Your ballot has likely arrived by now, and you have until the night of Tuesday, August 6th, to vote. While the City Council District 1 race is not the only thing on your ballot, it’s the highest-profile race in our area and the three contenders answered questions side by side again Thursday night, this time at a forum presented by the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce at South Seattle College (WSB sponsor). We recorded it all on video:
It ran just under an hour. If you can’t (or don’t want to) take the time to watch/listen, ahead you’ll find our brief highlights of the Q&A – not direct quotes unless marked as such:
Rik Keller, who chairs the Chamber’s Government Affairs Committee, moderated. The forum began with an introduction from each candidate. The Q&A begins at 9:45 into the video. That’sw where our toplines start:
Homelessness – name 1 new idea that you would bring.
Lisa Herbold: “I am proposing that we double our investment in permanent supportive housing” over the next 4 years.
Brendan Kolding: “I am a big advocate for the FEMA-style tent model.”
Phil Tavel: “Work within the criminal justice system” to offer temporary housing to homeless people who exit the criminal justice system.
What ideas will you bring forward to help small business?
BK: Helping small business means helping the community, and that cuts across a variety of issues including parking, housing, and crime.
PT: Will have a “small business liaison” in his office; will be proactive in talking to small-business owners before proposing legislative.
LH: Will be announcing business-stabilization fund in next few weeks. Also would include “1% for business” in a levy, to support stabilization.
Some small businesses have been negatively affected by road work. How would you mitigate that?
PT: Talk to them first. Says city didn’t adequately explain length of work, etc., in Luna Park.
LH: Facilitated several meetings leading up to Avalon project.
BK: Proceduralize talking with small businesses before such projects.
Parking – do the newly announced Junction RPZ plans make sense?
LH: This was a community-initiated process, not appropriate for me to intervene.
BK: My children’s school is in the new RPZ area and wasn’t consulted.
PT: Going to have to pay attention to see how the first year goes.
Lightning round (yes or no) questions, holding up green (yes) or red (no) cards to answer.
*Have you attended a meeting of your neighborhood council in the past year? (All 3, yes)
*Have you ever applied for a Neighborhood Matching Fund grant? (Tavel yes, Herbold and Kolding no)
*Do you speak any language other than English? (All 3, no)
*If the “head tax” issue were to come up again, would you support it? (Herbold yes, Kolding and Tavel no)
*Do you think our West Seattle small businesses are being taxed fairly? (All 3, no)
Transit options are limited, especially on-peninsula. What proposals do you have to improve that?
BK: Favors circulator “loop” on peninsula.
PT: Viadoom “connector” worked really well. Shuttle bus to Farmers’ Market on Sunday.
LH: Represents the city on Regional Transit Committee. Has advocated to add bus service and will continue to do so.
City Council voted to support Green New Deal. Do you support it?
PT: Supports carbon-neutral goal. Need to have police use more electric and hybrid cars.
LH: Yes. Working on other things – just revealed electric trash trucks; working on reducing single-use plastics, working to add recycling to more building floors.
BK: Carbon-credit fee.
Permitting process is hindering local businesses from expanding. How can that be alleviated?
LH: Council just got briefed. SDCI needs more staff. New software making things harder.
BK: Agrees that city planners need more resources. Would evaluate for streamlining.
PT: Need fast-track process. Small-business liaison in his council office.
Minimum wage, secure scheduling, head-tax attempt, other new laws in past 3 years. Helpful or harmful to West Seattle business community?
BK: Hearing that businesses feel it’s harmful.
PT: Talks to businesses and “all I hear is, it’s too much pressure put on businesses … the city is failing to promote prosperity.”
LH: This is a very good climate for large businesses. Not for small business. Way to address that is to address our regressive tax system.
Do you support rent control?
LH: Supports lifting state prohibition on all regulations of rent “so we can have that conversation.”
Another lightning round.
*Is there a food desert in Delridge? (All 3, yes)
*Do you support grass-roots neighborhood planning? (All 3, yes)
*Is the $15 minimum wage working as anticipated? (Herbold, yes, Tavel and Kolding, no)
*Would foot patrols by SPD in our business districts be an effective use of resources? (All 3, yes)
*Do you favor performance-based budgeting that shows revenue sources? (All 3, yes)
The city budget has grown a lot. Can you name 1 item that should be trimmed or cut back?
LH: The streetcar route she calls the “shopping trolley.”
BK: Review entire budget.
PT: Audit city departments and find out where we’re not spending efficiently.
With talk of repurposing some land like golf courses, do you support overturning Initiative 42?
South Park has low life expectancy, poor air quality. What will you do about it?
PT: Support what’s happening now and be on the forefront of improvements.
LH: Continue to invest in programs like Duwamish River Opportunity Fund.
Each had three minutes for a closing statement – you can watch those starting at 45 minutes into the video.
VOTING: Get your ballot into the mail by August 6th (remember, postage is now prepaid) or a dropbox (here are the locations) by 8 pm that night.