Lisa Herbold begins second year as Seattle City Councilmember for West Seattle, South Park

(WSB photo, April 2016: Councilmember Herbold during brief break between appointments at a ‘district office hours’ session)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

This week marked the start of Lisa Herbold‘s second year as the first City Councilmember for District 1, West Seattle and South Park – one year since her swearing-in ceremony on January 4, 2016.

As we had done just before she took office, we invited her to sit down with us for an interview.

At the time we talked in December 2015, she had just been declared the winner of a race that had nine candidates on the primary ballot – with even more in the running before that lineup was finalized – and ended with her winning the seat by a 39-vote margin over Shannon Braddock.

Herbold won’t be up for re-election for three years. But we couldn’t resist asking, at the start of our conversation, if she is considering running for the biggest gig on this year’s city ballot.

Herbold’s answer: No, she is definitely not running for mayor. Not even considering it.

The job she has now is challenging enough, she said, calling it “a whirlwind … even knowing what I was getting into, on paper, is not the same as the actual adjustment to the job.”

This, from someone who worked as a city councilmember’s assistant for more than a decade and a half before taking a seat in the chambers for herself.

Over the ensuing hour-plus, we talked about highlights and lowlights of year one, and a bit about year two.


It happened in November: Herbold’s proudest of “convincing a majority of Council colleagues to join me in supporting the $29 million housing bond in the face of opposition from the public, mayor, budget director, Councilmember Burgess [heading the Budget Committee] … That really showed the promise of this Council, being independent, not just a couple people being independent, but having a willingness to be independent in its voice.”

For those who wondered why, with the $290 million housing levy approved last year, another $29 million was needed: “It’s the city’s first use of its bond authority for housing since the early ’80s. We use the bond authority for all kinds of (other) things … for me, the idea is that if the city is less rigid in its willingness to use bond authority, we might be … more able to have additional flexibility in paying for housing projects that might not fit the normal levy mold, projects with gap financing, bridge loans … non-traditional projects.”

So what might those projects be? Herbold says that’s under discussion right now. Under consideration are “projects that received funding last year through the housing levy that might still have gaps,” and “ones that applied this year but didn’t receive funding. We don’t anticipate spending the full $29 million in one shot.”


Asked what that would be, Herbold lists two “campaign commitments, things I said I was going to do” that she had expected would be accomplished in her first year – both mentioned in our December 2015 interview, in fact – but aren’t done yet: An observer’s-rights bill, which was introduced and heard in committee and which she hopes “to finish up early this year,” and developer impact fees. “Members of the public still ask about them” regularly, she said. That, too, is still a work in progress: “There’s some work the executive [mayor] has committed to do, there’s a consultant report from last year …” and other councilmembers have to get on board with the concept – particularly the councilmembers chairing the committees that would have to take it up, Rob Johnson or Bruce Harrell.

While impact fees could be charged to raise money for parks, transportation, or schools, Herbold says, the last is what she sees as most likely: “School-capacity issues are huge for our city.” Even then, she observes, with much of this year expected to be devoted to the Mandatory Housing Affordability fees from HALA, “the political reality (is) … I don’t know much appetite everyone has for discussing additional developer fees when we haven’t finished (with) developer fees for housing.” She says she’s at least hoping to keep the impact fees “moving – at least get a briefing and identify some next steps and dates.”


Since that hadn’t come up in her answers to the first few questions, we asked. For the big picture, Herbold mentioned sitting on the committee “where we approved funding to hire 114 new officers (and) a new business-license fee to pay for them. This is all toward implementing the mayor’s plan to hire some new officers.” On a district level, “a lot of what I’ve been doing has been focused on public-safety issues.” In particular, she mentions South Park (you might recall the citizen-led tour we covered last month).

(WSB photo, December 19th: Herbold with Jeff Hayes, South Park community advocate)

In West Seattle, she mentions working to get speed bumps installed along Beach Drive by Constellation Park, to calm speeding and discourage racing.

And back to a citywide issue, the return of community-service officers (explained in this budget-season update on her website) “will be important,” Herbold said, to “free up police officers’ time” dealing with non-crime issues. “It’s a step toward (helping) uniformed officers meet targets for 911 responses.” She hopes this also will help with the fact that “a lot of (public safety) issues are interrelated with a lot of social issues … when you have crime in a neighborhood that is the result of issues like drugs, alcohol, mental health, we don’t have the ability to address these issues – drugs and mental health are not in the city’s purview.”

Which brought us to another huge issue.


Herbold pointed out that she makes “a distinction between homeless and unsheltered.” The former encompasses an estimated 8,000 people, but her immediate concern is the latter. “Everybody should have a home, but not everybody who doesn’t have a home has emergency survival needs … I would like to see a real dent in the number of people sleeping outside. I think we can do that. There are some things in Pathways Home [the mayor’s plan] that are promising, (working) toward getting more people inside.”

One of the mayor’s commitments, opening a Navigation Center, is missing its end-of-year deadline. Herbold brought it up and said the “siting challenge” that’s been cited – finding a location – is “not surprising”; the city is looking for a building that already exists, rather than someplace to build. She thinks its low-barrier, open-24/7 model “will help a lot of people.”

Many existing shelters have barriers to eligibility and Herbold believes that lowering those barriers would be helpful too. As for the plan for the Myers Way Parcels encampment to shift to city-sanctioned, she said neighbors were actually concerned about its barriers, for fear that will keep more people in the unsanctioned spaces outside it, so it’s under consideration to be staffed rather than continuing as “self-managed,” though there was no final decision by the time of our conversation.


Some business owners have labeled Herbold bad for business. Concerns have included legislation such as “secure scheduling,” which passed last year. She points out that it affects large companies, not small independent business owners. There’s also been concern about the increase in the cost of city business license fees/taxes, which, as mentioned above, is helping cover the cost of more police officers. Herbold says it was the mayor’s proposal, developed with the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, and that she actually worked to amend it “to not have an increase for all businesses” and to “create a whole new tier for the $5 million-plus businesses … enough to hold off (increases for) the small businesses. The fee had not been increased in some time.”

While we were finishing this story, Herbold forwarded e-mail she had sent to concerned constituents two weeks ago, including:

… I support hiring additional officers. However, I was concerned that the Mayor’s original funding proposal for the officers through the business license fee would increase the fee for all 75,000 license holders. A key priority of mine was to ensure that no fee increases took place for smaller businesses with less than $500,000 in estimated annual revenue.

The Affordable Housing, Neighborhoods and Finance Committee, chaired by Councilmember Burgess, who sponsored the legislation at the Council, met twice in July to consider the legislation. The committee revised the Mayor’s proposal to eliminate the fee increase for businesses license holders with less than $500,000 revenue, which represents 85% of all business license holders in the City.

The committee accomplished this by creating a brand new $2,000 tier for businesses with over $5 million in revenues beginning in 2018, by:

· Eliminating the Mayor’s proposed increase for businesses with under $20,000 in revenue and maintaining the annual fee of $55

· Eliminating the Mayor’s proposed increase for businesses with $20,000 to $100,000 in revenue and maintaining the annual fee of $100

· Eliminating the Mayor’s proposed increase for businesses with between $100,000 and $500,000 in revenue and maintaining the annual fee of $110

The Mayor proposed increasing the fee for businesses with revenue from $500,000 to $2 million from $110 to $320. The Council committee voted to increase this to $480, impacting 9% of license holders in Seattle with revenues from $500,000 to $2 million annually.

Under the proposal adopted by the Council, nearly 50% of the tax revenue will now come from businesses with over $2 million in revenue. Under the Mayor’s proposal, only 21% would derive from those businesses. This approach seems much more fair to small businesses.


This started looming particularly large last October, when the city quietly released draft maps showing proposed rezoning, mostly for “urban villages” around the city, including five in District 1 (The Junction, Admiral, Morgan Junction, Westwood-Highland Park, South Park). No explanatory meetings were scheduled; some community groups requested briefings, and two community advocates who have long focused on land use even organized one for anyone in West Seattle who was interested. The city included the rezoning proposal on a list of topics for what was considered at best a not-very-helpful “open house” in early December, with its date and location chosen by city staffers despite community leaders’ objections, and an overflow location chosen, then changed, at the last minute.

While Herbold had nothing to do with organizing it, she had one observation about the process: “I don’t think people understand how early in the process we are and that’s creating a lot of confusion.” Councilmember Rob Johnson‘s PLUZ committee is the lead on council consideration, and she says he told her the council likely won’t wind up voting on a final rezoning proposal until early 2018. The Environmental Impact Statement process also will take up at least part of this year, with issuance of a draft version, then a comment period, then revisions and a final version.

Some community concerns have focused on developers/builders having the choice to contribute to a city fund instead of including the “affordable housing” in their projects, potentially resulting in some areas getting a lot more housing with very little of it “affordable.” Herbold noted that the goal was for half of it to be built in the resulting projects and half to result from the fees. “The council could have been hard-nosed and said we want it all on-site,” she said, but the fee dollars will actually go further in leveraging city dollars. And, she said, “Our policies direct us to spend the fee in the same neighborhood where it was generated. If that’s not the (eventual) outcome, we’ll have to go back and (tinker) with the regulations.”

Displacement remains a concern of hers; asked about it, she brings up the University District upzoning process that’s under way now, ahead of the rest of the city, saying she will be advocating for a higher affordable-housing requirement to offset what will be lost in that area. “I hope we can do that for the citywide upzoning, too. … We need to be looking at all the issues with our eyes open.”


Though six other councilmembers represent geographic districts, Herbold was in the end the only one who offered any pushback on the mayor’s decision to cut off city support for and ties with neighborhood district councils. She proposed keeping their relatively tiny amount of city funding – about $500 per council, generally spent to rent meeting locations – in the budget, and proposed a reduced official role for them in neighborhood project-vetting. But without other councilmembers’ support, those proposals died in the budget process. Herbold says it was a headscratcher to her too. But: “For me, the fact that the city isn’t giving them a particular role isn’t going to change my relationship with these groups that are on the ground and continuing to network with the neighbors and share information. They’re a valuable resource to anyone who cares about representation of their district at City Hall. If anything, I’ll find ways to incorporate their voices more.”


This has proven to be a popular feature, Herbold says. Over the course of the year, she says, her nine sessions at West Seattle and South Park locations totaled 57 hours during which she talked with 143 constituents.



She is most surprised that “things are moving at a faster pace than I was accustomed to” (during her previous years at City Hall) … “I feel like the Council wants to get things done … I see my job as keeping things moving; I want to see progress, I want to see what the next step is, put a date to it, hold myself and others accountable.”


As mentioned earlier in our conversation, the HALA rezones will take a lot of time, since she’s on the PLUZ Committee. “Also a lot of work to be done, hopefully in my committee, lifting up the issues important to workers in our city,” while workers will be experiencing “a lot of gains” due to things already in motion. The Office of Labor Standards, she notes, will have new resources, and she hopes that will enable it to be proactive – until now, she said, it’s been 100 percent complaint-based.

Also: “Still a lot of good work that we could be doing addressing needs of renters – we’re putting together a renters’ commission in early 2017 – I’m excited – sort of watchdogging enforcement of the city’s pro-renter laws. I want to see a voice for renters in other decisions the city make – land-use type of things.”

As for district-specific matters in queue for the new year, the Fauntleroy Boulevard project will be “pretty significant.”

As will be a few non-district-specific items for which she was not exactly cheerleading last year:

“Inevitably other things will come up – like two competing arena proposals, new bike-share proposals …” She doesn’t see much likelihood that bike-sharing will be scrapped entirely. So then, we ask, what about bike sharing for West Seattle? “Even with a new vendor, (it’s) still focusing on other areas of the city,” Herbold says, while promising to look at whether West Seattle and South Park can and will be served.


Herbold doesn’t expect the city to ask White Center/North Highline voters about annexation this year – the earliest date that had been mentioned by the mayor’s point person on the issue, Kenny Pittman. The South Park annexation is “moving more slowly than I anticipated,” she explains, still being negotiated.


We had to ask about that too, with Inauguration Day less than three weeks away. “I think the (change in Presidents) is going to affect everything we do. We’re going to have to play defense and make sure that we don’t lose federal funding for priorities” such as transportation and housing. Playing defense will also include “our state’s victories” such as marriage equality, drug reform, immigration, she said.

“The strength of our city is that we continue to pass groundbreaking legislation, serving as an example for other cities, to protect the most vulnerable people in our communities.”


(Grandchildren Jamaya and Jamil and husband Bob with her, post-swearing-in on January 4, 2016)

As she mentioned toward the start of our interview, Herbold feels like the first year has been a “whirlwind.” But, “I’m feeling more like I’m able to at least envision striking a balance between work and other commitments. I’m not quite there yet – you don’t just turn it off, I never have (done that) with my work … (but) I think the adjustment is coming.”

P.S. For Herbold’s own version of her first year in review – which she had just finished writing (but not yet published) before we sat down to talk last week – go here.


Contact info is on the right sidebar here.


As announced by Highland Park Action Committee, Councilmember Herbold will speak about the “State of Delridge” at HPAC’s 7 pm January 25th meeting, co-sponsored by (in lieu of this month’s meetings of) the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council, the North Delridge Neighborhood Council, and South Delridge Neighborhood Group. All are welcome to the meeting at Highland Park Improvement Club (12th SW/SW Holden).

70 Replies to "Lisa Herbold begins second year as Seattle City Councilmember for West Seattle, South Park"

  • ACG January 5, 2017 (12:47 pm)

    In regards to re-election, is her term 3 years total or does she still have three years left to serve?

    • WSB January 5, 2017 (12:59 pm)

      All 7 district-elected councilmembers were elected in 2015 to 4-year terms. The 2 at-large CMs were elected that year to 2-year terms but this year those two spots will be up for 4-year terms.

      • ACG January 5, 2017 (1:13 pm)

        Got it. Thanks, TR. 

        Any word if Tim Burgess (one of our at-large reps) might run for mayor? He was one of the few sane voices on the council. He’s not running for his council seat again. 

        • Andy January 6, 2017 (2:58 pm)

          If I had voted for Lisa I would be disappointed by now. However, I had no expectation that she’d be any different than the rest of the city council. Meanwhile, the city looks like a garbage dump, and she wants more speed bumps.

    • STP January 5, 2017 (1:23 pm)

      She can’t be voted out until 2019 :(  

      Wonder if you can stack pile democracy vouchers until then for whoever runs against her?

      • My two cents ... January 5, 2017 (3:52 pm)

        … Going to use one (or more?) on her opponent.  Disappointed in her actions to date, don’t feel as if she has represented the average, working Seattle residents.

      • Peter January 5, 2017 (4:07 pm)

        We came within 39 votes of electing Shannon Braddock, who would have been much better, in my opinion. Herbold isn’t as bad as I thought she’d be in some ways, but we need someone who is much mote pro-growth, and we need someone who is willing to massively grow our housing supply to meet demand, and that is not Herbold. Maybe next time …

        • Recovering Urbanist January 5, 2017 (5:58 pm)

          If Lisa is anti HALA and its destruction of communities for hypothetical newcomers based on shady “affordability” propaganda paid for by urbanists and developers, she will get all vouchers from my household and most middle class families slated to see our neighborhood destroyed.

          • Ed Slope January 5, 2017 (8:35 pm)

            Let’s hope she sticks to our agenda and sees through the HALA “affordability” ruse. My neighborhood is zoned SF, is proposed to be a part of the Junction Village expansion and for upzoning to LR. What the city doesn’t or refuses to realize is that according to public data, 35% of my neighbors already live in affordable single family rentals. The proposed upzoning will not only result in the extinction of this class of housing for at least the next many decades until the premium ($800K+) townhomes proposed to be built in their place are falling apart and out of fashion; but also, the creation of “affordable housing projects” in less expensive locales. The city believes and actually published anecdotal statements that the 60%AMI target residents prefer all-low income housing as opposed to living in integrated buildings and neighborhoods (I would like to hear more from those that the city is supposedly representing through this plan!!!)

            Without the citywide up zone originally proposed the current HALA plan is going to create unintended, negative outcomes for most current neighbors low-income or otherwise but not the OUTSIDE DEVELOPERS. 

      • Andy January 7, 2017 (5:42 am)

        My and my wife’s “Democracy Vouchers” will only go to a candidate  who is a genuine small business supporting, anti-socialist, conservative Republican. Otherwise they will be shredded.

  • KT January 5, 2017 (1:31 pm)

    “…she mentions working to get speed bumps installed along Beach Drive by Constellation Park, to calm speeding and discourage racing.”  Impressive accomplishment?  Maybe SPD could have taken care of this as one would expect.

    .”..the return of community-service officers…“will be important,” Herbold said, to “free up police officers’ time” dealing with non-crime issues. ”  This one I am a little confused about.  SPD does not respond apparently to anything but emergencies, if you read the media horror stories, so how are they freed up to deal with non-crime issues?

    “Herbold’s proudest of “convincing a majority of Council colleagues to join me in supporting the $29 million housing bond in the face of opposition from the public, mayor, budget director, Councilmember Burgess [heading the Budget Committee] …”.  Proud of doing something the public opposed? 

    And sadly, she wasn’t asked if she has any concern about the older, retired home owners of Seattle being taxes out of their homes.

  • S January 5, 2017 (1:41 pm)

    And she has done a bang up job for us people in West Seattle. LOL

  • Chuck January 5, 2017 (2:11 pm)

    I will never forget this council’s support of the proposal to open up our parks and sidewalks to the homeless. That, and their overall lack of support for police (funding, North precinct, staffing, political backing) is all I need to know: vote them all out. The whole worthless lot. Sorry Lisa, but just not feeling  that your priorities are anywhere near where they should be. But hey, nice speed bumps that you got installed!

  • Chris Cowman January 5, 2017 (2:23 pm)

    One more homeless death…good job Lisa.   The city looks like a garbage dump.

    Laws not being enforced….

  • Kyla January 5, 2017 (2:23 pm)

    I appreciate her transparency, advocacy and accessibility, Super happy she is District 1 representative.

    Tim Burgess “one of the few sane voices”?  LOL

  • T Rex January 5, 2017 (2:31 pm)

    Lucky Us.

    She wants to get speed bumps, well good for her and the neighborhood. However if you just wait long enough you will not need speed bumps as there will be GIANT potholes that those little 4 banger 1990’s Honda Civics will fall into.

    There’s no road work in Seattle!!! 

    • trickycoolj January 5, 2017 (3:33 pm)

      I know, right?  Can we have some of that spare speed bump asphalt on Sylvan/Olson??  I suppose High Point and Delridge don’t have the kind of median income waterfront homes do….

  • HolyHiawatha January 5, 2017 (3:09 pm)

    Looking forward to voting her out.

  • WsEd January 5, 2017 (3:26 pm)

    It’s the era of speed bumps and multicolor crosswalks.  I’m sure those were very pressing needs on every constituents mind. 

    I sadly voted for Herbold and have been very disappointed.  I thought she would support the East side of the peninsula, but she rolled over on the homeless issue instead of standing up for our district. 
  • supernova72 January 5, 2017 (3:41 pm)

    I feel for those folks along Beach Drive who pay $15K+ a year in property taxes and have a stretch of the poorest roads I’ve ever biked along.  Even in a car it’s not pleasant.  Having seniors priced out of their homes just seems wrong.

    Some would say first world problems but at least throw some pavement down.  Ha.

  • gatewood neighbor January 5, 2017 (4:11 pm)

    She is disingenuous or has a total lack of understanding when it comes to the business climate.  The policies she has championed will/have had negative impacts on small business even if they are not targeted for them.  Lisa’s lack of bringing people to the table to come up with common sense solutions is deeply disappointing.  You know that friend you had that took out a large home equity loan in the last boom and then had their home foreclosed on after they leveraged there home too much and the market dipped?  That is what Lisa and the entire council are doing with the business climate.  Keep increasing expenses in the good times to make a name for yourself and let the next council deal with the fall out when the economy dips and business are closing.  Business pays over 50% of the taxes generated for the city.  How many times do you go back to that well to punish business for creating jobs?  Can you imagine how poorly represented  you would feel if you were a business owner and a property owner?  How much can the council take from people to fund pet projects and poor policy?  Let’s spend 100’s of thousands on studies and bike programs and let property owners and business foot the bill.  Let’s get these people out!!!!  There is already people working the scenes to run against her and I for one will tirelessly work to elect someone else if she keeps up with this caviler behavior. 

  • Bradley January 5, 2017 (4:13 pm)

    I can’t wait to vote for WHOEVER is running against her.

  • BJ January 5, 2017 (4:24 pm)

    You feel for the people who have million dollar homes on Beach Drive?  Yeah, they have a tough life.  Drive down Delridge.  Perhaps the people there don’t pay high enough property taxes to deserve a proper road though.

  • BJ January 5, 2017 (4:29 pm)

    I read that Herbold opposed the Sodo Arena street vacation because West Seattle constituents complained that it would create higher volumes of traffic to downtown.  Personally, never heard any complaints about that from anyone I spoke to.  I think she had other motives.  I did, however, hear many complaints from sports fans missing the Sonics.  I’m thinking one term and done. 

    • Just January 5, 2017 (9:07 pm)

      Really? You didn’t hear any complaints about traffic concerns. Could it be because you’re not the representative for district 1. 

      Drop the Sonics, it’s just sad now. 

      • Tucker January 6, 2017 (3:24 pm)

        What exactly is sad about the Sonics?

  • rico January 5, 2017 (4:33 pm)

    At least give her credit for being pretty much honest about her politics during the election, but, yeah she needs to go before all of the tax money goes

  • Mr Smith Jay January 5, 2017 (4:53 pm)

    Oh I forgot. Thanks for voting against returning the Sonics when Chris Hansen said he WOULD PAY FOR IT ALL !  Genius Move. 

    • Paul January 6, 2017 (9:00 am)

      Except Chris did not offer to pay for it all. He offered to provide all of the funding but required the city to waive venu taxes. The money is a complete wash. The _only_ reason Chris’ new deal is better is because it shifts the risk of failure from the citizens to private stake holders. Either way, let hope that stadium does not get built!

      • Tucker January 6, 2017 (3:29 pm)

        Except for the fact that the arena would now be on the property tax rolls as a private facility, whereas it wouldn’t have been if the city took ownership under the agreement to contribute the public bond financing to it.  Hansen is asking for the admissions tax exemption, just like the CLink and Safeco receive.

        • Paul January 6, 2017 (4:51 pm)

          The point remains… The deal _only_ mitigates risk to the city being a bond holder. I get that there are people who want the sonics back. I would support that under two conditions, ZERO public dollars (including tax swaps, bonds etc) and private dollars to mitigate the traffic and transit nightmare that yet another stadium introduces.

  • Mr E January 5, 2017 (5:35 pm)

    I have no disillusion that I am in the minority of WSB commenters but in my opinion I think Lisa Herbold is doing a very good job. Washington State does not have state income tax so we have to find public solutions using the tax avenues that are available, and I believe Lisa is doing exactly that. I do not envy her position because, no matter what she does, she is never going to make everyone happy. And trust me when I say a lot of you are never going to be happy with any one person or solution in this city.

    There are a slew of small businesses that would love nothing more than to hang their shingle in the junctions. But guess what? The building property owners are asking for exorbitant rates, or won’t even consider small businesses because they only want chains. So if we asked Lisa to step in, people are going to be upset because the government has no business telling businesses what to do. And so we have empty buildings with small businesses wondering how to grow because they are a lot like your children that recently graduated college—not enough experience to get a job, and not able to get a job to gain the experience.

    I’m not sure how/why people can look to her as a pariah of the middle class. I was not aware Lisa was holding a gun to the head of Boeing, Seaport Steel, or Port Authority and telling them how to operate. Housing costs are rising due to supply and demand. People move to Seattle for jobs in several different fields of expertise. What did folks expect was going to happen? You can only build so much in a greenbelt, and I do not hear a lot of vocal support for urban density. The only time I share my concerns about urban density is when property owners construct flimsy buildings with rooms no larger than communal dining areas in corporate office spaces.

    A vocal majority of WSB commenters seems to weave libertarian views with Mayberry RFD nostalgia. People need to help themselves, it’s not the job of government or society kicking in taxes, and everyone should have a blue collar job with a pie waiting for them at home. Dagnabbit.

    Not to sound elitist, but…a city like Seattle is changing and will continue to change. A city doesn’t owe you anything. If you don’t like it, sell your house and move. I’m sure some other family will gladly buy your home. You might even get a tidy sum afterward. We don’t need another stadium. Find the money to tear down the stadiums we have and build something new on top of them. We need more public transportation. The money is not going to fall from the sky so we have to kick in and pay taxes. Don’t like it? Move to a smaller city where you can spin donuts in your car.

    • Winnie January 5, 2017 (6:17 pm)

      I think that the problem begins when you have a progressive agenda without progressive taxation. I’m middle income. My take home pay started with a 3 last year. I own a modest condo (the price started with a 2 when I bought it). In the three years I’ve been a homeowner, my taxes have gone up 12 times. 12 times. Can you imagine a renter being okay with that? I’m sure that you’ll come back to me saying a levy isn’t a tax but it comes out of my bank account in one chunk. 

      As for moving, I’m a native Seattleite. A woman of color. And have invested my time and money in this community.  Why should I leave to appease this notion that I don’t deserve representation for the taxes that I pay? 

      • Mr E January 5, 2017 (9:38 pm)

        I have no children. Zero. And yet I vote for taxes to help keep public education in Seattle for all its children. I do not use every road in Seattle but I agree to taxes so that other city residents can enjoy their streets. You say taxation without representation. Where are the British folk running around the city spending your tax money?

        You own your home so I am assuming you have a mortgage, and I will further assume that your property taxes are rolled into your mortgage. So you’ve experienced 12 increases. That is a total of what, exactly? And if we do not have these taxes, then we lose city services and social welfare programs and on and on so you can save yourself from a tax increase. So where should the money come from? Who is going to pay for the glue that holds a city together?

        All glory to you for investing time and money in this city. So has everyone else who has lived here, who continues to live here, and those who will continue to do so for as long as we live in this city.

        How, exactly, does Lisa hold your feet over the fire?

        • Ariana January 6, 2017 (3:22 pm)

          Mr. E, 

          I think Winnies point was, she is doing everything “right” by way of the american dream anyway.  I commend her for her personal responsibility and gumption to do for herself and immerse herself in her community.  Additionally, what you didn’t hear is that she can not afford to continue a life here, one that she likely worked very hard to attain.  Her money is being extorted from her for sometimes silly things that benefit a select few.  I think the point is, if you are so into these ideas and more taxes, how about you write a check to the city.  If you have it and think it will do good, then by all means please help out.  But please don’t force people out of their homes, communities and livelihoods for things that aren’t meant to be the job of the city.  

          Thank you Winnie for keeping america great, I wish you continued success and the ability to continue your dream in your home. 

          • Mr E January 6, 2017 (8:32 pm)

            Hyperbole much? One individual is not responsible for rising costs. Costs are going to rise regardless of whether or not you, I, or Winnie live in Seattle.

            Find me one city in the U.S. that grows in size and population that does not have increases in costs. Even if Washington state had an income tax, which it doesn’t, costs are going to rise. So because we purchased a house in an urban area, we just expect costs to never increase or change?

            If you want taxation without representation, look at Puerto Rico.

            I would love for teachers to be paid what they’re worth, have classrooms with manageable size of children, and offer students more than STEM classes that are measured by repetition of multiple choice answers. But how are we going to pay for that? And how do we account for increases in salaries not just for teachers, but school staff as well as administration?

            I would throw a parade for public transportation in and out of West Seattle that allowed for express lines and a drastic reduction in single-driver vehicles. But how are we going to pay for the roads and their maintenance?

            I do not have a blank check to pay for everything that holds a city together. But collectively we do. That is democratic socialism. If you want the city government to never spend money on services that may or may not benefit you the individual, then start a charity and roll up your sleeves. Or find that magical city that can do everything without costing anyone taxes and you’ll live happily ever after.

          • Ariana January 7, 2017 (9:26 am)

            Well E.  

            Hyperbole much?  Really?

            Deflect much?  

            It’s fine man, it will be really cute when all the people with common sense take their money right out of this city.  Just history repeating.  What’s new is old, that type of thing.  Not quite hyperbole but I thought you’d like it anyway 

    • K. Davis January 5, 2017 (10:47 pm)

      @ MR E … wow.  No, really.  

      Had to key in on this gem: “Find the money to tear down the stadiums we have now and build something new on top of them.”  Where does one begin?  So much in just that one statement.

      Sure, your arrogance is impressive(at least you self-identify with your “not to sound elitist” qualification).  But in particular, the remarkable thought train that leads to a statement like this … just, wow.  

      Let’s break your thought down:  “Find the money …”  like pixie dust … somewhere money exists, merely waiting to be “found”.  “to tear down the stadiums we have now …”  lemme get this straight, we’re destroying these massive structures that generate millions of economic dollars for our city (that city which owes us nothing, you assure us, so sure, that makes sense) … and for what purpose?  Ah – to “build something new  on them”  WTF?  Just what, exactly, are we building on these sites that will make apparently much more money (to replace the revenue that we currently earn from the stadiums?  How, in your “hope-I-don’t-sound-elitist” brilliance, are we better off by “finding money” to “tear down stadiums” to “build something else” ?  

      Could you please deign to share with us less-than-elites the full brilliance of your thinking?  I’d really love to read that.  Puhleese? ??

      I understand we elected Donald Trump and his reality-detached narcissism.  I understand that even locally, we elected Kashama Sawant and her own remarkable silliness.  But still … dude … ya gotta at least try not to sound so remarkably disconnected from facts and reality. 

      • Mr E January 6, 2017 (11:44 am)

        So…wow. Your reaction is … huh.

        People in their feelings about Seattle City Council rejecting a proposal for a fourth stadium is hilarious. (I won’t include you because that is arrogant and elitist and some other thoughts expressed with an ellipsis.) But everyone else is acting like petulant children. Find another way to achieve a solution, stop throwing temper tantrums.

        • Ariana January 7, 2017 (9:32 am)

          Wow E. 

          This isnt a “snowflake” comment because I’d say it to your face and not worry one bit about it.  But you are coming off as a bit of a bully and the petulant child you’re ranting about.  

          I’m sure I’m wrong though 

  • Mark January 5, 2017 (6:31 pm)

    Property and business taxes have increased markedly, enough already.  Why is the City spending so much more on homeless than in the depth of the recession in 2009 and 2010?   Today there are jobs and it is time to expect people to work and take care of them selves.  The City needs pragmatic center left leaders not socialists.

    • Chuck January 5, 2017 (6:42 pm)

      “The City needs pragmatic center left leaders not socialists.”

      This. Perfectly put, Mark. 

    • Bill H January 5, 2017 (8:18 pm)

      Could not agree more wake up Seattle.

    • MrsT January 6, 2017 (1:12 pm)

      I’d love it if all you Sawant haters would take a moment and consider the immense value in having a diverse mix of people and ideas in a group as important as a city council. Our systems in this country are broken at nearly every level, and if we keep beating our foreheads on the shrine of everything we have already tried before, we are never going to get anywhere and people are going to continue to get more angry.  Have the courage to open your minds to people with different views than you. As long as a person has integrity, and follows the golden rule (treat others as you would wish to be treated) I will listen to anything they have to suggest and argue vigorously if I disagree. 

      • Captin January 6, 2017 (2:26 pm)

        I think the perception, right or wrong is that she wouldn’t meet you half way in a discussion.

      • Ariana January 6, 2017 (3:14 pm)

        Hello Mrs.T, 

        Though I partially agree with you.  Unfortunately you chose the wrong person to convey your point.  The only view Sawant acknowledges is her own.  I have only ever heard her yell and scream like a child.  It makes me like Lisa quite a bit, even though I don’t necessarily agree with her.  Change Sawant to Herbald and you might sell it.  

  • chemist January 5, 2017 (7:50 pm)

    How about the city council putting an advisory vote about the city pursuit of municipal broadband on our ballots ? Last I heard, the most recent study became a “maybe we’ll do a pilot project” which went nowhere.

  • Steve January 5, 2017 (7:52 pm)

    Just think with the idiotic “democracy” vouchers you will end up an even worse candidate to run against Herbold and that is saying a lot!  It is disturbing that this is the second highest paid city council and this is the best we get?  What a waste of our tax dollars!

  • KT January 5, 2017 (9:10 pm)

    “… If you don’t like it, sell your house and move”.  Now there is a statement by someone with no understanding of or interest in other’s concerns because they do not matter and are wrong anyway apparently.  Exactly why Trump is now the President elect.  

    • Ariana January 6, 2017 (3:26 pm)

      Isn’t it ironic.  We are forcing people out of their homes who have likely worked their whole lives to have, simply so we can give homes to people who would rather not do.  I am not saying ignore the issue of homelessness, but creating more homeless is probably not the answer.  Color me silly… 

  • Robin January 5, 2017 (9:56 pm)

    Not happy at all with her unreasonable first applicants law. I was considering making my small house an affordable under market rental. That can’t happen now that I am not allowed to screen renters.

    • M January 6, 2017 (1:38 am)

      Yes. This. She lost my vote with the ridiculous first come first serve idea for rentals. Can’t wait to vote her out.

      • Captin January 6, 2017 (6:44 am)

        Agreed. I have one rental house that I barely cover my mortgage with rent. Now I have to rent it to the first applicant and finance them!? Combine that and the idea that someone would even consider opening up parks and playgrounds is enough for me to vote out.

        • WrathofBean January 6, 2017 (10:13 am)

           Same, we did what Mr. E suggested and left but did not sell out house. We are currently renting it out to one of our new tech overlords. Fortunately, they are good tenants but if/when they vacate we will re-evaluate whether to rent it out again or sell. If we do rent it out, we’ll be super careful how we advertise and the our new requirements will be much higher than before. Ultimately this will help increase rents so I can view it as a positive thing. This apparently is lost on Ms. Herbold and the economics instructor.

          • Captin January 6, 2017 (11:30 am)

            I wrote her and Sawant and suggested renter’s insurance which is very cheap be tied to financing deposits in order to mitigate risk for landlords; small time specifically. All I got was radio silence.

  • Junction Lady January 6, 2017 (7:15 am)

    …as mentioned above, regarding street work/repair, the well-traveled (by foot and vehicles) alley between California & 44th SW from Alaska to Edmunds is a bungled mess.  Poor drainage, no crosswalk from parking lot to breezeway, potholes for days.  Lets expect better for our citizens!

  • S January 6, 2017 (8:39 am)

    I will pick the best person I feel to rent my house not the first. what you going to do about it. 

    • steve January 6, 2017 (10:08 am)

      How dare you challenge the clowncil.   Your punishment will be mandatory commuting via Pronto!  

    • CaptainReason January 6, 2017 (12:36 pm)

      The financial penalties are significant, and fund sting operations and investigations from the Office of Civil Rights, which has grown to over 40 employees, most of whom have work histories of advocacy and community organizing, suggesting anything but impartial treatment from that department.   

  • CaptainReason January 6, 2017 (10:37 am)

    The Seattle Times conducted a poll on the First Come, First Serve policy, and the results were enlightening.  

    1. Good Idea: 4%

    2. Needs more study: 11%

    3. Bad Idea: 85%

    How can Herbold and her colleagues claim to represent their constituents with #’s like that? 

    • WSB January 6, 2017 (10:56 am)

      I just looked that up and to save anyone else the trouble of duplicating labor: It was an online poll. Those are absolutely not representative of anything (which is why we don’t do them – I’m not much for polling of ANY kind, but generally all online polls represent is who got messages out to say “hey, there’s an online poll about X, go vote so we win!”). The results don’t even show how many votes were collected – whether the 83 percent was 83 of 100 voters, 830 of 1000 … Doesn’t mean a professional survey wouldn’t (or would) have had the same results, but really, you don’t ever want to cite an online vote as proof of anything. – TR

      • CaptainReason January 6, 2017 (12:27 pm)

        It’s just one poll, WSB.  Just a simple poll and doesn’t mean it accurately represents exactly where the community is on an issue.  But 8+ out of 10 is enough to give pause, in any poll.  Further, this generalization:  but generally all online polls represent is who got messages out to say “hey, there’s an online poll about X, go vote so we win!”).  – is no more valid than the poll you question or dispute.  Let’s be fair.   

  • Anne January 6, 2017 (10:50 am)

    The business license fee increase is bunk. Our bill for $1000 showed up in the middle of December (due 2 weeks later) and was a 900% increase from our previous license fee.  Pretending that you had buy-in from the business community on this by working with the Metro chamber is a fantasy. I have been told the WS Chamber was never informed about or consulted on this and you can bet they would have had an opinion.  Way to represent the WS business community–by passing fees without even talking with our chamber.  

    Despite paying business license fees for more than a decade I received no notice that this was even being considered.   We already pay more than $6000 a year in B&O tax to the city, so by raising our rate to $1000, you just raised our taxes by 15% with no notice and no opportunity to comment. 

    Aside from the obvious question of why businesses should single-handedly be responsible for funding additional police officers (why police and why not parks or bikes or something that is actually a service provided by the city specifically to businesses), the pricing structure that you claim to have made more fair is inherently unfair because of the nature of different businesses.  We don’t all sell the same things, and we don’t have the same profit margins. A retailer who marks up wholesale goods 150% to sell them and has revenue of $1 million could have a much higher profit margin than a business that has a majority of its sales in “resale” goods and services and a markup that is tiny relative to the retailer, but has gross sales over $2 million.  Oh, and when you go from $1,999,999 to $2,000,000, your license fee more than doubles.  That’s fair, right?

    Between this and the two recently passed pieces of legislation regarding rentals, the city council has shown that it has no interest in contacting or having input from interested parties.   The Rental Registration Inspection Ordinance requires all landlords in the city to register (and pay a fee) so that the city can inspect rentals.  This has been in effect since 2014.  Despite having this comprehensive database of rentals, the council chose not to utilize it to notify landlords that they wanted to curtail their ability to select tenants as they want, and to require a full deposit and last month’s rent when the lease is signed.  These are not piddly policy changes. They promise to have a potentially disastrous financial outcome for small landlords.   Yes, housing discrimination a problem, and many low-income tenants cannot collect enough for 1st, last and deposit.  But putting the onus on those who take the substantial risk of renting homes they have invested in (and often owe huge mortages on) to solve this problem is not reasonable, and it’s hard to imagine that it’s legal when the council failed to notify any of the affected parties. 

    This last year has made it clear that the council is more interested in pushing through its agenda than talking with the people who it will affect, and who will foot the bill for that agenda. They have all lost my respect.

    • CaptainReason January 6, 2017 (1:49 pm)

      I’m a small business owner, too.  And the main problem I see is the Council and Mayor’s inability to solve any major problems we have facing the city, except to tax and spend more to treat the symptoms.  The old “Tax & Spend” label really seems to stick to our Council, as the problems just grow larger and larger, like the trash heaps in our greenbelts.  Accommodating, enabling or outright surrender seems to be the only plan to deal with homelessness, threats to public health, traffic, transportation, roads, crime, schools, parks, and on and on and on.  Are the parks any better since voters approved another level of management on top of the existing Park & Recs?  I can’t detect any measurable difference despite the extra people and dollars.  Seems that as the City becomes more dysfunctional, they meanwhile seek to micromanage more areas of my business every day, burdening myself and those like me with fixing income inequality.  Sorry, Seattle.  That’s beyond my pay grade.  The day is nearing when I say, “Hello Tukwila” where I can once again focus on growing my business and creating jobs again.  And I’ve always paid well over minimum wage, so don’t even start.

      • Ariana January 6, 2017 (3:36 pm)

        and @ Anne, 

        If it wasn’t so tragic, the hypocrisy of this town would be delicious.  

        All the best to you both.  

        From a soon to be ex-Seattleite, maybe ill see you around the east side…  I don’t know about most of us, but for me, I am here for the mountains, water and trees.  Seattle is a tiny place, and competition may get the best of it.  At least maybe it will be the best for us…


  • steve January 6, 2017 (3:06 pm)


    Spot on.  But it is only going to get worse with such horrible “leadership” by the Mayor and Council.  

  • Lonnie January 7, 2017 (10:30 am)

    As a lifelong Seattlite that voted for both Lisa and Murray, I will most defintely be voting differently the next election as an expression of my displeasure with their performance this far.  Developers and contractors now own the territory while our roads continue to deteriorate from zero maintenance and the abundance of l litter and trash deposit along our roads untouched and allowed to accumulate is totally inexcusable.  Seattle gov. spending is out of control.

  • Aaron January 7, 2017 (10:29 pm)

    I cannot wait to work for change in our District 1 city council member. I’m extremely disappointed in Lisa Herbold.

    We need pragmatic center left leaning leadership. This city council is like a bad episode of Portlandia that won’t end. A complete lack of support for the things that make this city safe and supportive to the people who work and raise families here. I don’t include Tim Burgess in that, as the only sane city council member, I hope that he would consider a run for Mayor, he at least seems to understand when an idea is completely ludicrous.

    I will too will never forget this council’s support of the proposal to open up our parks and sidewalks to the homeless, that was the last straw for me. When they can’t see a something like that as a horrible idea for all parties involved it’s time to vote them out!

  • Morris January 7, 2017 (10:45 pm)

    I like Lisa and will vote for her again.

  • ws gal January 9, 2017 (4:21 pm)

    Looking forward to voting her out.              

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