How to submit a Letter to the Editor
Regulation help drive up housing costs
Regarding your article on housing cost from June 23.
The financial cost of government housing regulations is an issue that some people would rather the public ignore. However, there is a large body of research that we need to consider.
A Seattle Times article from 2008 is headlined “Rules add $200,000 to Seattle house price.” Assuming my math is correct, with a house that cost $447,800, the $200,000 for regulations would be 45 percent of the total cost.
In 2015, two economists published a paper on the costs of land use laws. In a New York Times op-ed they stated “Without these regulations, our research shows, the United States economy today would be 9 percent bigger — which would mean, for the average American worker, an additional $6,775 in annual income.”
Jason Furman, chairman of the Obama Administration Council of Economic Advisers, was critical of land-use regulations. In a speech at the Urban Institute in 2015, he mentioned a number of problems that are the result of zoning, from higher costs for potential homeowners to possible environmental problems.
Rep. Denny Heck is chair of the Housing Task Force that published a report that listed some of the causes of the housing crisis. The first one reads: “Zoning and land-use regulations are slowing and restricting building of housing...”
Homeowners, renters and the local business community are being harmed by these regulations. It is time to repeal them.
Tolerance is the American ideal
A grandmother recently wrote that she took her grandson to the state Capitol grounds and was appalled to see a Pride flag being hoisted on a flag pole to acknowledge LGBT Pride month. I have a few thoughts.
First, the Pride flag is a symbol of unity and equality both here and world-wide. A substantial majority of Washingtonians support equal rights for LGBTs, so raising that flag during Pride month is simply the government acknowledging that equality is the agenda of Washington state.
Secondly, the American ideal is tolerance. The principles of government are formulated around the ideas of the philosopher John Locke. One of his central concepts was the need for tolerance. Our founding fathers upheld that ideal as they created and started our nation.
Third, that flag raising might have been a good time to teach the child about tolerance. It might have been a good time to explain that the red stripe on the flag symbolizes life, the orange symbolizes healing, the yellow symbolizes sunlight, the green symbolizes nature, the blue symbolizes harmony, and the violet symbolizes spirit. As it was, the child got a lesson on how to be a bigot.
Finally, the grandmother is assuming that her grandson isn’t gay. If he is, she has just shown him that she doesn’t love him as he is and he cannot look to her for support. If he isn’t, she has just moved him towards being a homophobe too, and possibly towards being a bully.