Did you know that single-family homes are a root cause of America’s racial and economic inequality?

That’s what Seattle’s socialist mayor Ed Murray, a Democrat, thinks.

Murray’s housing task force, the 28-member Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA) Advisory Committee, drafted a plan to do away with the city’s single-family zoning in the name of liberals’ favorite cause, “social justice.”

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A reporter for Seattle Times obtained a copy of the draft.

Seattle mayor Ed Murray and housing advisory committee

Danny Westneat reports for Seattle Times, July 7, 2015:

I got my hands on the draft policy ideas that Mayor Ed Murray’s advisory committee on housing is working on. And they are some of the most sweeping changes in the way Seattle lives and grows ever proposed around here.

Most dramatically, the committee is considering a recommendation to do away with single-family zoning….

We can still be a city for everyone, but only if we give up our outdated ideal of every family living in their own home on a 5,000 square foot lot,” a draft letter from the committee co-chairs reads.

The draft report notes that “Seattle (single-family) zoning has roots in racial and class exclusion and remains among the largest obstacles to realizing the city’s goals for equity and affordability.”

The committee of citizen volunteers voted 19-3 to recommend replacing single-family zoning with a “lower density residential zone” that would allow duplexes, triplexes, rooming houses and more backyard cottages and mother-in-law units in areas now dominated by single houses on lots with a yard. It’s unclear how much of the city this would include.

Later, the committee co-chairs issued a statement saying the group “has no intention of recommending the elimination of all single family zones in the city.” But the draft report suggests the committee was considering exactly that.

“In fact, (the committee) recommends we abandon the term ‘single family zone,’ ” the draft reads.

An overview letter calls for higher density essentially everywhere in the city.

“More 6-story buildings where there were 4 stories before, more 7-story buildings where there were 6-stories before, and more multifamily housing of all types in areas currently zoned for less density inside (neighborhoods designated as) Urban Villages,” the letter says.

The draft says the changes are necessary because “we are currently confronted by the reality of more dollars chasing a limited supply of housing than ever before in our history.”

Reacting to Seattle Times‘ report on the draft, Faith Li Pettis and David Wertheimer, the co-chairs of the HALA, wrote this email to the reporter, Danny Westneat :

“My co-chair and I are very disappointed that you and The Seattle Times have chosen to undermine the efforts of the HALA, a citizen advisory group, by prematurely releasing an unapproved draft of our report.”

The committee had a July 13 deadline to submit its final report. The scheduled meeting of the advisory committee that day was not open to the public. But then communist party meetings are never open to the public. /sarc

In the end, thanks to Seattle Times‘ article, Ed Murray’s housing advisory committee backed away from its proposal to do away with single-family zoning. Instead, the committee recommends a code change that permits “smaller, efficient dwellings to be built on existing Single Family lots if an owner chooses to do so.” Read more here.

For the HALA advisory committee’s final report, click here. For the names and identities of the committee’s 28 members, click here.

Wikipedia says mayor Ed Murray, 60, is a Democrat, Irish Catholic, “gay,” with a spouse named Michael Shiosaki.


In typical liberal “Do as I say, not as I do” fashion, mayor Ed Murray and a co-chair of the housing advisory committee both live in upscale single-family homes. I found their addresses by using a people search engine, then looked up their homes on Zillow.

Zillow describes the home of Ed Murray and “husband” Michael Shiosaki, estimated at $784,452, as a 1920 square-foot single-family home with 3 bedrooms and 1.5 bathrooms. Here’s what it looks like:

Ed Murray's home in Seattle

Zillow describes Faith Li Pettis’ home, estimated at $1,791,947, as a 3920 square-foot single-family home, with 5 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. Pettis is an attorney and partner of Pacific Law Group. Here’s a pic:

Faith Pettis' home in Seattle

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The committee’s other co-chair, David Wertheimer, who works in the “philanthropic sector,” lives in a 3bd/2.5 bath loft condo in Seattle’s exclusive, quiet Capitol Hill area. Zillow estimates the condo to be $588,550 and describes it as having a 2-car garage with outdoor patio and entertainment space.


Dr. Éowyn’s post first appeared at Fellowship of the Minds.