Judge turns down SHA
“Thwack”: In Superior Court Judge Marsha Pechman’s ruling against the Seattle Housing Authority over how it treats subsidized Section 8 tenants, you can almost hear the judge slapping SHA lead attorney James Fearn.
On Nov. 9, the judge ruled that a lawsuit brought by Section 8 tenant Tina Hendrix has merit: She refused to dismiss the case, as SHA sought, saying Hendrix can indeed make a case that the “informal hearings” the agency uses to terminate people from the voucher program do not provide tenants due process – specifically, hearing examiners that can actually judge matters of law.
SHA has argued it’s only required to provide examiners versed in Section 8 regulation. But, the judge writes, “This logic hardly constitutes a substantive defense against a constitutional due process argument.” Ouch.
The decision allows the case to go to trial in July.
Tenants: Zip, Landlords: One
A push by City Council President Nick Licata to obtain $75,000 to fund a pilot program to identify substandard housing and bring it into compliance didn’t get the support needed to find its way into the city’s ’08 budget. In a Nov. 5 posting of his Urban Politics newsletter, Licata had written that the program was important not only to protect tenants in subpar housing but to quell neighbors’ concerns about fire hazards. He wrote that both the University of Washington and its student government supported his proposal.
Opposing the plan? The Rental Housing Association of Puget Sound, an advocacy group for landlords, whose members testified before the council against the proposal. In the end, their side won out, with Councilmembers Sally Clark and Jean Godden siding with Licata.
Licata’s office says he’s continuing to look at other options to give the program another chance.
Scrapping the carts
A new Washington law requires recyclers to guard against buying scrap metal from thieves (“Scrapped for Cash,” Feb. 14) by requiring an ID and paying for big loads by check. Onerous as that law is, the SODO recycler Pacific Iron and Metal has added a new twist: no scrap, including aluminum cans, may come into their yard in grocery carts.
The problem? Theft — not of the metal per se, but of the cart, says Pacific Iron manager Jay Sternoff.
“It just became a time and material inconvenience for us,” says Sternoff. “Even if the metal wasn’t stolen, the vehicle it was brought in was.”
Sternoff describes the policy as “a courtesy” toward neighboring business, most saliently Home Depot, from which carts often disappear.
Without the rule, “We would have to send a truck every week back with 8 to 10 carts from Home Depot,” he says.