The owner of a beauty shop who applied for a loan from a community development fund received a response calling her “one crazy ass bitch” and suggesting that she was under a “delusion that somehow you might be credit worthy.” The author of the letter, who was suspended for a week without pay, later wrote a letter of apology saying she was under a “heightened state of anxiety” and wrote the letter only “for my own personal release,” not to be mailed out.
Other than as a humorous example of bureaucracy at work, why is this of interest to the Antiplanner? It turns out the applicant’s business has been hit hard by light-rail construction, which is preventing customers from accessing her shop. She applied for a loan from the Rainier Valley Community Development Fund, which was created by the City of Seattle and Sound Transit (which is building the light rail) and given $50 million specifically to help businesses survive construction.
So far, according to its own web site, the Rainier Fund has loaned out $10.8 million and created a whopping 27 jobs. The agency also gave out $15.1 million in “supplemental mitigation assistance,” as a result of which “only” 15 percent (some sources say 20 percent) of businesses along the rail line went under. The other $24.1 million probably went to staff members and their therapists. Photos on the web site also suggest that some of the grants and loans probably went to developers of high-density, transit-oriented developments.
Apparently, the beauty shop in question had already received $11,700 in grants from the Rainier Fund, but the owner felt like she needed more help to survive. She’ll probably get it now, if only so that the agency can save face.