VIDEO: Two City Council District 1 candidates @ Delridge Neighborhoods District Council

checkbox.jpgFour weeks from today, your ballot will be in the mail, and it’ll be almost time to vote in the primary. Highest-profile race in our area is of course City Council District 1, to decide which two of the three candidates will move on to the November general election. Last night, the Delridge Neighborhoods District Council hosted two candidates for conversation-style appearances. Last month, Phil Tavel talked with the DNDC (WSB video coverage here), so this month, it was time to hear from and talk with Brendan Kolding and Lisa Herbold. About 25 people were there; each candidate spoke for 43 minutes, including Q&A. We again recorded it all.

If you don’t have time to watch – our toplines are below:

Kolding went first. He began by noting that he’s a Delridge resident, and mentioned two Delridge-specific issues, the area’s status as a “food desert” and the Delridge-Genesee bus stop, whih he described as a “tragedy waiting to happen.”

Kolding, who quit his police-lieutenant job to campaign full time, said he’s mostly running because Seattle is “in crisis” and cited his law-enforcement experiment as a prime qualification.

He asked “Do you feel Seattle’s on the right track?” and replies of “no” rippled around the room.
He blamed “poor leadership” for how we got here. He said his wife took their three young kids out that afternoon so he could prep for this appearance and, he said, his wife found a needle at Alki Beach: “That pisses me off to no end.”

He went into his “carrot and stick” policy for getting people with addiction and other problems off the street. “It’s going to involve having enough services and shelter online,” because of a court ruling.

Kolding went on to voice concern about the “public safety crisis.” He says he hears more and more sirens and sees less and less officers proactively patrolling “because they’re going from call to call to call.” While noting that incumbent Councilmember Herbold hadn’t arrived yet, he said that while she would say she supports police because she supports their funding, that’s not what they care about. “I know why they’re leaving and why they are not telling their friends to come.”

He also said he’s for fiscal responsibility and that Seattle needs to be a more business-friendly community. He hailed Amazon for its philanthropy

He also said he doesn’t favor upzoning without transportation infrastructure to support it.

Shortly thereafter, he opened the floor to questions. First one: Are you concerned about any of the RapidRide H proposed changes?

Kolding: General feedback from the community is that they don’t want to lose any parking. That’s part of what people see as a “war on cars.”

Second question: What about ST3 options? “I’m in favor of the tunnel,” says Kolding. He doesn’t yet know how to find the money for it, though.

Third question: How do you balance citywide and district-specific issues? Many of the former DO affect West Seattle/South Park too, Kolding observes.

Fourth question: Longtime local resident says he hasn’t seen a lot of true urban planning. Kolding agrees.

Fifth question: Which three committees would he want to serve on?

*Gender Equity, Safe Communities, New Americans & Education
*Budget committee (which actually is an all-council committee)
*”The development one” (Planning, Land Use & Zoning) – he added that “the MHA needs to be revisited,” voicing concern about developers/builders being able to pay fees instead of including affordable housing in their projects.

Sixth question was from someone making more of a statement, contending that the port should be in the city/state jurisdiction rather than run by its own commission. This attendee also brought up a variety of Terminal 5-related issues that have been publicly addressed many times.

Seventh question: If elected, how would you get up to speed? Kolding promised to “dive into job and be committed to it,” says he’s “learned a lot” while campaigning full time. Has he attended council meetings? He says he’s watched online, but had been at some pre-candidacy.

Not long after that, it was Herbold’s turn.

She said it’s an honor to serve as D-1’s first district-elected councilmember and that she has tried to “make City Hall work for people” … if I can show constituents that we can address things in their neighborhoods then we can address the big things too.” She spoke a bit about her family and then listed some of the people who she said have endorsed her.

Herbold said she is building her platform around issues she’s hearing the most about while doorbelling:

-public safety
-transportation needs

While she says we’re moving people out of homelessness more quickly than ever, people aren’t seeing that on the streets. While she agrees there’s “no debate” that homelessness has many causes, she believes the universal answer is “more affordable housing.” She also touts enhanced shelter – where you don’t get kicked out in the morning and you can bring pets and partners -“that’s one of the reasons we’re seeing more results.”

Re: public safety, Herbold said she initiated the community service officers’ comeback, funded 2 years ago, just implemented by mayor this year

“We need to be creative in how we’re going to meet staffing goal for SPD,” she adds, saying SPD fell behind starting a year ago, while also noting that 85% of large cities are not meeting staffing goals and that large businesses have a lot of job openings too.

Asked about the MHA fee, she contended that the in-lieu fee goes further because every dollar can be multiplied. She says the money is being “distributed throughout the city … not just the low-income parts.” Both types of MHA $ have roles to play

An attendee asked her how she would grade her performance and the council as a whole. She notes that she’s answered that before, and says, B- for both. So why do consttuent seem to be so upset with the council? the attendee presses. Herbold replied that she thinks people have a disconnect in understanding who’s accountable for what, such as in the oft-repeated allegation that the “city council has tied police’s hands” – she pointed out, “The city council is not in the police’s chain of command.” And: “Most of the things that people are complaining about are the implementation of policy, not the policy itself,” the latter being the council’s main accountability.

She also said she spends a lot of time explaining to people what really is being done – for example, people are claiming encampments aren’t being removed, but they are. In her view, the city is “not doing a very good job of telling the story about what it’s been doing.”


Land Use/Zoning
Public Safety

One attendee brings up an encampment alongside I-5 by the east end of the West Seattle Bridge. Herbold says it’s WSDOT property. “We are not allowed to manage the property of state government.”

The RapidRide H concerns question is asked, and, what is her office doing to address those concerns?.

Herbold mentioned that it’s subject to an oversight method for capital projects that she championed, with a budget proviso requiring council to get briefed and sign off at certain points of the project. Regarding specific concerns such as stop spacing, she said she feels there have been compromises addressing those concerns. She also said she’s met with greenway advocates and West Seattle Bike Connections as part of planning/vetting and “if I need to get more voices, I will.”

Asked about ADUs and density, she says that the Environmental Impact Statement that recently withstood a challenge suggests about 440 will be built each year citywide, and that’s not likely to have much impact.

Asked about the golf courses’ future, Herbold said that it’s counted against open space and she hears from people who wish it wasn’t all devoted to golf: “I want to learn more before I come down on one side or the other.”

Then she was asked about the Seattle Planning Commission’s Neighborhoods For All initiative seeking a move away from single-family zoning as it now exists. She says she’s “open to looking at some of those ideas.”

Next issue – she was asked if she really believes 75 percent of people polled support “safe injection sites.” She said two polls suggested as much, but “I call them overdose prevention sites … they’re focused on saving lives …”

After a few quick miscellaneous matters, single-family zoning came up again. An attendee said Minneapolis ended it. Not true, said Herbold; they changed their Comprehensive Plan but haven’t gotten to the zoning changes, yet.

About the West Seattle Junction Association’s parking-lot tussle, Herbold said she’s working with the WSJA on some Business Improvement Area rule changes that might help the WSJA’s operations.

WHAT’S NEXT: All three D-1 candidates are scheduled to have presences at Saturday’s Morgan Junction Community Festival.

11 Replies to "VIDEO: Two City Council District 1 candidates @ Delridge Neighborhoods District Council"

  • Cool Rick June 21, 2019 (5:48 am)

    I see Herbold is still continuing her frustrating arrogant responses and refuses to acknowledge that people are displeased with the council’s performance. Keep deflecting blame while the good people of West Seattle vote you out…

    • Nolan June 21, 2019 (11:24 am)

      It’s telling that you consider articulated responses on nuanced policy points “arrogant”. Or is it that she’s rebutting baseless accusations with facts?

      • Cool Rick June 21, 2019 (1:30 pm)

        Hahaha, no. It is incredibly arrogant and condescending to blame her poor approval ratings and the dissatisfaction that her constituents feel on us not being knowledgeable enough to understand how great she is doing, and that the failures are only on the implementation side. It’s insulting and shows a complete lack of awareness.

  • Thomas Wood June 21, 2019 (6:05 am)

    Overdose prevention sites really? That’s a ridiculous view.The city doesn’t do a good job on explaining encampment removal.No the city flat out is doing a horrible job on encampment removal.What does it take for Lisa and the Council to realize you can’t manage four hundred illegal encampments.The homeless encampments need to centralised so the services can be effective.You can’t leave people with mental,drug or alcohol addiction out there to make the right decisions.

    • Jon Wright June 21, 2019 (2:04 pm)

      Yes, there probably would be some opportunities to do a better job helping people if “homeless encampments were centralised.” That’s a great talking point but the devil is in the details. Where would this centralized location be? How do you propose to convince neighbors to allow something like this nearby? How do you convince people to relocate to this spot? What if they refuse to move? What happens when a court rules against this brilliant idea? This whole election is full of vague and meaningless pronouncements like “we need change” and ill-thought-out ideas that cannot be implemented. 

  • Jort June 21, 2019 (8:08 am)

    Which council committee would you want to serve on?   Kolding: “The development one.”  It’s really a shame that Centrist Lisa didn’t receive a challenge from an actually worthy opponent. This Kolding dude is all FEMA tents, no cattle.   I saw Lisa’s yard signs, declaring “She gets things done.” This is deeply ironic, considering she is the living, breathing embodiment of the Seattle Process. 

  • Mark H June 21, 2019 (9:36 am)

    I like most of what Kolding had to say, but this part on transportation reads like a bunch of contradictory stupidity. Disappointing. Our arterials need to move people not store personal property.  If you’re having a “problem” with parking at your house/apt where you opted not to pay for parking or clean their garage, it might be time to look in the mirror. “He also said he doesn’t favor upzoning without transportation infrastructure to support it.Shortly thereafter, he opened the floor to questions. First one: Are you concerned about any of the RapidRide H proposed changes?Kolding: General feedback from the community is that they don’t want to lose any parking. That’s part of what people see as a “war on cars.””

  • Will S. June 21, 2019 (12:21 pm)

    Herbold gives herself and the council a B-. (Let’s set aside whether our own grades would be higher or lower. ) A grade of B- is not very good, yet she wants to keep this job she is not very good at. So we should expect Herbold to have a clear idea about how she can be better. Instead, Herbold has a terrible analysis of the council’s low approval ratings: she says it’s the public’s fault for failing to recognize that the city council cannot accomplish most of the things that the public cares about. According to Herbold, public dissatisfaction stems only from poor implementation (for which we should presumably blame the mayor) and our misunderstanding of her role. This is a stunning lack of awareness about the city council’s genuine mistakes, combined with a very complacent approach to the council’s oversight of city agencies. The part that drives me craziest is the punchline: Herbold’s challengers promise to be worse.

    • Mark Schletty June 21, 2019 (2:03 pm)

      Wow! Herbold is so out of touch with her constituents she completely misses the problem. Most of the low opinion of the Council is not generated by what the Council can’t do. It is generated by what the Council actually does do. Like giving permission for the criminal homeless faction to camp on public property and steal at will to fund their drugs. Like packing in more and more people without requiring any parking spaces or infrastructure upgrades. Like trying to get rid of single family zoning. Like removing lanes from the major arterials. Like taxing us out of our homes. Etc., etc., etc..

    • janet June 24, 2019 (9:33 am)

      Don’t forget Phil Tavel is a challenger in this race! He spoke with the district council a few weeks back. WSB video coverage here

  • Groucho Marx June 21, 2019 (12:49 pm)

    ooo what an edgy takedown.  

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