ELECTION 2019: Talking with City Council District 1 candidate Brendan Kolding

(WSB photo)

With primary-election ballots going out in two weeks, we’re continuing our series of conversations checking in with the City Council District 1 (West Seattle/South Park) candidates. Tonight: Brendan Kolding, one of two challengers hoping to keep Councilmember Lisa Herbold from serving a second term. Your WSB co-publishers sat down with him for a wide-ranging conversation last week, which you can watch below, unedited:

If you can’t or don’t want to watch/listen, text toplines are below – but note that they do not represent a full transcript, nor are they direct quotes except where signified by quotation marks, just (in some cases very) brief summaries:

What do you say to those who call you a one-note candidate (crime/public safety)?
Kolding says he’s made a point of addressing a variety of issues – development, parking, transit, cost of living. While he spent 10 years in law enforcement, he was a teacher before that. He’s also “a husband, a father, a homeowner.”

In addressing homelessness, where do you stand on tiny-house villages, such as West Seattle’s Camp Second Chance?
“It’s better than nothing.” He doesn’t think the rate of placement into housing is high enough, and anything that’s not working “should be phased out.” He has not visited Camp Second Chance.

He wants to revisit MHA because he’s most concerned about the in-lieu fee leading to affordable housing being built in neighborhoods other than where it was funded.

End single-family zoning?

If the council has a majority of newcomers after November, how would they be effective?
He thinks the prospect is “exciting. … We need to break down barriers on the City Council.”

Is he running on any kind of a slate?
So far he hasn’t endorsed anyone in the other races.

If the point here is change, why shouldn’t the new councilmember be Phil Tavel instead of Brendan Kolding?
He declines to offer any direct criticism.

What could Councilmember Herbold have done differently to avert the “crisis” he says the city’s in?
Support the police. Make a statement refuting Councilmember Kshama Sawant’s contention that a fatal officer-involved shooting was a murder.

Tell us more about police demoralization.
The council took four years to pass a new police contract, and Councilmember Herbold said she was doing so reluctantly. (On followup) Officers are quitting. People say they’re not seeing (routine) patroling any more. “Law enforcement staffing is a big concern … It’s tough to hire cops these days, in any political environment. … It’s taken a lot of downfall to get to this point … If it gets any worse, we could in an even worse state of crisis … There’s a problem out there and I’m trying to fix it.”

Any taxes you would seek to roll back?
First thing we need to do is stop adding taxes. An audit needs to be done. People feel overtaxed (and) don’t feel they’re getting what they’re paying for. “We need to see what revenue we’re making from taxes (before talking about) eliminating any.”

Name something the current council has done right.
“They finally approved the SPD contract after 4 years.”

Lots of talk right now about the future of the city’s golf courses. What should be the future of the West Seattle Golf Course?
“I want it to remain a golf course.”

Any other park-related issues of interest?

Annex White Center?
If its residents want to become part of Seattle, he’d “work to make that happen for them,” but he’s also mindful of the issues that would be raised for the city if it was to take on new territory. (But) “it’s appropriate to take the time to make it work right.”

What city do you see in five years – what’s your vision?
“I envision a city where you don’t see a single tent …we can get to the point where we can enforce our laws … people are no longer intimidated to go to the parks, to go downtown … people are no longer living in squalor. … As much crisis as we’re in, with strong leadership, we can turn (this) around.” He also sees a city at full staffing, where employees feel empowered and want to stay.”

We also talked about what brought him to Seattle, the city’s role in bringing in more professional sports, what it’s been like to campaign all out (as compared to his previous two low-key runs for State Legislature), and more.

NEXT IN THE SERIES: Tomorrow (Wednesday) night, Phil Tavel. Last night (Monday), we published our interview with Lisa Herbold (see it here).

NEXT IN THE CAMPAIGN: Sunday, July 14th, at noon, the West Seattle Junction Association and WSB are co-sponsoring a candidate forum on the final day of Summer Fest, in Junction Plaza Park (42nd/Alaska). Got a question nobody’s asked yet? Email us! On Wednesday, July 17th, the county mails ballots, and you can vote as soon as you get yours. Then on Thursday, July 18th, the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce presents a forum at 6:30 pm in Olympic Hall on the south end of the South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) campus (6000 16th SW). Voting ends on Tuesday, August 6th, and whichever two candidates get the most votes advance to the November general election.

56 Replies to "ELECTION 2019: Talking with City Council District 1 candidate Brendan Kolding"

  • Quora July 2, 2019 (7:37 pm)

    I like what he has to say about a lot of issues. End the industrial homeless complex and implement an audit to account for where all of our tax money is going BEFORE approving any new taxes.Take the money spent on the golf course study; what was it, around $104K? What were the final conclusions of the study? Are you telling me that in this sophisticated city we live in with a budget that exceeds 6 BILLION (more than some small countries) that the information regarding the economic performance of the city golf courses could not have been simply provided by the city budget office? What exactly did we pay an outside firm $104K for? What is going on with the accounting (and accountability) in this city?

    • WSB July 2, 2019 (11:47 pm)

      Whether you think it should have been done or not, here’s the purpose of the golf study, since there seems to be so much misinformation and misunderstanding about it:

      Study Purpose

      The City of Seattle Parks and Recreation Department (SPR) commissioned Lund Consulting, Inc. to prepare a strategic business plan to guide the future of Seattle’s public golf courses, driving ranges, mini-golf, golf food services, and related programs. The City requested an objective analysis for policy makers to consider in making decisions related to the future of City of Seattle golf courses. The study process included background research using SPR historical records, interviews with people with knowledge of past and current Seattle golf course operations and maintenance, interviews with community leaders, and national research on best practices in municipal golf course operations.

      The study team included Scanlan Consulting who conducted financial analysis of past golf course operations for the period 2013-2017 and who made financial projections based on assumptions developed in
      collaboration with SPR staff. Cocker Fennessy was also part of the consulting team. They conducted secondary market research and primary stakeholder interview research. SPR provided guidance to the consulting team about the stakeholders to be interviewed based on their experience working with the community.

      The full study

      The recommendations are on page 17.

  • A July 2, 2019 (7:45 pm)

    A dream come true would be Kolding vs Tavel in November. I’m worried that Kolding and Tavel will take votes from each other in August and Herbold will sneak into the November election

    • CAM July 3, 2019 (1:21 am)

      It actually seems more likely that Herbold and Tavel will split votes and whoever comes out on top between the two in the primary will come out on top in November. Kolding is the least consistent in terms of ideology of the three. 

  • Kolding Supporter July 2, 2019 (7:54 pm)

    You got my vote👍

  • Steve July 2, 2019 (8:26 pm)

    Hard pass

  • Sixbuck July 2, 2019 (9:45 pm)

    Soft yes

  • Jort July 2, 2019 (9:50 pm)

    I’ve heard a lot about single-issue voters, but not so much about single-issue candidates. It’s fascinating! Imagine a world where you look out at Seattle and constantly see nothing but problems that are all somebody else’s fault. That’s gotta be an interesting way to live your life.  For example, wanting to get to a point where “people are no longer intimidated to go to the parks…” Oh yeah. Our parks are just wastelands of crime and terror. Why, just the other day I saw absolutely nobody at Lincoln Park because everybody is sooooooo scared of the OOOOGA BOOOOGA crime! Ridiculous. This is histrionic drama queen screeching and hysteria.

    • Mike July 2, 2019 (10:13 pm)

      I see addicts daily at Cal Anderson.  Guy with his naked butt hanging out of his pants at the kid play equipment at 7:30 AM swearing about random things while bobbling back and forth, guy with three lit cigarettes on his lap burning his legs while he’s passed out with a needle in his arm, lady with her hoo-ha showing to the world while she scrounges through the trash can that’s overfilled with blankets and broken tent parts, and on and on and on.  I will give props to the guy washing his legs and feet in the pool of water where the ducks swim around and poop in, at least he was attempting to get clean’ish.  I warn the stupid parents to not let their kids run around barefoot, lots of broken glass and some dirty hypodermic needles they’re apparently not aware of.  People are basically blind to reality.

      • CAM July 3, 2019 (1:17 am)

        Cal Anderson Park is not in West Seattle and while I would like it to be a nice place to visit I’m not sure it has a lot to do with this conversation. I also work in Pioneer Square and walk through that neighborhood extensively on a daily basis. Despite that, I don’t encounter the situations you describe seeing all that frequently somewhere they’re likely to be more prominent. So, while I can’t say with any certainty that you are wrong, it seems like what you’re expressing might be more based in emotion than fact. I am very interested in having a conversation about how to help people maintain better hygiene and living conditions despite not having secure housing. Starting that conversation out, as Mr. Kolding does, by attempting to invoke fear and disgust is not a productive means to accomplish anything other than greater societal discord. 

        • T206 July 3, 2019 (9:01 am)

          “The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it,” -George OrwellIt is a drug problem, mental health problem and we need to call it what it is.  It’s great that we basically decriminalized what is more of a social problem than a criminal one BUT if we can’t name it and deal with it in the social arena that we’ve now put it in, we risk becoming the regressive state rather than the progressive goal.  It’s not first world to have these things happen on our streets and public parks. It shouldn’t be acceptable, nor political talking points.  When that happens, blind compassion turns into enabling people into their demise. 

    • Quora July 3, 2019 (5:16 am)

      Waiting for the bus the other night to go to the sounders game, my wife, my three year old daughter and I are on Alaska waiting for the C line. There is a drunk guy who is walking back and forth through the intersection with an open 24oz can of Steel Reserve, threatening and yelling at people. He is nearly hit by cars on two separate occasions and both times is screaming at the occupants in the car that he will “[expletive] kill [them] and their [expletive] families.” Now, I usually don’t react to things like that being I am a daily commuter on the bus, but I will say, having my daughter with me in that situation really made me angry and uncomfortable. So a guy just gets to drink beer in public, almost get run over in oncoming traffic and gets to threaten people minding their own business on a Saturday trying to enjoy our beautiful little community? Is this instance a representation of how it is every day in west seattle? No, that’s not what I’m saying. But I can say in my experience the frequency I see Individuals like this roaming the streets being drunk and outwardly violent in our community is growing. In fact, in the Junction it’s almost rare to not see something like this go down. If Kolding is saying the current City Council has neutered our police force to the extent that they cannot actively police areas like this on a regular basis to ensure the safety and well being of our “city center” (which is what the Junction is), then I support a candidate that will work with police to change this. It’s no different than Pike Place Market; if the police cannot protect those areas from vagrancy, drug use and threatening behavior to the thousands of people that are down there each day, then we’ve officially lost our city. Something needs to change.

      • CAM July 3, 2019 (8:25 am)

        Did you call the police to report this? I constantly see police patrolling the junction on foot, bike, and in cars so that seems very rare but if you had called in a report they probably would have been there quickly to intervene. 

        • West Seattle Hipster July 3, 2019 (9:20 am)

          The police most likely would not have responded at all to this episode.

        • Quora July 3, 2019 (1:28 pm)

          CAM – no disrespect to you, but I just don’t believe what you are saying. You really think that police constantly patrol the junction on foot, bike and by patrol car? My experience is vastly different. In fact, I rarely see police just walking the beat down there. That just isn’t what our police force currently does. And really, it’s not their fault, it’s a systemic approach to how their resources are allocated being that they cannot be everywhere, all of the time. My point is, and why I brought up Pike Place Market, is that these are the epicenters of our communities, and when we can’t enjoy them because criminals are allowed to do what they want, well things have to change. Are you listening Lorena Gonzalez? Next time a “summer emphasis” program is launched to combat criminal hot spots, just go with it. Less social justice warrior; more common sense.

          • CAM July 3, 2019 (2:30 pm)

            Yes, I do believe that and it is my experience. For almost 2 years I lived on block off the central block in the junction and regularly encountered police while walking home or to somewhere else. I saw them driving by while I was waiting for the bus and I saw them stopping to talk to the homeless people sitting on the benches at the park. I’ve moved about 4 blocks farther away now so don’t walk through several times a day anymore but I still see police almost every time I go through the core neighborhood. It’s so routine at this point that I hardly notice it. 

      • Xuu206 July 3, 2019 (12:37 pm)

        Quora, you articulated this ongoing and ever increasing problem(s) magnificently! Thank you!! Brendan has my vote! Not even close. 

    • WW Resident July 3, 2019 (6:41 am)

      I took my young daughter to Lincoln Park awhile back and there was a group of homeless people harassing park goers and drinking and yelling. Yeah ooga booga

    • smh July 3, 2019 (7:53 am)

      Jort, I totally agree with you. This is just fear-mongering and self-interest.

    • wscommuter July 3, 2019 (10:35 am)

      @ Jort … I think your hyperbole is a dismissive and disrespectful.  While I’m not a fan of single-issue candidates (or voters), the homelessness problem has reached the level of being the single most important issue for many – many – voters in Seattle.  I live in W. Seattle and work in Pioneer Square.  Just two days ago, I walked by three addicts shooting up at 1:00 in the afternoon in a door well at 3rd and James, literally kitty corner from the courthouse as passers-by just walked on, averting their gazes from the felony/human tragedy occurring as a routine event.  I’ve seen the detritus created by the campers when they were occupying Harbor Ave and the area down behind the steel mill.   And yes, we have had some problems with mentally ill or addicted folks showing up in our neighborhoods and parks – see the sad event in N. Admiral last year with the knife-wielding woman with severe mental illness.I have great empathy for my brothers and sisters who are poor, addicted, mentally ill or all too often, some combination of those factors.  But I also recognize that a tipping point has been reached.  As a life-long Democrat, I’m ready to vote against  status quo policies, which includes voting against Ms. Herbold.  Haven’t decided between Tavel or Kolding.  But your dismissive take is out of touch with reality.  It’s easy to sneer at people but the facts suggest that your take is out of touch with the problems we face.  

  • Jon July 2, 2019 (10:32 pm)

    You have my vote, Brendan. Ignore the losers. We need more people like you in government. Let’s turn this city around before it gets worse.

  • Canton July 2, 2019 (11:37 pm)

    Excellent interview Mr. Kolding. D1, and the rest of the city, need a logical and level headed representative. You seem to have a good grasp of current issues.  Appreciate that you pause, and don’t lie, if you don’t have solid answers to a particular question.

  • Sixbuck July 3, 2019 (3:48 am)

    Another issue…please listen, Mr. Kolding. If this city starts tolling vehicles to drive in the downtown corridor, it will kill off any remaining downtown small businesses.  I already pay too much to license a vehicle. I pay extra so we can continue to have poor metro bus service in my area. If I buy a soft drink or Gatorade in the city (which I now choose not to do), I pay an unreasonable tax that I never had a say in.  I already pay more than my fair share of taxes to this city and get relatively little in return. Stay out of my pockets!!

  • TreeHouse July 3, 2019 (4:58 am)

    It sounds like I will be voting for Lisa Herbold again. 

  • Peter July 3, 2019 (7:44 am)

    Why no questions on housing and transit? Kolding ranges from weak to wrong on every issue, but it would be interesting to hear about those.

    • Mike July 3, 2019 (6:07 pm)

      I can’t wait to vote for him, just so Sawant will lose her mind every time she has to be near him.  We need anyone but any of the current council members.  They are well known as the biggest joke of a council in the USA 

  • Denise July 3, 2019 (7:47 am)

    Talk about a policy wonk! ;)I think we need slightly more detail than, “I’d solve homelessness.”

  • West Seattle Hipster July 3, 2019 (9:07 am)

    Kolding may not have all the answers to fix Seattle’s numerous issues, but he would bring some balance to a city council that is a national embarrassment.  I have had multiple encounters similar to what Quora experienced, and I concur that these episodes are becoming more frequent.i believe that Mrs. Herbold started her term with good intentions, but unfortunately she became a follower of the extremists on the council.

    • Jon Wright July 3, 2019 (3:14 pm)

      Oh the hyperbole. Our embarrassment of a City Council! I cannot even talk to my out-of-town relatives for fear of being relentlessing mocked. The only non-Seattle people who care about our local government is extreme political media that is always looking to stir up trouble. There is only one extremist on the council and the plethora of 8-1 votes would indicate nobody is following them. Whether or not you agree with her, I think Councilmember Herbold has been very consistent throughout her time on the council and didn’t suddenly change her beliefs mid-term.

  • Doe July 3, 2019 (9:43 am)

    My neighbor, who regularly wears a MAGA hat, has a Kolding sign in his front yard. That tells me all I need to know.

    • Victoria July 3, 2019 (10:55 am)

      Ah – the old affiliating a candidate with trump trick.  I am a lifelong liberal and ready to see some balance on our ridiculous city council.  Mr Kolding may be the most conservative choice for D1 (hence your neighbor’s support) but that does not align him with Trump’s views, policy or agenda.

      • CatLady July 3, 2019 (11:01 pm)

        Victoria – actually, it does. Kolding is a Safe Seattle/Speak Out Seattle candidate, and those two groups are absolutely local mirrors of what’s happening at the federal level. Hell, two days ago 45 complained about unhoused people and said the feds my have to intercede (whatever that means). It’s absolutely all related. 

        • Victoria July 4, 2019 (9:17 am)

          What do you mean he is a Safe Seattle candidate?  That isn’t a political party.  I don’t know what Safe Seattle is or whether it espouses hate but I have not heard anything remotely like espousing of hate from Mr. Kolding.  Just because certain ideas and priorities in addressing the homeless crisis might overlap does not mean hate is one of them.  

        • M July 4, 2019 (9:32 am)

          Do you have a source for this claim? Because i have heard nothing of the sort

        • Mark Schletty July 4, 2019 (10:06 am)

          This is disturbing. I just read the comments on the Tavel interview and now these Kolding followup comments. Herbold supporters are now attempting to falsely smear both Tavel and Kolding with accusations of connections to, and support of,  far right wing groups. They must be very desperate. Is it “anything goes” time now?

          • delridge72 July 5, 2019 (7:54 am)

            Anything to the right of Sawant and her Socialist Alternative allies are Alt-Right Nazis. That’s the political rhetoric these days.

  • anonyme July 3, 2019 (10:02 am)

    Enough with protecting those who break the law, while doing nothing to protect the rest of us from them.  Mr. Kolding will provide some much-needed balance on the council.  I also agree with him that our agencies need oversight and auditing to start performing efficiently.  One thing that needs examination is the use of multiple contractors for city work (SDOT being one of the worst) who gouge taxpayers for fragmented, inefficient work.  The model for the homeless industrial complex is not limited to one issue but is widespread in Seattle agencies.

  • MrB July 3, 2019 (10:04 am)

    WSB: Please purchase a proper microphone for these interviews.  It’s not expensive or difficult and makes a huge difference. 

  • Villagegreen July 3, 2019 (11:17 am)

    @Doe, that’s funny! Wearing a MAGA hat in West Seattle. That takes balls! Ignorant balls, but balls nonetheless. 

  • oakley34 July 3, 2019 (2:59 pm)

    I agree with Doe.  While obviously Kolding =/ Trump, they do both practice the politics of fear.  And that’s enough of a similarity for me.

    • Victoria July 3, 2019 (4:20 pm)

      Politics of fear?  Look around our city, including West Seattle.  It’s becoming a cesspool.  The exception is becoming the norm.  People should be perhaps not afraid of what is becoming an acceptable lifestyle choice to many (and no, I’m not talking about those down on their luck due to unforeseen or unavoidable circumstances) at the expense of the rest but demanding better solutions from those elected to serve them.  

      • CAM July 3, 2019 (5:52 pm)

        Nobody is saying that things are perfect or even okay. But I’m not sure that this qualifies as a cesspool or a third world country or any of the other ways that people choose to describe it when they get super emotional about it. There’s a whole lot of gray between the two extremes you are categorizing people’s opinions into. 

      • Lagartija Nick July 3, 2019 (6:07 pm)

        Yes, it’s the politics of fear. The language that you and others use when describing homelessness is designed to elicit a fear response. Case in point, West Seattle is emphatically not a cesspool! I swear some of you make it sound like there are more tents than houses and more trash than trees. Cut out the hyperbole and ditch the ugly divisive rhetoric.

        • Victoria July 3, 2019 (8:14 pm)

          If it’s divisive to point out the obvious that the conditions in this city have progressively deteriorated over the last decade that’s really too bad.  And that deterioration, not people calling it out, is the real ugly fact.  Do we have to wait until the point where there are more tents than houses or trash than trees before it becomes okay to tell the truth?  Or will it be just too divisive to ask for better even then.  

          • CAM July 3, 2019 (11:49 pm)

            You’ve just proved my point Victoria. There will never be more tents than houses in Seattle. You’re description of the situation in that manner is meant to inflame the discussion and make it more difficult to achieve any meaningful progress. This is the exact reason that people like Kolding will not be effective in government. That kind of tactic is divisive and is why this city is full of people who can’t agree on anything or make any substantive changes. 

          • Victoria July 4, 2019 (9:12 am)

            CAM – if you had read the string, my reference to more tents than houses was clearly quoting Lagartija Nick and responding to his comment.  It was not my description of the situation. (And maybe what you actually have proven is that one reason people cannot agree is because they don’t actually bother to listen or read another’s thoughts before diving in).  If you don’t think the situation has reached critical mass with the actual daily scenarios described in this post I can’t imagine what would ever cause you to seek to change the status quo leadership.  I can only hope that the majority of voters are not as accepting of the situation.

          • CAM July 4, 2019 (5:58 pm)

            I can’t speak for Nick’s actual meaning but I interpreted his statement to be ironic. Taking an ironic statement and using it literally to attempt to make your point is like using facts gained from an Onion article to prove your point. 

          • Victoria July 5, 2019 (11:03 am)

            OK sure.

  • anonyme July 3, 2019 (3:22 pm)

    How does Kolding practice “the politics of fear”?   Specifics, please.   Are you suggesting that police enforce even fewer laws than they do already?

  • 42nd Mom July 3, 2019 (5:31 pm)

    I support Brendan Kolding. I have spoken with him. I like what he has to say. We need a change. 

  • OP July 3, 2019 (6:33 pm)

    Whoooaaa, just because somebody who voted for Trump and like Kolding, too, doesn’t mean Kolding and Trump are one in the same. Not at all. That’s a perverse distortion. Kolding is a registered Democrat. Just because he opposes the obscene extremism of the City Council, does NOT put him in the same spectrum as  Trump. Some of you are deliberately distorting his views and positions.

  • MumInWS July 3, 2019 (8:08 pm)

    Brendan has my vote!  I’m tired of the council not keeping taxpayer interests in focus.  I am with many of you have witnessed criminal acts during the day of which I used to only see in a dimly lit movie scene. My commute is a daily reminder that Seattle is dying and change is needed.  Personally I’m happy he doesn’t have all the answers yet.  I hope it means he will listen to the people more as he figures how he can best represent us!  There’s no way that can possibly be worse than what we are experiencing now!

  • Molding Supporter July 3, 2019 (11:45 pm)

    For those who say our parks are not crime ridden go to Lincoln Park & Westcrest & Roxhill on any given day and watch your car get busted into by junkies and wannabe bangers all day long…This has been going on at these parks for the last 5-8 years nonstop…I know this is more of a nuisance crime but it’s still a crime and your current city council says it’s only monetary items so no need to fix the problem we’ll city council I work hard for my monetary items and would like to keep them thank you very much and the $500 car window!! If the current council could fix the problems perhaps that money could be used to keep you guys in council but instead  I’m going with Kolding it’s time for a change I miss the old Seattle

  • DH July 4, 2019 (5:53 am)

    Ah the law and safety dog whistle. No thanks. 

    • Victoria July 4, 2019 (11:14 am)

      Or maybe …. he would like to see law and safety.  Where is the dog whistle (and which are you referring to – I’ve only heard that used in the context of racism)?

  • Fed up in Seattle July 4, 2019 (3:19 pm)

    I am so excited to get to vote for you.  I support our men in blue and Im sick and tired of the way our city council treats them!  Thank you.  You have my vote!

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