492. Star Lings

An August poetry postcard sent to Linda Roller.

492. Star Lings (Poem) 492. Star Lings

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Airbnb, Microhousing & Seattle Nice

As I continue with a long-term cultural investigation of the bioregion in which I live, Cascadia, an investigation that includes a (hopefully) annual poetry festival, a Massive Open Online Course on the bioregion’s innovative poetry and an anthology, I begin to see information through this lens.

And two recent articles were quite illuminating regarding Cascadia culture and that of cities in other bioregions, specifically New York and San Francisco.

War on Airbnb

War on Airbnb

The first article was about how New York City is fighting Airbnb, which is described in the New York Times article as a “pioneering home-rental service.” Of course realize the HUGE business hotels have in NYC and you can understand whose ox is being gored here. As an Airbnb host here in Seattle renting out rooms in the home of my spiritual community, Subud, you can imagine where I stand on the issue. But it’s more than trying to eke out a little dough outside the purview of gangster-like corporate entities, I am with Jeremy Rifkin who sees the cultural shift away from corporations and to something with a more human face. I know, corporations ARE people in USAmerica, but I mean people who breathe, who can put in jail for their misbehavior and who know what real hosting means. Real people hosting real people is how the Canadian blogger described it and those of us who know that capitalism has run amok embrace the emerging sharing economy Rifkin has written about. Dig how the NYTimes describes the argument over this part of it:

Admirers say these stars of the so-called sharing economy are breaking up monopolies that have grown greedy and lazy. They are empowering individuals. Critics say that the start-ups are unsavory efforts to avoid regulation and taxes, and that the very term “sharing economy” is ridiculous.

Here’s how James E. Miller puts it in his post:

Airbnb is a nemesis to the stifling nature of the state. Where bureaucrats domineer the playing field under government-supervision, peer-to-peer networks connect people without obtrusion. They slash the cost of doing business by eliminating the middle man. They are empowering, and allow for a more mutually-beneficial economy.

Although commenters are quick to point out that Airbnb IS the middle man, so not eliminated, but transformed along with the culture which matches people with others of a like-mind.

In San Francisco, the real estate market is so hot, long-tome residents with stable rents are being evicted so landlords can be part of the casino-capitalism gone wild there. For so long Seattle has been a place that did not want to “be like San Francisco” even though wood from here built SF and mail for here and from here went through SF to get to its final destination. The ties are many and now the dot coms are creating a similar environment as Amazon expands its empire and is primed to hire thousands of new employees. The locals here like to call these new arrivals “Amholes.”

And one response to the boom in Seattle real estate has been to create teeny-tiny homes some call “hipster hovels” and others liken to the boarding houses of the late 19th century. The term is “micro-housing” and homes are as small as 192 square feet. This is what most USAmericans call a Storage Unit.

Storage Unit Price

The well-written article by Sarah Solovitch calls Seattle “the country’s fastest growing city” and illustrates ultimately, what drives Seattle. Cash, but with the veneer of an equitable process and less like the mafiosos that run NYC. Kill you with kindness capitalism. The article highlights activists on each side of the argument for microhousing, including a recent transplant from, you guessed it, California, who said:

Photo of Bill Bradford by Mark Peterson/Redux

Photo of Bill Bradburd by Mark Peterson/Redux

“I just don’t think [micro-apartments] belong in a low-rise zone where someone has invested half a million in a townhouse and then 56 people move in next door.”  (Bill Bradburd, chair of “Seattle Neighborhood Coalition.”)(Note the doublespeak title of the group.)

It’s interesting that class warfare is when low income folks work for what’s equitable, but when people like Bill Bradford do it, it’s not class warfare, it’s “protecting his investment.”

So, Seattle is more open to things like Airbnb and microhousing, and either accepting these developments, these reactions to casino capitalism, or lobbying city councilmembers to enact regulations that will slowly kill off the microhousing boom while occasionally allowing low-income artists a place like the recently-opened Mt. Baker Lofts. This is consistent with the passive aggression some have come to call “Seattle Nice.” We like poor people, but don’t want them around here.

It’s bad enough what the yuppie generation has done in terms of income inequality with the top 1% getting SO much richer while the recent economic “recovery” is limited to the realm of corporate profits and not, in the words of the great liberator and union buster Ronald Reagan, trickling down.

Wet, white, polite and more benign, with access but little influence, welcome to Seattle newcomers. Be sure to contribute to the food bank on the way to your broker.

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American Sentences June-Oct

The latest harvest of 17 syllable poems from my daily discipline. See more about the form at www.AmericanSentences.com and thanks for reading. Comments welcome.

6.26.14 – Driving 34 a cherry pit’s distributed every two blocks.

6.29.14 – She talks about her one-eyed cat I say she’s looking at the wrong end.

7.4.14 – Happy Birthday America, take time to stop and smell the ordnance.

7.8.14 – Am beginning to think color of my shoelaces inadequate.

7.13.14 – How many pecks of blueberries can Ella eat before she will urp?

7.31.14 – Killing Palestinians, continuation of the peace process.

American Sentences in Puebla, Mexico

8.2.14 – Frida’s collection of musician dolls, a skeletal Lester Young.

8.3.14 – “I’m Columbian by birth, Mexican at heart, my stomach is gringo.”

(Juan Felix)

8.3.14 – Cross a Pomeranian w/ a Chihuahua & get a Pomihuahua.

(Melissa Brannon)

8.4.14 – Shadow of my hand in a cleansing latihan dancing on the floor.

8.6.14 – Shop for sombreros, some beauties, but my American head’s too big.

8.7.14 – Bapak: “I’ve given you rocket fuel & you use it like chicken shit.”

8.7.14 – Only at a World Congress would a performer have a backup mime.

8.7.14 – Only at Subud would that backup mime become foundation chair.

8.8.14 – Not sure which toilet button to press after Montezuma’s Revenge.

8.9.14 – Subud fashion show critique: “More fabric on the hats than the bodies.”

8.10.14 – “On a good Sunday we have 16 men moaning around in a circle.”

(P.S. Then  we do latihan.)

8.12.14 – Pablo feeding leftover chicarrónes to the Puebla pigeons.

8.16.14 – This Puebla bus driver in a previous life, a caballero.

8.19.14 – This Puebla sacramental marching band leaves a trail of rose petals.

End Puebla Sentences

8.22.14 – Harvest plums, blackberries, apples, lavender on my corridor walk.

8.23.14 – Dad would say while driving: “I’ve got two words for you and they ain’t ‘let’s dance!’”

9.7.14 – Plumber outside the café calls coffee: “a chemical vacation.”

9.18.14 – Warne Marsh on Tristano: “Finally form itself could be improvised.” (1949)

9.18.14 – Tristano freeing his musicians from the “tyranny of the brain.”

9.20.14 – I wanted to smash that fruit fly landed on Faiza’s white hijab.

9.22.14 – Too early in the season for frozen vomit on the side of the car.

9.22.14 – Dad after getting off his first (& only) monorail ride: “That’s it?!?”

9.26.14 – Fall winds liberate walnuts cracked open by vans delivering produce.

9.27.14 – Morning doppio at the corner of Blandena & Albina.

9.30.14 – One daughter says: “beep” for please, the other petitions for “warranted snark.”

10.2.14 – Blunck says his Senior Chief looked like “a cross between Hitler and Lurch.”

10.2.14 – His apartment’s a mixture of smells: “marijuana, piss, bacon.”

10.3.14 – I’m not sure Blunck knew Klook invented spang, spang-a-lang ride cymbal riff.

10.4.14 – For her birthday breakfast I decide against the meatball torpedo.

10.12.14 – More likely he’s chanting: “God is Almighty” than “God isn’t Whiny!”

10.13.14 – Why would a self-respecting Libra tattoo only one of her breasts?

10.14.14 – If a spoon and saliva’s involved, is a prostate exam legit?

Fallen Hawthorne Berries

Fallen Hawthorne Berries

10.16.14 – The same Hawthorne berries that’d cure my heart I crush under my keans.

10.16.14 – Are you sure you know what your corporate “healer” is trying to cure?

10.16.14 – How pitiful you, October lilac, and all your rotting blossoms.

10.17.14 – Twice sedated, a shaved paw and fatal I.V., goodbye Tupelo.

Goodbye Tupelo

Goodbye Tupelo

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