Rantz: Seattle politicians deem suburbs racist, begin CRT-inspired dismantling
The Seattle City Council is forwarding plans to dismantle residential zones because far-left activists believe them to be racist. This is critical race theory (CRT) in action.
Council radicals Teresa Mosqueda and Dan Strauss are starting the process of ending suburbs. They’ve introduced language that bans the use of the term “single-family only zones.” In its place will be an innocuous term: “Neighborhood Residential.”
While the language policing might seem like virtue signaling — which, in part, it is — there’s a bigger agenda. The council has no control over suburbs outside of the city. But the neighborhoods that are heavily residential within city limits? It’s open for social engineering. This move is meant to end Seattle’s residential neighborhoods as we know them. And the implications are significant.
Seattle Council thinks suburbs are racist
Adherents to the principles of critical race theory believe racism is embedded within all American institutions and systems. That includes housing. Mosqueda believes neighborhoods labeled single-family only zones are embedded with racism.
“Language matters. ‘Single family’ zoning may seem to some as merely a planning term, but we know historically it has been used to further exclusionary practices and discriminatory policies of the past,” Mosqueda claimed. “If Seattle is going to be an equitable and just city, then we must also apply that same lens to our zoning code. After years of discussion, we are acting on what we know is right to undo the legacy of exclusion that exists within our planning documents — starting with how we talk about our neighborhoods.”
Mosqueda is right: Language does matter. Change the language, then implement the plan. The intent is to change the language to kill suburbs, traditionally made up of single-family homes. But in doing so, it effectively brings crime, homelessness, and trash to residential neighborhoods that have been mostly untouched by Seattle’s worsening problems.
The replacement term “Neighborhood Residential” comes from Neighborhoods for All, a report by the Seattle Planning Commission (SPC). The report makes the legislation’s intent transparent, arguing suburbs are an “obstacle to our City’s value of race and social justice.”
Dismantling Seattle suburbs
Mosqueda and Strauss, and soon the entire council, take their inspiration from the Neighborhoods for All report.
The SPC report is a wide-ranging treatise for a far-left housing agenda, sometimes couched in reasonable-sounding language. It hopes for “equitable” neighborhoods. But equity now means forced equal outcomes, not equal access.
The report says that Seattle “has been shaped by a history of systematic racial segregation facilitated by land use.” Systemic racism is one of the many terms CRT adherents use to note institutions that must be dismantled and rebuilt through the lens of a progressive activist. Indeed, the report recommends dismantling: “It is about building an equitable Seattle for the present and future generations.”
Part of that means getting rid of single-family housing because restrictions of one home per lot of land are “quickly becoming more expensive, excluding many people.” In other words, if you can’t afford a house, then it’s not equitable. Instead, the report urges zoning codes to be changed to convert single-family homes to multiple units for rent.
This, of course, conflicts with complaints by leftist activists who decry new apartment buildings in certain neighborhoods. While it offers more housing options and is a more efficient use of space, it’s called gentrification if it’s placed in the wrong neighborhood. That’s also inherently racist, we’re told.
Happy with your driveway? Activists are not. Suburbs are too car-friendly, and not everyone can afford a car. The spaces are to be reprioritized for “housing and public space for people over car storage.”
And forget about keeping your communities small and tight-knit. The report urges an end to restrictions on occupancy limits for single-family homes. They believe “zoning should only regulate the density and building form, not the relation of the inhabitants.”
‘Equitable distribution’ is the new ‘equitable outcome’
Why do this? There are three reasons.
Suburban homeowners have become angrier with the reality in Seattle. Homelessness is spreading, violent crime is rising, and they’re demonized for their success. They have families in a city that isn’t family-friendly. While they are not yet voting as a group to change the council’s makeup, it’s easy to envision a future where they do. Bringing in Seattleites who don’t own homes or have kids changes the voting demographics in ways activists think will result in loyalty to the ideology behind the destruction of suburbs.
Activists on and off the council also resent the success of white suburbanites. They don’t think it was earned, but a result of racist policies that gave them a leg up at the expense of people of color. It’s an ironic position for a councilmember to take given their success.
Finally, they’re doing this because they are rabid and stubborn ideologues. Many don’t truly believe in homeownership, and they eschew the traditional view of the “American dream” of owning a home and starting a family. Like everything else, they view it as white supremacy culture.
It won’t end in Seattle
The council intends to transform Seattle into their view of a truly progressive city. It doesn’t matter that their policies have already caused immeasurable harm, leading to high crime rates and even greater inaccessibility to the expensive city. They are blinded by their ideology and, right now, they have power. So they’ll use it.
And like the SPC, this council has a warped view of equity.
The report argues “social justice mandates an equitable distribution of resources, be it access to housing, employment, education, transportation, parks, and other public assets.”
Equitable distribution is a goal. In other words, everyone is owed exactly the same outcome. It’s no longer about equal access and earning that home near a safe park. It’s now about restricting anyone from a societal benefit due to hard work. And suburbs harm this goal.
This move won’t end in Seattle, either. Progressive King County Councilmembers, which represent mostly Seattle interests, do not believe property owners should enter into consensual contracts with tenants independently. Property owners are wealthy enough to own the housing unit(s), so they must be punished and overregulated. Over the objections of colleagues, this council passed a sweeping bill that takes away the most important rights of landlords. Soon, all of King County will be molded into a Seattle.
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