VRBO and other four-letter words
This year we will vote for the next mayor of Olympia. The two candidates that are running have responded to polling data indicating that Olympia residents are upset about the cost to rent or buy a new home.
Dontae Payne thinks that everything is fine as it is, and City Hall only needs to boast more loudly about the expensive new apartments downtown that nobody can afford as proof of its effort to increase housing stock.
David Ross thinks the problem isn’t the cost of rent, but the people who cannot afford the rent. His solution would be to let landlords raise the rent to astronomical highs and then arrest anyone who becomes homeless due to an inability to pay.
Neither candidate is mentioning the elephant in the room: short-term rental apps like VRBO and Airbnb.
Landlords like these apps because VRBO guests do not enjoy tenant legal protections, and they can rent it out for a months and leave it vacant the rest of the year while making the same money.
You can build all the new housing you want — if it is all taken off the long-term leasing market and you can charge hotel prices for a dumpy apartment, that only increases the market housing rate no matter how many you build.
We could end Oly’s housing crisis tomorrow if we do the one thing nobody in this mayoral election is talking about: Ban Airbnb, VRBO, and other short-term rentals.
David Bart, Olympia
Rose Gundersen serves with dedication, non-partisanship
I want to share why I endorsed Rose Chiu Gundersen and the reasons she deserves your vote for Port of Olympia Commission District 4.
Before joining the Lacey City Council, I volunteered for the Thurston County Coalition Against Trafficking, a community non-profit she created. Rose demonstrated excellent servant-hearted leadership. She is very personable and has incredible organizational skills. We raised money to support human trafficking prevention and trafficking education in Thurston County.
Besides being responsible for TCCAT, Gundersen has a full-time job and served on the board of Washington Trafficking Prevention, another nonprofit she co-founded to help youth and youth-serving professionals become allies to prevent human trafficking through education and training in our school system. The funding to make these things happen were raised through TCCAT.
Rose has a heart for Thurston County. Her record and accomplishments as a community advocate extend beyond her diverse life and professional experience. Rose has been voluntarily helping Thurston County for well over a decade, keeping our children safe, advocating for business owners, union employees and individuals who may have been injured on the job through her work at L&I.
Rose Chiu Gundersen is the best choice for the Port of Olympia Commission in District 4.
Malcolm Miller, Deputy Mayor, City of Lacey
The death of a work ethic
The 32-hour work week is an embarrassing, sad reflection on San Juan County. Hardworking Island taxpayers are funding full-time pay and benefits for part-time work? Claims that this doesn’t come with changes in county services while next saying offices may have to adjust hours or close one day are contradictory. That is a loss of service — to say otherwise is dishonest.
Imagine what the industrious private business owners/staff think about the argument that a 40-hour week does not allow for “good work-life balance” as they work 50, 60-plus hours a week for the success of their enterprise. Raised to understand that money comes from work and recognizing the dignity of working hard, they know that the balance of industry and personal life is up to each individual to manage themselves. What a proclamation of entitlement that our government workers need to spend time with family, volunteer, travel and go to appointments while expecting private workers to fully fund their now-part-time profession.
Our county workers are professional and dedicated. Having pride in their work, many will have to go above and beyond the 32 hours to complete their workload and what an insult to hardworking youth as well. Set the bar low and guess what you will get? What happens a few years from now when 32 hours is just too hard?
Lauren Cohen, Friday Harbor