Re: “Downtown Seattle’s future depends on coronavirus-relief funds now” [March 29, Opinion]:
Reading Jon Scholes’ plea for federal assistance, I’m struck by how right he is, on one hand, about the need for relief for small businesses, nonprofits and workers. They’re key players, and our recovery as a society won’t happen without them.
But on the other hand, particularly in his downtown domain, isn’t he looking in the wrong place for that relief? The single largest expense for all these players is rent. Why siphon off scarce federal funds just to supply these small businesses with the means to pay their rent, so downtown real estate interests won’t have to suffer?
Perhaps Scholes, in his role with the Downtown Seattle Association, could engineer a plan that would be a model for the country. Get the downtown landlords together to promise to forgive small business rent for the time they’re shut down — in return for a more serious consideration of the proposed government assistance. Amazon is already doing this with the buildings it owns. It’s past time for the rest to get on board.
Donn Cave, Seattle