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Kunstler Discusses Disasterous Effect of Concentrating Poverty Such as the Winthrop Hotel Project

by Erik
on 8/3/2010 @ 10:40pm
Must listen to podcast for Tacomans:

James Kunstler describes the disastrous crime producing effect of concentrating poverty in Withrop Hotel like "projects":

When will Tacoma restore the blighted and crime ridden Winthrop Hotel?
KunstlerCast #119: The Projects
Concentrating Poverty

JHK explores a mostly abandoned low-income housing project in Duncan's neighborhood.

Two of the three 9-story brick "vertical slums" are boarded up and abandoned. They come complete with their own "rape-o-matic" tunnel for pedestrians to travel under the bridge ramp that separates them.

Kunstler says these "towers in a park" are based on the ideas of Le Corbusier, the Swiss-French architect/planner whose "Radiant City" plans envisioned turning the right bank of Paris into a series of high rise towers connected by highways. Corbu's plans were not implemented in Paris, but his ideas didn't die.

In fact they morphed into what are commonly known as "the projects," low-income high rise towers all around the U.S. and indeed the world. Taking inspiration by the housing projects in Troy, Kunstler explains the history of this style of low-income housing and its detrimental side effects.


Enhanced podcast with images:

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 8/3/2010 @ 11:56pm
Kunstler believes that wealthy people can live in high rises but poor people can not. Living in high rises, says Kunstler makes poor people into criminals.

The Winthrop was not originally low income housing. It was a hotel. It never really made any money as a hotel and it became low income housing. I don't think you can compare the Winthrop to the failed housing projects around the country. The wealthy would love to see the Winthrop as fancy condos or a fancy hotel. Are they not afraid they might become criminals?

The problem with the Winthrop is poor case management. Problems are swept under the rug. The management is too eager to rent to just about anyone that can cough up the deposit to get in. The vast majority of the people living in the Winthrop are good law biding members of our community. They may be poor but their only experience with crime is by being victims of crime. The good people of the Winthrop would like to stay where they are particularly if the management will take care of the small number of problem people in the building.

Those same building that Kunstler complains about would be fancy condo conversions in Seattle. I guess what people are saying is the real estate that is the Winthrop is just too valuable for poor people to inhabit. The poor, surely, would be happier in Lakewood or Spanaway. Out of sight, out of mind.

by scout on 8/4/2010 @ 10:35pm
Crenshaw - It is more respectful of the poor to integrate them into the community instead of isolating them in vertical ghettos, the design of which make them vulnerable to criminals, drug dealers, and slum lords.

Slum lord companies who own these complexes put no money, time, management, or appropriate avenues in place for the poor to voice their concerns or have any power over the environment where they live.

One Winthrop resident that I know recently told me that when the tenants complained about drug dealing and poor conditions, and tried to form a tenant's group to demand better conditions they were threatened with being kicked out of the building. The resident said that they were told that if anyone asked how things were at the Winthrop that they were to tell people that things are fine at the Winthrop... or else,

Many poor people are undereducated about their civil rights and are afraid to stand up for themselves whether it is to slum management that just want to protect their own miserly piece of the financial action or to criminals that prey upon them.

I am sick and tired of this being made into a rich versus poor issue. And who defines who the rich are? If I make $500 a year and you make $5,000 than to me you are "the rich."

This argument stops true dialogue in its tracks because it uses emotion instead of logic and facts for tools to decide what is best for the poor and for downtown Tacoma. This tack avoids shining the light on the terrible blighted condition in which this building continues to be allowed to exist and it is shameful.

by jenyum on 8/4/2010 @ 10:59pm
There aren't a whole lot of amenities downtown for people who lack money and personal transportation. Not even a grocery store. No schools (other than high schools.) No parks. It's probably a great place to be 25-35 and have a little extra cash to get around and pay more at the places you can get to, but it doesn't seem like the ideal environment for a low income community.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 8/4/2010 @ 11:09pm
Scout, you seem to agree with me that the real issue at the Winthrop is poor case management. Bring in the right management team and the Winthrop will be no different than some fancy high rise condo in Seattle.

Prium gets an absurdly high amount of money from the government as the subsidy on the units in the Winthrop but they put very little into the building or the management of it.

Poor people have been living in dense slummy areas for centuries. Most of the time those dense slummy areas are some of the safest areas in the city. Forget this Kunstler guy, he's an idiot. Catch up on your Jane Jacobs, she understood what it takes to have a functional neighborhood. You have to be an idiot to come up with a term like "rape-o-matic".

Indeed this need not be a rich v. poor situation. We all know that there will be no integration of the residents into neighborhoods all over the city. The last time the city of Tacoma dealt with the homeless issue they rounded up all the people living along Schuster Parkway and moved them into squalid apartments in Lakewood. At huge expense I might add.

The Winthrop has served as low income housing for several decades now. Originally it was for low income seniors. Downtown became inhospitable for our seniors so they went else where and the Winthrop, like the Olympus, had to take in people other than seniors. It is the poor management of the Winthrop that has been the problem. It is a money maker for the owners, but they do little to make it a place that someone who wasn't desperate would want to live in.

People with a conservative point of view love to put things in terms of class warfare. This is not about class warfare. This is about respect. The poor are capable of living in high rises as well as the wealthy. People with money would not put up with the management of the Winthrop, neither should the residents of the Winthrop. Sadly the residents of the Winthrop don't have the ability to move somewhere else. Desperate people have few options.

by L.S.Erhardt on 8/4/2010 @ 11:59pm
I will be brief tonight, and explain this in greater detail tomorrow after work.

I grew up poor. As in "homeless on multiple occasions" poor. So yeah, I know what it's like.

This is one of the few things I can explain about poverty: being broke is having no money. Being poor is a state of mind. It's a self-reinforcing negative feedback loop.
And one of the worst things is being singled out as poor.
Being the one kid in class with gov't lunch coupons (they used to be quite obvious... not sure if they are now). Using the old-school food stamps (rather than the modern "EBT" cards) was obvious. Living in low-income housing is obvious, etc. There is still a major stigma around poverty even in our "modern, enlightened" world.
Putting broke people together is similar to putting other socioeconomic classes people together... they get along and often care about each other and their home/neighborhood. Putting poor people together creates a slum because of the negative juju and apathy. Why care about this slum? Why paint it and keep up the lawn? Why bother? No one else does...
Like it or not, one's perceptions of themselves and others perceptions mean a LOT. You have to break the shame part of the cycle.

If you want to take a BIG step in reducing poverty and solving the issue of low income housing, heed my advice:
Build your low-income housing to be around and indistinguishable from middle and high income people. The better-off don't know by appearance that you're broke. Sorry, but appearances matter. If you look like an equal, you're more likely to be treated like one. Furthermore, not being surrounded by squalor in a ghetto or the projects and being treated like an equal lifts peoples' spirits. This helps break the poverty state of mind. Poverty is bred by and breeds apathy. Give people a reason to care and they will.

More on this tomorrow.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 8/5/2010 @ 12:15am
The Winthrop is a pretty classy looking building from the outside. A casual glance and you'd think fancy millionaires were living there. Sure as heck that would be the case in Seattle and many other cities around this country. Nothing from the outside that makes the Winthrop obvious as low income housing. Quite the opposite.

This business about telling the poor where it is best for them to live is insulting. "You are too poor to live in a high rise like the Winthrop, let us see if we can integrate you into Lakewood somewhere, you'll be happy and you'll be integrated. No one will be able to tell you are poor and you will be sooooo happy. You don't want to live in some grand old hotel in downtown Tacoma, there isn't anything there for you. No groceries, no nothing. Never will be until we move the poor people out so that some rich people can move in and then there will be a Trader Joe's and a Whole Foods Market, but we're sure you wouldn't like those kinds of places. You'll be happier in Lakewood closer to the Dollar Store and places where you can get the high alcohol malt liquor you people like. Nothing down here for you poor people, don't spoil it for the rich people."

by jenyum on 8/5/2010 @ 1:26am
Crenshaw. Nobody said Lakewood so please desist.

I mean like, up the hill and closer to the Safeway and the doctor's offices, in mixed income development. Or in a nice looking neighborhood like the new Salishan. But go ahead and talk like I'm fricking Zha Zha Gabor or something, because really it doesn't make you sound overwrought.

by fredo on 8/5/2010 @ 8:08am
Don't make Crenshaw mad, he'll have to pull out his imaginary economics textbook.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 8/5/2010 @ 11:19am
I'll just pull out my history book. When Tacoma cracked down on the homeless encampments in Tacoma with the Housing First program they didn't find housing for people in Tacoma, they got them housing in Lakewood. Tacoma didn't spend all that money so that the homeless would remain in Tacoma. Hilltop doesn't want any more poor people living up there, same with Salishan. Everyone wants a Whole Foods Market, everyone wants a Trader Joe's. No one wants homeless Joe (even if he now has a home) in their neighborhood. You find a place where there will be little squawk about dumping the poor there and that is where that will happen. There is a name for this place, it is called Lakewood.

by scout on 8/5/2010 @ 11:40am
How did the homeless get into the conversation - I thought we were talking about low income housing....

This is what I am talking about people drop emotional bombs that wind up making real dialogue impossible, not to mention unnecessarily nasty.

I think that Thorax has a lot to contribute since he's been there and I have to admit I think there are better places than in a downtown to place a slum that isolates and stigmatizes the poor.

It is a fact that these complexes attract crime. I personally got a copy of five years of 911 calls for the Olympus and it was a huge number of calls and wasted city resources - the calls were mostly about drugs, assault, domestic violence, theft, and sex offenders. etc.

I know that a certain drug-addicted hooker has had access to the Olympus for at least the last 5 years. She doesn't live there and one of the tenants told me she had a key to the tenants apartment and walked in one day on her young son.

I was told this story less than a month ago.

No one wants to see the poor thrown out on the street. Time and time again it has been stated by the Tacoma Housing Authority that they would receive housing vouchers if they were to move.

I know an ex-Winthrop resident who elected to do this and is much happier in a nicer place that has a mixture of different income levels of people.

I also know people that live in the Olympus also run now by Prium for KWA (remember all those empty promises from the KWA about what a clean tight ship they operate - that's a bunch of crap).Those tenants have told me personally it is a horrible place to live because of the "characters" there and their anti-social behavior.

by jenyum on 8/5/2010 @ 11:56am
Now, I love downtown Tacoma and I want to see it succeed. However, currently downtown is a tough sell even for entitled property owning high end condo dwellers, hence the ridiculous vacancy rate in all those units.

I lived in a classic high rise hotel in downtown Seattle for several years, and while I absolutely loved some parts of it, I paid a surcharge on everything because it was so hard to get to any decently priced grocery stores or restaurants. At least there was a pharmacy I could walk to, but that's not the case in downtown Tacoma.

It's fun to live downtown when you have extra money in your pocket and extra time to spend it, but it's a harder than usual place to be poor.

Even then, I don't think anyone's saying "drive all the poor people from downtown!" we're just saying one heavily concentrated high rise development is probably a poor choice. Mixed income communities are all the rage for a reason.

Anyway, Crenshaw don't you live in Olympia? What's your special knowledge of downtown Tacoma, here?

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 8/5/2010 @ 12:04pm
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of people in Pierce County with housing vouchers but no place to live. We come back to the real problem, bad case management in many of the subsidized apartments. Good case management takes money and it goes against the business model of companies like Prium. There is a lot of money in providing housing for the poor. Adequate and safe housing costs money. What you see at the Winthrop and Olympus is intentional by the management. They only concern themselves with the bottom line. People that live at the Winthrop often come from the ranks of the homeless. I suspect most of them do not want to be homeless again.

by scout on 8/5/2010 @ 1:30pm
Ultimately building owners are responsible for how their porperties are run - that is why I live in and manage my own property and believe me I barely make enough to cover my mortgage and nearly lost the building last year to foreclosure because of weasel commercial tenants breaking their leases and pretty much leaving in the middle of the night.

Please don't classify me as a rich condo owner I have four units, live in one, one is a studio and the other two I rent out as vacation/corporate rentals with me operating as their conciergette?

Renting these two condos has saved my bacon when the two commercial tenants have broken leases. I still have one commercial vacancy that I would like to have two or three compatible (read responsible) businesses to share the rent (negotiable) so it would not be too hard on any one business.

I would be one of the paying tenants and have my gallery.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 8/5/2010 @ 1:57pm
If the Priam management was actually living in the Winthrop and Olympus you'd be amazed how much of an asset these buildings would be to the neighborhood. I'm not talking about the do nothing resident managers, I'm talking about the wheels that run Prium (and apparently not very well, I might add).

by NineInchNachos on 8/5/2010 @ 3:44pm
was going to ask Scout her opinion on how the KWA was doing running the Olympus. Saw they got bug screens for all the windows which I would assume helps keep all the crap off her roof. Sad to see that KWA just outsourced it to Prium. bummer yo.

by NineInchNachos on 8/5/2010 @ 3:48pm
Our own Todd Matthews has an excellent running series of Winthrop articles. . .

Winthrop Hotel Interview Series
-- Tacoma Housing Authority weighs Winthrop building purchase (PDF)
-- A Voice From the Winthrop: Glenn Grigsby (PDF)
-- A Voice From the Winthrop: Otha Adams (PDF)
-- A Voice From the Winthrop: Nanette Colby (PDF)
-- A Voice From the Winthrop: John Heffler (PDF)
-- Historic hotel or affordable housing? (PDF)
-- A Voice From the Winthrop: David Allen (PDF)
-- A Voice From the Winthrop: David Miller (PDF)
-- Cleaning up a neighborhood, battling a building's reputation (PDF)
-- A Voice From the Winthrop: Kerry Hudson (PDF)
-- A Voice From the Winthrop: Jessica Creso (PDF)
-- Winthrop resident named Safe Streets Superstar (PDF)

Also I think it is wrong to dismiss the emotional factor of any discussion. Are we not human?

by scout on 8/5/2010 @ 6:22pm
Actually the original screens were put up by the former Olympus owners after seven years of my asking and a lawsuit that finally got them to put up the screens.

There was nearly two years of peace after the screens were put up. Then the Korean Women's Association (KWA) bought the Olympus.

I remember being the odd person out at the public meeting regarding how the KWA would purchase the Olympus and run a "tight ship" that would right the negative direction and dereliction that the Olympus management had allowed to exist at the historic building.

The KWA was legally required to adhere to the agreement reached in the lawsuit including maintaining screens and a non-Barbie camera of which I was supposed to be able to request the past 30 days of footage to settle any potential disputes.

They did neither and for the past 6 months I have had to threaten additional legal action to stop damages being done on my roof.

Prium/KWA has ignored the agreement and I have had to go to the matt again to get them to replace at least twenty screens after someone threw a 12 1/2" long and 2 1/2" thick rock from one of the Olympus upper floors that damaged the new restaurant's (in my building) equipment and pierced my roof.

Also nearly all of the screens at my roof level were missing. This allowed Olympus tenants to step out onto my roof, which was again becoming covered with trash, alcohol bottles, and graffiti on my building and the restaurant 's equipment.

Also a tenant on the A St. Ct. side of the Olympus threw a can at one of the local business employees who was walking down the street.

In my opinion Prium is a sleaze bag company hired by the KWA to manage the Olympus. Prium chooses to ignore what is going on in both the Olympus and the Winthrop, which I believe is owned by Prium.

The KWA is headed up by Peter Ansara, who does not want to hear about what is going on at these properties. In fact when I spoke to him on the phone, he elected to pass me off to an underling. As one famous baseball player said "it's deja vu all over again".

The real coincidence that I find problematic is that Mr. Ansara's curriculum vitae includes formerly heading up the Tacoma Housing Authority and being one of the top chief executive officers at Prium. Now he heads up the KWA.

He moves along changing jobs that seem to be incestuously tied together and makes what I would assume to be a handsome six figure salary.

In reality, in my opinion, Ansara seems to be feeding at the trough of a failed social experiment - low income housing, which has become a multi generational syndrome that is fraught with fraud (check out the MLK Housing Association) and perpetuates the most disrespectful treatment of poor people that inherently they don't have the human potential and ability to better their own lives.

This syndrome enables/entitles people to believe that they can't do better. The truth is this system only benefits the few at the top financially by keeping the system in place.

by NineInchNachos on 8/5/2010 @ 6:35pm
oi. thanks for the update Laura. "SNAFU"

also, why is a dude running the Koreans Womens Association? seems wrong.

by Jesse on 8/5/2010 @ 6:46pm
I am obviously of the unpopular opinion that it should suck to be poor.

One thing mentioned was integrating poor into places where you can't tell if a family is low income or not. So, as I work, get educated, and take care of my responsibilities in life, I get rewarded essentially with nothing as my neighbor hasn't done these things and still lives in the same place as me?

The biggest problem with the poor is that they seem to blame their situation on things like "luck", crappy case managers, karma, the gov't didn't give them something, or whatever. Instead they should realize they are poor because of the decisions they've made and the actions they've taken or not taken in life.

by NineInchNachos on 8/5/2010 @ 6:52pm
that ayn rand crap will rot your brain. read the disclaimer on the back sir: "For entertainment purposes only"

I read those Winthrop Series Pdfs half those people were hit by cars or some shit and have very serious bodily+mental handicaps! Not to mention the long running sub plot of having to deal with a criminally insane arsonist on the loose!

by fredo on 8/5/2010 @ 8:11pm
Scout, you're lucky that residents weren't exercising their dogs on top of your building and leaving the waste behind.

I find it interesting that everyone pays so much lip service to the housing needs of the poor, yet when they have the opportunity to use the ballot box to lower property taxes and make housing more affordable they refuse to avail themselves. Here's a simple textbook exercise on economics:

Higher property taxes = higher housing costs = higher monthly payments = less affordability = lower rates of home ownership.

People who can't afford to own homes live at the Winthrop, and Tacoma helped them make this decision!

by NineInchNachos on 8/5/2010 @ 8:14pm
not true. I voted for the sound transit package expansion that as it turns out will run trains directly behind the Tacoma Rescue Mission which as one would imagine, will lower the property value significantly!

by NineInchNachos on 8/5/2010 @ 8:32pm
oh and digital billboards, if clear channel puts one of those suckers near your home... it lowers property value better than a methlab.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 8/5/2010 @ 8:45pm
trust me, fredo, the people living in the Winthrop aren't there because their property taxes were too high or they couldn't afford to buy a home in Tacoma. A good many of the people living in the Winthrop are on GAU and receive $339 a month from the state. 30 percent of the 339 goes to rent. Come this September the state will cut this $339 a month to $50 a month and will provide the recipient with a rent voucher in a good many cases. Along with this there will be thousands of recipients losing their benefits entirely because they been on the program for more than 24 months, the time limit specified under the new rules.

This is why case management is so important. Sadly, money that should go into case management is going into lining the pockets of people like Prium instead of using this housing opportunity to make many of these people more productive and self reliant. As tax payers we should be outraged with these corporations that are making millions off the suffering of people dependent on them for housing and pretty much assuring they will end up on the streets homeless when their benefits run out.

by fredo on 8/5/2010 @ 10:00pm
"the people living in the Winthrop aren't there because their property taxes were too high or they couldn't afford to buy a home" crensshaw

My posting wasn't specific to the winthrop and the topic under discussion is the integration of low income individuals into the greater community. If property taxes were lower, in general, more people could afford to own homes. This would create the desired integration. Obviously, if property taxes were zero there would still be a lot of people who couldn't afford to own a home. The solution I proposed does not solve all the worlds problems, it just moves us in the right direction.

by panachronic on 8/6/2010 @ 8:36am
I have to wonder if people will be having this same conversation 50 years from now about the Hotel Murano.

It seems likely.

by Jesse on 8/8/2010 @ 10:13am
If you vote to lower property taxes on this new law that's on the ballot to allow income taxes on the rich, you're going to change the state constitution to allow an income tax. Soon we will all have it.

The problem wouldn't be that there's an income tax, it'd be that there's an income tax AND a sales tax.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 8/8/2010 @ 4:12pm
If it is good enough for Oregon it is good enough for us. Abolish the regressive sales tax and establish a nice progressive income tax for Washington. I wouldn't mind, while they were at it if they'd get rid of this bizarre B&O tax as well and replace it with an honest tax on business based on income rather than receipts.

by fredo on 8/8/2010 @ 5:54pm
"If you vote to lower property taxes on this new law that's on the ballot to allow income taxes on the rich, you're going to change the state constitution to allow an income tax" jesse

FTR fredo does not recommend the income tax initiative. Please vote no on this sticking heap.

by Jesse on 8/8/2010 @ 7:22pm
I agree Fredo. It's a stinking heap of trash. If it abolished the sales tax and made it unconstitutional, we'd be getting somewhere though.

by Nick on 8/9/2010 @ 11:24am
I'm not convinced that lowering property taxes would suddenly make owning a home more affordable. The majority of a property's value is derived from market-based demand. If you lowered the property tax, you would increase the amount of demand for properties at their current price levels (more potential homebuyers), and consequently prices would be driven up, again shutting people out of home ownership.

I'm not suggesting a 1:1 relationship (lower property taxes by x, and prices go up by x), but I think it's important to understand that taxes are more than just a revenue soruce. They're also variables which the public can adjust to create a stable and healthy (in this case, real estate) market.

So perhaps the property tax debate shouldn't be framed around making homes more affordable. Perhaps the debate should be whether or not the current tax rate is promoting or hindering a healthy market.

by fredo on 8/9/2010 @ 2:52pm
"I'm not convinced that lowering property taxes would suddenly make owning a home more affordable."

Nick, I don't know if you've ever purchased real property or not but when you apply for a home loan or apply for pre-qualification the lender looks at how much you can afford to spend each month on housing. It might be 33%. If your income is $3000 then you can afford to pay $1000 per month. If the house you want costs $800 per month for p & i, your insurance is $100 per month and your property tax is $200 per month then your loan will be denied. However if the property taxes were lowered to $100 your loan would be approved. This is how high property taxes convert home buyers into apartment renters.

Would sellers increase the purchase price of the home in such a way that they would profit from the lowering of the property tax? That's an interesting question. I can say this. While a seller is allowed to sell real property at any price he wishes, a lender will only lend up to the value of the property. Doubt if raising the price above the valuation would generate a viable sale but I suppose some sellers would be tempted.

by Nick on 8/9/2010 @ 3:18pm
But Fredo, it's basic economics: in a market-based system of commerce, the "value" or price of something follows the supply and demand curve. If you enlarge the pool of potential buyers by lowering the tax rate, you are stimulating demand. If we assume supply stays the same, that means prices go up. Whether or not they go up by the same amount that the tax rate was reduced would be the real question.

No doubt there's some elasticity in that. The value/price of properties would lag behind anything that might affect them by a good 6 months at least. So changing the tax rate might yield a brief period of affordability for some, but in the end we *might* be back where we started (or at least not as well off as it may have seemed).

I think the tax rate is really more about relativity. Property taxes will define how much of a premium one will pay to live within the taxing entity. Charge too much in taxes and people will find greener pastures. Charge too little and a municipality might collapse under it's own weight trying to provide services to too many with not enough resources.

by Nick on 8/9/2010 @ 3:21pm
BUT, that WOULD suggest we could get a short-term surge in the real estate market by lowering the property tax rate dramatically within a short amount of time.

Perhaps in these harsh economic times, with a struggling real estate market, this is just what the doctor ordered. More potential home buyers in a sparse market is exactly what we need right now. Would it be worth the cuts in revenue for the city? I don't know - that's something worthy of a debate.

by fredo on 8/9/2010 @ 3:41pm
Nick, I can't refute your points. It may be that lowering property taxes would infuse some activity in the real estate market and some marginal buyers would suddenly be house hunting and then property values would go up. But you know what? I don't see anything wrong with that. I suspect that there are a lot of potential homebuyers with modest incomes such as retail clerks, housekeepers, warehousemen, etc. who could afford a little starter house if the numbers would pencil out for them.

by Jesse on 8/9/2010 @ 7:03pm
Cost of housing is usually based on a certain percentage of your income. When housing costs are high, it's usually because the interest rates are low. When interest rates are high, like in the early 1980's, housing costs are low.

To prove that point, look at our economy now. You could get a funny-bunny loan up until 2006 that was below paying even just the interest on a home loan. People did that. Housing costs shot up. Now you can't get those loans anymore so the costs of housing had to come down to adjust accordingly.

by Jesse on 8/9/2010 @ 7:05pm
My point is that you may both be right. If property taxes are lowered, people will be able to afford more for a bit until the cost goes up to account for the change.

by fredo on 8/9/2010 @ 7:47pm
If house values go up when property taxes go down...
then we would have to assume that when property taxes go up that house values will go down.

Therefore when people vote to increase their property taxes it actually lowers the value of their homes. And if they increase them far enough (high enough to be considered confiscatory) then the value of the house could concievably fall to zero.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 8/9/2010 @ 8:46pm
Zero property taxes didn't do much to sell condos in Tacoma.

by fredo on 8/9/2010 @ 10:32pm
Zero property taxes didn't do much to sell condos in Tacoma. crenshaw

I wondered if anyone would point this out, good for you crenshaw. I think what happened in the tax abated condos is that the developers calculated the present value of the tax abatements and added that figure into the selling price. As i mentioned in an earlier comment, sellers can ask whatever they want for their property, but if the price is above the valuation then they need to find a cash buyer. Not many of those around.

by fredo on 8/9/2010 @ 10:35pm
and most cash buyers are pretty savvy people. They aren't going to pay a half million dollars for a studio apartment looking out at the pulp mill.

by Jesse on 8/10/2010 @ 8:47am
"Zero property taxes didn't do much to sell condos in Tacoma." -- Crenshaw

That's because they were asking too much for the condos to begin with and now it's near impossible to get condo financing.

I mean, $300k for a condo on the Foss... or one in Portland's Pearl... or Seattle... or...

by Jesse on 8/10/2010 @ 8:48am
"I think what happened in the tax abated condos is that the developers calculated the present value of the tax abatements and added that figure into the selling price." -- Fredo


by Altered Chords on 8/10/2010 @ 12:03pm
I want the value of my property to increase. I pay property taxes to get services like police, fire and school for my children.

It is unpatriotic to want no property taxes.

Saying no to property taxes is saying yes to crime.

If you don't like it, move to the Amazon jungle where they charge no property taxes.

by NineInchNachos on 8/10/2010 @ 12:26pm
or the libertarian paradise of Somalia !

by L.S.Erhardt on 8/10/2010 @ 12:32pm
Somalia is an untouched investment potential!
There are 10 million Somalis who no longer have utilities, infrastructure or basic rule of law.
A perfect opportunity to provide them with high rise condo towers that they so desperately need!

The capitol city of Mogadishu is a metropolis of 2 million, and yet there isn't a Whole Foods or Trader Joe's to be seen!

Buy now or invest!

by Altered Chords on 8/10/2010 @ 12:56pm
Isn't there a head pirate you need to pay?

by fredo on 8/10/2010 @ 2:07pm
"It is unpatriotic to want no property taxes" chords

did someone suggest that?

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 8/10/2010 @ 5:47pm
Some one has suggested that property taxes are keeping the poor from buying houses.

by fredo on 8/10/2010 @ 6:18pm
I read the entire thread. No one suggested eliminating property taxes. A theory was suggested that by lowering property taxes more people could afford to purchase homes and thereby help integrate low income people into the community (per Kunstler's suggestion). I didn't notice a single posting except my own that suggested a way to accomplish such integration. Come on you great feedtacoma thinkers, are you going to offer a suggestion or maybe you prefer keeping the poor in an easily confined housing arrangement?

by Altered Chords on 8/11/2010 @ 8:44am
Education, not lower property taxes are the way to get "poor" people to no longer be :"poor".

This entire thread is devoted to reducing pricies to accomodate low earners. Why don't we turn low earners into high earners and really solve the problem.

The reason large employes are not flocking to Tacoma is because in their perception we do not have an "educated" workforce.

Raise property taxes to provide more and better education to adults as well as children. I want employers to say "Oh yeah...Tacoma....Those people are smart...we need to open an office there.

The time for downward trending has come to an end this day of 8/11/2010. The new Altered Chords party offers you this message of hope.

Now go learn something.

by fredo on 8/11/2010 @ 8:54am
"The reason large employes are not flocking to Tacoma is because in their perception we do not have an "educated" workforce." chords

...and yet Tacoma taxpayers already spend almost $12,000 per year per child on public education. How much more would we have to spend to change the national perception? And when higher property taxes drive even more people into foreclosures and into low income rental housing aren't we going to be exacerbating the very problems we're trying to eliminate? Higher taxes will not prevent downward trending but rather accelerate it.

by Altered Chords on 8/11/2010 @ 9:37am
How much do Tacoma taxpayers per year per adult on public education at the university level?

by Altered Chords on 8/11/2010 @ 9:48am
I pay $122.10 per month (average) on property taxes.

I pay $170.00 per month on gasoline.

I pay $500 per month on food.

Look for the house in the Lincoln district w/ a herd of cattle in the front yard, a cornfield in the back and a chicken coop where the garage used to be.

I'm not paying for food anymore.

by fredo on 8/11/2010 @ 10:11am
chords I'm going to add you to my short list of people who own property in tacoma but don't think their property taxes are already high enough.

I own a modest home and a small piece of commercial property. My monthly property taxes are $600. If taxes get much higher per your suggestion, I'm planning to buy some old camper trailers to park in my back yard connected with extention cords and garden hoses and start renting them to the people from the winthrop. That will be a good way to integrate poor people into the community.

Hey that suggest's another fredo topic..."why do code enforcement officers hate the poor?"

by Altered Chords on 8/11/2010 @ 11:05am
"Fredo City"

by NineInchNachos on 8/11/2010 @ 11:45am

hey, probably get a good deal on FEMA trailers. can market it as a libertarian re-education camp.

by The Jinxmedic on 8/11/2010 @ 11:45am

Fredo City

by NineInchNachos on 8/11/2010 @ 11:49am
my god man, you're en fuego!

by The Jinxmedic on 8/11/2010 @ 11:51am
There's a postcard for ya!

by NineInchNachos on 8/11/2010 @ 11:51am
must be a prequel to FREDO PLANET

by The Jinxmedic on 8/11/2010 @ 11:54am

by fredo on 8/11/2010 @ 1:28pm
Jinx, I need the original to give to my design team. It's perfect, just the way you've imagined it. Please sell me the fredo city postcard.

In order to get things moving quickly, I'm prepared to make this offer to the first 10 people who move in:

Free genuine "if the house is a rockin', don't come knockin" bumpersticker.

by The Jinxmedic on 8/11/2010 @ 1:51pm

by fredo on 8/11/2010 @ 2:09pm

by Nick on 8/12/2010 @ 10:01am
"chords I'm going to add you to my short list of people who own property in tacoma but don't think their property taxes are already high enough. "

Heh, you can add me to that list as well. I'm more concerned with where it is spent and how efficiently. To me it's more about the return I get than the total amount (at least at the current level).

by fredo on 8/12/2010 @ 10:14am
Nick and Chords

You can actually send the extra money you would like to make available to the city right now. There's nobody going to stop you. Just make your check payable to the city treasurer, Municipal Bldg., Market Street, Tacoma Washington. Enclose a letter explaining where you would like the money spent and that you would like it spent efficiently.

I just ask one thing. Let me know what day you're going to mail this in so that I can be in the treasurers office when your contribution arrives. I want to be sure and capture the hilarity for upload to youtube.