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 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.