With the housing demand at an all time high, construction across Seattle has been booming, and even experts can't pinpoint when it will come to an end. With the influx of people coming into the city, we have seen a rise in large housing construction developments, business construction projects, and infrastructure improvements. It’s hard to go down a single street in the city these days without seeing a construction crew of one form or another working away on the newest piece to grace the city skyline.
Since the collapse of the housing market, one would be justified in thinking that this type of movement would have come to a slow crawl, and it did happen. Throughout 2011 there were only 20 new buildings erected in the city, a ten-year low, and yet here we are six years later with more than triple that amount on the horizon. And of course, that’s just counting downtown Seattle proper, there are still more buildings coming in the outlying districts in the area. The movement that the city has been seeing lately in the realm of new construction has been totally incredible, and tells a large tale for the city as a whole.
With more to draw new residents in, the cost of living, amenities, and of course the cities endeavor to keep up with new demand, has been bringing people in by the hundreds, which in turn brings us right around to the beginning of this story as the city tries to keep up. There may eventually come a lull in our capability to keep up with demand, which will naturally taper off the flow of incoming residents, but even those who’s job it is to know these things can’t exactly put a figure on when that’s going to happen.
For those living in the city already, this may come as more of an annoyance than a cause for celebration, as the current state of things brings all sorts of hurdles, especially in the realm of daily commutes, but the long-term implications are great. As homeowners in the area, your property value could see itself climb steadily, even on homes that cost relatively nothing only a few decades ago. Meaning that if you really find yourself in need of escaping the hustle and bustle, you may find yourself doing so with much more in your pocket.
We for one, are excited about the prospects. Not only does this help boost local business, and provide hundreds of jobs across the city for those who need them, but it shows to all looking in the appeal of this city that we have been promoting for so long. If you’ve considered moving into the Seattle area before, then now could be the best time to get in on the ground floor, before spaces fill up quickly. We may not be sure when it’s going to come to an end, but for right now, we’re pretty glad that it’s happening in our back yards.
No matter which side of the Affordable Care Act debate you fall on, the affectations of indecision by the Trump administration could make things a lot harder on all of us. There is no magic umbrella that’s going to come out and cover you just because you agree with the President’s choices. In the interim, while there is no replacement in sight, and only black-ops drafts being written up in the middle of the night that are immediately swatted down by congress, many are left wondering what will happen to them.
No matter where you look, there is always the “anything is better than this” option in a debate, yet when it comes to our healthcare, that rule doesn’t apply. Sure, you will have outliers out there who simply want to seem like they have a strong stance by being argumentative and saying that nothing is better than the current state, and they may even agree with that statement, in the moment, yet when they or a loved one find their way to the hospital with no idea what to expect when they get there, the argument falls apart quickly.
Now, we’re not saying one way or another what our stance on the current state of healthcare is, but this idea of repeal now, replace whenever we get a better idea, isn’t only monumentally stupid in theory, it’s even worse in practice. Even the insurance companies, that are poised and ready to go back to the days of being able to charge tens of thousands of dollars for the smallest of issues are trepidations right now. No one knows what’s going on, even those in charge, and that denotes the first fundamental flaw.
The second, is the method in which this repeal and do something later is being carried out is incredibly difficult to navigate, and sets up all kinds of issues in the near future as well. There will remain some aspects of the AHA, and others being stripped away over time, to where no one is getting any benefit from it. Insurance companies won’t be receiving the subsidies they used to, clients of the hospital won’t be getting coverage they used to have, and many are finding even their local options in insurance pulling out of their current marketplaces.
This leaves little options in the area, and what options are there are free to spike their rates as much as they please, as there will be no competition. This leaves us in a very precious place, from Seattle through to Florida, encompassing everyone in between. This is millions of our fellow residents across the country with little access to health care assistance, and even less means to afford it. Whatever your hopes for the plan of health care in the future will be, it should be one that is implemented soon, because at this rate we will all hit the point where anything is better than nothing.
Local power company Avista announced the recent acquisition of their company by Canadian owned company Hydro One. On the surface, this seems like another cross-border deal like so many that have happened over recent years, but if you start to dig a little deeper than the surface, a troubling story begins to arise. It' one that we in the local community may not understand all that well, but that could have serious implications to the future of the formerly owned power company that provides the lights for a giant slice of the North-West.
Firstly, the argument of selling essential utilities to foreign companies needs to be addressed. Yes, this is something that has happened for many years across many different utilities, yet that still doesn’t make it okay. Foreign powers have no interest in the needs of the local people, they are out to make a profit, as they should be, yet this doesn’t bode well for our local individuals who rely on this power source. It would be akin to selling our hospitals, our street care services, our waste management services, all for shareholders to make a buck, while seeing our service deteriorate as a result.
Secondly, we need to talk about Hydro One. It would be excusable for anyone reading this to not have an inkling of knowledge about this company, but those who are reliant on their services sure do. Customers of this company experience the highest cost of hydroelectric power in Canada, and this is completely due to mismanagement and bad deals made by the owners of the company, along with the Canadian government at the time. Hydro One is still over a billion dollars in debt, and yet this deal has still been made.
The ones who suffer for that debt, are the customers of the service. As a (primarily) provincially owned company, the customers of Hydro One have been on the hook for a “debt retirement” charge, which leads to their rates being so unequivocally high in the country, and this deal will only add to that. The reason why the debt is there in the first place? That mismanagement we spoke about earlier, led the company into a $20 billion-dollar debt crisis, that the province had to pick up the tab for. As a result, naturally inflating costs over the last decade have been yearly occurrences.
Both Hydro One and Avista state that there will be no change to the services or prices on our side of the border, and that there will also be no layoffs for those already employed on our side, yet this is coming from a company that, with a lower than par dollar, who bought the locally owned option out at 24% above market price, and is already well known for high prices, mismanagement, and a monopoly mentality. We’re not sure about you, but we’re already on our way to a nice local store to invest in a generator and some diesel.