We’re all familiar with the phrase “politics make strange bedfellows”. We have previously discussed the unholy alliance between the developers and the liberals [see December 2016]. However, the recently proposed building permit moratorium took this to an all new level. Reformer Ramey Johnson, supported by the Council independents, proposed a six-month moratorium on new building permits for large multi-family residential projects. The liberals led by Max Tyler, supported by Tom Quinn, Gary Harty, et. al. opposed any slow down in the City’s current high-density growth program claiming even a temporary time-out might decrease the supply of new low-cost housing.
This time, the extreme left was joined by the extreme right, led by the out-of-state Koch Brothers lobbying group (Americans for Prosperity). The right claimed slowing down growth could affect the property rights of the developers. This strange alliance is the latest example of the extremes of politics (left and right) having a shared interest in keeping the political environment in constant turmoil. This is not the first time the extremes have joined together to oppose the moderate middle ground’s efforts to fashion reasonable solutions that actually work.
In a meeting that ran pass midnight, the Council split into a familiar 6-5 vote to oppose the moratorium proposal (establishment – Paul, Vincent, Koop, Shakti, Gutwein and Harrison – opposed moratorium; Reformers and Independents – Johnson, Able, Roybal, Wiechman and Franks – supported the moratorium). As usual, the establishment gave lip service to recognizing the problems of overdevelopment and rapid growth. Again they promised to look into the matter and do something someday.