The primary election is getting closer, and your ballot will be mailed in two and a half weeks. In case you haven’t yet made up your mind in the top-of-the-ticket race, City Council District 1, we are presenting video interviews with each of the three candidates over the next three days. We start with incumbent Councilmember Lisa Herbold. The forums and Q&A’s we’ve covered so far have all focused on the same handful of issues, so we sought to hit some other topics:
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:
Your #1 accomplishment?
That aside – your #1 policy accomplishment?
“A tie between the secure-scheduling legislation for large chain retailers and large service restaurants … (and) convincing the city to use our bond authority to build … truly affordable housing.”
That might seem wonky to some. Any other more nuts-and-bolts accomplishments?
Streetlight repair, City Light bill assistance, new law to require city to monitor abandoned buildings.
Your #1 unfinished business?
Developer impact fees, particularly regarding transportation. The city’s currently being sued over amending the comp plan to add a project list that these would pay for, so the legislation is on hold pending its resolution.
What would that look like?
“A fee assessed … on building … to help offset the cost of the projects on the project list.” The fee can’t be used to address a backlog.
Some say adding fees to development would increase the cost of housing.
One school of thought says that it doesn’t because it makes land less expensive because of the “encumbrance.”
Will HALA MHA change in the years ahead?
(Light rail) statioh-area planning in The Junction will likely lead to more upzoning. (Overall) It’s important to monitor the program and make sure we’re getting “the number of units that we intend to get out of that program” and if not, revisit it.
End single-family zoning?
She thinks the Planning Commission’s Neighborhoods for All initiative is more about “nomenclature” than anything. Some specific ideas for changing SF zoning such as allowing denser zoning on corners, arterials, alleys, are “worth looking at. … I don’t think there are ideas in that report that we should not talk about.” Another idea she would consider taking a look at is expanding the walkshed that defines urban villages. She also would like conversations about potential changes to be “less toxic,” without single-family-zoning advocates, for example, being denounced as NIMBYs.
West Seattle Golf Course’s future?
“I think having a conversation about the use of our golf courses is a valid thing to talk about” but again, in a less-toxic way. To clarify, though, there is no legislation pending about the golf courses’ future citywide; there was a study and she expects the mayor to convene a conversation eventually.
Does she really believe, as she’s suggested at forums, that people who are upset with the council are mostly feeling that way because they don’t understand what it’s accountable for and what it’s not?
“We’re getting unfairly blamed for a lot of things that are out of our control.” Such as the notion that “the City Council is tying the police’s hands.” The decisions on deploying police are up to the Chief – “they need to prioritize resources.” Regarding homelessness, “people don’t realize how much the city IS doing,” particularly in removing encampments – “we’re doing about 12 a week.” Regarding support for police, she says the “most objective measure” she can point to is continuing to vote for increasing SPD’s funding, plus back pay in the new contract, and hiring bonuses.
What about challenger Brendan Kolding’s contention that she and other councilmembers showed a lack of support for police by not criticizing CM Kshama Sawant for saying that a fatal officer-involved shooting was murder?
In retrospect, she says, maybe she should have. But “we don’t have a culture on the council of criticizing one another publicly.” (Except, she notes, for Councilmember Sawant, who does criticize her colleagues.) Councilmembers will be held accountable by the voters.
What else could she do regarding improving public safety?
She mentions the prolific-offenders report and suggests there should be more funding for programs like one called VITAL which she says “reduc(es) recidivism” but “isn’t well funded.”
What about criticism that she can raise issues but not get those accountable for them to take action?
“I do the analysis to show the need” but if something is “not a legislative issue” all she can do is “use the bully pulpit.”
Annex White Center – if its residents were in favor, would it be good for Seattle?
Depends on the agreements with King County on “who’s responsible for what infrastructure.” The “sliver by the river” talks regarding part of South Park are stuck in a standoff of sorts. But also: With some areas of her district getting perennially shortchanged by the city, it would be tough to bring more people into the fold if they were just going to be neglected too.
Does the new $7 million price tag mean the Highland Park roundabout is dead?
No – she believes SDOT really wants to see the project happen. “We have dollars committed to” it – “we just have to keep adding dollars.” Completing design should make it easier to get construction money.
Fauntleroy Boulevard status?
The city is holding the money “until SDOT makes a decision about moving forward, and I think they’re really close to doing so.”
Other big transportation priority?
Pavement condition – it affects all modes. “We’ve really fallen behind.” She wants to get SDOT to commit to addressing 35th and Roxbury.
Why not change (who’s on the council), since things aren’t going perfectly?
She says she’s hearing gratitude from those she meets while doorbelling. “People feel represented by me at City Hall.”
One big criticism of the current council is that it’s anti-business. Tell us about your discussions with local businesses.
She says she reached out to the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce on secure scheduling and they didn’t respond. Regarding constituent issues, she’s “frustrated” that more West Seattle businesses don’t “reach out for my help, because businesses all throughout the city do.”
She recently attended the Amazon candidates’ event. Did her trip to New York come up then?
Yes, but, it’s been a year since the “head tax” passage/retraction, and she says she’s gratified that in the year since, big businesses have voluntarily put up $700 million to help with homelessness. “I think the question of progressive taxation is going to continue to come up.”
Sports – what should the city do if an NBA franchise becomes available?
She feels that the KeyArena plan is plenty. “This arena that we’re building now will work for basketball.”
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 when yours arrives. 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.