Seattle is undergoing a period of unprecedented growth. In recent years we have consistently ranked as the fastest-growing major city in the nation. Unfortunately, housing development in Seattle has failed to keep pace with this growth. Over the last decade, our population has increased by over 125,000 people, yet we built only 35,000 additional units of housing. This disparity has driven up housing costs throughout the city and working-class Seattle families are definitely feeling the strain.  We need more housing and more types of housing across Seattle, including in our single-family neighborhoods. We need more subsidized housing for those at risk of becoming homeless, permanent supportive housing for folks coming out of chronic homelessness, and more housing that is affordable for low- and middle-income residents.

This lack of affordable housing is a core cause of many of our challenges today. I was raised in Seattle, and I’m now raising my own family here. I know this city and I know how committed we are to our neighborhoods and our neighbors. We value equality and inclusion. We care that our city remains a healthy place where people can make a life for themselves and their families, where children thrive, and where nobody suffers for the lack of a home. We need to make some changes while embracing diversity, and preserving the history, and the unique culture of each of our many wonderful neighborhoods. I am confident we can put these priorities into practice while maintaining what we love about our neighborhoods. We can do the right thing in the right way. 

Here’s my prescription for Seattle:

  • Collaborate with the business community, philanthropies, and nonprofit developers to create new resources to fund the capital and operating costs of building the housing we need.
  • Acquire public land for affordable housing and creatively fund local non-profit affordable housing developersI support City efforts to make it easier to build affordable housing on surplus City property, but likely this will not provide the housing capacity we need. Another strategy is for the City to start purchasing additional land for development and long-term lease by non-profit affordable housing providers, and to further creatively help fund these providers. New funding options for this strategy have just become available since this past legislative session. Washington cities can withhold a portion of their sales tax revenue – money that would otherwise go to the state – for 20 years, and use the money for affordable housing development. We are authorized to bond against this revenue as well, which would potentially allow us to quickly generate $80 million for affordable housing at no net cost to Seattle residents.
  • Reduce administrative burden in the permitting process for affordable and permanent supportive housing–these processes can take up to 18 months presently; there is no reason why this cannot be sped up, to help produce our region’s much needed additional housing faster.
  • Encourage and incentivize local small landlords to preserve more affordable older rental units  I have met many District 6 voters who say, “I have a rental property, and want to do what I can to help keep Seattle housing affordable-so I keep my rent low.”  These folks understand that over 50% of Seattleites are renters, and many want to be part of the solution around affordable housing for middle and working-class neighbors.  However, as costs continue to rise in our city, including often property taxes, this ‘charitable’ practice is economically unsustainable. We should incentivize this by continuing to pursue legislative authority to provide property tax exemptions to landlords who enter into a covenant with the City to preserve their affordable rental units and offer them on a rent-restricted basis to those making under 60% AMI. This proposal is analogous to the Multi-Family Tax Exemption but applies to existing housing rather than new housing developments. This could be an important tool the City could use to preserve naturally occurring affordable housing and mitigate the risks of displacement for lower-income residents in gentrifying areas.
  • Allow more flexibility through small-scale family housing options near public schools– Single-family neighborhoods occupy 85% of the residential land in District 6 and completely surround most of our public schools. Yet the cost of housing in Seattle, particularly in single-family neighborhoods, often prevents low- and middle-income students from living near public schools. I believe that kids do better when they can walk and bike to school safely, and can play in nearby parks and playgrounds. We need to explore creating new family housing residential overlay districts around public schools. These zones would allow the development of small-scale multi-family housing like duplexes, triplexes, and one-story courtyard cottages, subject to lot-size restrictions and provisions ensuring that new units have two or more bedrooms. Other cities have successfully introduced this model.
  • Allow corner lot duplexes in single-family zones to increase density while preserving neighborhood character and style.  Even with the Council’s latest zoning change, it is still actually illegal to build duplexes in single-family zones in Seattle. Duplexes can be a tool for homeownership for young and moderate-income families.
  • Closely monitor and track the impacts of the Council’s recent decision to allow attached and detached accessory dwelling units in single-family zones to ensure these units are benefitting local families and landlords,  preventing displacement, and actually creating affordable housing. If the law needs to be reformed in the future, that must be done.  

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2 months ago

Jay For Seattle

Dear Friends,

On Tuesday we received the election results in our campaign for Seattle City Council, and unfortunately, it seems clear that we will not be moving on to the General Election.

I want to thank each and every one of you for your tremendous support, and I hope in the next few months I’ll get to thank many of you in-person. This has been an amazing and enjoyable experience for me. I learned so much and am so proud of the campaign we ran.

Last November Joelle and I took a walk in the neighborhood, and as we walked we passed by the homes of our friends -- our son’s preschool teacher, a roommate from UW, a family whose kids I coached in basketball, and patients who we have cared for over nearly the past three decades around Seattle. I asked Joelle what she thought about me running for Seattle City Council. Any of you who know Joelle know she isn’t one to beat around the bush -- she tells it to you straight. She said, “Jay, this is perfect for you. Your entire life has arced towards you doing this. Our city needs you!”

When I asked Joelle if I should run, I was thinking of our friends. My mind went to our son’s teachers who are overworked and underpaid but still give our children an excellent education, to the new UW alums who want to live in the community where they grew up but can’t afford Seattle’s rent prices, and our patients who can’t get access to addiction and mental health treatment.

Today my mind goes to them again. While I won’t be the one representing them on the City Council, I’m proud of the work we all did putting those issues at the forefront of this election and rallying folks around a compassionate, collaborative, vision for Seattle.

It was nothing but a privilege to take this journey with you all--for your encouragement, and volunteering with canvassing, making phone calls, hosting house parties, for spreading the word about our campaign in your neighborhood conversations and over social media, for your tens of thousands of dollars of contributions and democracy vouchers--the words ‘thank you’ are not nearly enough. The campaign we ran elevated the conversation around affordable housing in Seattle, our challenges with homelessness, and our needs for continued improvement around mental health and addiction services. Our community is already better off because of the work and support you provided during this campaign. I am very truly grateful for your support!

So thanks again for sharing in that vision, and putting your trust in me. And remember there is always more we can do to serve our community and be engaged in making Seattle a better home for everyone -- I know I’ll be looking for a new way to give back, and hope you will too.

Sincerely,

-- Jay
... See MoreSee Less

Dear Friends, 

On Tuesday we received the election results in our campaign for Seattle City Council, and unfortunately, it seems clear that we will not be moving on to the General Election. 

I want to thank each and every one of you for your tremendous support, and I hope in the next few months I’ll get to thank many of you in-person. This has been an amazing and enjoyable experience for me. I learned so much and am so proud of the campaign we ran.  

Last November Joelle and I took a walk in the neighborhood, and as we walked we passed by the homes of our friends -- our son’s preschool teacher, a roommate from UW, a family whose kids I coached in basketball, and patients who we have cared for over nearly the past three decades around Seattle. I asked Joelle what she thought about me running for Seattle City Council. Any of you who know Joelle know she isn’t one to beat around the bush -- she tells it to you straight. She said, “Jay, this is perfect for you. Your entire life has arced towards you doing this. Our city needs you!”

When I asked Joelle if I should run, I was thinking of our friends. My mind went to our son’s teachers who are overworked and underpaid but still give our children an excellent education, to the new UW alums who want to live in the community where they grew up but can’t afford Seattle’s rent prices, and our patients who can’t get access to addiction and mental health treatment. 

Today my mind goes to them again. While I won’t be the one representing them on the City Council, I’m proud of the work we all did putting those issues at the forefront of this election and rallying folks around a compassionate, collaborative, vision for Seattle.

It was nothing but a privilege to take this journey with you all--for your encouragement, and volunteering with canvassing, making phone calls, hosting house parties, for spreading the word about our campaign in your neighborhood conversations and over social media, for your tens of thousands of dollars of contributions and democracy vouchers--the words ‘thank you’ are not nearly enough.  The campaign we ran elevated the conversation around affordable housing in Seattle, our challenges with homelessness, and our needs for continued improvement around mental health and addiction services. Our community is already better off because of the work and support you provided during this campaign. I am very truly grateful for your support!

So thanks again for sharing in that vision, and putting your trust in me. And remember there is always more we can do to serve our community and be engaged in making Seattle a better home for everyone -- I know I’ll be looking for a new way to give back, and hope you will too.

Sincerely, 

-- Jay

 

Comment on Facebook

Thank you so much for running and please consider running again next time. I was very happy to cast my vote for you and would do it again.

Jay, you come to my door a few weeks ago, we spoke a bit about healthcare, I was incredibly inspired by you. Thank you for the service you have provided to Seattle. I look forward to seeing your name on the ballot again.

You'd be amazing in an elected positio! We'd all be lucky to have you represent us. I hope this is just the beginning of this journey for you!

You ran a great race and I hope you will keep trying! You are connected to people and will be an excellent public servant!

Jay - I echo everyone’s sentiments. You were amazing and you would have been a fabulous guardian for the city of Seattle. I am very proud of you and your amazing family!! Thank you!

I cant wait to see where your path will lead. You are an amazing person. Keep doing great things Dr Jay

Hi Jay Fathi. All our communities depend on people like you who genuinely care about their neighbors and issues, who have a vision and desire to serve. Good for you for stepping forward, and making an effort, for believing in the city and being willing to invest your time and energy to represent people. You weren’t elected. That’s disappointing. It’s not a failure.It’s a start. Many successful politicians lose elections before they prevail.You showed your sons that it is worth the effort to take risks to improve the state of affairs. Sending love and friendship. Love the other Joelle

Dr i am honored to know you over 37 years. Your friendship is a pleasure and privilege indeed. You are an outstanding physician and a tremendous gift to all of us who are lucky enough to know you

Jay, I'm so proud of you and all you and Joey have done to make your community a better place. I know you will continue to effect change where needed and will stay strong in your commitment to serve. Maybe city council wasn't meant to be, but there's always mayor, governor, Senator, and President! You'll always have my vote, love you! 💘

Thank you for running, Jay! I thought you had a great showing for a first run. I hope you will keep up the momentum and continue to run for public office.

Appreciate your willingness to serve our city!

I am so proud of you. You have made a difference and have inspired me to do more. Thank you!

You have run an excellent campaign, Jay! Thanks for your sacrifices in order to do so. You have celebrated the goodness of many of the constituents in the district, highlighting their stories in an inspiring way. Your values have been excellent, your stances have been right, and your list of endorsements couldn't have been more impressive. I am grateful to have been able to support you and your campaign. I am certain that you will continue to be a multi-faceted force for good things in our community the rest of your life.

You ran a great campaign and I regret you’re not moving forward! Thank you for running and hope it was a good lesson for your next run! Look forward to seeing u soon in the hood!

Other doors will open now that you’ve had the opportunity to show who you are. Keep the faith. I’ll be cheering you on, as I always have.

I hope you haven’t given up. It requires courage and passion to run for elected office. You have both and I am sure you will get there. Sooner or later!

Running for elected office is a thankless and selfless act...the ultimate form of public service. It takes courage to run. I am sorry to hear you didn’t prevail, but kudos to you for being brave running.

thanks for running! Please keep pushing your public health vision of change

Thanks for getting in the arena Jay Fathi. You are a noble man & I’m grateful I got to know you. I hope we remain friends, that you find another way to influence our common future and that you are at peace knowing you left your all on the field. Cheers to you, Sir!!

Thank you for your hard work Jay, please keep in touch, I know you will keep fighting for this city we all love.

I'm grateful for your effort to make the world a better place, Jay.

Hi Jay! I was so glad to find your fb page and see that you’re leading our community toward health and growth as you always have! Keep on keeping on! Casey Forever. 🙏🏽

Thank you for running - I appreciate your willingness to take a risk for your community. I hope you and your family have some time to rest and relax.

Jay, my good friend! I am so sorry you didn't make it. You would have been awesome. Don't give up, there is always a next time my friend. Keep up the good fight and keep doing what you do for your community.

Beautiful letter. Thanks for running and inspiring us to make a difference!

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3 months ago

Jay For Seattle

Today's the day! Joelle and I put our ballots in the Ballard Library dropbox (there's also one at Green Lake Community Center) to make sure they're counted on time.

Get yours in before 8pm! And then come join us at the The Red Door at 7pm for our Election Night Party.
... See MoreSee Less

Todays the day! Joelle and I put our ballots in the Ballard Library dropbox (theres also one at Green Lake Community Center) to make sure theyre counted on time.

Get yours in before 8pm! And then come join us at the The Red Door at 7pm for our Election Night Party.

 

Comment on Facebook

Good luck today! Our family's ballots went in yesterday.

Good luck! You will rock this.

Good luck today!!

Good luck from Connecticut! Sorry we can't vote for you...

Good luck...Seattle needs your voice!

Good Luck Jay!! (would love to come tonight but working 😞. Thinking of you and the family!💖

Good luck, Jay! Rooting for you!

GOOD LUCK!!

Best of luck, Jay!

Whatever the outcome, you did your best, and you make a great public spokesman.

Good luck Dr J! Rooting for you from south King Co!

I’ve got alternate plans tonight but I put my ballot in the mailbox last night. Rooting for you man!

Sorry we can’t make it tonight - it’s our Night Out Against Crime block party! We are in charge of cotton candy 😜. Good luck - we voted for you the day ballots came in the mail. Let’s do this!

Good luck Jay!!

You got this!

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