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Real Estate Developers Declare War on Seattle

Photo by Omar Willey. Licensed CC-BY.
Photo by Omar Willey. Licensed CC-BY.

Real estate developers held a press conference in Seattle today to provide the public with information regarding their new campaign entitled, “Tear It All Down!”

The political action committee is registered as The American Association of Realtors For Financial Freedom (AARFFF!). Business experts estimate that the group has already raised $300 billion to finance their political agenda. Much of the funding is coming from Amazon, Google, and several anonymous Chinese investors.

AARFFF’s press release lists three main platform issues:

  1. Elimination of all government regulation on real estate development
  2. Worldwide ban on rent control
  3. “Free Trade” zones in US cities where only the top 1% of income earners are allowed to live

Spokesperson Ralph E. Liminate told the assembled reporters that the ownership of under priced real estate in the city should be considered a criminal offense. He referred to the ubiquitous wrecking ball as “our best friend”. AARFFF claims that demolition teams are the best weapon against “economically stagnant neighborhoods”.

AARFFF has declared a “war on under optimized property”. Liminate compares the situation to the Allied force’s D-Day invasion of Normandy during World War II.

“We’ve got to be aggressive and tactical. We need to line up our troops of realtors and attack the city like an invading army. We have all the advantages over our adversaries and we are proud of our supremacy. Our army is well trained and well financed. We have the money, we control the politicians and we’re just downright mean and nasty. I promise you that we will be victorious!”

“You might as well face the facts,” he said. “We are unstoppable. Our campaign slogan is ‘Resistance is Futile’…”

The AARFFF plan calls for the elimination of all restrictions on building height limits. One proposed project supported by Dubai investors involves a 1,000 story tall structure to be constructed at First and Pike. The gargantuan building project is being referred to as a “spacescraper” by commercial real estate industry websites.

Upon completion the VBBP (Very Big Building Project) would cost $12.4 billion and would qualify as the largest artificial structure on planet earth.

Due to the effects of high altitude, top floors would of necessity be equipped with pressure chambers and artificial oxygen. Architects propose a design which would include 380 restaurants, 14 malls, 25 swimming pools and 34 indoor parks with bio-engineered forests and fake mountain trails. Plastic covered snow slopes would offer top notch skiing inside the tower’s Alpine Land resort area occupying 65 floors.

Designers estimate that a mound the size of Mount Pilchuck will be required to hold all the earth excavated during the construction phase of the VBBP. One idea put forward by developers is to place all of the excavated dirt on Volunteer Park to create another artificial mountain.

One part of the plan which has received criticism is the fact that there is, of course, no plans to include any on site parking.

During an editorial board meeting earlier today at the Seattle Times, Ralph E. Liminate also outlined ARFFF’s new “Economic Freedom” program.

He shouted, “I’m not going to dick around with you here! We’re serious about these issues, dammit! Mayor Ed Murray has appointed a task force to study how poor and middle class folks might still be allowed to live within the city limits. But the fact is, we don’t need no stinking poor or middle class! Our organization maintains that we don’t need an underclass to make the economy work. We can find millions of under paid workers by outsourcing to countries that are not democracies.”

Liminate cleared his throat and proclaimed loudly, “Our constituents want total freedom to buy anything they want and to evict whomever they want, anytime they want, etc. After all, that’s the American Way. That’s what my grand daddy died for in Korea to protect.”

The AARFFF spokesperson startled Seattle Times editors when he punctuated his final remark by slamming his fist down on a pile of rent receipts.

“Frankly, the very idea of affordable housing is a shameful comment on our city’s progress. It’s an unfair restriction of my constitutionally guaranteed right to monopolize the local economy. All this talk about rent control is very dangerous! Policies like that could destroy the entire nation. The idea is simply Un-American. It’s all part of a Socialist Commie plot to weaken American family values!”

At today’s press briefing downtown at the Alaska building, Liminate blamed Socialist city council member Kshama Sawant for everything bad in the city, including the city’s loss of several large business contracts with the multinational company, Buy and Flip, Inc. He also accused her of being the cause of our recent period of rainy and foul weather.

Sawant is currently leading a strong populist political movement which has been calling for rent control. She and most of her fellow council members have directed the city government to protect Seattle’s independent art galleries, museums, bookstores and music venues.

When asked by an Associated Press reporter if he supported the preservation of historic landmarks, Liminate’s face turned red.

“I’m for the preservation of economic opportunity for real estate investors!
I’ve never seen a historic building that couldn’t be demolished if that’s what we want to do. Excuse my French, but you all know the game. Money talks and bullshit walks.”

A reporter from the Central District Examiner, Veronica Johnson, asked Liminate to comment on statements made by local low income housing activists. The Seattle Housing Justice League issued a recent report which concluded that gentrification in Seattle is causing “black flight” from traditionally African American neighborhoods, leading to racial and economic discrimination.

The ARRFFF’s spokesperson responded by saying, “I’m all for black power and all of that, but if you haven’t got enough money to invest in expensive property, then you’re talking to the wrong person. I don’t care what your ethnic background is.
I’m completely color blind. I’ll work with anyone who has the cash.”

The American Association of Realtors For Financial Freedom is a sub-committee of the group Americans For A Safe Society. ASS promotes “safe zones” in US cities including private security with military style check points. ASS’s “Checkpoint Charlie” ad campaign is designed to convince the American public that large cities can only be truly safe when rich people are the only residents allowed to live there.

The ASS group endorses profiling as a way to screen out “the bad guys”, which presumably refers to folks living in poverty, including junkies, panhandlers, street performers, and the city’s homeless population.

Extreme right-wing Christian evangelists would be tolerated inside the “safe zones” under a special provision providing “respect for the rights of some religious organizations” (as long as the preachers don’t use megaphones).

Private corporations would be allowed to rent whole sections of the city for proprietary purposes. Political activity would be prohibited and protest signs or political literature would be confiscated by private security forces.

Another provision of the plan would outlaw outdoor benches in all city parks as a way to discourage the homeless population. In addition, ASS proposes the installation of metal stakes in the park’s flower gardens and lawns as anti-homeless people devices, much like the wire stakes that are commonly used to keep pigeons off of public buildings.

Under this plan, city parks would be managed by private companies like Starbucks who would charge entrance fees of up to $20 per hour. The parks would be open to the public from 9AM to 5PM weekdays just like most commercial businesses. For a substantial fee, corporations or individuals could reserve the parks for private use for any length of time.

The ASS program would utilize sophisticated facial recognition software that can determine in mere micro seconds who is allowed to enter restricted metropolitan areas. Each face would be checked and correlated with various government and private intelligence agencies. ASS has volunteered to compile the data necessary to create a national ASS World Information Prohibition Entry list, better know as ASS WIPE.

After outlining AARFF’s agenda and some of their current political projects, Ralph E. Liminate excused himself. He stepped to the side of the stage and swallowed several white pills from a prescription bottle before he continued to berate the policies of Seattle city council member Kshama Sawant. Stepping up to the podium, Liminate had more harsh words for our local populist icon.

“Sawant is a dictator who has refused to work with the rest of the city government or corporations on these issues. She got her damned $15 an hour minimum wage so what’s the beef? Sure, all of us landlords just raised our rents immediately so it’s kind of a wash, so to speak, ha, ha. But hey, we let her get all that glory and international media attention. For all I know she might turn that talking point into a presidential campaign or something. All I’m saying is that she should just shut up and take the money like the rest of us and get over it!”

Most of the press corps were shocked by Ralph E. Liminate’s unselfconscious diatribe. He addressed Kshama Sawant’s initiatives to save Seattle’s independent bookstores and to protect its unique arts and music scene.

“You might think art, music, and books are worthwhile in some respects, but really you can get all that stuff on the internet for free now, so what exactly is her point? She keeps talking about saving hippie commune drug dens that she calls ‘artist co-ops’ and ‘music clubs’? Come on! Let’s face it – the musicians and artists in this town are already so stoned out of their heads on marijuana that they won’t even notice that their neighborhoods have been demolished.”

There was some subdued laughter among the reporters followed by a long period of silence.

While the journalists were busy tapping on their hand held mobile devices, Liminate loosened his tie and leaned over on the podium. He drank a tall glass of water. Wiping perspiration from his brow he immediately launched into another unprovoked attack on Sawant.

“To tell you the truth ladies and gentlemen, I can’t figure out why Kshama Sawant, or however you pronounce it… I can’t figure out why she doesn’t go back to India and work to improve the lives of her own people. I mean, you can hardly even understand the customer service reps we have working out there because of their foreign accents. It’s terrible.”

When informed by local reporter Sam Studcliff (Wallingford Chonicle) that Sawant is a US citizen, Liminate went ballistic.

“What? Are you talkin’ to me? What are you trying to say, buddy? Are you trying to imply that I’m against immigrants? Well, I’m not prejudiced but I am damn tired of reading all of that socialist propaganda coming out of city hall! We have to take this city back for the people who really matter, you know what I mean? Otherwise, we’re looking at another west coast version of Detroit. Are you paying attention press boys? You get my drift? You wanna live in a place where real estate is cheap but the streets aren’t safe and you got poor people living everywhere?”

When approached by this reporter at city hall, Kshama Sawant’s media liason Phillip Locker just winked and said, “This guy is crazy. That’s our official statement. And you can quote me on that.”

Occupy Seattle activists at the press conference reportedly threw Skittles candy at Liminate during his rant. Local affordable housing activist Claude McWhatso and Big Bertha band member John Stopclock responded by allegedly painting graffiti on Liminate’s brand new BMW. Under a large bright smiley face the vandals painted, “Go Back To California. You Are An Asshole!”

Resident artist, spoon bender and local celebrity Jeffery Tooshed responded to ARFFF’s press conference by calling his mother to complain about it. When he realized she wasn’t home, he talked to me instead.

Tooshed said, “I don’t know where this guy gets off attacking all the middle class and poor people. Who does he think he is anyway? Is he trying to portray himself as the vanguard of some new reactionary right-wing movement or something? Who’s paying him to say this crap? It’s so stupid it’s just ridiculous.”

He rolled a large reefer while saying, “The 1% are really out of control and the AARFFF press conference today was direct evidence of that fact. Ralph E. Liminate should remember that old saying… You know the one about people living in glass houses who throw rocks?”

Tooshed lit up his medicinal marijuana joint and took a long toke. “Man, I’m so glad I smoke pot to chill me out. If I wasn’t so stoned I’d punch him in the face.”