ELECTION 2019: Talking with City Council District 1 incumbent Lisa Herbold

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?
“Constituent services.”

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 SERIES: Tomorrow (Tuesday), our conversation with Brendan Kolding; then on Wednesday night, Phil Tavel.

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.

58 Replies to "ELECTION 2019: Talking with City Council District 1 incumbent Lisa Herbold"

  • My two cents ... July 1, 2019 (7:00 pm)

    Can’t wait to fill out my ballot and hopefully move on from Councilmember Herbold. Hard to find a more ineffective representative for the community as a whole.“Constituent services.” Waiting … waiting … still waiting.West Seattle Golf Course’s future?” Great, another effort to attempt to do something while ignoring the current law (How are we supposed to either pay for the value of the golf course or find an offset?). Same way as the income tax for the wealthy – we know the State Constitution would need to be changed, but we’ll do this anyway”. One big criticism of the current council is that it’s anti-business. Tell us about your discussions with local businesses.” Oh! NOW you want to work and meet … how many years have you spent bashing “business” and you want to waste their time in trying to grab a PR photo op? Does Councilmember Herbold have sense?People feel represented by me at City Hall.” … has to be ringing A LOT of doorbells to get those responses. 

    • Jon Wright July 1, 2019 (8:33 pm)

      You’re doing an excellent job proving her point. The “what should we do about the golf courses?” question was entirely Mayor Durkan’s doing yet here you are, launching a rant blaming that on the City Council.

  • West Seattle Hipster July 1, 2019 (7:24 pm)

    Please, please register to vote and help effect change in West Seattle.  Please vote for the candidate that will best serve the majority of their constituents, and someone other then Herbold.

  • Thomas Wood July 1, 2019 (7:55 pm)

    I would love for Lisa to knock  on my door.We can’t afford another term with Lisa.The biggest mistake the city made was not allowing all citizens to vote for all Council members.This district format is a disaster.

    • Mickymse July 2, 2019 (2:20 pm)

      “The City” didn’t make any mistake… This was a citizen initiative that was voted on by city voters. It was supported by a number of former Council candidates. If you aren’t aware of how things happen in our city, my guess is you wouldn’t notice if Lisa came by to knock on your door.

  • Fed up in Seattle July 1, 2019 (8:07 pm)

    I wonder what doors she is knocking on???? Her mom and dad’s????  This is an example of someone who should NOT be in politics, take your “ideas” to a non profit and please, PLEASE, let us get an effective council member!!!!!!!

    • Peter July 2, 2019 (9:24 am)

      Politicians only “knock on doors” in rich areas, that’s where the donors are. 

  • RS July 1, 2019 (8:17 pm)

    Lisa your fired, your performance has been horrible, I’m sorry to say I voted for you last time around , not a mistake I will make again

  • TiredofGovernmentGreed July 1, 2019 (8:33 pm)

    Take a good look at your West Seattle community, voters.  Do you like the increasing number of trashed-out RVs parked indefinitely on our streets?  Are you noticing more homeless encampments nearer to your homes?  Do you read about car thefts and other crimes in the blog that occur in what you used to think of as good neighborhoods?  Are you having trouble finding a parking space in the Junctions because o f new zoning that doesn’t provide off-street parking with new buildings?  Do you like the concept of “upzoning” next to your home?  Or overcrowded buses that were supposed to be a substitute for your car?  Time to vote for Kolding or Tavel.

  • Janet July 1, 2019 (8:45 pm)

    Again, the incompetence is stunning. Excited for this election! Vote on August 6th! Tavel still has my vote, curious about the next three interviews. 

  • Mr J July 1, 2019 (8:52 pm)

    4 more years! She’s doing great.

    • Fed up in Seattle July 2, 2019 (6:48 am)

      Im assuming you haven’t actually had your eyes and ears open the last few years.  She is not doing great, her council members are not doing great and Seattle is hurting because of it.

      • Mr J July 2, 2019 (10:35 am)

        I’m assuming you’re a comment troll that thinks because I’m not with you I must be deaf and blind. What are you doing to effect change in the City? Every election cycle is filled with angry dudes wanting to vote the entire council out because they didn’t solve all the problems. Run for council if you think you know what’s best.

        • Fed up in Seattle July 2, 2019 (7:06 pm)

          Troll? Dude?  Wrong on both counts.   I don’t need you to be with me, I need more people to want whats best for Seattle.

    • East Coast Cynic July 3, 2019 (5:52 am)

      She’s doing a good job, and she’s better on the public transportation issues than Tavel and Kolding.

  • Lee July 1, 2019 (9:00 pm)

    I’ve found her office to be responsive, and I think she’s doing a reasonably good job. The people who believe Lisa Herbold caused the city’s problems – or that she could fix them by waving some magic wand if she just would – are not being reasonable. I would love to hear what the people complaining in this thread are doing about the city’s problems.

    • Fed up in Seattle July 2, 2019 (6:42 am)

      You want to know what we are doing…. voting incompetent city council members out of office!  They continue to turn a blind eye or address the real problems here.  Its irresponsible to support a council member who doesn’t listen to the cries of her constituents and continues to push and support policies that support the problems.  Sorry “reasonably good job” isn’t cutting it anymore.

  • Anne July 1, 2019 (9:02 pm)

    Lisa knows her stuff! In my experiences with City Hall, she’s shown responsiveness and competence I have yet to see in other elected officials.At the risk of pointing out the obvious, we very much live in Seattle–it’s unrealistic to expect her to single-handedly flip the council’s agenda. I’m grateful for her advocacy and look forward to casting my primary ballot for her. 

  • Sixbuck July 1, 2019 (9:54 pm)

    I would love to see the entire City Council replaced. What a dream!!

    • Fed up in Seattle July 2, 2019 (6:46 am)

      Lets make it happen!!!!  They are the worst!!!

    • Peter July 2, 2019 (9:29 am)

      The “vote them all out!” crowd will never be happy. Even if we did, you’d just be saying the exact same thing in four years.

      • Sixbuck July 2, 2019 (2:17 pm)

        Sadly, you are probably right. 

  • Alkimark July 1, 2019 (10:06 pm)

    Loved the Voo Doo economics about how raising fees on developers just decreases the land value and does not pass on costs.  I guess we should just shut up and drink the Kool Aid.  Stop the madness vote this clown out in the Primary!

  • WSRes July 1, 2019 (10:06 pm)

    Great job at representing her own political agenda and very poor job of representing the people of West Seattle. Four things stand out in my mind 1) She was interviewed by the Seattle Times for her last election campaign and never mentioned West Seattle one time in answering ~10 questions about her platform. How can you run for council and never mention your district? 2) Her implementation of the job tax, then voting to rescind it, and then giving a sour grapes presentation about how rescinding it was a bad decision. This was just crazy! 3) Her support for Mayor Murray right up until the 5th victim came forward. She made a statement about not wanting to start impeachment hearings, but rather let due process occur without realizing that the due process for a mayor facing ethics and criminal concerns IS an impeachment hearing. Totally clueless on this one! 4) The way she has been ineffective in combating homelessness, but then labels anyone who questions he ineffectiveness as inhumane and uncaring. Her ineffectiveness is inhumane and uncaring!

    • Fed up in Seattle July 2, 2019 (6:50 am)

      OhI love this post!!!!!  Thank you for speaking the truth!!!!! Get her and the rest of the council out!!!

  • Deb July 1, 2019 (10:08 pm)

    Lisa I have to tell you, since I doubt you will knock on my door, the final catalyst in my decision not to support you again ( yes I voted and provided financial support last time around) was your arrogance to travel to NEw York city to berate amazon. Really, while I understand that someone other than Seattle taxpayers paid for your expenses, you were paid for that day as a work day versus you taking time without pay or a vacation day.  Additionally there were issues here in Seattle that you should have been here to address versus being 3000 miles away.  Your priorities  have mystified me but that was the last straw, perhaps New York has an opening for a council person since you have been  so concerned about them versus doing a good job here in Seattle,,  also finally you are dishonest when you say you are in touch with your community, you have a history of not responding to emails, and when I met you at the senior center to discuss concerns about the head tax, your behavior and affect was clearly not interested in any thing that was not in concert with your socialist perspective. To coin our narcissistic president, “YOUR FIRED”

    • Sarag July 2, 2019 (9:06 am)

      Agree, that was SO EMBARRASSING! For her and the city of Seattle. Absolute PR fail.

  • chemist July 1, 2019 (10:18 pm)

    Proposed Q:  The city is still going to need to come up with an additional ~$80 million to complete the city center connector streetcar and West Seattle’s st3 tunnel 3rd party funding gets a lot of disparagement.  What funding do you think remains to be tapped for these big transit projects and how can an impact localized to one district compete with projects where benefits spread across several districts?

  • Brenda July 1, 2019 (10:23 pm)

    Please knock on my door Lisa, we can take a quick walk and I’ll show you our neighborhood encampment – going on 5+ years. Maybe we could scout out a great safe injection site while we’re out too. Oh wait, I forgot, you are in favor of safe injection sites, but not hosting them in West Seattle. On the way back I’ll tell you that your silence on Sawant calling SPD murderers means to me you agree with her.You do NOT have my vote not even close. 

  • Peel and Press July 1, 2019 (10:25 pm)

    I had a few of Lisa’s supporters try to organize a boycott against my restaurant because I publicly disagreed with the head tax.  It backfired and the community supported us with a passion.  Lisa released a statement a few days later she was unaware of a boycott effort and didn’t support one.  I know screenshots of the posts were sent and she knew who was involved.Fast forward to Lisa’s re-election kickoff event a few month back and low and behold one the the co-hosts of the event was one of the supporters who tried to rally a boycott against 4 local businesses for simply disagreeing on her proposed tax solution.  I can’t fathom that she didn’t know that would upset not just the businesses involved but almost all the owners in WS that saw this go down. It’s so weird that businesses don’t reach out to her…

    • West Seattle Hipster July 2, 2019 (7:26 am)

      I find it reprehensible that a city leader would facilitate a boycott of a small business.  I hope the citizens of West Seattle are fully woke when voting in the upcoming elections.

      • Lagartija Nick July 2, 2019 (8:18 am)

        WSH, I find it reprehensible that you would lie about Herbold “facilitating” that boycott.And P&P, I remember asking you if you had an extra 475 employees stashed in your kitchen when you lied about the head tax affecting you and other small businesses.

        • Peel and Press July 2, 2019 (1:14 pm)

          Glad to see your expertise on policy shining through.  If you would have asked me that question I would have corrected you then like I will now.First off the EHT was based on sales dollars, not employee count so my staff size wouldn’t matter.  Secondly, My claims are valid as to being effected. 3 of my biggest vendors that account for roughly 80-85% of the goods I purchase would have been impacted due to their sales volumes.  Simple economics, they raise their prices because they run on small margins, I raise my prices as much as possible without losing customers.  At the end of the day, I lose margin in an already brutal business because I can’t pass on the full cost of increase.  My customers, mostly middle class folk pay higher prices and somehow we claim this as progressive revenue coming from Amazon?  I am a barely middle class family over here with two small kids.  Most grocery stores would have been impacted and I wasn’t particularly interested in paying higher prices for milk and other basics.  I never claimed I sold the revenue number to be included. I simple stated I would be impacted as a owner and a human who buys groceries.  Thanks for trying to take a shot at my personal integrity but I will let my businesses reputation for community service speak for itself.

        • Eric1 July 2, 2019 (1:18 pm)

          Nick, I have no connection to small businesses other than shopping there but to infer that unless a particular business has the required 300 employees or they have no skin in the game is ludicrous.   Amazon once had less than 25 employees…  I  didn’t think that it was a good business model in the 1990’s.  How do YOU know that Peel and Press isn’t the next Starbucks?   Furthermore, like all taxes, today it is 300+ employee businesses,  next year it is 100+ businesses and pretty soon 25 might be the magic number of workers.  Remember the old adage….  at first they came for the  socialists and I did not speak…..

    • Nolan July 3, 2019 (10:06 am)

      Oh hey! I’ve been boycotting your restaurant ever since you had the sign opposing MHA/HALA on the NIMBYist dog whistle of “neighborhood character”. It’s disappointing, but not surprising, to hear that your politics still prioritize pennies for a hypothetical multimillion dollar business over real people who need a place to live.

  • Elle Nell July 1, 2019 (10:56 pm)

    Vote Lisa OUT ‼️‼️ 

  • Nachobeaver July 2, 2019 (12:04 am)

    Bye Bye Lisa

  • GOP in WS July 2, 2019 (6:02 am)

    The Seattle City Council needs Moderate Democrats, not Democratic Socialists. 

    • Ex-Westwood Resident July 2, 2019 (2:10 pm)

      Know what the difference between a “Socialist” and a “Democratic Socialist” is?    A “Socialist” has the Government take what you own and earn, and then decide what you get back to live on.         A “Democratic Socialist” has duped 50.1% of voters into giving him the power to do that.  Remember; you can always vote yourself into Socialism, but you’ll have to SHOOT your way out of it. 

    • Peter July 2, 2019 (4:50 pm)

      Despite his lies of being a Democrat, Kolding is far right of center. 

      • Native July 16, 2019 (12:17 am)

        Brendan is a moderate democrat who supports safety ,security , and accountability and would be a great choice for us.so whatever we do vote her out!!!!

  • Um, No! July 2, 2019 (7:12 am)

    Lisa, the door is that way —->   

  • Concerned Citizen July 2, 2019 (9:01 am)

    I don’t have the time or want to put in the effort to trash talk Lisa, it would take half my day to write what I think about her. I’ll just ask that the community of West Seattle educate themselves on what she has not done to make W.Seattle a safer, better place for its citizens. We must vote with data not just for a name. Lisa, I’ll be happy to see you go.  

  • Peter July 2, 2019 (9:35 am)

    Let’s see: open hostility towards business, barely half-hearted support of mass transit, watering down HALA to minimize the amount of housing that will be built, only “responsive” to people who support her predetermined positions, and voting for raises for cops who refuse to do their jobs and then whine about lack of public support. Nope, I can see no reason to vote for Herbold except that Tavel and Kolding are both much, much, much worse.

    • Will S. July 2, 2019 (11:15 am)

      Peter, I used to agree with your conclusion that the challengers are even worse than the incumbent. But then I watched parts of this WSB interview (around the 20:00 mark, including questions about whether she understands why so many people are so unhappy with the city council). I just cannot bring myself to vote for a representative as clueless as Ms. Herbold. That led me back to Tavel’s campaign website, which finally (less than 3 weeks before the election!) includes information about his positions on some issues. As I expected, I don’t share Mr. Tavel’s views on the role of zoning in addressing the housing shortage (though he now seems to accept HALA as a done deal, without wanting to re-open the debate), and I have misgivings about his approach to homelessness (which seems to be a jumble of things being said across the entire breadth of the political spectrum). But you know what?: Ms. Herbold used to talk about a “public health response” to homelessness, and nothing happened either because she’s not effective or because she never believed it, and now to advance her reelection she’s touting the removal of encampments as if it were an accomplishment on par with actually housing people. So if I had to vote today, I would pick Tavel.

  • Mj July 2, 2019 (10:45 am)

    GOP in WS where are the pragmatic center left and center right politicians?  The system is broken, there is no civility or compromising being done.  Lisa is clearly out of touch, her anti business attitude and pro more taxes needs to be shown the door.

    • GOP in WS July 2, 2019 (7:57 pm)

      Heidi Wills and Jim Pugel are a couple of candidates who come to mind, but they’re not on the WS ballot. Moderates get labeled as being part of the establishment, or worse “in the pocket of corporations.”

  • Michael Waldo July 2, 2019 (11:18 am)

    Lisa has answered my emails within 48 hours of me sending one. She is not to blame for the homeless problem in WS. She is not a socialist as far as I can discern. The real socialist, who is terrible, I wish I could vote for her challengers. I have read a lot of complaints above but no ideas about what would you do. I am looking less for “social justice warriors” and more for folks who know how to manage a city. 

    • Sawant Lite July 2, 2019 (2:07 pm)

      She may not be Sawant but she votes with her just over 96% of the time.

  • DH July 2, 2019 (2:14 pm)

    She has my support. And now I know not to go to Peel and Press. 

    • Fed up in Seattle July 2, 2019 (7:13 pm)

      Great that leaves more room for my family!!!!!  I haven’t been to Peel and Press but I will be going soon!

      • Alkimark July 2, 2019 (7:59 pm)

        Makes 2 of us!  (Where is it anyway?)

  • Thomas Wood July 2, 2019 (3:00 pm)

    Lisa only responds to people who agree with her.Challenge her on a position you will either be ignored or she will send you some automated response.I asked once who in the Democratic party inspired her to service no respone. I don’t consider Nick Lacada  who she worked for a good example

  • Dale July 2, 2019 (6:12 pm)

    I had a meeting with Herbold two years ago,  to try to explain the potential unintended consequences of her proposed legislation regulating landlords, limiting their ability to do due diligence in screening/accepting new tenants.  I was with 4 other landlords from South Park, each owning 1-3 properties.  She just couldn’t get it, became angry, and ended the meeting.

  • Jim July 2, 2019 (8:14 pm)

    I voted for her last time and will not do so again.  West Seattle can do better.

  • KM July 2, 2019 (8:19 pm)

    Is.  an requirement to have a lot of typos and no use proper.punctuation    Too be mad at Lisa Herbold?????

    • Alkimark July 2, 2019 (10:37 pm)

      Not mad just disgusted.  Time for a change….

  • Nancy R. July 3, 2019 (11:20 am)

    I think Lisa Herbold has done a great job in incorporate a diversity of opinions into her decisions,  and advocating for her constituents.   I didn’t vote for her last time,  but will this time.  

Sorry, comment time is over.