Yay! Our First Apology!

A friend pointed out that I needlessly disparaged Seattle activist Scott Morrow (“Morrow seems to revel in the power he has to evict people from homeless camps. Charming.”) in our story Yay! Our First Hate Mail! from October 15 so here’s a follow up.

I was planning on staying away from writing about local nonprofits that were not food-related so my bad here. Also, Scott Morrow helped start Nickelsville which is where Nirvana Wok donates to sometimes. My not mentioning that was an error and a hint that I churned the Hate Mail story out too quickly and that I have no clue about the politics of Nickelsville and honestly don’t want to know. I just want to drop off food to people that need food.

When I mentioned the “non-profit industrial complex” in the piece that I’m apologizing for here now I was thinking more aboutfood bank executives who make million dollar salaries” than people like Scott Morrow. Who I accused of “alleged mismanagement, corruption and dirty dealings” based on several sources - some more reliable than others.

Morrow helped start LIHI (Low Income Housing Institute) and was eased out, which is a common story with founders of nonprofits. He’s an activist and socialist spending his time creating ways to help people but definitely not getting rich. Current LIHI executive director Sharon Lee makes a $227,675 salary plus benefits.

As long as we’re dishing on Seattle nonprofits (for the last time, hopefully) let’s discuss salaries in the Seattle 501(c)(3) housing sector. Paul Lambros of Seattle’s Plymouth Housing Group makes $195,606. In Seattle this is a sweet gig but not huge.

CEO of Bellwether Housing Susan Boyd rakes in a respectable $194,036. Bellwether is the current owner of the downtown Seattle apartment building where I spent some of the best rent-subsidized years of my life.

Real Change Homeless Empowerment Project paid founder and executive director Timothy Harris a salary that was barely enough to raise a family in Seattle so I won’t mention the number here. Maybe the relatively low pay was because his nonprofit was based around a newspaper and not pricey real estate.

Tim’s a brilliant guy and could easily have worked as a well-paid person in the corporate sector but he spent decades of his time doing something more meaningful.

DISCLOSURE: I designed a few covers for Real Change in the early 90s and also a silkscreened poster for their infamous Bad Art auction, the highlight of which was publisher of Seattle alt-weekly newspaper the Stranger Tim Keck beating a Weber grill to death with a baseball bat.

OPINION: Why shouldn’t nonprofits compensate talent at the same rate as the predatory, parasitic corporate vampires do? Twenty five year old star software engineers are recruited from Amazon to Microsoft and back again every day with promises of larger salaries than any CEO of a nonprofit makes. Amazon’s salary cap is $160,000 but if they want to keep the geniuses they start giving them stock and other benefits. Nice pay if you’re fresh out of college. And what do the tech drones do? Sit there all day figuring out how to tweak some predatory algorithm?

Speaking of predatory - a war criminal (Vietnam/Panama/Gulf War I & II) died today. Makes all my retro Seattle insider stuff seem so worthless.

-Alex