EHT on fast track to repeal: is this really democracy?

The EHT is on fast track for repeal. How the EHT was passed:

  • Six months of a broad task force including council members and stakeholders working to create a plan to find bring more revenue in for the purposes of funding affordable housing, as well as a detailed plan on how to use the money.
  • Significant public comment at multiple meetings, as well as a long time frame for both the public and stakeholders to understand it
  • Invitations from the business community to participate in both the original task force and during main committee and council votes.
  • Late re-negotiation of the plan with the mayor and various interest groups that decreased the amount of funding available, but at least got it passed.
  • Unanimous vote of the city council.

How the EHT is being repealed:

  • A smear and lies campaign funded by wealthy interest groups.
  • Only seven of all nine city councilors in favor of repeal.
  • No plan for replacement of that funding or the housing investments we desperately need.
  • A city council agenda with only 24 hours notice and no chance for public comment.

The full public repeal vote wouldn’t be for five months, but we’re rushing to repeal it now without any plan to replace those affordable housing investments. This is despite the reality that until 2017 we hadn’t increased funding for homelessness or housing, even though the cost of living has skyrocketed, driving many people into homelessness.

I’m loath to say things like “this is not democracy”, but this is not democracy. It is a a propaganda campaign to push public sentiment so far in one direction that the city council has no choice if they want to be effective at any other problems facing the city. Meanwhile, I’ve seen no signs that the interests pushing repeal are interesting in anything more useful like fixing Washington’s tax system, our land use policies or funding for affordable housing.

Why are we having a vote with no public comment with only 24 hours notice with no plan to fund housing?