Later this week, King County Elections will mail ballots for the August 6th primary, and you can vote as soon as yours arrives.
With that looming, the three contenders in our area’s highest-profile race, Seattle City Council District 1, spent an hour answering questions Sunday afternoon on the West Seattle Summer Fest Community Stage – Lisa Herbold, Brendan Kolding, and Phil Tavel. Your WSB co-publishers (Tracy Record and Patrick Sand) moderated the forum, which we presented in partnership with the West Seattle Junction Association (which brings you the festival each year). We chose the questions, some ours, but mostly from readers, as solicited here last week. Here’s how the hour went:
(One caveat about our recording – about halfway through, internal condensation blurred the center of the lens, so it’s more useful as audio than video from that point, fourth camcorder we’ve worn out in 12 years.)
As with our recent video interviews, we are not transcribing the questions and full answers – you’ll have to watch/listen for those – but rather, summarizing. Words are only exact quotes if you see them inside quotation marks. We had each candidate answer each question, with a :30 hard cutoff, plus a closing question and closing statement for which we allowed 1 minute each. Ahead, summaries of the 20 questions and answers:
#1 – Should Seattle continue to be a “sanctuary city”?
LH – Yes.
BK – Didn’t say unequivocally yes or no.
PT – Didn’t say unequivocally yes or no.
#2 – What more can/should city do to help immigrants?
PT – Outreach in multiple languages so they understand their rights.
BK – Agreed.
LH – “Translation services won’t do it alone.” Legal services too. Also “ready to work” and citizenship classes.
#3 – Library levy, renewal/expansion, is also on the August 6 ballot. Is this needed?
LH – Yes. Library use is rising, needs are too.
BK – No. “I support libraries” but because people feel “tapped out on taxes.”
PT – Agrees with Kolding. Need to look for $ elsewhere.
#4 – Do we need a public-safety levy?
PT – No. “We don’t need more levies and taxes,” need to audit how spending $ we have now.
BK – No. “We have more than enough funds” but can’t spend the $ because people don’t want to work for SPD.
LH – “Not a question of more money,” need to figure out how to spend what we have.
#5 – If a recession hits, what would you cut first?
LH – First Avenue streetcar project. “We have sufficient bus services” to meet the transportation needs in that corridor.
BK – “I don’t think it’s going to be about cutting from one department” but rather reviewing everything.
PT – First, look at SDOT, “the green median strips” and “bike lanes.”
#6 – Light rail to West Seattle should be tunneled to The Junction, you all say, but $ has to come from somewhere. Where?
LH – Could also look at saving money via engineering.
BK – Private-sector partners, most likely.
PT – Talk with potential partners like Nucor, Port.
#7 – If we can’t pay for a tunnel, and light rail will be all elevated, do we build it anyway?
PT – “Not completely certain. … need to go back to the community” and ask.
BK – No.
LH – Can’t make changes to a voter-approved measure without going back to the voters.
#8 – Do you support congestion pricing (street tolling downtown)?
LH – Needs to be an equity analysis based on geography of drivers arriving downtown. Or maybe an alternate approach, like using it on Uber/Lyft.
BK – No.
PT – No.
#9 – Parking requirements have been loosened by the city. Has it gone too far or not far enough?
PT – “Gone far enough, if not too far.” Cites concern about how ADU/DADU changes will affect things.
BK – We’ve gone too far. “Need to go the other way.”
LH – Should not treat this as a cookie-cutter approach, should treat neighborhoods individually.
#10 – Pedestrian safety. We’ve had a death in West Seattle recently. What more could/should the city do?
LH – Has been trying to get something done in area where that happened.
BK – Always something can be done.
PT – SDOT’s “not willing to do something until something happens.” Mentions 39th/Oregon attempts to get something done.
#11 – Climate crisis – what more should the city be doing?
PT – Should be talking more about sustainability, clean and fresh water.
BK – Carbon-neutrality for institutions, carbon credit program.
LH – Mentions the Green New Deal proposal for more green jobs. Also, improving recycling topics.
#12 – What do you support for maintaining and increasing tree canopy?
LH – Need to strengthen tree ordinance. She’s been working on illegal tree removal.
BK – Trees are important. City could help by helping educate homeowners about assessing their trees.
PT – On the Seattle Green Spaces Coalition board. Need to protect more open/green spaces, educate people.
#13 – How do we attract more employers to West Seattle?
PT – Add a telecommuting hub. Be more inviting to companies.
BK – “In general we can do a lot more in the city to promote West Seattle” – it has a good supply of talented people and office space.
LH – Support our small business districts, not just The Junction.
#14 – What more does the city need to do to fund affordable housing?
LH – Use bond authority. Announcement forthcoming “doubling our housing investment using this resource.”
BK – Revisit MHA to require that affordable housing be built in upzoned areas.
PT – In-lieu MHA fees are too small. Lower barriers for not-for-profit development
#15 – Support the ADU/DADU changes just signed into law?
PT – Worried about speculation, parking requirements.
BK – Has concerns. Far from perfect, though.
LH – Proposed amendment that her colleagues didn’t support. But doesn’t think the projected 400 to be built annually will “destroy neighborhoods.”
#16 – What do you think we should be talking re: homelessness that never gets talked about?
LH – We know what interventions work and need to bring them to scale. Like enhanced shelter and permanent supportive housing.
BK – How we got into this situation and how we solve it.
PT – That this is a problem of substance abuse, mental health, affordable housing.
#17 – Camp Second Chance’s site on the Myers Way Parcels might be leased to a faith-based organization as a way to get it out of being hosted on city property. For or against?
PT – Lot of good things happening at C2C but “city needs to follow through on its promises to the neighborhood.”
BK – C2C is better than sleeping on sidewalks and parks, “better than nothing,” but we need a better solution.
LH – Dozens of churches in WS support C2C.
#18 – Is the city reaching enough of West Seattle’s people – how can it be more inclusive?
LH – Says she’s been lauded for constituent services.
BK – Most people didn’t even know there was an election until he showed up at their doorstep.
PT – Need a constant daily presence in the district and reaching out in a major way.
#19 – What would you do about the Delridge “food desert”?
PT – Shuttle to the Farmers’ Market.
BK – He lives on Delridge. Need to aggressively find a location and solicit a grocery store.
LH – She lives in east West Seattle too. Working with Northwest Harvest on “mobile food pantry” and Food Lifeline re: nonprofit grocery store.
#20 – In 2 years, what will we be talking about, not previously discussed in this forum, a topic that nobody saw coming.
PT – Access to fresh water. Pipes are ancient. Big earthquake could ravage the system.
BK – Sees “the next big Seattle business boom” sparked by a “new City Council.”
LH – Change of our workforce because of a change in the structure of jobs (including automation, contract employment without jobs).
(Again, a 1-minute closing statement by each followed – if you just want to forward to that, it’s 48 minutes in.)
NEXT FORUM: The West Seattle Chamber of Commerce‘s pre-primary forum is Thursday (July 18th), 6:30 pm at Olympic Hall on the south end of the South Seattle College (6000 16th SW; WSB sponsor) campus.
VOTE! As noted, your ballot will be mailed on Wednesday. Once you get it, you have until August 6th to mail it (or get it to an official dropbox by 8 pm that night)