Category Archives: Kitsap Alliance News

The March KAPO Dinner is Canceled

Join us for Dinner at the Family Pancake House, 3900 Kitsap Way Bremerton Washington, Thursday April 30 at 5:30 PM.

More Info Contact Pat Ryan (360) 692-4750, pat,ryan58@comcast.net

Ending the Administrative State Is an Uphill and Necessary Battle for a Free Nation

James Madison defined tyranny as the “accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands.” Yet, according to many prominent progressives, this venerable principle that inspired our constitutional structure is an existential threat to the modern architecture of the federal government. Take, for instance, a New Republic article, which sees Madison’s remedy for tyranny as an evil plot to sink the entire federal bureaucracy.

In “The Plot to Level the Administrative State,” New Republic writer Matt Ford warns that some Supreme Court justices want to revive the nondelegation doctrine — a fancy term for the idea that Congress can’t punt its lawmaking power to a different branch of government. Many on the left fret that this revival poses an existential threat to the modern trend of bureaucratic rule. I hope they’re right.

This wicked plot began in 1787. That year, our Founders built a constitutional structure unique in history — a binding document that separated government functions into three distinct spheres: legislative, executive, and judicial.

Article I vests the legislative power in Congress and sets rules about how lawmaking happens. It splits the lawmaking body into two houses, determines how the lawmakers are selected, and requires that legislation pass both houses and be presented for the president’s approval.

Other rules abound, such as requirements that tax bills begin in the House and that no legislator can be appointed to a federal civil office during their tenure. These rules rein in the power to pass laws that bind the people. If Congress could abdicate such authority to the executive branch, which faces no similar constraints, then those constraints would be meaningless. The power to make laws would face few barriers to abuse. Yet that is precisely what is happening today. Continue reading

Rentals Everywhere, but No Place to Live

Government rules drive developers to build luxury apartments.

Good news: More new apartments will come on the market this year in the U.S. than in decades. Keep reading for the bad news. Builders are expected to complete some 371,000 new apartments in 2020, compared to 247,000 in 2019 and 119,000 in 2010, according to the real estate analytics firm RealPage. The problem is that many of the new apartments will be too expensive for lower- and middle-class families. RealPage data show that in many metropolitan areas between 60% and 89% of the apartments under construction are in neighborhoods known for higher-than-average rents.

Bernie Sanders blames this on “corrupt real estate developers” who are “gentrifying neighborhoods” and replacing affordable homes with “fancy condominiums and hotels that only the very rich can afford.” Elizabeth Warren says “developers can usually turn bigger profits by building fancier new units targeted at higher-income families rather than units targeted at lower-income families.”

Their solution is more government control of the rental market. But what if that is already the main problem?

In a December 2019 working paper, Harvard and University of Pennsylvania researchers measured land-use rules, zoning and permitting regulations and how many government entities must sign off on new construction, among other restrictions. Though outliers exist, the mismatch between expensive supply and affordable demand was significantly more acute in the places with the most severe regulations.

Meanwhile, the National Low Income Housing Coalition estimated last year that there were 30 or fewer affordable apartments available for every 100 extremely low-income renters in Washington, Oregon, California, Florida and Arizona. These states are home to seven of the 10 most restrictive metropolitan areas in the Harvard-Penn study.

RealPage and Harvard-Penn draw the borders of metropolitan areas slightly differently. But Fort Lauderdale, the Seattle-Bellevue area, Phoenix and Portland—all in the top 10 most restrictive regions—are also where 84.9% or more of new apartments are in neighborhoods with rent generally above the metro-area average. The restrictive cities of Miami, Washington, D.C., and its suburbs and Los Angeles are also in regions where only 18.7% to 35.8% of this year’s new rentals are being built in neighborhoods that low- and middle-income families can afford.

Last year, highly restrictive cities built ultra-luxury apartments at a higher rate than less restrictive ones, according to data from the real-estate market-intelligence firm Yardi Matrix. The most high-end classes of rentals accounted for 4.8% of the overall new supply in Manhattan, 3.8% in Phoenix, about 3% in D.C. and its suburbs, and 2.4% in Los Angeles.

But premium rentals are merely 0.3% of new supply in St. Louis, 0.1% in Cincinnati, Grand Rapids and Cleveland, and an even smaller share in Detroit and Rochester—all among the least restrictive building areas examined by the Harvard and Penn researchers.

The progressive solution to the lack of affordable housing—more government rules and controls—is damaging the very people they say they want to help.

Wall Street Journal Editorial Feb 5 2020

 

 

WA considers requiring new construction projects to improve the environment

A push in the state Legislature could make ‘net ecological gain’ the new standard for building.

In a move promoted by environmentalists and others as key to staving off the extinction of Puget Sound orcas — but opposed by the building industry —Washington may soon take a first, small step toward requiring that development benefit the environment.

The budget proposed by the Washington House calls for planners to begin preparing to replace the state’s requirement that construction cause “no net loss” to habitat with a higher standard backed by environmental advocates — “net ecological gain.” It appears Washington would be the first state in the nation to do so. The budget put forward by the Senate has no such provisions, however. Legislators in both chambers are expected to negotiate a final budget this next week.

The new standard would be something of a sea change for land use in Washington. Builders doing damage to the environment would be required to create or restore more ecological capacity than their construction destroys. The century-plus-long decline in Washington water quality and salmon abundance might begin to be reversed. “It sets a standard,” said Rep. Debra Lekanoff, D-Bow, the Legislature’s leading advocate for the change, “of leaving [the environment] better than we found it.”

Opponents contend the change amounts to government-sponsored theft, in that today’s builders would be paying for degradation — which occurred with the state’s blessing — from which others profited in the past. Local governments, too, are concerned thata shift in policy could prove expensive if they ultimately have to compensate landowners for the additional work.

Requiring additional environmental work would also slow homebuilding in the state while increasing construction costs, said Jan Himebaugh, government affairs director for the Building Industry Association of Washington. Washington’s housing inventory has not grown as fast as the state’s population, she said, driving housing prices to unaffordable levels in much of the state.

“It will slow that permitting process even more … and those costs that are already out of control will skyrocket,” said Himebaugh, whose organization, better known by its abbreviation BIAW, represents homebuilders in Olympia. “That’s not good for housing, and that’s not good for the people of Washington who need homes.” Continue reading

Feb 27: Dinner Speaker Russ Shiplet Kitsap Builders Association Executive Director

Our February Dinner Speaker is Russ Shiplet Executive Director Kitsap Builders Association. He will discuss the factors effecting new construction in Kitsap County, Energy code revisions, regulations and other Legislative efforts. Russ will also address the shortage of trades people in the county and efforts to address education issues.

Join us for Dinner at the Family Pancake House, 3900 Kitsap Way Bremerton Washington, Thursday February 27 at 5:30 PM.

More Info Contact Pat Ryan (360) 692-4750, pat,ryan58@comcast.net

 

On Affordable Housing

Jurisdictions in Washington State and in particular Western Washington are beginning to realize that a serious problem is facing many communities, which is encapsulated in the question: “why am I unable to afford a house or apartment?” That simple question is not pondered by those who purchased houses 40-years ago or even in the early 1990s. No, it is the question on the minds of the Millennials and Gen X aged members of our population or generally any families who make less than $73,026. On a per capita basis the number is $35,908.These are 2017 numbers and reflect the whole of the county to include Bainbridge Island where the median household income is $116,845 per their housing study published in 2018.

In 1968 when the Fair Housing Act was updated from the earlier version adopted in  1964, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) made an  assessment of how much families could afford to pay for housing. The framers of that legislation determined it should be no more than 30% of total household income. Any amount higher than that would create a “cost burdened” situation for those households. Meaning that if the individual or family had to spend more than that for housing there would not be enough money for other necessities such as light and heat, repairs and maintenance, food to feed the family, clothes or transportation.

This same act addressed also issues related to discrimination and how to provide for the very poor in our communities. Regarding the latter, The FHA-1968 set standards for Section 8 rent subsidies.

Leaving alone the issues of discrimination for the moment, what kind of house can the median household income family can afford? Starting with the $73,000 number and applying the 30% factor, there would be $21,900 per year or $1,825.00 per month  available for housing. Of course, any household that does not make $73,000 per year, such as would be true for individuals they are out of luck or they require subsidies.  For example, the single person making only $36,000 would have $10,800 per year or about $900 per month to spend on housing.

Read the full Letter Housing Affordable to All & Fair Housing Act of 1968

Jan 30: Dinner Speaker Aaron Murphy, ADM Architect

Poulsbo Architect Aaron Murphy is a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS), trained in the unique needs of the older adult population, Aging-in-Place home modifications, common remodeling projects, and solutions to common barriers.

For your home, this means design that allows people to live comfortably and easily, regardless of age or physical ability. Features of universal design include:

  • Entrances without steps
  • Bedrooms, kitchens on ground floor
  • Full bathrooms on the ground floor
  • Wide doorways and hallways
  • Lower light switches and thermostat controls
  • Door handles that are easy to open

Join us for Dinner at the Family Pancake House, 3900 Kitsap Way Bremerton Washington, Thursday January 30 at 5:30 PM.

More Info Contact Pat Ryan (360) 692-4750, pat,ryan58@comcast.net