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On Frozen Assets, Shared Parking And The Price Of Homelessness: This Week's Under-Reported Stories

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Seattle's Magnolia Bridge in Seattle. The bridge, built in 1930, connects the Seattle neighborhoods of Magnolia and Interbay.

There's always interesting stuff in the news that gets overshadowed by the big stories. On Sound Effect we invite a panel a journalists to talk over their nominees for under-covered story of the week.   

Joining KPLU's Gabriel Spitzer at this week's roundtable are Hannah Brooks Olsen of Seattlish, Josh Feit news editor of Seattle Met magazine and Emily Parkhurst Digital Managing Editor of the Puget Sound Business Journal.

Parkhurst said a story about an alleged development investor rip-off should have garnered more attention than it did.

At issue is Path America CEO LobsangDargey, who is being sued in federal court by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for misappropriation of Chinese investor money earmarked for local developments: Everett's Potala Place building and two projects in Seattle, the Potala Tower skyscraper in Belltown and a 500-unit apartment complex near the Othello light rail station. 

Dargey, who is from Tibet, is accused of using $11 million of the investor money for other projects, buying himself a house and gambling. 

"There is a highrise in Belltown -- the assets have been frozen -- so that project is almost certainly going to be delayed -- if it happens at all," Parkhurst said.

Feit said the EcoDistrict in Seattle's Capitol Hill warranted more coverage. The EcoDistrict is a neighborhood group that advocates its ideas for a model urban neighborhood.  Among the suggestions, Feit said, was a well-received concept for shared parking.

Central to the idea is to view all available parking in a given neighborhood -- including private parking lots -- as one giant parking inventory of spaces under one umbrella. "What that does is it deal with a problem that people have identified, which is that there are these high vacancy rates in parking lots," he said. "Up to 30 percent in the evening and 70 percent in the day."

A neighborhood could free up parking spaces by giving neighborhood residents access to private parking lots in exchange for giving lot owners tax breaks. Out-of-neighborhood residents would still pay for parking.

Brooks Olsen said her under-reported issue was a particular incident within the overall problem of homelessness in Seattle. Stacy Davis and her husband were homeless. Another homeless man beat her to death and injured her husband in an attack under the Magnolia Bridge

Brooks Olsen said because the killing was treated a solely a crime story, it missed how it dovetails with Seattle's efforts to deal with the homeless problem.

"This happened at the Magnolia Bridge, very close to the proposed Interbay (shelter) location," she said, "and really close to the Ballard (shelter) location which has received tons of opposition from the neighborhood."

She said people at the shelter informational meetings profess wanting to help the homeless -- just not in their neighborhoods.

"It's hard to listen to those complaints and then also see a mile away someone being murdered."

Gabriel Spitzer is a former KNKX reporter, producer and host who covered science and health and worked on the show Sound Effect.
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