to make peace through art, and it is launching a program to connect kids in crisis around the world through art dialogues (like pen pals through art). You can make a tax deductible donation to them and receive/send a piece of art as a gift.
Thank you for focusing people on "intentional" gift giving.
SECTION 8 MISTAKE
Last week, we reported that developer Henry Popkin "sat on the committee that determined how the contracts would be awarded" for the Seattle Housing Authority's NewHolly development (News Clips, "Section 8 Struggle"). In fact, Popkin sat on a committee that recommended that SHA reject a bid for the project and develop NewHolly itself. Popkin subsequently applied for, and received, a contract from SHA to work on the development.
Also, in our Holiday Survival Guide 2 article on gifts that hit the G-spot ("Come All Ye Faithful," Dec. 6), the Capitol Hill store Toys in Babeland was incorrectly identified as Babes in Toyland.
The Weekly regrets the errors.
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