Chasing Ballots

With Lisa Herbold taking the lead in West Seattle’s District 1 on Friday—a lead she holds by just 27 votes—the November 3 election is far from over. Although there are over 300 ballots that remain uncounted in the district—the next vote drop, tomorrow around 4:30, could solidify Herbold’s advantage or put Braddock back in the lead—a parallel and equally important ballot-gathering effort is going on behind the scenes in both campaigns.

Known as “ballot chasing,” the campaign-led effort involves finding challenged ballots that are likely to favor a particular candidate and making sure those voters get their ballots counted.

Here’s how it works. Ordinarily, King County Elections initially rejects, or “challenges,” a ballot if the signature doesn’t match the one on file at the elections office, or if a voter fails to sign his or her ballot. At that point, Elections sends the voter a letter and asks them to remedy the problem. Many people just ignore or never get around to filling out the response form, and those ballots are never counted.

That’s no big deal in races where the margin is wide, but in close races like that in District 1, literally every ballot counts. Ballot chasers match up the list of voters whose ballots were challenged with voters who are likely to vote for their candidate, based on demographics, past voting history (did they vote in previous council races, or stick to just the top of the ballot?) and doorbelling records from the campaign. Interestingly, because the election is technically over, spending limits and rules barring coordination between independent expenditure groups and campaigns no longer apply, giving rise to efforts by outside groups that support campaigns to do all they can to pitch in.

And to emails like this one, from the director of the Civic Alliance for a Sound Economy (CASE), the political arm of the Seattle Chamber (bolds mine):

Good afternoon,

This weekend is make or break for Shannon Braddock’s campaign for Seattle City Council. With so few votes between candidates in District 1, the campaign with the strongest ballot chasing effort is expected to win this election.

Shannon is in urgent need of volunteers.

Please consider stepping up to volunteer this weekend and recruit your friends. A script and instructions will be provided for you to contact likely Shannon supporters whose ballots have been invalidated by the county.

[…] This is the homestretch! Let’s make it count.

Best,

[Mark] Markham

 

Ironically, perhaps, Braddock herself sent an email to her supporters last week expressing indignation that council member Kshama Sawant had called “on her supporters to intervene in our election process in favor of Lisa Herbold.” In fact—as the Herbold campaign pointed out in its own response email to supporters—the letter in question from Sawant is mostly focused on District 2 candidate Tammy Morales, who is trailing council incumbent Bruce Harrell by 357 votes, though it does urge Sawant’s supporters to  help “defeat the developer-approved candidate in District 1, Shannon Braddock.” In her email, Herbold said that although “help offered is appreciated,” the campaign told Sawant, “like we’ve told others, that we have a strategy to win this race. Our team continues to work to implement our strategy for our district.

An automatic recount is triggered if two candidates are separated by 0.5 percent or less of the total vote in their race.

Binders Full of Men

Reposted, with edits, from Facebook. The Times’ panel did not respond to questions from readers who wanted to know why they chose an all-male panel, and editorial board (and panel) member Jonathan Martin referred my questions to Times editorial page editor Kate Riley.

Days after an election in which Seattle elected the first majority-female city council since the 1990s, the Seattle Times and Crosscut are each holding all-male panels to analyze and discuss the election. Crosscut’s panel consists of three white guys–Christian Sinderman, John Wyble, and Charley Royer. The Times’ consists of one man of color, Sandeep Kaushik, and two white guys, Jonathan Martin and Danny Westneat.

Item No. 7304. City Council Inspection Tour on Kinnear Park Lawn, 1900. (Record Series 8200-13)

Seattle City Archives.

I wish I didn’t have to say this again so soon after the Times held an all-white-male panel to discuss the region’s transportation issues, and justified it by saying that they were looking for diversity of opinions, not diversity diversity, but here goes again: Actual diversity matters, not just “diversity of opinions.”

When panel planners say “we just got the best possible people available,” I think immediately of all the boys’ clubs from which I and women like me are excluded, not because we don’t have something to say but because we aren’t a friend of the guy who guards the door to the clubhouse. Blogs link blogs by their friends, public intellectuals and politicians and pundits signal boost for people they already know and just feel “comfortable” with, and the media give a boost to those who are already in power. When media gatekeepers say they just couldn’t find any women or people of color who were “qualified” to talk about an issue, I can almost without exception spout off a dozen examples of people outside the professional pundit class to prove them wrong. The only difference is that the middle-age white guys who always get picked have sat on those stages many times before, and are therefore the first people that come to mind for lazy panel planners.

Yes, it takes two seconds to think of and reach out to people who aren’t your default idea of “panelist.”

Yes, it’s easier to just ask the likes of Charley Royer, Christian Sinderman, and John Wyble to sit on the same stage they’ve sat on dozens of times before and offer their perspectives.

But let’s not forget that there are many, many women, including consultants and pundits, who actively participated in and commented these elections who are more than capable of sitting on a panel and offering their opinions and analysis–and that, importantly, their analysis will be qualitatively different because they are women.

In the comments, the Times’ Martin and an editorial member who moderated the all-male panel I wrote about previously, Thanh Tan, said that they had to throw the panel together at the last minute (why? the election date was no surprise), that, as Tan put it, “These guys are strong allies of women,” and that moderating a discussion by other people is just as important as actually expressing opinions or appearing as an expert on a subject. The two Times editorial board members also did backflips to note that the Times has women in leadership, that the moderator, Caitlyn Moran, is a woman, and that some of their previous “Livewire” discussions have included women. (Actually, the two panels that did have two or more women were about education and affordable housing, while panels on “hard” subjects like China were reserved exclusively for men.)

 

I hope it’s clear that whether some of their best friends are women or not, there is no excuse for an all-male panel in 2015, especially on this election. And frankly, I don’t care if your moderator is a woman. Facilitation, in contrast to speaking, has always been a traditionally female role, and while facilitating the discussions of others is important, it is not at all the same as being the one on stage who gets to express their perspective and opinions.  As Lauren Burgeson pointed out when I wrote about the Times’ all-male transportation panel, you can’t be what you can’t see, and hidebound institutions like the Seattle Times and Crosscut (whose writing staff, unlike the Times, actually consists entirely of white men, and which just hired another white man as editor) to inspire women to enter public spaces (and run for office) when the only examples you elevate are the same old white dudes who get pushed onstage every election.

It’s 2015. Let’s end this. It’s time for the Seattle Times, Crosscut, and other power-wielding institutions to stop making excuses and start elevating women, people of color, and other marginalized populations. If you haven’t done so on Facebook already, or even if you have, please help me out by naming some folks you would suggest for panels in the future, in the hope that they’ll listen and amplify voices that actually represent the Seattle of today, not the Seattle of 150 years ago.

Going To the Candidates’ Debate(s)

Nine simultaneous council races this year have turned my Twitter feed, at times, into a nonstop livestream of debates and forums where a parade of candidates workshopped their views on every issue from affordable housing to anti-LGBTQ hate crimes to transportation. From Broadview to Highland Park to Rainier Beach, the candidates, sometimes visibly tired and stumbling through their rehearsed remarks, attempted to define themselves against each other, a process that led to some memorable stumbles and some real line-in-the-sand differentiations on major issues. I went to every debate and forum I could, and livetweeted every one. For the still-undecided, or those who remain curious about what the candidates said when only a few dozen people were watching, here’s my roundup of notable moments from the general-election debates, organized by district and position. This post includes only previously unpublished material; for specific debates I covered on this blog or other coverage of the candidates, scroll through my recent posts or search for the candidates you’re interested in.

Remember, Election Day is November 3—get your ballots in or postmarked by 8pm!

District 1 (West Seattle): Lisa Herbold and Shannon Braddock

Lisa Herbold, on the city’s mandatory paid sick and safe leave law

I  was one of the folks involved in the passage of Seattle’s paid sick and safe leave law in 2011. That gave access to 130,000 workers in the city who had no access to paid leave. Three days out sick is a week’s worth of groceries for an average family.

But our laws are only as good as their enforcement. We need funding for both outreach to workers and education and funding investigators to do investigations. And that means targeting those individuals that are most likely to have frequent violations. Complaints should not be the only way to address labor law enforcement.

Shannon Braddock, on racial profiling by police:

The Community Police Commission is a very important part of oversight. My boyfriend, who I’ve been with for about three years, is African-American and I have been pulled over while I’ve been in a car with him more times than I have in my entire life. So having an awareness about that and being accountable to understanding what that means is really important. I know that I am not in a place to understand what it’s like to be profiled like that, but I am willing to be aware of what it’s like and make myself accountable to what it takes to make sure that we are following through [with efforts to combat racially biased policing].

District 2 (Southeast Seattle): Bruce Harrell and Tammy Morales

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Tammy Morales, on police accountability: 

The consent decree that we’re under right now was driven by community activists, civil rights activists, who were concerned about the unconstitutional policing within the city. So that is why we have a consent decree with the DOJ. And I would remind everyone that my opponent was against the intervention before he was for the intervention. It’s really important that this is a community driven process. We have to make sure that [the Community Police Commission] becomes and remains a permanent institution, so that our community has a real say in what factors in to reform.

Second, what I think we can’t do is rely on technology to solve the problem with unconstitutional policing. Body cameras are not the solution. Civil rights organizations across the country have said that surveilling the community is not going to solve the deep structural problem in our police departments. First of all, the cameras aren’t even on the police, they’re on the community. That’s not going to solve the issue. Second, we have video of the police brutality against citizens in this city and nothing is done to them. They’re not investigated, or their cases are settled at taxpayer expense, and those police are still on the force. So if we’re serious about reform, we have to do much more than relying on body cameras, which are expensive and ineffective, and I hope that you will support me in looking for other solutions.

Bruce Harrell, on keeping neighborhoods affordable for residents and small businesses: 

The most affordable housing is the housing people already have. We’re displacing people because they can’t fix their roof, they can’t pay their taxes. So the first thing is, I want to make sure that we preserve as much [housing] as possible. The second thing is, we have to be very aggressive on when we build and what we build around transit-oriented development. We have a lot of low-hanging fruit in terms of areas where we can aggressively build. And the third thing is, we need to get out from under state preemption where we can’t stabilize and look at the rates of rent that we can charge in the city. Our housing is in crisis. Local municipalities should be able to control these policies. We can’t build our way out of the problem.

[With small minority- and immigrant-owned businesses], I would talk to them and, if it was an African-American business,  say, “Are you catering to 8 percent of the population or 100 percent of the population?” And I would actually make our office of economic development assist these businesses with expanding their products and services to make sure they survive.

District 3 (Central Seattle): Kshama Sawant and Pamela Banks

Pamela Banks, on the Move Seattle levy: 

I do support having the districts get to figure out what is implemented in our district. I think our challenge is that we’re dealing with three transit agencies—Sound Transit, Metro and SDOT. We have two streetcars that don’t connect. People are very, very frustrated. I’ve gone to over 1,000 homes and the number one and two issues are transportation and public safety. I think we really have to take a hard look. We cannot continue having every mode of transportation on every street. It is causing gridlock, it is causing havoc in neighborhoods, and I also think the DOT needs to be out talking to people a little bit more. People are appalled about some of the road diets that are happening in District 3 and District 2. People feel like they weren’t notified and that  it’s being done to us and not for us. And i think that that’s one of the things we’re going to have to take a hard look at with the levy, to make sure that everything is equitably distributed, and if we’re going to pass it, we cannot let this levy be a surplant to existing transportation dollars. That’s what tends to happen. Bridging the Gap did not provide everyone everything that was promised. This is a continuation of that levy. We need to make sure that everything is distributed equitably and that we’re getting everything that we paid for.

Kshama Sawant, on expanding parental leave:

I don’t think it’s enough to just say we’ll use our general fund dollars [to expand paid parental leave at the city from four to 12 weeks], because right now the budget is grossly inadequate to meet the needs of our city, let alone the needs for paid leave of city employees. A tax on millionaires is something we want to seriously work on. I know elected officials will tell you that’s not legal, but look at the legal measures like the employee hours tax that the city has refueled to use. And we need to expand the 12-week program to all workers in the city of Seattle. All workers need 12 weeks of paid parental leave. We need to mandate that with all the big businesses as well.

District 4 (Northeast Seattle): Michael Maddux and Rob Johnson

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Michael Maddux, on hate crimes and other challenges facing the LGBTQ community:

We need to make sure we have adequate training, and relevant training, for our officers. This includes all parts of the city. As the only gay candidate, I’ve seen more and more parts of my community being brutalized. We need to make sure we have safe places for everyone across the city of Seattle, and I think part of that is that we need to be more proactive and do a better job of recruiting our officers from within our communities. Right now we have so many officers coming in from other parts of the county, other parts of the tri-county area. Let’s have a police department that looks like us, that represents us, that knows our area, and that cares about our area just as much as we do.

One thing I have focused on throughout my campaign is making sure that we build and staff an LGBTQ-focused community center that has emergency transitional housing on site for homeless LGBTQ youth. I know what that’s like. When I came out of the closet, my mother’s husband was not particularly fond of that fact, and I lived in a shelter. The need is there. We need to make sure that we as a city tell the LGBTQ youth across the city and across our region and across the  whole Northwest that this is where those kids can go, that they do in fact matter, and we’re going to spend the money to ensure they they have the same options at economic development and life that other kids have.

Rob Johnson, on how to keep District 4 affordable:

The most important issue is around funding the public school system. Historically, schools north of the Ship Canal have been able to support a lot of in-school and after-school programs using community-funded, parent-backed fundraising.

The HALA recommendations give us the ability to diversify and bring in more low-income and working families into the North End. One of the most important things we can do is change the way people apply for apartments. Oftentimes, if you want to look at a couple different apartments, you have to apply at several different places and fill out several different forms and pay several different fees. I would like to standardize that form so you only have to fill out form one time.

District 5 (North Seattle): Sandy Brown and Debora Juarez

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Debora Juarez, on why she supports the HALA recommendations:

I’m proud of HALA because it was done with a race and social justice and equity lens. When did a person who had to sleep in a doorway become a trespasser? When did a drug policy called zero tolerance became an education policy? When did a person who had to panhandle for food become an aggressive panhandler and a criminal?

I grew up in a transgenerational community. I think affordable housing means keeping the  character of our neighborhoods and keeping us in our homes and also keeping our kids near us and our parents with us. We’ve got to keep Seattle affordable, and one of the ways that we do that is being really clear about the 65 recommendations that are in the mayor’s HALA report, which I support. We have to have density in particular areas, while recognizing that not everyone can ride a bike to work.

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Sandy Brown, on his concerns about Move Seattle: 

I’m going to vote for Move Seattle because I’m from Seattle and I always vote for whatever levy is on the ballot. But I grieved about it. I looked to see what’s going to be done in District 5. Nothing’s going to be done on Aurora in Move Seattle. Nothing’s going to be done on Lake City Way. It’s great to see that it specifies 101 blocks of pedestrian infrastructure in Broadview, that’s good,  but we’ve got huge needs in North Seattle. Why doesn’t the D [bus] line go all way up Greenwood?  I regret that there are pieces that, to me,  don’t work particularly well for North Seattle. Move Seattle only specified 150 blocks of new sidewalks, out of the 12,000 blocks without sidewalks in Seattle. That seems like not even a down payment on the investment that we need. …

We should have included in Move Seattle sidewalks for all arterials in North Seattle. We have waited many, many years in North Seattle, since annexation, for the city to provide this infrastructure.

District 6 (Northwest Seattle): Mike O’Brien and Catherine Weatbrook

IMG_0765Mike O’Brien, on inequality and the need to house the homeless:

Racism plays a significant role in everything that’s happening in the city. Frankly , I don’t think I fully appreciated how big a role racism plays in our city when I first ran for office. You name the system and embedded in that system is racism. My district is the least racially diverse in the city. …

We live in a process-driven city. It’s not, “Should homeless people live in my community or not?” Homeless people are in our community; they are our community. We have obligation to them. It’s embarrassing that in one of the richest cities in this country and one of the richest countries on this planet, we have to have so many human service providers to meet the basic needs of our people.

When was it decided that a police officer doing outreach on the street should make close to $100,000 but a social workers meeting  with people on the street makes $30,000 or $40,000, and it turns out that the professions that we pay less happen to be the professions that are dominated by women?IMG_1495

Catherine Weatbrook, on why she opposes the Move Seattle levy:

My opponent says it’s great, it’s innovative, it’s wonderful. I actually see it as a complete, abject failure. The reason we have so much of a [transportation] backlog is that we have not forced the developers to pay linkage fees to help maintain our roads. Yeah, there’s great projects in there, but I have a lot of trouble getting behind this without making sure that developers are also paying those impact fees.

District 7 (Downtown, Queen Anne, Magnolia): Sally Bagshaw and Deborah Zech-Artis

Debora Zech-Artis, on the need for more dog parks in District 7:

Down on 3rd and Bell, there used to be big drug park. They brought the dogs in and the drug people went away. We have more dogs than children in this city and we need to have open space for them.

Sally Bagshaw, on Black Lives Matter:

I just read an article by a New York Times writer [expressing] huge concern that we have Black Lives Matter and [saying that], yes, we need to work with the police, but over the past 12 years, 90,000 African-American men went nationwide were killed by African-American men. That is a problem and a disconnect where we have to recognize that we need to work with our police department to make sure that our police have reduced that racial animosity that we know has been felt all across the nation, and we have to recognize at the same time, bringing people into the conversation, that our racial issues start with education. The work that we’ve done with universal pre-K getting our kids ready for school; making sure that parents have good jobs so they can support their families–all of those are things that we want, and people in the city of Seattle need to bring the group back together and talk about how do we make that happen.

Position 8 (Citywide): Jon Grant and Tim Burgess

Jon Grant, on his plan for affordable housing (and why he was the lone “no” vote against the HALA recommendations):

I’ve been on front lines of trying to make Seattle affordable, and we absolutely can ask for more. I was on the mayor’s HALA committee and I was the one person who said we can do more. We call it the Grand Compromise–there were 50 percent of the people on that committee who were representing developers. If that was a grand compromise with the developers, I would like to see a grand compromise with the community. And I think we can do more affordable housing to stop economic displacement. It is outrageous that your rent can be doubled in a single year, and anyone who tells you otherwise is taking money from downtown developers, and that is folly. I have taken a pledge not to take any money from downtown developers so that you know I stand with you.

Tim Burgess, on why he is backing the “Grand Compromise”:

What the mayor has recommended to the city council is going to fundamentally change how city deals with affordable housing. I think it’s remarkable that we had 28 individuals–well, 27, actually–on the mayor’s advisory committee that represented neighborhoods, labor unions, social justice advocacy groups, affordable housing providers, businesses, developers, and landlords. They all  came together and for first time in the city’s history have said, “Let’s make sure that every multifamily building constructed in Seattle is also providing affordable housing, and that every commercial building is contributing its fair share to building affordable housing.”

And both of them, on youth violence prevention:

Position 9 (Citywide): Bill Bradburd and Lorena Gonzalez

Lorena Gonzalez, on HALA and housing policies that have been stacked against low-income people and minorities:

This city council, like any other entity, is a power structure institutionally, historically, and intentionally designed to exclude people like me. I think it’s really important for to us to recognize that these are power structures that make really big decisions that impact your youth, women, people of color, every single day. We have created a system in our city where we push people into certain neighborhoods where they don’t have access to the services they need to be successful. It does not get past me that opportunity is the key to success in our city.

A pro-density candidate can seize on of all of the economic growth we’re experiencing as a city and not be scared of it. We do have to manage it. There’s no question that there is a segment of our population that is being displaced, predominately low-income folks and communities of color and other underrepresented communities s from fixed income people down the line. The HALA recommendations gave us some really solid tools to be able to move the needle so we can have a place for both market-rate housing and for folks who don’t have the capacity to afford market-rate housing.

Bill Bradburd, on the same plan: 

It’s a huge mistake. The Grand Bargain is more of a grand blackmail in order to keep developers from suing the city for putting in more stringent requirements. …

Amazon workers are displacing our people. They’re taking over our land and taking over our city. We need to put far more energy into taking care of our own first. We choose to upzone our neighborhoods and the stuff that goes in is high-priced housing which the people who live here cannot afford. These are the people that want to see gentrification in our city, because they are the people that build the high-end housing that hour communities are being displaced for. The market will not build affordable housing. The city has to be far more actively engaged in subsidizing the production of affordable housing.

The C Is for Crank “Interviews”: Kshama Sawant

As I’ve mentioned in all 17 previous posts in this series, city council member Kshama Sawant refused to speak with me, even after I offered to send questions in advance and make other concessions in the hope that she would sit down and talk. Sawant did not give any reason for her repeated refusals, and in fact has been absolutely cordial and pleasant to me throughout this campaign (including at three candidate forums I moderated in which she was a participant).

In lieu of an interview, then, I offer you the next best thing: Some highlights of a recent candidate forum for Town Hall that I co-moderated (along with Dani A’skini of the Gender Justice League, Jazmin Williams with Rouge Lioness, and Bryan Adamson from the Seattle University School of Law), during which I got to ask Sawant (and Banks) some of the questions I would have liked to ask her during a sit-down interview. During that forum, Sawant went beyond her well-trodden rhetoric about rent control and evil “big developers” to talk about solutions beyond crowd-friendly but unworkable ideas like a “millionaire’s tax” and rent control, including transit expansion, tenant protections, and assistance for small businesses.

Makes me wish I could have gotten her to elaborate in person.

hK3R1YUJOn what she would do, in addition to rent control, to preserve and promote housing affordability:

Just last week, I was in a building owned by slumlord Carl Haglund where tenants face appalling conditions—rats, roaches, and mold infestation. We need new laws to defend tenants against slumlords and against economic evictions. Let’s begin the work and let’s build on the work that we’ve done.

The affordable housing crisis is multifaceted. You need to build more affordable housing units, but you also need strategies to make the new and existing units affordable. So in addition to rent control, we also need other tactics and other policies in order to make housing affordable. The city has bonding capacity to tune of a billion dollars. Bonding capacity is used to build stadiums and other capital projects. We could use it for building affordable housing units, and given the scale of the crisis that we face, I would say it’s high time that we deploy the city’s bonding capacity to build tens of thousand of affordable housing units every year so that the crisis stalls.

In addition to that, we need to make big developers pay. I’ve been calling for the most robust possible commercial and residential linkage fee. It’s a fee on developers. That fee, if it is robust and if it is put into place without phasing, that is, immediately, will generate a large fund that the city will have in its treasury to build affordable units. In addition to the bonding capacity, making big developers pay, and rent control, we also need to strengthen tenants’ rights in many different directions.

I want to share with you why we are arguing for rent control as part of this comprehensive policy program. Wouldn’t it be nice if you had a law, and wouldn’t it be reasonable if you had a law, that said that your landlord cannot increase your rent if they have pending housing code violations? That sounds reasonable and rational. But because of the ban being so absolute, we are not allowed to do that in the city.

On how she will connect with and represent marginalized communities to which she does not personally belong:

Earlier this year, I hosted an LGBT town hall in Capitol Hill in order to address the serious rise in crime against the LGBT community, and that town hall was headed by a panel of four grassroots activists who then went on to hold a town hall that made recommendations, including recommending  an LGBT community center in Seattle. Seattle is the only metropolitan area without an LGBT community center. I’m going to be looking into that in our budget season this year.

In addition to that, our district is facing massive gentrification issues, which is primarily impacting African American people. We used to be 80 percent African American in the CD. Now they are less than 30 percent. And the primary issue that we need to be focused on in regards to gentrification is the lack of affordable housing. And that is why we’ve already begun the process of building a movement and generating agreement on the council in order to pass progressive housing policy.

Often the transgender community gets overlooked and mistreated. … The question of trans health has become really prominent on both the city and the state’s agenda. I would say we need to push for single-payer health care, both citywide and statewide, in order to make sure that the transgender community never, ever faces the discrimination when they go for health care, which is one of the main reasons they face discrimination. The issue of homelessness disproportionately impacts the transgender and the LGBT community. That is why we need full funding for all social services. That encompasses homeless services.

The problem seem to me to be not a lack of activists—what we have a lack of is revenues to fully fund social services. That is why I’m calling for a millionaires’ tax and other progressive taxation, which we urgently need to create the revenues in the city’s treasury so that we can fund fully the needs of the homeless population, especially the LGBT homeless population. We also need funding for youth jobs, but specifically jobs and apprenticeship programs that are targeted at the African American community, at the LGBT community, at the immigrant community, because these are the most marginalized communities. But again, in order to do that, we need candidates who don’t take money from big businesses and will dedicate themselves single-mindedly to all of these communities.

On how she will work to protect small businesses:

The city council uses small business rhetoric as a shield while giving away sweetheart deals to big business. So what does a small business policy program look like? The city should support longer term leases for small businesses that want a real future. We need policies that allow for longer notices for large rent increases, and as a matter of fact, small businesses need rent control too. We also need to set up a municipal bank in order to make sure that small businesses and aspiring small business owners have access to low-interest capital so that they can begin their journey in representing Seattle. We also need excise taxes on big businesses to create a fund to help small businesses, especially in the immigrant- and minority-owned business community so that we have small businesses encouraged in the most marginalized communities.

I’ve been talking to many small business owners in the Pike-Pine corridor and it seems that many of them favor the Pike-Pine program, and what they’re saying is that it has helped not only in public safety, but it has also helped the smallest businesses because it will bring more foot traffic. There’s another really good point that’s being made by the business owners, which is to look at Pike Place Market. Pike Place Market is a thriving community of small businesses, but [the group helped by street closures] is the really small businesses where some of the most marginalized people, artists, are in Pike Place Market. It would be great if we could have that kind of facility created in the heart of Capitol Hill, because it is already the most commercially thriving district. Artists made Capitol Hill what it is. From what we hear, this would be a good idea.

But I think that the end of the day, we need our leaders to pay attention to which candidates are taking the most money from big businesses. If you have money from the CEOs of big businesses, you’re not going to be an advocate for small businesses.

On how the city should approach the problem of gang violence in District 3:

First of all, remember that the police force  accounts for about half of the city’s budget already, so we should ask where are those funds going so we can get some clarity. As far as the gun violence and shootings are concerned, it’s absolutely tragic. What these communities deserve are answers as to why this is happening. Ultimately, we know that the real issue is inequality that impacts young people of color from birth onwards. We as a society have failed these young people, and the question should be what can we do to make it better. The experience of young black people and young people of color in the neighborhoods is that they feel that the police are an occupying force, and instead we need the police to spend their time and resources dealing with the communities. We are open to the question of a reasonable police force, but we cannot answer that question in a fair manner, in a reasonable manner, unless we deal with this as a larger question of inequity and persistent racial inequality in our city.

When inequality goes up, so does crime and violence. So as we deal with crime, we need to have policies across the board that are [promoting] affordable housing and new jobs, and that’s why I’m recommending that we double the funding for Career Bridge and Youth Build, two really successful programs, and also increase funding for the Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative, and also massively increasing funding for apprenticeship and reapprenticeship programs.

We also need to make sure that we have an elected civilian oversight committee that can hold police accountable, with real subpoena power, so that we can have a real transformation of the police force.

Tenants rights [includes] specifically eliminating barriers to those who were incarcerated, barriers to their ability to rent homes. That is what we are working on next year. I was the only council member on both the city council and the county council to vote ‘no’ on a new youth jail, and what I said was if the county has $200 million to fund a new youth jail to lock up our kids, then the county has $200 million to fund youth jobs.

On the Move Seattle levy, which would increase property taxes to raise $930 million for transportation over nine years:

I support the Move Seattle levy, and I think that we should pass it this year and not wait for a future occasion. There is also concern about if Move Seattle primarily is going to fund the structural needs of our transportation system in our city, and that’s absolutely necessary, but we need to go much farther than that. The people of Seattle need improved road infrastructure, but we also need increased transit options in the city itself, which means that we need a full expansion of Metro bus service. And what is why I am calling for a tax on millionaires in the city next year, so that we can commit the funds to generate a real world-class mass transportation system which will include feeder routes and 24 hour bus service. But to do all of this, we need, once again, leadership on the council to push for these initiatives, because these initiatives primarily help working people. They don’t help big developers. They don’t help big businesses. Which is why we need real leadership who will fight for working people.

Shannon Braddock, District 1 

Lisa Herbold, District 1

Bruce Harrell, District 2

Tammy Morales, District 2

Michael Maddux, District 4

Rob Johnson, District 4

Mike O’Brien, District 6

Catherine Weatbrook, District 6

Deborah Zech-Artis, District 7

Sally Bagshaw, District 7

Tim Burgess, Position 8

Jon Grant, Position 8

Lorena Gonzalez, Position 9

Bill Bradburd, Position 9

Bruce Harrell, District 2

Tammy Morales, District 2

Pamela Banks , District 3

Michael Maddux, District 4

Rob Johnson, District 4

Mike O’Brien, District 6

Catherine Weatbrook, District 6

Deborah Zech-Artis, District 7

Sally Bagshaw, District 7

Tim Burgess, Position 8

Jon Grant, Position 8

Lorena Gonzalez, Position 9

Bill Bradburd, Position 9

The C Is for Crank Interviews: Pamela Banks

Now that the primary-election field of 47 has been narrowed to a comparatively manageable 18, I’m sitting down with all the council candidates to talk about what they’ve learned so far, their campaign plans going forward, and their views on the issues that will shape the election, including density, “neighborhood character,” crime, parking, police accountability, and diversity. I’ll be rolling out all 17 of my interviews (Kshama Sawant was the only candidate who declined to sit down with me) over the next few weeks.

If you want to help me continue to do interviews like this one, plus on-the-ground reporting, deep dives on issues like affordability and transportation, breaking news, and incisive analysis, please consider becoming a sustaining supporter by pledging a few bucks at Patreon. This work costs money and (lots of) time, so I really appreciate every bit of support I receive from my readers.

Today’s interview: District 3 candidate Pamela Banks, the president of the Seattle Urban League. Banks is running against council incumbent Kshama Sawant, who refused to speak with me despite repeated requests, including an offer to provide questions in advance. Sawant did not provide any reason for refusing an interview.

Banks and I sat down at the Grean House Cafe in the Central District.

1425590208-_mg_4175The C Is for Crank [ECB]: You’re obviously the underdog in this race against an opponent with both high name recognition and a huge constituency among young people in this district [which includes Capitol Hill]. What was your takeaway from the primary results, and what’s your strategy to win?

Pamela Banks [PB]: For me, it was where I wanted to be. I wanted her to be below 55 percent and I wanted us over 35 and we were. [Sawant won with 52.03 percent to Banks’ 34.1 percent.]

Her name recognition meant a lot in this race. As many people as I talked to in this race, a lot of people didn’t know we were going to districts, and they voted on name recognition. We had the highest turnout, though. We went from second lowest, right above Southeast Seattle, to the first. So we just have to do more education, get more people engaged in this process  If African American people didn’t vote, if women didn’t vote, then we wouldn’t have Barack Obama as president. The votes are there. We just have to get them.

People feel like certain issues she has latched onto sound good in sound bites, like “tax the rich” and rent control. But a lot of the voters in this district are elderly African Americans,  and they’re worried about property taxes and all these levies. No one’s talking about that. The mayor is talking about utility assistance and expanding access to that program, which is great, but we need to be talking about people who are homeowners and are worried about their property taxes.

[Sawant] is a person of color, but her campaign staff and her city staff don’t reflect much diversity. For me, it’s more about being able to connect with all the people of the district and not alienate people where they live around issues of race. Gun violence is up 32 percent in our neighborhood for African American males. There is a crisis of gun violence if you’re black. With Black Lives Matter, she’s only talked about the police needing to be investigated for how they’re treating the protesters. I don’t know that she understands the history of slavery, the Jim Crow laws, and the impacts that has had on our community. If you’re not from here and you don’t understand the history of this country…

If we’re going to talk about housing affordability, we’re going to have to talk to developers. We need to look at things that provide tenant protections, giving them more time to find a new place when an owner comes and buys a building to flip it. There should be six months notice and relocation assistance.

But I’m telling people that rent control doesn’t work. If rent control worked, San Francisco wouldn’t have the highest income inequality in the nation. We need affordable units and we need them now. Even if the city council passed a resolution saying we want the state to lift the ban on rent control, with the Republican-controlled House and Senate, that couldn’t pass quickly. It would be years. Rent control advantages people who are in those affordable units and also leads to disinvestment. Most economists say it doesn’t work. I just educate people that it doesn’t work.

ECB: If not rent control, then what’s the solution to preserve housing affordability in District 3? Do you support the HALA recommendations?

PB: In five or ten years with HALA, I don’t know that you’re going to get in all the units that we need. I’d like to see more affordable housing at Yesler Terrace. We’ve made a commitment to replace 500 units that are extremely low-income there. I would like to see what happened in the past when we’ve done this. We should look at what happened in New Holly, in High Point, in Rainier Vista, to see if we can truly get diversity into Yesler Terrace and not just extremely low-income people.

I’d like to see an analysis of what they were supposed to do. It was going to include low-income market rate rentals and homeownership. We should look at that and see how we can make Yesler Terrace more diverse. I walk a lot to meetings downtown, and when I walked through Yesler Terrace recently I was thinking, we’re going to get 591 units back [from the original Yesler Terrace, which is being torn down]. What’s going to help middle-income people get into a place like that? Are they going to build any [homes for] ownership or is it all going to be rentals? I’d like to see some of the suggestions in HALA address that.

ECB: Do you support mandatory inclusionary zoning, requiring developers to build affordable housing in exchange for upzones?

PB: I think we should go higher. I totally support doing that in the single-family zones that are on the edges of urban village, that 6 percent [that HALA proposes to convert from single-family to low-rise multifamily]—do it. If it’s going to work, we have to do that. When you go to other cities, it works. But make it scale down as you go toward single-family, so it’s not like a little mini-downtown.

ECB: Can you give an example of a mini-downtown?

PB: I look at the [Angeline] project in Columbia City and it looks little out of scale. I worked there when it was a swap meet, when that was a trade well. It was businesses in those small business districts that were willing to take that risk coming into that neighborhood.

I do believe we have to build up. As I’ve doorbelled, I’ve seen some really cool [detached accessory dwelling units] and some small duplexes and triplexes that blend in to neighborhood. It’s not what they’re doing in the CD, taking down one single-family house and replacing it with an eight-unit block of townhouses. I support that if it’s affordable, but those townhouses are $650,000 to start. I didn’t believe it when I heard it, even with $1,800 studios in Columbia City.

ECB: Crime is still a big issue in this district, and violent crime, not the property crimes people talk about in the North End. What is your strategy for reducing crime in District 3?

PB: There are too many guns in people’s hands. As of june 30, SPD had confiscated more guns than in than in the entire last year and we’re probably going to surpass 2013 and 2014 soon. The ATF is here and we don’t know why. [Last month, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms confirmed it had placed surveillance cameras all around the Central District]. What disturbed me about the cameras was that there was no public process. That’s what disturbed me, and that we don’t know what they’re looking for. We’ve got to do something different. Cameras solve crimes. They don’t prevent crimes, but they solve them. I supported cameras with a sunset date in some of the hot spots, because we are trying to address this issue in the same way over and over again and expecting a different result.

We are not going to solve crimes until we have trust. Building the community-police relationship at a granular level is huge. In the ’90s, we had captains that stayed at a precinct longer than a year or six months. Captain Pierre [Davis] at the East Precinct would be able to see where the violent crime has been but he’s no longer there. We have to have some stability at the precinct level. I haven’t seen the mobile precinct—that’s the van that goes from spot to spot—in a long time. When it’s parked, you don’t get all this craziness.

Nothing is more frustrating me than when I’m told as a citizen and a taxpayer that it’s a resource issue. We need to get more people patrolling in the community rather than [SPD] telling us the mobile van is broken, or the guy that drives it is on vacation. You don’t want to hear, “We have a resources issue.” When that van was parked in the Red Apple parking lot, at Judkins, at Powell Barnett Park, you didn’t see that kind of problem. Hot spot policing works, but only if it’s done consistently.

ECB: I’ve heard a lot of complaints about the ongoing Metro construction along 23rd Ave. How would you rate the job SDOT and Metro are doing?

PB: I personally believe the city did the worst job ever with outreach. I went to all of the community hearings that I could, and they did that to the community, not for the community. They didn’t ask us. They said, “it’s going to slow traffic, no one wants to get hit by a car,” and people in the neighborhood are like, “no one can get to us.”

Parking on the street is a privilege. The challenge is that we’re trying to build a world-class transit system in an already built environment. If  people had bus service that ran every 10 or even 15 minutes, people would get out of their cars and ride the bus.

What I’d like to do is a parking survey. When you go downtown at night, there’s a lot of loading zones now from 8 at night until 8 in the morning. People aren’t going to catch transit to go to the theater and dinner—they just aren’t! We need to do a survey of loading zones. For example, around Fifth Avenue Theatre, which is where I like to go, there are loading zones right in front and all around it. It would help just do a survey. As I’ve traveled around the district and had to park, I do like that they have meters that cost more at peak. I think that encourages turnover. You can actually find parking on the street, and that’s a win for me.

Shannon Braddock, District 1 

Lisa Herbold, District 1

Bruce Harrell, District 2

Tammy Morales, District 2

Michael Maddux, District 4

Rob Johnson, District 4

Mike O’Brien, District 6

Catherine Weatbrook, District 6

Deborah Zech-Artis, District 7

Sally Bagshaw, District 7

Tim Burgess, Position 8

Jon Grant, Position 8

Lorena Gonzalez, Position 9

Bill Bradburd, Position 9

Bruce Harrell, District 2

Tammy Morales, District 2

Michael Maddux, District 4

Rob Johnson, District 4

Mike O’Brien, District 6

Catherine Weatbrook, District 6

Deborah Zech-Artis, District 7

Sally Bagshaw, District 7

Tim Burgess, Position 8

Jon Grant, Position 8

Lorena Gonzalez, Position 9

Bill Bradburd, Position 9

The C Is for Crank Interviews: Debora Juarez

Now that the primary-election field of 47 has been narrowed to a comparatively manageable 18, I’m sitting down with all the council candidates to talk about what they’ve learned so far, their campaign plans going forward, and their views on the issues that will shape the election, including density, “neighborhood character,” crime, parking, police accountability, and diversity. I’ll be rolling out all 17 of my interviews (Kshama Sawant was the only candidate who declined to sit down with me) over the next few weeks.

If you want to help me continue to do interviews like this one, plus on-the-ground reporting, deep dives on issues like affordability and transportation, breaking news, and incisive analysis, please consider becoming a sustaining supporter by pledging a few bucks at Patreon. This work costs money and (lots of) time, so I really appreciate every bit of support I receive from my readers.

Today’s interview is with Deborah Juarez, a lawyer, member of the Blackfeet tribe, and former King County Superior Court judge who’s running in North Seattle’s District 5.

debora_juarez-1The C Is for Crank [ECB]: You’re not someone I’ve seen around much in local politics before this election. Did the new district elections system make a difference in your decision to run?

Debora Juarez [DJ]: Because we now have a district elections system, two things are happening. People are feeling in the mix because we’re a district. Having a district system is getting people motivated and activated and getting more people involved in the process. And it isn’t just any particular interest group that wants a bike lane or to save the [Lake City] beach. What we’re actually talking about is, what is District Five going to look like in four years? I want to represent and advocate for the district and honor them while also serve the greater Seattle area.

When you run in a district, you live with the people who elected you, which is great. What I like about it is, because I’ve lived here for 25 years in five different neighborhoods, as a homeowner and a renter, people aren’t worried about me going on and on about Shell. They care about affordable housing, getting a transit center, connecting Thornton Creek and the North Seattle Community College, building a real community center with real services. A community center is almost like a neighborhood tribal center. Everything’s there: Social services, evening classes,  open space. A real community center doesn’t mean a couple of rooms and a kitchen.

The other exciting part is economic vitality. Lake City is one the 18 urban centers targeted for development, and the question is, what does that look like? You know you want to be an economic anchor and engine and become a destination for the city. There needs to be equity and safety.  When I say “equity,” I mean, you can’t just serve rich neighborhoods on Lake Washington but not the places that surround them. There are some neighborhoods that need sidewalks more than others. I live on the bottom of a hill, and up the hill, they’ve all got sidewalks and they’re all brand new because when they built, they had [erosion problems], and so they needed them. I hope it goes beyond the squeaky wheel gets the grease. In Indian country, you would call that nation building.

ECB: Would you have considered running for city council if we did not have a district system?

DJ: I  would not be running for Seattle City Council if we hadn’t moved to a district system, because I don’t think one person can be accountable to a city as large and diverse as ours. [Under the current system], you have a council handwringing, and pandering, and not paying attention to their neighborhoods, because the downtown core and other certain groups had all the influence. This is my neighborhood. I have raised my kids here, despite the fact that I couldn’t have owned a house under the racial covenants that are mentioned in the HALA report. I’ve always been a renter. I didn’t know what a mortgage was until I went to law school. I was born in 1959 and my mom, in my neighborhood, could not have bought a house at that time.

ECB: Your opponent, Sandy Brown, has criticized you from taking a lot of money from out of town, much of it from members of Native American tribes outside the city. How do you respond?

DJThere are no borders when it comes to Indian country and how this area was established. They have sovereignty. When you question that, you’re basically saying that the tribes are outsiders and their money is somehow from outsiders. These are tribes. This is their land. And if people want to label them as outsiders or say it’s money from outside city limits, that it’s “outside money,” I’ll bite. Yes, the tribes want to do business with the city of Seattle. But the tribes have been in this area long before the city sf Seattle and this is their land. The tribes are supporting me because I’m one of them. I was raised with them.

ECB: You’re running for a districted seat, with boundaries, to represent a city that also has boundaries. Why is it not legitimate to ask what interests the tribes might have in giving you money?

DJ: It’s the Snoqualmie and Muckleshoot who are in King County. If you people want to draw lines like you do, fine. You ask what is their interest. You have the Muckleshoot and Snoqualmie tribes, who make up less than 3 percent of the King County population, and they’re the fourth largest employer in King County. Their workers live here. Who represents their interests? You have two sovereign nations within King County. Seattle is the biggest city in the state. The city of Seattle does rely on and seek the opinion of the Duwamish and the recognized Snoqualmie and Muckleshoot tribes. Everett worked really closely with the Tulalip. When you bring more people to the table, you have less lawsuits. The tribes diversify the economy. They diversify where they spend their money. They want to invest in Seattle.

When you say, “outsider,” [Ed. note: I said money from outside Seattle, not “outsider”], I find it offensive. I find it offensive that people would call the tribes outsiders. How are the tribes different from the people at Gates or Weyerhauser? The whole reason why the tribes support me is I’m one of them, and they care about me, and I came from the reservation. I’m a success story. They don’t want anything from me. I worked for the governor [as an attorney] and I negotiated on the other side, but they were glad I was there. It’s more philosophical. They’re proud for me and they love me.

ECB: Talking about some of the recommendations from the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda task force, your opponent has said that he thinks developers shouldn’t be allowed to build until neighborhoods have the amenities they need, including bus lines. Do you agree, and what did you think of the HALA recommendations?

DJ: I’m impressed that it was consensus-based and that there were only nine areas out of 65 recommendations where they didn’t agree. I don’t think you should wait [for density], because I don’t think anyone should have to sleep outside. It’s a red herring when people say we should wait until we have all the information before we can build affordable housing. As a person who’s built housing, golf courses, and casinos, I know the brick and mortar system and what happens when you want to build. There’s layers of decisions. It’s naive to think you have to build [infrastructure] before you can actually build housing. The tribes say, we’re going to put a casino here and a convention center there, and the way it gets built and how it gets planned happens the same way when you’re using debt financing and you have a public function. It’s still discussed the same way and the horse trading, as my people call, still happens. That’s how you build stuff.

[This debate] underscores why it’s good that we’re in a district system. We don’t have everyone to say, “This is how we did it before.” I know my neighborhood and I can say what we need. 

The city is very clear that we have quite a way to go [on outreach] on the north end. In [HALA] public comment, they only had, like, 100 responses from people. Some of them said they would rather have a dream neighborhood than a dream house. That was encouraging. What people really want is a neighborhood. A ZIP code is so key. Where your born shouldn’t determine the whole course of your life. HALA is what we need. It’s kind of like what happened when Al Gore did “An Inconvenient Truth.” It shook people’s consciences and made people uncomfortable, and when people get uncomfortable and caught off-guard, people get nervous.

ECB: It seems to me that after the HALA recommendations came out, the mayor and other supporters backtracked on some of the report’s language about how racist zoning covenants led to our current land use map and made certain parts of the city enclaves for wealthy white homeowners. Were you disappointed to see that happen?

DJ: I was disappointed. I think the white community is starting to realize this system and this constitution and this democracy were made for them. The constitution was written for white male property owners. It wasn’t until the 13th Amendment that black men could vote, and it still wasn’t allowed for women. Our people didn’t get to vote until 1932. HALA pushed back against that system.

ECB: What, if anything, did you learn from your DUI three years ago that was uncovered by the Seattle Times earlier this year?

DJ: The past is always with you, no matter how hard you try to look away. I’ve always said this and what I said about the DUI is that when you have pain and healing, it doesn’t mean damage doesn’t happen, but from the damage you heal. The Creator will teach you this lesson. It will come over and over and over again until you get it. It will come in different ways, that lesson, until you get it. I made the mistake. The difference is that it doesn’t mean that that’s the only thing I’ll ever do. I am flawed and I’m very vulnerable. I went through that pain with my mother and my daughters at my side. You can’t learn values unless you have had obstacles, unless you have had pain. You need those character-building experiences in your life, and that was one of them for me.

Previously:

Shannon Braddock, District 1

Lisa Herbold, District 1

Bruce Harrell, District 2

Tammy Morales, District 2

Michael Maddux, District 4

Rob Johnson, District 4

Sandy Brown, District 5

Mike O’Brien, District 6

Catherine Weatbrook, District 6

Deborah Zech-Artis, District 7

Sally Bagshaw, District 7

Tim Burgess, Position 8

Jon Grant, Position 8

Lorena Gonzalez, Position 9

Bill Bradburd, Position 9

A Last-Minute Challenge to Banks Endorsement in the 37th

The upheaval in the 37th District Democrats about the group’s endorsement process, which led to a narrow vote to endorse District 3 candidate Pamela Banks over council incumbent Kshama Sawant, in part, because Sawant is not a Democrat, continues to reverberate.

Late last week, Erin Schultz, who works for Banks’ consultant Christian Sinderman, sent out an “open letter from members of the 37th District Democrats” expressing concern about some members’ efforts “to disqualify the endorsement votes of some of our East African members based on who they supported for City Council. As Democrats, we are passionate about the right to vote, and we condemn any move to silence our members.”

Currently, the district’s rules say that a member must live in the district and must have been a dues-paying member for 25 days prior to a vote. Due to confusion over some new members, a few members may have voted who weren’t eligible, according to a statement district chair Rory O’Sullivan posted to the group’s website. According to two 37th District Democrats members, Banks needed at least 73 votes to win the endorsement, and received exactly that number.

Without the ineligible members, it’s possible that Banks wouldn’t have received the Dems’ nod. (The win would have then gone to “no endorsement,” the de facto Sawant endorsement). Banks finished far behind Sawant in the September primary, and has raised far less than the Socialist going into the general, making endorsements from groups like the Democrats more important than they might be for a candidate with a comfortable lead.

Commenting on my original Facebook post about this, a Democrat who was present at the meeting said she couldn’t remember any instance in this past where members sought to challenge people’s eligibility to vote on endorsements after the fact.

A couple of other random election-related notes:

District 5 candidate Sandy Brown, who came in far behind Debora Juarez in the primary election, is accusing Juarez of avoiding campaign forums where she’d have to appear with him. Late last month, Brown posted a series of tweets with hashtags like #whereisjuarez and #emptychair (sorry, Sandy, that one’s kinda already taken), such as this one, on September 23: “How do we debate N Seattle issues if 1/2 candidates won’t appear?” 

Asked about her absences (apparently, Juarez missed three appearances in September, but her campaign said she had attended “at least 23” by the time Brown wrote his tweets), Juarez’s campaign manager Tyler Emsky said, “Debora was out of town (on a short family trip) for the Sept. 3rd Haller Lake Community Club forum.  She also was not able to attend a small neighborhood block party on September 13th due to an unavoidable last minute personal situation. …We have also declined the invitation of the group putting on the Oct. 1st candidate forum at Ingraham High School. This was very tough for us to do, but we had little choice. We received information from multiple sources that a few members of the group had succeeded in setting up the debate to be highly impartial.” Three of people reportedly organizing that forum are Brown contributors.

The meeting Emsky was referring to was ultimately turned into a meet-and-greet for Brown’s campaign.

Speaking of campaign contributions, Vulcan, along with the SEIU 775 health care workers’ union, is holding a fundraiser on October 12 for Position 8 candidate Tim Burgess and Position 9 candidate Lorena Gonzalez, at SEIU headquarters downtown.

 

The C Is for Crank Interviews: Sandy Brown

Now that the primary-election field of 47 has been narrowed to a comparatively manageable 18, I’m sitting down with all the council candidates to talk about what they’ve learned so far, their campaign plans going forward, and their views on the issues that will shape the election, including density, “neighborhood character,” crime, parking, police accountability, and diversity. I’ll be rolling out all 17 of my interviews (Kshama Sawant was the only candidate who declined to sit down with me) over the next few weeks.

If you want to help me continue to do interviews like this one, plus on-the-ground reporting, deep dives on issues like affordability and transportation, breaking news, and incisive analysis, please consider becoming a sustaining supporter by pledging a few bucks at Patreon. This work costs money and (lots of) time, so I really appreciate every bit of support I receive from my readers.

Today’s interview is with Sandy Brown, a gun safety advocate and former Church Council leader who’s running in North Seattle’s District 5.

sandy-brown-v2The C Is for Crank [ECB]: You finished far behind your opponent, Debora Juarez, which must have come as a surprise given that many initially considered you the frontrunner in this eight-way race. What was your reaction to the lopsided [39.25-19.88] results, and do you think you have a path to victory?

Sandy Brown: I was surprised, a little, but when I think it through, it it’s not a surprise at all. The District 5 race has had more independent expenditures than any other race. [Most of that was a big spend by the Realtors on behalf of fourth-place finisher Kris Lethin; full IE details available at the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission]. The final three weeks were a shower of direct mail and robopolls directed at folks in the district—three from Deborah, one from the independent expenditure campaigns. [Third-place finisher] Halei [Watkins] did four flyers, including one from Planned Parenthood. Kris had three flyers from the Realtors, plus in-person calls. Mercedes [Elizalde, who finished fifth] was doing doorbelling. And we lost the Times and the Stranger endorsements [to Juarez].

In contrast, we had three measly direct mail pieces and no calls, robo or otherwise. What saved us was, we had 26,000 attempts [to reach voters at the door] and 18,000 actual doors. That’s really big. We got those votes by knocking on doors. So those are relationships which will help us in the general. In this new plan, we have to focus less on the resume and more on the issues.

ECB: What issues do you think most differentiate you from your opponent?

SB: I think the election for District 5 has not been about issues. We have yet to see Debora take a stand that defines her positions in this race. We have watched Debora work to make it a really broad race. She’s opposed to taking stands on issues. The one stand she has taken is in favor of federal funding for the Northgate bike-pedestrian bridge. The problem is that we’ve already got that funded. The money’s in the bank.

We do have Debora on the record saying she opposes labor organizing in the casinos and hotels. We have her on the record opposing the activities around Shell Oil. She said to the Times endorsement board—because as you have noted, the Times is only interested in Terminal 5—that she opposed the [protests] down there.

Debora is an unknown quantity and didn’t have a grasp on the issues. Only 24 percent of her money is from inside Seattle. Her largest contributors are Native American tribes. Seventy-five percent of my money is from inside Seattle. I’ve been working here for many years and my record is here. I have a longstanding record on progressive issues–homelessness, gun violence, marriage equality.

The question is to look at is, does Debora have a track record in the city of Seattle? 

ECB: You’ve been somewhat critical of the mayor’s Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda committee’s recommendations to build affordable housing in Seattle, saying you thought the committee should have gone further. Can you elaborate your thoughts on HALA?

SB: The issues are more complicated than just [removing] single-family [areas from consideration for other uses, such as duplexes.] The issue of a ten-minute walkshed–what does that mean? [HALA recommended upzoning the six percent of single-family land that’s within a 10-minute walk to frequent transit service to allow low-rise apartments]. I know people who’ve been timing themselves to see if they’re 10 minutes from Lake City way to find out if they’re going to get upzoned. People need to know those kind of things. The sooner we can get to specifics, the better.

One of the things with backyard cottages and mother-in law apartments is that they’re great things to have in single-family areas, but they’re already legal. The question is, what’s the best way to incentivize more of it to get to the same goal [as allowing duplexes and triplexes] without the [single-family] changes? I like them to be owner-occupied, because the financial incentive goes to the homeowner, not a developer. [HALA recommends eliminating the requirement that all primary units that have an accessory dwelling be owner-occupied].

The heart of HALA was the compromise on the linkage fee to get the business community on board. [The HALA committee dropped a residential linkage fee imposed on new housing developments and proposed a commercial linkage fee]. The next step is the feasibility question. Developers said, if you set the linkage fee too high, it would lead to a lawsuit.

ECB: Do you oppose the HALA proposal to upzone 6 percent of single-family to low-density multifamily?

SB: I haven’t involved myself in the politics of that. I think it needs to be neighborhood by neighborhood. In Broadview or on 12th Ave Northwest, if there is additional housing, the challenge is that those people are going to need a car, because the nearest bus stop is 14 blocks away on Greenwood.

If there’s going to be additional density, it should be done neighborhood by neighborhood, based on what infrastructure is there. Shouldn’t there be parks? Shouldn’t there be amenities?

What we do–introducing density where there aren’t schools and parks–it’s a quality of life issue. Let’s go neighborhood by neighborhood. It’s always generalities, and it shouldn’t be. I believe there are some northwest and northeast neighborhoods that are not good candidates. I think we could see a little more density around Maple Leaf, Roosevelt and 15th, and Lake City Way at 125th. That’s a prime candidate for more density. The community has a plan, and it’s a really good plan, it just needs more [transit-oriented development]. There’s a whole plan to make Lake City not just more dense but also a better community.

Let’s bring density here, but we should be coordinating density with what the infrastructure is in the neighborhoods. Why would we want to be putting density where we don’t have schools or parks or bus service? How do we get more density if we don’t have the infrastructure? It’s going to increase the number of cars on the road.

The second concern I have that I don’t hear very much about is that there are really no new answers in the HALA plan for housing for people making from zero to 30 percent of median income. I didn’t see any big new investments. If HALA don’t [provide housing for] zero to 30 then we haven’t move the dime on homelessness. My plan is for a $5 million increase in the general fund for shelter. We need a reorientation of our priorities.

It’s very complicated to build and finance very low-income housing. On Aurora, we have a ton of old motels. If we used housing levy money, we could activate those places that are dormant and turn them into more positive things. We need 2,000 more shelter beds. I haven’t checked the number of rooms in those motels, but I bet there are hundreds.

ECB: What do you think of the committee’s recommendation to eliminate or parking minimums for some new construction?

SB: People worry about parking minimums. I hear it a lot up in Broadview. I hear people complain up on Palatine and First Avenue–there are all those new apartments and people are parking on First and Palatine. They’re saying the same thing about Greenwood.

In my opinion, the key objective is to get people out of their cars. We’re not going to be able to build more streets, and it’s ecologically catastrophic to continue the way we are. So we’ve got to have more transit so people can live here without having to be so car-centric. But there are people who ask, how can I do that if we don’t have a way to get around without our cars?

ECB: I hear a lot about violent crime in the south end and property crime in the north. How big an issue is crime in your district, and what kinds of crimes are you most concerned about?

SB: The last quarterly report showed a spike in violent crimes in the North Precinct, but what the north precinct is known for is property crime. It’s the capital of Seattle car prowls and lost packages. 

I used to live two blocks away from an encampment of people that included individuals openly using and selling drugs and people openly carrying baseball bats to protect their turf. The neighbors called SPD continually for three weeks, and the answer was always, we’re understaffed, it’s not a high priority, or we have to see the behavior occur in front of our eyes to do anything about it. That doesn’t answer neighbors’ concerns.

I have extensive background experience in homelessness. I worked to advocate for tent cities. I’ve taken out-there stands on behalf of homeless people. And I was shocked at what I saw, because there was a level of disorder that I had not seen in any neighborhood.

People within a block or two of Aurora experience the area as a high-crime neighborhood. I’m not sure that all they perceive is real, but that’s how they perceive it. So they’re asking, how can we get SPD to work for us, to do something that will help their neighborhood? They want to feel like they have a safe neighborhood.

Previously:

Shannon Braddock, District 1

Lisa Herbold, District 1

Bruce Harrell, District 2

Tammy Morales, District 2

Michael Maddux, District 4

Rob Johnson, District 4

Mike O’Brien, District 6

Catherine Weatbrook, District 6

Deborah Zech-Artis, District 7

Sally Bagshaw, District 7

Tim Burgess, Position 8

Jon Grant, Position 8

Lorena Gonzalez, Position 9

Bill Bradburd, Position 9

The C Is for Crank Interviews: Lisa Herbold

Now that the primary-election field of 47 has been narrowed to a comparatively manageable 18, I’m sitting down with all the council candidates to talk about what they’ve learned so far, their campaign plans going forward, and their views on the issues that will shape the election, including density, “neighborhood character,” crime, parking, police accountability, and diversity. I’ll be rolling out all 17 of my interviews (Kshama Sawant was the only candidate who declined to sit down with me) over the next few weeks.

If you want to help me continue to do interviews like this one, plus on-the-ground reporting, deep dives on issues like affordability and transportation, breaking news, and incisive analysis, please consider becoming a sustaining supporter by pledging a few bucks at Patreon. This work costs money and (lots of) time, so I really appreciate every bit of support I receive from my readers.

Today’s conversation is with District 1 candidate Lisa Herbold. As I noted in my interview with her opponent, Shannon Braddock, Lisa is a longtime personal friend  and I’m supporting her campaign. In spite of our friendship, I tend to personally disagree with Lisa (and her boss of 17 years, Nick Licata) on a lot of issues, such as the proposed residential linkage fee for affordable housing and one-for-one replacement of existing affordable units. Overall, I think those two factors balance out. In any case, I made every effort not to allow personal friendship to influence the questions I asked either Braddock or Herbold.  Braddock and I spoke in person; in the interest of keeping my interview with Herbold as impersonal as possible, I submitted questions by email to her campaign. These are her answers, edited for length and style.

lisa-herboldThe C Is for Crank [ECB]: Given your long association with Council Member Licata, a lot of people seem to think you’re going to be Nick 2.0 on the council. Tell me a couple of policy areas where you differ from your boss. Are there any specific votes he has taken that you’ve advised him against or on which you would have voted differently?

Lisa Herbold [LH]: Council Member Licata has been a fantastic advocate on the City Council; there’s a reason I’ve championed him for 17 years. An example of an issue I would have handled differently is the rent regulation resolution. Nowhere in the resolution [I drafted for Licata] does it say that it is in support of rent control. It is written to describe the disparate impacts of the current housing market on people of color, as described by the city’s own studies. The resolution then goes on to say that our inability to regulate rent in any way at all (not specifically rent control) limits our ability to address these disparate impacts.

The issue isn’t whether we have already decided to support one particular form of rent regulation—we haven’t. This was the wrong time to try and have that debate. Council Member Licata did try and clarify that before the vote, but it was too late. The early portrayal of the resolution as a “rent control resolution” led to a divided vote in committee and the proposal of a new resolution by council member Burgess [and unanimous adoption by the council.]

ECB: The argument against a residential linkage fee is pretty straightforward: Charging developers a tax to build new housing drives up the cost to build that housing, which gives developers an incentive to charge tenants more or to simply build elsewhere. This contributes in turn to the city’s affordability problem. How do you respond to that argument, and why do you think a residential linkage fee would work to produce more affordable housing than the current HALA proposal?

LH: The argument against linkage fees might be as you say, straightforward, but that doesn’t make it correct. The city’s consultant report on policy recommendations explain that the fees would be built into the price of the land—meaning the seller of the land would have to lower the price of the land (since the market reality of developing the land includes the fees that the buyer of the land – the developer – will have to pay. So the land itself will cost less for the developer to buy and thus would not be passed on to renters.

The residential linkage fee program has been studied by the council for a year and a half. It has already had SEPA review and it’s ready to go. We are not scheduled to adopt the proposed Mandatory Affordable Housing Program until spring of 2016 but both it and the Commercial Linkage Fee program implementation are delayed until fall 2017 when the council completes the upzones that are integral to this approach. This timeline lacks urgency and makes me question how seriously we are taking the severity of our current housing crisis and its impacts on low income people.

ECB: Rent control is illegal at the state level, and no amount of petitioning from Seattle is likely to make the Republican-dominated legislature change the law and allow cities to adopt their own rent restrictions. Given that, what is the point of rallying for and arguing about rent control at the city level? Isn’t rent control a sideshow that distracts from more attainable policy decisions like how to incentivize affordable housing development and where density should go?

LH: The passage of reasonable regulations that landlords and tenants agree upon is not a sideshow. I talk with landlords regularly who believe, for instance, that landlords should not be allowed to give 100% rent increases. I want to identify the behavior that even landlords agree is outlying behavior and use that identification of common ground to address those issues. It may not be rent control, or even rent stabilization, but laws like this will still impact people’s lives in a positive way.

I was pleased to see my opponent last week in PubliCola said that she would “‘likely’ support a resolution to overturn the state ban on rent regulation.” In a June questionnaire, she replied “No” to the question “Do you support asking the state legislature to remove the state ban on rent regulation?”

ECB: Displacement is an issue that divides affordable housing advocates. Anti-displacement activists argue that existing affordable housing should be protected against new development or replaced in new development on a one for one basis. Others believe that protecting old housing stock against new development restricts supply, increasing the cost of housing overall and actually reducing the total amount of potential affordable housing stock. What is your argument for anti-displacement policy and against those objections?

LH: We have capacity under current zoning for 230,000 new units of housing, while we anticipate the need for 70,000 new units over the next 20 years. In addition, a preservation policy might be structured in a way to protect existing housing, but it may also be structured in such a way to require a payment when it is removed.

I worked on the design and passage of the City’s Rental Registration and Inspection Ordinance. This innovative program will result in the investment in maintenance of rental housing that will result in the preservation of our housing stock, making older housing less vulnerable to the kind of speculative redevelopment that results in higher rent or the removal of affordable rentals for higher income homes for purchase. I support the development of a broader preservation program that identifies both subsidized and non subsidized rental housing that is likely to be redeveloped into more costly housing without preservation.

ECB: Why do you believe rent incentives for employees of certain companies are discriminatory? How do you believe they violate civil-rights law, and what would you do to stop them?

LH: Preferential practices for some result in discriminatory outcomes for others. We should resist efforts to turn Seattle into a company town where the employees of a few dominant corporations work together and live together, while others are excluded. Those who do not work for these preferred employers will have to live further from their jobs, their doctors, and those publicly funded amenities that are most accessible in the highest demand neighborhoods.

“Source of Income” anti-discrimination laws protect tenants from being treated differently because of their source of income. Many jurisdictions have them. Seattle only protects holders of Section 8, or Housing Choice, vouchers.

ECB: How would you work to close the gender pay gap in Seattle?

LH: I am proud of my work to help enact Paid Sick and Safe Leave and to assist in creating the Office of Labor Standards. Paid Sick and Safe Leave, the new Minimum Wage, the Job Assistance Ordinance, and our Wage Theft laws all must be well enforced. Employers benefit too when we ensure an even playing field between those who adhere to our laws and those who might not. I will ensure the Office of Labor Standards is well-funded, well-staffed, and is also supporting our community partners in their own efforts to educate workers and employers about these laws. I have also proposed a program of testing to root out discrimination in employment and ensure our employers are using fair hiring practices.

New laws are needed too, including prohibiting retaliation for disclosing one’s pay or comparing one’s salary with coworkers among private employers and city contractors and subcontractors. We should also promote pay transparency among city employees like some private employers have already done. I also support expansion of paid parental leave for city employees to 12 weeks and the creation of a parental leave insurance law for Seattle workers.

ECB: What will you do to stop racial profiling and excessive use of force by the Seattle Police Department?

LH: Accountability is the best guard against racial profiling and excessive use of force. The Community Police Commission, the Office of Professional Accountability Auditor, and the Mayor’s Advisor on Police Accountability have made a slate of unified recommendations, some of which the city is now bargaining with the Police Guild to implement. We must ensure that these recommendations are not left on the bargaining table. In particular, the recommendation to ensure that law enforcement representatives are not sitting on the body that hears the appeals of fired or disciplined officers is a “must do.”

Additionally, a significant number of people who have filed OPA complaints also have obstruction charges against them. The OPA auditor has repeatedly identified this as an area for reform.

I would also like to enact an “Observers’ Bill of Rights.” Too often observers are arrested for obstruction when they are only bystanders. SPD policy addresses this issue, but much like former Councilmember Steinbrueck did by passing a law enshrining the policy requiring visible badges, a law like this can strengthen the existing policy and a public good would be served by the awareness an ordinance would facilitate.

ECB: Do you support including light rail to West Seattle in the Sound Transit 3 package, and why or why not? Will you support ST3 if it doesn’t include rail to West Seattle?

LH: I absolutely support including light rail to West Seattle. If elected I will be a champion for light rail on the City Council and will fight for West Seattle to be included. If West Seattle is not included, I would have to reconsider my support.

Previously:

Shannon Braddock, District 1

Bruce Harrell, District 2

Tammy Morales, District 2

Michael Maddux, District 4

Rob Johnson, District 4

Mike O’Brien, District 6

Catherine Weatbrook, District 6

Deborah Zech-Artis, District 7

Sally Bagshaw, District 7

Tim Burgess, Position 8

Jon Grant, Position 8

Lorena Gonzalez, Position 9

Bill Bradburd, Position 9

The C Is for Crank Interviews: Shannon Braddock

Now that the primary-election field of 47 has been narrowed to a comparatively manageable 18, I’m sitting down with all the council candidates to talk about what they’ve learned so far, their campaign plans going forward, and their views on the issues that will shape the election, including density, “neighborhood character,” crime, parking, police accountability, and diversity. I’ll be rolling out all 17 of my interviews (Kshama Sawant was the only candidate who declined to sit down with me) over the next few weeks.

If you want to help me continue to do interviews like this one, plus on-the-ground reporting, deep dives on issues like affordability and transportation, breaking news, and incisive analysis, please consider becoming a sustaining supporter by pledging a few bucks at Patreon. This work costs money and (lots of) time, so I really appreciate every bit of support I receive from my readers.

shannon-braddockToday’s conversation is with Shannon Braddock, a West Seattleite and chief of staff to King County Council member Joe McDermott who’s running in District 1. We sat down at Collins Pub in Belltown.

Full disclosure: Braddock’s opponent, Lisa Herbold, is a longtime personal friend from way, way back and I’m supporting her campaign. In spite of our friendship, I tend to personally disagree with Lisa (and her boss of 17 years, Nick Licata) on a lot of issues, such as the proposed residential linkage fee for affordable housing and one-for-one replacement of existing affordable units. Overall, I think those two factors balance out. In any case, I made every effort not to allow personal friendship to influence the questions I asked either Braddock or Herbold.  Braddock and I spoke in person; in the interest of keeping my interview with Herbold as impersonal as possible, I submitted questions by email to her campaign, and will run her answers, edited for length, on Friday.

The C Is for Crank [ECB]: You were the beneficiary of a pretty significant amount of independent spending [nearly $75,000] from the Chamber of Commerce, developer lobbyists, and the landlords’ association. Even with all that, you came in second. Were you disappointed in the results, and how much influence do you think the outside spending had, positive or negative?

Shannon Braddock [SB]: I was disappointed, but the turnout was so low that I should have felt good about the results. Those last few days of doing a lot of field work helped. I did well. Personally, I was happy. My strategy to get through worked. My time was very focused on three-of-four Democrats [voters who identified as Democrats and voted in three of the past four elections].

I, honest to god, have no idea how much influence [the IEs had.] I’m going to guess not much, given the number of people in the race [nine]. I think i would have done well anyway. I never saw the ads on TV. My 15-year-old son found it online. I was glad it was a positive piece that said, basically, “She’ll be smart about transportation and growth and she’s a progressive candidate.” Even when you know it’s your supporters [doing an ad], it’s stomach-turning to know that somebody is campaigning on your behalf.

ECB: Why do you think the Chamber and other business groups are supporting you?

SB: I don’t know exactly, except that I don’t see business as the bad guy. We’re all working together to get stuff done and we all have to be partners.

I support the $15 minimum wage. That was one of the things the Chamber didn’t support. I have a reputation for working well with people, and I don’t come to the table saying I think I have the best answers.

ECB: West Seattle is such a close-knit community, that can seem, to outsiders, very separate from the rest of the city. What specific work have you done in West Seattle to prepare you for representing this district, and what’s your history with West Seattle?

SB: I grew up in Bellingham, and when I first moved here, West Seattle reminded me of Bellingham. It has great walkability to school, great walkability to grocery stores, great walkability to the old movie theater. I didn’t think I’d ever want to live there because it seemed so far away, but when I got there, I felt right at home.

When I first got there, my involvement was with Lafayette Elementary PTA stuff. I did little things, like litter pickups with the neighborhood association, and I was involved with the West Seattle Food Bank, which is facing a higher number of clients coming in. We were trying to change the number of things we were doing and expand services. It really opened up my world. I’m on the board of WestSide Baby.  I’m also involved with the 34th District Democrats. That got me more engaged in the political world.

ECB: Early on in your campaign, I remember that some opponents were questioning whether being a single mom disqualified you for this job because you wouldn’t have enough time to make it to night meeting and other obligations of being a council member. Were you expecting that kind of retro criticism?

SB: I did not realize that could happen. We live in such a progressive bubble that sexism still surprises me. There was a whole discussion on the District 1 Facebook page about whether it was a legitimate question to ask whether I could be a mother and serve on the council at the same time, especially a single mother. Now, I don’t really consider myself a single mother because my children’s father is very much involved in their lives. But I am a single mother, and to have people suggest that in 2015 is outrageous. The tenor of the conversation was, “Is she progressive enough?”, and then it would devolved into the equivalent, in my opinion, of misogynistic sexist attacks on me. It was jarring to me and frustrating to think that here we are, in a city where we’re progressive, and people are asking whether I can be on the city council because I’m a mother. It’s stuff men do not think about.

I’ve been told by men who are my supporters that I look tired in my pictures, or that I should smile more, or “Don’t talk so much about being a mom.” Thanks for reminding me why we need more women in government in general, and young women with kids at home in particular. We need that perspective. I look up to people like [District 3 primary candidate] Morgan [Beach] and [District 1 primary candidate] Brianna [Thomas], and I think we need women to keep doing that it until no longer seems surprising.

ECB: Do you think district elections made it easier for people like you and Brianna and Morgan to run?

SB: I was a supporter of districts, and I wouldn’t have run [without them]. Realistically, to do that as a mom with three kids still at home would have been much bigger challenge for me, and to have the time and space to go all over the city would be challenging. It would have been easier for me to talk myself out of it. This opportunity made me pause long and hard and think about it. While I support districts, I’m also a big believer in regional government. and I don’t want to be represented by someone who doesn’t have that perspective.

ECB: Your opponent, Lisa Herbold, thinks the city needs to go beyond the HALA recommendations by charging a linkage fee on all new residential development, among other measures the HALA committee did not recommend. Are you all in on the committee’s affordable-housing recommendations?

SB: I can’t say I support every single recommendation in HALA. I’ve read the report, but not with a fine-tooth comb. I do find it a little bit grandstanding [of Position 8 candidate and dissenting HALA member Jon Grant] to step in on it after they had agreement with 27 members. [Grant, along with Herbold, proposed an alternative to HALA that HALA backers say would scuttle the grand bargain]. It’s disrespectful. They did good work. I respect that they spent a lot of time on that. You can work around the edges during the hearings.

If you could have gotten 14 other people to agree with your HALA amendments,  you wouldn’t have had an alternative plan in the first place. It’s a recommendation. I think there’s plenty of opportunity for political pressure for him and his agenda. If he wants to blow it up, go for it, but I’m very comfortable with where they are right now. I wasn’t in those meetings, I don’t know how they came to this grand bargain, but if Council Member [Mike] O’Brien came to a spot where he felt that he had reached an agreement on the linkage fee that he could live with, then I’m good with that. If there are many things we could get to sooner rather than later, I’d vote for that.

ECB: Your opponent has seemed more open to the idea of rent control, or rent stabilization, than you have. What are your views on rent control?

SB: I opposed traditional rent control. If it was just a matter of allowing Seattle to discuss it, yes, I would absolutely support the state lifting the restriction. I support more options. A lot of what’s in HALA is rent control. Mandatory inclusionary zoning is an option to have lower rents.

ECB: People in West Seattle seem to have the sense that they’re constantly being asked to accept more density without more funding for infrastructure, like road improvements and bus service, to support that density. The counterargument would be that you can’t add bus service to areas where the population density doesn’t currently support it. What do you think of those complaints?

SB: I  can appreciate that people are saying that, because we don’t have enough buses in West Seattle. I think there is not enough bus service in most places. I don’t think that’s District 1-specific. I support more transit and I support [the upcoming Sound Transit 3 ballot measure], but I want it to include West Seattle and Ballard. At this time, I would not support it if it did not include West Seattle. As a District 1 council member, I would have to fall on a lot of swords for light rail if it did not include rail to West Seattle.

If I see a plan in place, an actual plan in place, for infrastructure, I’m a lot more omfotable building a little bit ahead of time. Right now we’re building based on  a 20-year development plan that had a monorail in it. It’s completely out of date. I want people to feel that they are watching a robust transit system grow. Right now, we’re at the spot when people in District 1 are saying, “When are we going to be getting it?” They’re not seeing any of that being done with bus service. Metro did split the C and D routes, which helped.

SDOT needs to improve their outreach to communities. We’ve had isssues in District 1. The rollout of the 35th Ave. Southwest road diet–SDOT was a little behind the 8 ball on that one. I do feel that sometimes they’re like, “Here’s what we’re going to do, you’re welcome.” Sometimes communities need more time to find out what they’re getting. That means we have to do a better job as government at involving the communities earlier.

ECB: Do you think having district council members will help with that kind of community outreach?

SB: Yes. I do think there are always going to be people that it’s never going to be enough for. I do hold out hope that having people like Kathy Nyland in Neighborhoods and the new department [the Office of Planning and Community Development] is very valuable. I’ve got some hope.

Previously:

Bruce Harrell, District 2

Tammy Morales, District 2

Michael Maddux, District 4

Rob Johnson, District 4

Mike O’Brien, District 6

Catherine Weatbrook, District 6

Deborah Zech-Artis, District 7

Sally Bagshaw, District 7

Tim Burgess, Position 8

Jon Grant, Position 8

Lorena Gonzalez, Position 9

Bill Bradburd, Position 9