Wednesday, October 12, 2016

My apartment's management seems to be asking residents to oppose the homeless encampment bill. Illegal, iffy, or just annoying?

I live in an apartment building owned by Equity Residential, and the management sent email to all residents today about the homeless encampment bill. Ostensibly they take no stance on it and just ask residents to "make their voices heard," but then they go on to quote a whole email from the Ballard Chamber of Commerce opposing the bill. That and the fact that they've never commented on any political issue in the five years that I've lived here leads me to believe that they actually want people to oppose the bill.I guess there's nothing illegal about this, but it seems highly unusual, and it's not something I want to see more of. Has anyone ever heard of a landlord/company doing anything similar?Here's the full text of the email:Hello residents,We wanted to share some information regarding a bill that is before the Seattle City Council. Council Bill 118794 will permit public camping in many areas of our City. Whether you are for or against this bill, your voice matters. Please see the information below from Ballard Chamber of Commerce and, if compelled to do so, make your voice heard.Dear Chamber members and friends,Recently, the Seattle City Council introduced legislation (Council Bill 118794) to permit public camping in many areas of our City, including a significant portion of our city's parks and public sidewalks.The Ballard Chamber issued a response letter to City Council opposing the draft ordinance on September 12, citing specific concerns about the impact on the livability and economic viability of our neighborhood as well as the impacts on our parks.Since that time, the Chamber has worked collaboratively to improve the legislation. We participated in the Task Force on Unsanctioned Encampment Cleanup Protocols. The Chamber actively engaged with our elected officials and homeless advocates as well as other business and neighborhood organizations to work toward a better solution.While the ordinance has undergone revisions - some of it a step in the right direction - the changes have not resulted in an ordinance that we can support at this time.This new policy will have a disproportionate, negative effect on Ballard. The City of Seattle Department of Transportation and Parks and Recreation have prepared two maps that demonstrate the adverse impact on our Ballard area sidewalks and parks.The Ballard Chamber remains opposed to Council Bill 117894.Time is of the Essence: You Need to Voice Your Opinion NowHere is the timeline as we know it:Tuesday, October 11: A substitute bill will be finalized and released to the public. (Here is a working draft of the substitute bill.)October 12 & 13: Councilmembers may offer amendments to the substitute bill.Friday, October 14: The City Council's Human Services and Public Health Committee will consider the substitute bill and offer amendments. A vote is possible at this meeting.Monday, October 24: If the substitute bill is approved by the Human Services Committee, the full council may consider the bill. A final vote is possible at this meeting.Here's What You Need to do Right Away!1 Send an e-mail to your elected city officials. This tool provides some suggested messages, but a message in your own words is more impactful.2 Call all City Council members and voice your opinion:Mike O'Brien: (206) 684-8800Sally Bagshaw: (206) 684-8801Rob Johnson: (206) 684-8808Lisa Herbold: (206) 684-8803Kshama Sawant: (206) 684-8016Bruce Harrell: (206) 684-8804Lorena González: (206) 684-8802Debora Juarez: (206) 684-8805Tim Burgess: (206) 684-88063 Attend the October 14 Committee Meeting. The meeting begins at 9:30 a.m. Please arrive early if you'd like to sign up to speak.The meeting is located at City Hall, Council Chambers: 600 4th Avenue Seattle, WA 98104Thank you for your attention to this issue.Best,Mike StewartExecutive Director via /r/SeattleWA

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