ELECTION 2021: Need another look at mayoral candidates? Here’s how 6 answered neighborhood coalition’s questions

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

checkbox.jpgBallots are arriving. The biggest battle in the primary: Seattle mayor, 15 candidates, no incumbent,

Last Saturday, WSB and the West Seattle Junction Association co-presented the primary’s only mayoral-candidate forum in West Seattle (WSB coverage here, including video), touching on a wide range of peninsula-relevant issues. If you’re still making up your mind, another forum four days later focused on neighborhood issues including development. Wednesday’s online forum presented by Seattle Fair Growth – with co-sponsors including the Morgan Community Association – featured six candidates for all or part of it – Colleen Echohawk, Andrew Grant Houston, Arthur Langlie, Lance Randall for the entirety of the forum, Bruce Harrell departing early, Jessyn Farrell arriving late. Lorena González was invited, organizers said, but couldn’t participate.

You can watch it in its entirety here. We watched it as it happens, and our notes are below. As usual in our coverage, they are paraphrases/summaries except for whatever is between quotation marks:

Public safety: What will you do to address severe public safety issues?

Sixkiller: SPD is “down 300 cops …because of decisions made by the City Council … every category of crime is up. I believe we need to hire back those officers.”

Houston: He is focused on “100 percent public safety, but less than 50 percent of that is police.” He believes “crimes of poverty” are a major part of the problem, and crime overall is still lower than it was decades ago. He encourages more people to spend time outdoors in their communities to “establish public safety.”

Randall: “The most important responsibility as mayor is to keep the public safe.” He will make sure public-safety agencies are funded and staffed. He also advocates disciplinary measures to weed out bad officers.

Langlie: “Public safety is a critical service of the city and the city’s kind of lost its edge on services.” It’s “dangerous” that the city might have fewer than 1,000 officers before year’s end. “It’s going to take years to recover” from the “toxic environment” that talk of defunding began. Overall “the people who hate bad cops the most are good cops.”

Echohawk: “Public safety is something I have been working on for a long time … something very clear from the data, more cops do not equate public safety.” She would work on other resources to be sure that public safety springs from communities. “Right now there’s only 18 community officers … (if she is elected) every officer will be a community officer.”

Harrell: It’s not just having more officers, it’s having effective officers. He says that hiring was higher than ever when he was on the council and that would be the case if he’s elected. “We will change the culture … (to one) where we truly build community trust.”

Neighborhood planning: In the ’90s, 37 neighborhood plans were created. Since then, the city has reduced neighborhood influence. What does neighborhood planning look like to you?

Houston: Supports bringing back neighborhood plans. We actually have more than 140 neighborhoods in Seattle; he would like to see plans for them all. For a sustainable Seattle, “we need to plan at that level.” He would dedicate city staff to the task.

Randall: Current neighborhood plans need to be updated. In development, the neighborhood plans “need to be presented to developers … as a way to try to come up with agreement, synergy, to incorporate (them) into development plans.”

Langlie: “There’s an awful lot of community groups in this town and we need to be sure they’re all represented in these plans.”

Echohawk: She has concerns about neighborhood plans, “need to be sure equity is at a premium” and that some aren’t left out. Equity “means that we provide food and child care ….” Need to reimagine the Department of Neighborhoods and get neighborhood coordinators into all neighborhoods.

Harrell: His DON director “will be evaluated on how comprehensive and thorough the outreach will be.” He’ll put structure around neighborhood planning, Block Watches, etc. He envisions “building stronger neighborhoods” and being sure input is measured.

Sixkiller: “Our neighborhoods are the special sauce of Seattle.” Link between neighborhoods and decisionmaking in Seattle has been strained in the past decade. Would make neighborhoods a priority, and focus on action, “and putting money behind it.”

Harrell had to leave after that question.

Housing: What is your plan to ensure that neighbors making less than $50,000 can afford to stay in Seattle?

Randall: Need to focus on commercial developers who can build 20 units or fewer – smaller projects have less debt service, which means lower rent.

Langlie: We have some of the greatest design firms in the world and we should be able to come up with affordable designs – “right now we’re stuck.”

Echohawk: “I have been building affordable housing .. the way that we’re going, we’ll never catch up.” Need to take advantage of leadership in BIPOC communities. Need to work with federal government.. Need to ensure we have jobs that work for families.

Sixkiller: It’s a complex issue … he opposes throwing out single-family zoning. “Our housing affordability strategy has to begin with preserving the housing that we have.” Also need to “fine-tune programs” like MHA, which isn’t creating enough “(affordable) housing in place.”

Farrell joined at that point and answered the question.

Farrell: She is proposing 70,000 units of affordable housing from supportive housing to “missing middle” – community land trusts, social housing, identifying buildings to preserve.

Houston: 2 ways – “put more funding into providing for affordable housing” through a tax, and end “exclusionary zoning.” Federal government will fund block grants for communities “to make that happen.”

Housing: Will changing the name of single-family zoning create more affordable housing or is it a name change only?

Langlie: Single-family zoning will continue. His neighborhood has had some ADU-related issues. Need to look closely at design to accommodate everybody.

Echohawk: “This is a first step … we actually have to make the step and get this done.” Her plan calls for more multifamily housing all over the city. It’s important in the face of climate change.

Farrell: “All of our housing decisions should be driving toward housing stability, racial justice, and reducing emissions.” More work has to be done beyond a zoning change. She cites examples around the city including (as she did at our forum last weekend) High Point.

Sixkiller: Not in support of ending single-family zoning. “I don’t think unchecked development has the positive impact that we want.”

Houston: Yes, this is a change in name only, but it recognizes that many of our “single-family” neighborhoods already have other types of housing. “We’re going back to that to start the conversation.” To “accommodate all the people who wwant to live in our city,” we need “small change” in all our neighborhoods.

Randall: We need to make sure we prioritize “a good, diverse stock of rental and sale options.” Need more flexibility in SF zones, like smaller lot sizes.

Housing: 23 percent of single-family homes in Seattle are rentals. Developers are not building larger apartments. What would you do to avoid displacing the families who as a result have to rent houses?

Echohawk: She will work with Equitable Development Initiative to be sure housing is built with 2 or 3 bedrooms. “We have to change the way funding works for some affordable housing,” finding other ways to fund it.

Farrell: She extols the concept “ST3 for housing,” and west-side light rail needs to learn from east-side mistakes, provide pathways to ownership, identify buildings to preserve as affordable housing.

Sixkiller: “We have to be very careful .. be sure we are not inadvertently turning neighborhoods that are affordable, into unaffordable neighborhoods.” Fine-tuning existing programs is vital. “Our policy should support families holding onto their homes.”

Houston: Important to note that this question is really about rentals. … What we should be focused on is that market is providing (smaller units), so city should be providing larger units.

Randall: More flexibility in SF zoning. Land Trust. “We want to try to help people build wealth.” Maybe down-payment assistance.

Langlie: He’s a contractor and works off “good data.” It’s important to “look at what we need and how to get there.”

This forum also included 10 yes/no questions.

#1 – Would you support raising the Mandatory Housing Affordability fees so more developers build affordable housing in projects rather than just paying a fee into a fund to have it built somewhere else? All said yes.

#2 – Will an increase in market-rate housing in Seattle improve housing affordability? Langlie, Randall, and Houston said yes, Echohawk, Farrell, and Sixkiller said no.

#3 – Are there any affordable homes for sale in Seattle? Houston said yes.

#4 – Would getting rid of single-family zoning cause displacement and gentrification? Langlie, Randall, and Sixkiller said yes.

#5 – Do you support urban villages and transit-oriented development as a core principle for increasing density while maximizing access to transit? Randall and Sixkiller said yes.

#6 – Would you support a dog park within walking distance of every urban center or village? Everyone said yes.

(#7 & #8 – U-District questions)

#9 – Will you incorporate genuine community input into the redevelopment of our city? All said yes.

#10 – Will you commit to protecting South Park from industrial encroachment? All said yes.

The forum concluded with closing statements – you can advance the video to 53 minutes in to see those.

WHAT’S NEXT: You can vote as soon as you get your ballot; dropboxes are open, or you can drop yours in the postal mail (no stamp required). Voting deadline is August 3rd; the top two vote-getters in this race move on to the November general election,

28 Replies to "ELECTION 2021: Need another look at mayoral candidates? Here's how 6 answered neighborhood coalition's questions"

  • Mellow Kitty July 17, 2021 (7:48 pm)

    Whatever candidate you support – get out there and vote! Invite your friends and family! 

  • Auntie July 17, 2021 (9:25 pm)

    #3 – Are there any affordable homes for sale in Seattle? Houston said yes. What does this guy know that nobody else knows? Just exactly where is there an affordable home in Seattle now?? 

  • Plf July 17, 2021 (9:53 pm)

    Disappointed gonzalas didn’t show upshe has name recognition and important folks clearly understand her position on important issuesthinking if she can’t show up she’s not my candidate 

  • West Seattle Mad Sci Guy July 17, 2021 (11:21 pm)

    Just tell me who to vote for if you’re solidly left but compared to Seattle left folks you’re more of a lefty centrist?  (Kidding. I’ll read through their past Q&As… Though I’ll take some hints)

  • psps July 17, 2021 (11:47 pm)

    “Do you promise to ditch zimbabwe and fix the bridge?”

  • Kathy July 18, 2021 (12:28 am)

    Which candidate is going to say something against dog parks?  But really, that’s a problem we should be worrying about? Creating more dog parks than the large one we already have?  Everyone who wants (and can afford to take care of) a dog should have a dog. That said, well behaved dogs don’t need more off leash dog parks. They can share the parks we already have and socialize with humans and other dogs on the end of a leash. 

    • Ron Swanson July 18, 2021 (9:15 am)

      They’re going to keep sharing those parks without a leash on until the city builds more off leash areas.  Judging by how many outraged comments that garners, I’d say it’s an issue for more than just the dog owners!

      • alki_2008 July 18, 2021 (11:14 pm)

        Do you really believe that having more dog parks would stop people from walking their dogs offleash?

        • Woof July 19, 2021 (8:20 am)

          It won’t stop everyone but would reduce instances of this.  Having nearby destinations to walk to where dogs can be let off leash, will help dogs and their owners.

    • DogsHaveNeeds July 18, 2021 (2:03 pm)

      That’s a pretty hostile response to the dog owners.  Have you seen the crimes related to Westcrest dog park?  Can’t go there with a car and think you’re going to have the same number of windows when you’re done.  Besides, aren’t I causing more harm to the environment and global warming by driving my car 20 minutes each way from North Admiral?  Would you rather we continue illicit dog running on Alki?  With the increase of multi-family zoning and the small lots we have already, it is unhealthy for our dogs not to have a place to run and exercise fully without driving a ton – particularly with, you know, the bridge out and all.

      • Kathy July 18, 2021 (9:38 pm)

        Then I suggest you start a petition for a levy to raise taxes to build and maintain dog parks. I am a dog owner and I wouldn’t vote for it. If someone honestly thinks their dog can’t get sufficient exercise and socialization at the end of a leash , if they can’t keep up with the dog’s pace by jogging with them or biking them, then likely they are mismatched to their dog’s breed.  If you don’t want to harm the environment by driving an internal combustion engine vehicle or are worried about vandalism to your car, then I suggest you walk your dog to Westcrest Park. By the time you get there, you and your dog will likely have gotten all the exercise you need.

        • Woof July 19, 2021 (7:37 am)

          Agree that ideally dog breed and owners should be well matched, but there are many not well matched, and probably many more dogs with higher needs for exercise than people available to adopt them with equal capacity for exercise. So, dog parks with space for running can be really helpful for dogs, for owners who lack a lot of yard space, time, or capacity for same level of energy.

          Dogs are also highly social animals and dog parks provide an opportunity for this need to be met as well. There can be issues for many dogs socially while on leash, and sadly many dogs who are only walked on leash are denied adequate social interactions. In fact, when you see dogs aggressive on leash, this can be indicative of an issue of dogs being undersocialized and frustrated or fearful of other dogs as a result. Then the owner further avoids interactions with other dogs, compounding the problem. These dogs with leash aggression, can surprisingly work through their issues by being let off leash with other dogs. Others will need help from trainers to sort out the issues.

          In an ideal world, every dog and owner would be well matched, dogs with social or behavior issues would have help from dog trainers, and every dog owner would have huge yards and lots of time and physical energy to provide adequate exercise. Unfortunately, that isn’t the reality for many. More outdoor spaces for dogs to be off leash for exercise and socialization, would be a good thing.

        • Woof July 19, 2021 (8:37 am)

          Interesting video about dogs off leash, and one community crowdfunding and working with the city to create more dog parks…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JrJZtwphjiA

    • Sarajane Siegfriedt July 18, 2021 (5:25 pm)

      Seattle has more dogs than kids, but only 14 off-leash dog parks, mostly located far away from density. Some dog breeds need to run off-leash on a regular basis. I need to take my dog in my car to get exercise. If we want to lure people out of their cars, we need one dog park within walking distance of each urban village. Washington D.C. does this well.

      • Woof July 18, 2021 (7:21 pm)

        Would it make sense for an area of Lincoln Park to be enclosed for dogs off leash, what do people think?  I’ve seen many a frustrated comment about dogs being off leash there. Why not provide for the needs of these users and dogs,  and reduce incidents of the disallowed off leashing?

  • anonyme July 18, 2021 (7:21 am)

    I’m glad Langlie showed up.  Sixkiller is sounding better and better, at least he has some definitive answers.  I’d like to hear specific plans from the two of them as to what they would do to address the homelessness problem, instead of the usual generic comments.  As for questions related to policing, I’d like to hear a candidate commit to enforcing the laws we have – all of them, and equally.  The dog park question was silly and impractical. 

  • Flo B July 18, 2021 (10:02 am)

    Off leash dog parks are a waste. Irresponsible dog owners-and there are A LOT of them will still use the beach as an off leash dog park. And, someone will be complaining that the space would be better used for “affordable” housing. I have yet to hear ANY real plans from ANY of the candidates. 

  • Richard July 18, 2021 (10:25 am)

    What REALLY annoys me is getting an unsolicited text message from a candidate (Houston & Echohawk) asking me to vote for them.

    How did you get my cell # … AND … how dare you text me without my consent? 

    Both candidates received my response … I WILL NOT vote for you! 

    There are other ways to get your message out there but both chose the easy, cheap, & lazy way to do it … that’s not what I’m looking for in my government representative.

  • Alki joy July 18, 2021 (11:17 am)

    Sixkiller has my vote.  He is reasoned and pragmatic.  He supports retaining single family zones and right sizing the police force.  To meet him and learn more, there is a “meet and greet” coming up hosted by two local citizens. 

    We invite you to join us Tuesday,  July 27, 2021 at 7 pm at Admiral Congregational Church, 4320 SW Hill St. to meet Mr. Sixkiller.  This will be your opportunity to ask questions that are important to you.  We ask all attendees to please wear facial masks.

  • Nova July 18, 2021 (12:57 pm)

    Stoked about Langlie – check him out: https://artlanglie.com/meet-art/. Casey sounds good too. 

    • Anne July 18, 2021 (3:48 pm)

      I get UNSOLICITED emails from Langlie & Echohawk-so NO on both,

  • Diane July 18, 2021 (6:16 pm)

    I get “unsolicited” emails from every candidate; so what? it’s campaign season for THE most important job in the city; I welcome any/all information they can provide so I can make an educated choice for next Mayor of Seattle

  • JW July 18, 2021 (7:33 pm)

    Thank you Alki Joy for setting up the Q and A with Mr Sixkiller .  I will be attending! I’m very impressed with him and his ideas 

  • Auntie July 18, 2021 (8:35 pm)

    I’m afraid as part of the current administration of Durkan, that Sixkiller is part of the problems we are now having. Same for Gonzales. We need a whole new crew.

    • JW July 19, 2021 (6:29 am)

      Can you explain to me why you feel that way . 

  • Scubafrogorino July 19, 2021 (9:50 am)

    Vote indeed dear neighborinas and neighborinos!

  • Kathy July 28, 2021 (3:17 pm)

    I am going to cast my vote with Andrew Grant Houston. I can’t help myself. All the others seem to lack clarity, enthusiasm for the job,  or any kind of vision for our city. I guess I am just a 70 year old radical, probably throwing away my vote. It seems like a job nobody really wants.

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