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Some mid-week links


Really interesting look at some of the people and organizations who’ve been instrumental in an improbable leftward political shift in Alaskan Politics. I wonder what elements on the Ship Creek approach to candidate recruitment and campaigns are likely to be replicable elsewhere, though–Alaska is an odd place. h/t Gary Farber.

How the politics of zoning in American cities produces and enables busybodies. (Here’s just such a creature, desperately in need of a less absurd, cruel hobby, defending the progressive bona fides of an effort to shrink a 100% affordable housing development on the site of a historic McDonald’s franchise in a neighborhood otherwise restricted to people with very good timing and millionaires.)

In happier land use news, the Federal government and the city of Seattle have been planning to transfer 34 acres of land a few miles from downtown (but in an extremely wealthy low density neighborhood, next to Seattle’s largest park) to the city for the purpose of building affordable housing. (By law, the land can only be transferred to the city for free if it is for affordable housing.) Local busybodies have been fighting and successfully delaying this for 12 years. Happily, the ill effects of the housing shortage are really starting to produce a political movement in response to anti-housing busybodies, and that movement showed up in force at a public meeting about the future of Fort Lawton last week. Far more people commented the plan was too small than too large. (The NIMBY’s alternative plan is to turn the land into a park. It’s adjacent to a beautiful and underutilized 500 acre park; I can go hiking in Discovery Park for two hours on a nice day and see fewer people than I would in the North Cascades, which is maybe a good sign that homes within walking distance of this extraordinary amenity shouldn’t be rationed so stingily.)

Progressives and Transit advocates in Washington may be about to see a real downside of Democratic control of government. (Last year, the Democratic House and Republican Senate agreed we should take an axe to transit funding, against the clear will of the voters, to fund a tax cut for drivers of late-model cars, but nothing happened because they couldn’t agree on the size of the cut; the House wanted 2+ billion and the Senate 6 billion.) It was expected that the House would re-pass the 2017 2 billion in cuts, but that has been delayed, perhaps in part by a big push from transit advocates, as they look for ways to pay for the tax cut but minimize the damage. It’s a step in the right direction, but the political dynamic in Washington state–where the Seattle area begs the legislature to let them tax themselves to pay for transit, which they occasionally and reluctantly permit, only to turn around try to take it away a few years later when Republican talk radio and the Seattle Times editorial board gin up a tax rebellion–really needs to stop.

Erica C. Barnett says what needs to be said about Katie Herzog’s pathetic apologia for Aziz Anzari at The Stranger. There’s a lot of awfulness there, but one particular passage from Herzog deserves contempt:

“If that is the worst night of your life,” I thought when I finished the piece. “You need to get out more.”

This suggests that shitty male behavior in sexual situations is a kind of hazing; something women have to endure in sufficient quantity to have one’s complaints about it taken seriously is profoundly anti-feminist, and another reminder that anti-feminists often have a much lower opinion of men than feminists do. If it is indeed the case that shitty male behavior is sufficiently ubiquitous such that a 22 year old woman not having worse experiences than her date, the proper response is that men must do much better at respecting boundaries and reading signals, not that she shouldn’t complain. The strategies of Anzari defenders have been really astonishing to me, as the whole thing seems utterly straightforward: if a woman says to me “I said I don’t want to feel forced because then I’ll hate you, and I’d rather not hate you” and keeps moving around the room to get away from me, and I keep aggressively pursuing sex, I’m, at a minimum, a fucking asshole, full stop. I’m a fucking asshole even if I believe this is what some women do when they really want sex, and even if that misogynist belief is accurate. Because it says I’m willing to take a gamble, by saying to myself “maybe she’s playing a game and she really wants it, so if I pursue it I might get a mutually positive sexual encounter out of it, and the risk that she’s communicating honestly and I’ll be *at best* making her extremely uncomfortable is a risk I’m willing to take” is an asshole move–you’re gambling with someone else’s comfort and safety! This is all just so dreadfully obvious.

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