One City Councilman's Deranged War on Increased Housing Supply

A blog about business and economics.
Dec. 12 2013 3:27 PM

Jim Graham's Insane War on Pop-ups

105460186
Jim Graham gets a big hug from the mayor.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Here in Washington, D.C., there are some blocks where most of the houses are not built up to the full height permitted by the zoning. Since people are moving into the city and demand for housing is increasing, sometimes the owner of a house like this will add an extra floor.

This is for some reason regarded as scandalous behavior, and it leads to all kinds of freaking out about so-called pop-ups. How, everyone wants to know, can these dastardly pop-ups be halted?! At the same time, everyone is very worried about the lack of affordable housing. Here Aaron Weiner lays out Ward 1 council member Jim Graham's multipronged battle strategy* to prevent the supply of urban housing from growing even a little no matter how much demand increases.

Advertisement

But don't worry—he's for affordable housing too!

* Correction, Dec. 12, 2013: An earlier version of this post said that Graham was my councilman; he used to be, but I now live in Ward 2, which is Jack Evans' district.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

TODAY IN SLATE

History

Slate Plus Early Read: The Self-Made Man

The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada. Now, Journalists Can’t Even Say Her Name.

Mitt Romney May Be Weighing a 2016 Run. That Would Be a Big Mistake.

Amazing Photos From Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution

Transparent Is the Fall’s Only Great New Show

The XX Factor

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada

Now, journalists can't even say her name.

Doublex

Lena Dunham, the Book

More shtick than honesty in Not That Kind of Girl.

What a Juicy New Book About Diane Sawyer and Katie Couric Fails to Tell Us About the TV News Business

Does Your Child Have Sluggish Cognitive Tempo? Or Is That Just a Disorder Made Up to Scare You?

  News & Politics
Damned Spot
Sept. 30 2014 9:00 AM Now Stare. Don’t Stop. The perfect political wife’s loving gaze in campaign ads.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 29 2014 7:01 PM We May Never Know If Larry Ellison Flew a Fighter Jet Under the Golden Gate Bridge
  Life
Dear Prudence
Sept. 30 2014 6:00 AM Drive-By Bounty Prudie advises a woman whose boyfriend demands she flash truckers on the highway.
  Double X
Doublex
Sept. 29 2014 11:43 PM Lena Dunham, the Book More shtick than honesty in Not That Kind of Girl.
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 29 2014 8:45 AM Slate Isn’t Too Liberal, but … What readers said about the magazine’s bias and balance.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 29 2014 9:06 PM Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice Looks Like a Comic Masterpiece
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 7:36 AM Almost Humane What sci-fi can teach us about our treatment of prisoners of war.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 30 2014 7:30 AM What Lurks Beneath The Methane Lakes of Titan?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 28 2014 8:30 PM NFL Players Die Young. Or Maybe They Live Long Lives. Why it’s so hard to pin down the effects of football on players’ lives.