ELECTION 2021: Seattle Mayor candidates talk homelessness at noontime forum, with another one tonight

checkbox.jpgThe candidates for Seattle Mayor – Lorena González and Bruce Harrell – spent an hour this afternoon answering questions about homelessness and housing, and are scheduled to take on the same topic at another event tonight.

We watched the noontime forum, presented by the Resolution to End Homelessness. Its founder/board president Kyle Bergquist moderated. The organization recorded the event; the video is below, followed by our notes:

Except for what’s within quote marks, what you see below is our paraphrasing or summary of what the candidates said. Both candidates were given time to answer each question, and then took turns with rebuttal/elaboration.

In introductory remarks, González said she believes homelessness can be solved by addressing its “root causes,” which she listed as poverty and income inequality. She called herself “the progressive choice in this race.”

Harrell said he believes causes also include “the underfunding of mental illness and drug and alcohol treatment.” He said he believes Seattle is “starving for the kind of leadership” he would offer.

QUESTION: Many people make frequent references to ending homelessness. What does this mean to you and what paths are there toward (ending it)?

Harrell: “The buck stops with me – I have to present the plan,” and he would bring everyone together. He said that the blame game has never been his style. He believes the city does have the resources to spend what’s needed. He will have a cabinet-level position to ensure that “we have all the state and federal funds possible.” He promises an attack on “the regressive tax system that we have.” He also vows to gather the philanthropic community around the problem, to “embrace” it. He would get people “the treatment they need” and promises to clean parks and open spaces.

González: “To me, ending homelessness means we are creating true health and opportunities” for everyone. She also spoke of “creating the housing infrastructure that prevents people from entering into housing instability in the first place” as well as providing “a safe place to heal and build stability for themselves and their well-being.” She spoke of the “record number of people suffering,” living unsheltered, and that government “must step up our response … truly responsive to the level of the crisis … on our streets.” She said “we have to acknowledge that housing … is the most sustainable path to ending homelessness.” She said that “bringing people inside” is complex. She promised “swift action in the first 100 days” including shelter and housing.

Harrell: “Housing … is good” but “housing someone is clearly short of the only thing we must do,” so he’s creating an initiative to “make sure everyone has health care” and he’s also creating a new “Seattle Job Center” department.

González: She reiterated that “access to a safer place to be” is the first step for everyone, and then they can focus “on healing and recovery.” She also promised to fight displacement and gentrification.

Harrell: He promised a “very deep dive” to “see why BIPOC communities” are disparately affected.

QUESTION: Regarding funding – the state budget has grown by $19 billion in the past six years; homelessness in Puget Sound could be solvable for less than $1.5 billion. What are your funding thoughts?

González: “There is no one single source that’s going to solve the entirety of the issue” but she believes we don’t currently have sufficient resources, and that’s why “we see more people pushed into homelessness.” The funding plan must leverage federal and state dollars as well as local, and the mayor would go to Olympia and lobby for everything possible. How do we identify new city resources? She and three councilmembers sponsored the JumpStart payroll tax to help bring in more money. She wants to build on the capital-gains tax and revisit the issue of an income tax as well as “gettng a wealth tax passed across the state.”

Harrell: “I didn’t hear anything I didn’t agree with from my opponent,” but the reality is that they’re already spending almost a billion dollars, government and private funds – “there will never be enough money.” So “you have to take some principles of business into play … and do an inventory …” He says waiting for a new revenue source isn’t feasible. “My approach is not only exhausting progressive revenue sources” but also tapping private funding.

González: “This crisis doesn’t give us the luxury of waiting for new progressive revenue sources.” She said corporations aren’t paying enough. She promised to work “on day 1” with “community leaders and council” to “rebalance the tax code.”

Harrell: Again mentioned his planned “cabinet-level position” to ensure all funding is found.

González: She said they’ve already audited the city’s homelessness spending. “It’s about making sure the regional homelessness authority has the funding it needs” and she believes that means finding more, especially from “suburban cities.”

QUESTION: Tens of thousands of renters are behind. The eviction moratorium eventually will end. What are your thoughts in this ptoential spike in homelessness?

Harrell: “We’ll be creative as possible” in working with both landlords and renters. He said HALA a few years ago included tools for ensuring people can stay in their homes.

González: Large corporations posted historic profits during the pandemic, while average renters were falling behind. “The answer here is to make sure we are working across every level of the government to make sure we are allocating a significant amount of dollars toward tenant assistance … and also (help) landlords.” But “strong tenant protection laws” are vital too. And “we are not out of the woods” in the pandemic, so she thinks it’ll be necessary in January to extend the eviction moratorium again.

The moderator asked a followup – what about the landlords?

Harrell: He said that he cares about that part of the “ecosystem” and believes that “emergency rental assistance” will help the landlords.

González: “The risk associated with the tenants is quite different … it literally means losing your home,” while the landlord “has many more tools available to them” such as federal mortgage relief and “in most instances landlords are going to remain housed.” So preventing renters from becoming homeless “must be our primary focus.”

Harrell: He says that it’s important to recognize that if small landlords can’t afford the mortgage, they will be forced to sell – “many don’t have the cushions” to do anything else, and so that will put the tenants on the street too.

QUESTION: Current city policy restricts the development of “congregate housing” [microhousing with some shared areas such as kitchens] Would you remove the restrictions?

González: “It’s really important to increase all types of housing choices across the city” so the next mayor “must really acknowledge that need. ,.. Let’s build a city that isn’t exclusive.”

Harrell: Yes, he supports “re-legaliz(ing)” congregate housing (aka microhousing). He also supports evaluating how to help people in building more ADUs and DADUs, and streamlining residential design review “to encourage the kind of building we want to see.”

González: She mentions her concern that so much of the city is restricted to single-family-housing development.

Attendee questions started here. First: Regarding camping in public spaces, what’s your position on sweeps and other visible homelessness?

Harrell: He doesn’t like the term “sweeps.” But “we will get people out of parks and sidewalks and tents around playgrounds … that is inhumane, we can’t be numb to that, we have to house them.” $116 million in unanticipated federal funds should help with that. He is going to set up a way for people to donate money and time. “We shouldn’t have to look at the human suffering of other people.”

González: “I do not support sweeps (or) the forcible removal of people against their will.” For one, that’s a violation of their constitutional rights. “Moving people from one neighborhood to another neighborhood like we’ve been doing … is ineffective” and “scaling up shelter options that people will accept” is the solution.

QUESTION: BIPOC individuals are disproportionately represented in people experiencing homelessness but BIPOC organizations are underfunded. How will you change that?

Gonzalez: Will work with community representatives to guide policy. She promises fast action to “rapidly rehouse” people and “meet their behavioral-health needs.” She says staying committed to “trauma-informed” policies is vital.

Harrell: “The question (is) why” the BIPOC community is disproportionately affected. He believes drugs “pouring into our communities” is a major problem, because of “the failed war on drugs.” And too many people “lost the safety net around them.” He said he continues to “read everything I can” on how to end homelessness.

QUESTION: It’s hard for people to be empathetic and compassionate when drugs and addiction are so prevalent in visible homelessness. What do you say about that?

Harrell: “The work becomes harder” because of the decades of abuse that so many have suffered – including physical and emotional. He will “tap into the goodness of everyone” to solve this. And “we will make the tough decisions as well.”

González: “We need to address the realities of a shortage of behavioral-health treatment” including “substance-abuse treatment.” She. believes the next mayor can “advocate for an increased level of investment.” But “what won’t work is a law-and-order approach .. (to) replicate the war on drugs.” She would stay focused on approaches “to address the root causes and allow people to get on a path” toward treatment.

Both candidates mentioned multiple times along the way that they have homelessness plans on their websites. (González’s site is here; Harrell’s site is here.)

At the heart of their closing statements:

González: “Trying to cope with symptoms” without addressing the “root causes … will not succeed.”

Harrell: “Under my approach we’re going to look at the whole culture of the city” so that “everyone will feel safe.”

TONIGHT’S FORUM: The Seattle Times is co-sponsoring candidate forums about homelessness tonight and tomorrow night. Tonight at 7 pm, it’s the mayoral candidates. Go here to register.

WHAT’S NEXT: Ballots will be mailed two weeks from today, and voting begins as soon as you get yours.

65 Replies to "ELECTION 2021: Seattle Mayor candidates talk homelessness at noontime forum, with another one tonight"

  • Mr. Henry September 29, 2021 (6:09 pm)

    Nothing changes,  it has all been said before and the problems are still with Seattle and even worse.What Seattle needs are leaders and accountability.   Not talkers .  These candidates had their chance. Now is time vote them all out.

  • James September 29, 2021 (6:19 pm)

    Lorena is very refreshing. I love someone who is compassionate with logical solutions. We need to tax big businesses and make housing prices cheaper. Bottom line.  Bruce Harrell seems to only care about the rich and has been part of the problem. He’s a city council lifer for two decades in Seattle. He created this problem by helping Amazon and Big Tech. 

    • The King September 29, 2021 (7:02 pm)

      History shows that taxing the “rich” is an utter failure. 90 years ago our govt tried this, the one percenters were staring down a 73% tax. This is where exempt securities show up. Next thing you know, nobody is wealthy on paper. This was back in 1921, imagine today’s avenues to shelter money, just pull out your laptop and transfer your money out of country.  As far as “making housing cheaper”, a better statement would be to explain how you the purchase land, materials and labor cheaper. You throw in a 600 page residential building code book the city is so proud of and then the county has their hand out for the 1% assessed value, the insurance company, the utilities, and someone who will eventually maintain the structure. No such thing as “cheap housing” in Seattle unless the overburdened working class are subsidizing it. 

      • James September 29, 2021 (7:13 pm)

        Not sure where you get your info but it’s dead wrong. Taxing the wealthy is when the economy is most thriving and when wages start to match cost of living more. Bezos has gained over 150 billion since the pandemic while housing and wage gaps separate further. It isn’t hard math. 

        • Hmmm September 29, 2021 (9:50 pm)

          If I were rich I would just move out of the city. 

      • James September 29, 2021 (8:08 pm)

        Then make Billionaires brazenly doing this illegal and put them in jail.

        • StopCuttingDownTrees September 29, 2021 (10:20 pm)

          Luckily, we have our U.S. Constitution to protect Americans from people like you.

        • Canton September 29, 2021 (11:24 pm)

          Clean out your garage, come up with a idea, then run with it and make your millions. Are you by chance a prime member?

    • Lisa September 29, 2021 (8:16 pm)

      James, Harrell wasn’t on the council anywhere close to 20 years… Even if he had been, I don’t think public service is that shameful?

      Comments like yours make me extra stoked to vote for Harrell.

    • wssz September 30, 2021 (1:45 am)

      James, “Refreshing” is an odd word choice for you to use to describe City Council President Lorena Gonzales. She’s been a councilmember for the past 6 years, and is currently Council President. A vote for her is a clear vote for continued profound deterioration of this once great city. There is absolutely NO way I would support her for mayor.

      Her tenure on the council has contributed to transforming our public parks and other public places into homeless encampments. Needles, garbage, human waste, and violence have turned our parks into places that most of us don’t feel safe and cannot bring our children. 

      Gun violence is surging while the Seattle Police Department has been ravaged by profound budget cuts. Their morale is at an all time low. 

      And for Gonzales to swat away Mayor Durkan’s concerns about her family’s personal safety after Sawant’s illegal march on the mayor’s family home was flat out wrong. The march, led by Sawant, divulged the mayor’s closely held address, causing her and her family to suddenly become far more vulnerable to harm. Gonzales brushed aside Mayor Durkan’s concerns, essentially saying there was nothing to see here, let’s just move on. Her dismissal of this very serious situation felt like Gonzales didn’t care if Mayor Durkan lived or died.  The political poison between the mayor and Gonzales as Council President was toxic, no thanks to Gonzales, who couldn’t rise to the occasion to impart some degree of dignity to her relationship to the office of the mayor. Her handling of this situation showed her to be petty and vindictive.  

      I’m voting BRUCE HARRELL and hoping that he wins big.  

      • zark00 September 30, 2021 (3:05 pm)

        @WSSZ – SPD had “profound budget cuts”? Really?  Got a source on that or just making stuff up?

    • Ballardite September 30, 2021 (12:01 pm)

      The reason we have a successful city is because Amazon and Big Tech chose to come here instead of other cities.  And it was Ed Murray who pushed that if I remember – not Bruce Harrell.  Remember – Harrell and Gonzalez were on the Council at the same time – if you are blaming the council for this and you think it is “bad”.  Before we add new taxes we need to take advantage of the extra revenue of over 1 Billion at the State level and around 116 million of Federal Covid Funds that are available to Seattle.  Just like Bruce says.  We need to use data and figure out why all the hundreds of millions of dollars we’ve been spending each year for the past umpteen years has resulted in an increase in homeless on our streets.   And we need a plan.  Lorena still hasn’t presented a real plan – just a tax with no details on how it would be spent or whether the money is really needed.Bruce Harrell is the best one to lead us on this.

      • Ex-Amazonian September 30, 2021 (9:34 pm)

        Jeff Bezos moved to Seattle to start Amazon because Washington has no income tax, there was strong computer science talent in the area thanks to the University of Washington, and there was a book distributor relatively nearby. This happened in the mid-90’s, well before Ed Murray was elected mayor.

  • J September 29, 2021 (7:09 pm)

    Thanks to the blog for posting this for those of us not able to watch live. Watching has solidified my choice of BRUCE HARRELL for mayor. I do think he can be the “great mayor” he wishes to be. Bruce is for the rich AND the not so rich – it can’t be either/or since we ALL live here together. He wants to engage the rich to do more. He is compassionate, smart and motivated to help Seattle find its way again. Not of fan of Lorena Gonzalez’s plans to keep homeless on the street (regular people matter too and need to use parks, etc. and feel safe) and (off topic) defund the police. We need more police and changes to systems and behavior, etc. but not fewer police.  

  • KB September 29, 2021 (7:15 pm)

    Neither candidate sounds very good. Neither could simply explain a three step path to solving homelessness. Gonzalez, however, will be a nightmare for Seattle. She’s already led the city to a grinding halt and passed several “renter protection” laws that have reduced the rental supply and made homelessness even worse. She’s spent recklessly. Passed thoughtless legislation and leads a city council full of ideologues. She’s clearly got nothing more than hard left talking points that sound nice but do nothing but make matters worse. If you want more crime, more homelessness and sadness in West Seattle, more drug abuse and thieves stalking your Ring video, then sure vote Gonzalez and get more of what we’ve got now.

  • Mrs. Myrtle September 29, 2021 (7:23 pm)

    We shouldn’t allow camping in our city parks or sidewalks. Period. Tons of land in our region that can accommodate a tent without being yards alway from a playfield or children play structure. And mental illness and drug addiction are more a root cause than income inequality. Lorena literally has no plan. We are tired of the loss of our public spaces for community good. She’s got to go. 

    • GR September 29, 2021 (9:36 pm)


    • Common Sens September 30, 2021 (9:20 am)

      What?? Root cause is capitalism and Big Pharma. And the houseless spike is causes directly by land development haunt free reigns to do what they please with this city. Mental illness doesn’t come from nowhere, it’s enabled, and the opioid epidemic is directly linked to hyper capitalism. This is why I voted for Bernie and will vote for Lorena. Bruce is a Durkan-wannabe. 

      • Hmmm September 30, 2021 (12:16 pm)

        Not sure where to begin on this comment. I can’t even follow your train of thought. 

        • zark00 September 30, 2021 (3:09 pm)

          @HMMM – says more about your lack of comprehension than the comment. Are you unaware of the opioid epidemic and it’s root cause? Are you unclear on how drug addiction is a major factor contributing to homelessness?  VERY simple concepts you should be able to understand.

          • Hmmm September 30, 2021 (6:59 pm)

            I’m more than aware as I talk about it all the time.  I know all too well that the homelessness crisis is rooted in substance abuse. Even long before the opioid crisis, drugs have plagued the country. I remember when it was meth, and before that, crack. The opioid crisis has definitely made its contribution to the problem, but is attributable to much more than “big pharma”. Internet-sold Fentanyl, increased narco trafficking and lax drug laws have made it worse. It’s a complex problem that can’t be summed up simply by blaming “hyper capitalism.” Nor can “excessive development” be blamed for homelessness. Most of the development has been multifamily, which adds housing. Finally, I can’t possibly believe that Lorena is really going to do anything about this. Is she actually going to force people into treatment? Doubt it! She will continue the lax attitude toward substance abuse.  It’s not my lack of comprehension of the issue but rather a loose argument along with some poor writing in the post by Common Sense that threw me. So spare me your haughtiness, Zarky.

          • Common sense September 30, 2021 (7:17 pm)

            You do know opioid epidemic is caused by not abuse (the effect) but by poverty? What makes one turn to drugs and what makes it easily attainable and addicting? These aren’t the houseless’s fault. Look at the button pushers and shakers of society. Not the product.

          • Hmmm September 30, 2021 (8:27 pm)

            Actually, the opioid epidemic has impacted all classes. Also not everyone starts out houseless and then turns to drugs sometimes they start the other way. But you’re right, I shouldn’t blame them for getting lost in drugs. But nor should you get caught up in the blame game naming capitalism and developers.  You are doing no good with that. To solve it we have to compel people to go into treatment.  I am a supporter of turning jails into rehab centers. Would take capital but I’d rather spend it there than a revolving door of services. People who are addicted often cannot decide to get clean on their own. They need ultimatums. Unfortunately neither candidate really addressed this head on. 

  • KB September 29, 2021 (8:33 pm)

    The homelessness crisis is about mental health, drug and alcohol addiction. Seattle has an extreme lack of services and unwillingness to come to terms with the core of the issue. We can buy as many hotels and build as many tiny homes as we want but until we have the services and determination to rehabilitate those with drug abuse issues and involuntarily commit those with severe mental health issues, we won’t get anywhere with this problem. Gonzalez doesn’t talk enough about this because she has no plan that really includes it. 

    • Hmmm September 29, 2021 (9:53 pm)

      How do we know someone wants drug and alcohol treatment? What if they don’t? How do you compel people to get help when the behavior is allowed. 

      • Canton September 29, 2021 (11:40 pm)

        Tell the governor to mandate it. That will work.

        • Anonymous Coward September 30, 2021 (6:42 am)

          Ha ha ha ha ha!  This comment made my day.

    • 1994 September 29, 2021 (10:18 pm)

      Seattle doesn’t have an extreme lack of mental health or addiction services. Those services are available if people want them.  Medicaid insurance is available for people with low or no income. The homeless issue is much more complex than a lack of such services. Many homeless people say they don’t want to be homeless, they  do want a place to stay…..they just have given up on figuring out how to get a place to stay and expect the social safety net to fully take care of them.  

      • zark00 September 30, 2021 (3:14 pm)

        @1994 – Wow, you couldn’t be more wrong. Washington is the second worst state in the nation in terms of caring for mentally ill adults. We have one of the highest rates of mental health issues in adults and one of the lowest rates for availability of services.  

  • onion September 29, 2021 (9:01 pm)

    Anyone who thinks a single individual in one city can “solve” homelessness is deluded. Almost every significant city in the United States has a homeless problem, and it’s a problem around the world as well. But Gonzalez’ proposals seem as soft as marshmallows. Harrell brings more substance, which we need to move forward.

    • Canton September 29, 2021 (11:57 pm)

      Great post, there is no singular solution. Way too many factors involved. We need more collaborative voices involved,  to debate and debate, to get to a apex of understanding. But we cannot subsidize anyone and everyone into public housing at public cost. King county has a program to pay the homeless 20-25 a hr to clean up parks. 5 -10 dollars above the new min wage here. How will that pan out?

    • James September 30, 2021 (7:08 am)

      Harrell has been on Council all but one year since 2007, so what are you talking about? Harrell has created this chaos.

      • WSB September 30, 2021 (8:58 am)

        12 years. Early 2008-early 2020.

      • Ice September 30, 2021 (12:55 pm)

        It’s naive to think that our local politicians caused the homeless crisis. Have you been to any other city on the West Coast? Have you been to New York? All over the country, and especially on the west coast, there are homeless people. After a recent count in my hometown of 8000 people, it was found that 300 over people living unhoused. None of this is caused by an individual local politician. It’s decades of bad housing policy.

  • GR September 29, 2021 (9:26 pm)

    After watching this, my vote is definitely Bruce Harrell! What has Gonzalez done for Seattle? She has steered the city into utter chaos and has let certain City Council members routinely break the law! I don’t believe she has a solid plan to fight homelessness, drug and alcohol addiction as well as people with mental health issues.  Lets stop blaming Amazon and big business and start with the Seattle City Council and the Mayor. These our the individuals that truly make the decisions that impact the residents of Seattle. Democrats and Republicans must come together on this and make a complete change of power in the City of Seattle. 

    • Derek October 1, 2021 (9:27 am)

      City Council gets enough blame. That’s all local news focuses on and let’s Bezos and Schultz and Boeing off the hook. Tired of it. Tired of the three dominant companies controlling everything in this city. We need to hold Big Tech accountable. I am voting for Lorena Gonzales. 

  • Jajajaja September 30, 2021 (12:29 am)

    Last I remember,  Seattle was actually pretty clean when it went back and forth between being ruled by Democrats and Republicans.  It sadly seems now that one side can only throw mud and provide the same as they have for the past two decades,  which evidently is exactly how we got here.

  • momosmom September 30, 2021 (6:51 am)

    For those of us that  don’t live in the City limits of Seattle and can’t vote for either candidate— PLEASE, PLEASE think long and hard before you check that box for (our) new Mayor because every thing that happens in the City of Seattle does and will have the domino effect on all of the outlying areas, its just not only in yours. 

  • AM September 30, 2021 (8:31 am)

    So glad to see people feel the same way as I do.  LG is what has perpetuated this downturn of this beautiful city.  She wants to live in a city that is unsafe and disgusting- ?  BH has my vote.  He knows this city and what it should and has been like. 

    • Derek October 1, 2021 (9:23 am)

      I am voting for LG. Not sure why you think she won’t have support but right here on my street (Andover near Avalon) she has a lot of support. Good luck.

  • Villagegreen September 30, 2021 (8:32 am)

    Anyone who says he’s gonna do a ‘very deep dive’ once in office does not have the answers we currently need.

    • KM September 30, 2021 (9:08 am)

      After serving on the council for 12 years! What a joke.

  • Chris K September 30, 2021 (8:58 am)

    Mayor González has a nice ring to it.  How exciting would it be to have our first Latinx mayor?  

  • Common Sense September 30, 2021 (9:12 am)

    Are these Harrell puppets posting? LORENA GONZALES has my vote and it’s not even close. Harrell has literally done nothing in his 12 years except help pave the way for developers to take over the city of Seattle and pump up the houseless numbers. Lorena is protecting renters being screwed over by slumlords which Seattle has no shortage of. Lorena is out on the streets helping and putting money where mouth is. I don’t see Bruce doing nearly the same grassroots work.

    • Ballardite September 30, 2021 (12:14 pm)

      Are you kidding?  Lorena is the one who panders to developers by promising to rezone the entire city and let them build what they want wherever they want so she can have a magic “37,000 units of housing”.  By next year that amount of housing will have been built already in the greater Seattle area without any rezones.  And how will that do anything to affect the homeless who cannot qualify for a house unless it has supportive services?Lorena had to hire people to gather Democracy Vouchers while Bruces grass roots campaign was able to gather them using only volunteers or because the community donated on their own!As far as Lorena being “in the Streets” – she was asked to come talk to the neighborhood about the encampment at Greenlake and she claimed she didn’t know about it because she gets 50,000 e-mails per day and her team couldn’t answer them.  The neighborhood had e-mailed for over a year and ended up having demonstrations just to get a section of street near greenlake reopened.  Their concerns were TOTALLY IGNORED!Its time for a change – I’m voting BRUCE HARRELL.

      • KM September 30, 2021 (2:44 pm)

        Yes, Lorena has a demanding job, and Bruce is retired. Kind of puts a bit of optics on the “can you believe Lorena HIRED people for her campaign” bit.

    • Canton October 1, 2021 (12:57 am)

      Harrell as council president was the only adult in the room regarding the Seattle Children’s Council. He dealt with all of Sawants deranged activists, and kept some modicum of decor. He knows now, what he’s up against. He decided, with some time off out of the spotlight, that he is ready to get this done right.

      • Derek October 1, 2021 (11:26 am)

        You won’t get anywhere calling a candidate’s supporters deranged. Sorry they disagree with you. I support Sawant. And I believe the children are the neolibs whining daily about the houseless while supporting the Big Tech companies that contribute to the mess more than anyone.

  • Bronson September 30, 2021 (9:15 am)

    Gonzalez seems to misunderstand “constitutional rights.” No one has a constitutional right to camp in a park or on sidewalks. The constitution does not address where you live, so it is left up to states and municipalities to set up guidelines on where that is acceptable.It’s past time to start arresting those that are in possession of drugs. As many have mentioned, many do not want to get clean, so arrest them, put them through an addiction program, and expunge their records should they stay clean. 

  • Thomas A Wood September 30, 2021 (9:25 am)

    I watched last nights debate .The differences are very clear.Gonzalez wants to continue with business as usual concerning homeless. She clearly stated she has no intention whatsoever in cleaning up encampments. She stated it could take years to get some of these people off the streets.That is unacceptable!. How can you expect people with mental illness or drug or alcohol problems. To make rational decisions? She also stated she wants to eliminate single zone housing.No builder is going to come in and build cheap housing.What were going to get stuck with is taxpayer funded government housing.Which will be a debacle. The city won’t maintain them.They will quickly fall into disrepair. Neighborhoods the backbone of any thriving city will quickly dissenegrate. Sorry Lorena I won’t live like that

    • Kevin on Delridge September 30, 2021 (10:47 am)

      Eliminating single family zoning isn’t only about developers building affordable housing, it is about filling the density gap which keeps more affordable rentals occupied by those who are priced out of the housing market or have fewer rental options.

      This is called the Missing Middle. A lot of great resources out there but here is one. https://missingmiddlehousing.com/

      This is a city and density is sorely missing (see the zoning map attached, the light color is single family). Building more townhomes and multi-family units will greatly improve the housing situation.

       Source: http://www.seattle.gov/dpd/research/GIS/webplots/Smallzonemap.pdf

      • Ballardite September 30, 2021 (12:24 pm)

        There’s probably 100 townhomes and other separated small homes going in at the Crown Hill Urban Village as we speak.  Also, congregate housing building and a new apartment.  And its not even a third of the way built out yet.  Other Urban Villages have the same level of development going on.  I just listened to a real estate webinar that showed there are over 100,000 units, either planned, in permitting or under construction in greater Seattle Area right now.  And also read an estimate that we need 100,000 units more in the next ten years.  This means we could have enough housing to accomodate everyone through 2035 by end of 2022.  So it seems the need for more density is not as urgent as its made out to be.  We need to take the time to plan where its best to add density so we can have the proper infrastructure to accomodate it instead of doing blanket upzones.  Developers are not planners – they only care about the bottom line and they will ruin this beautiful city if you allow them to build whatever they want with no rules.

        • Kevin on Delridge September 30, 2021 (5:58 pm)

          Definitely agree on developers, but the goal is to let the market speak. Not everyone wants to be bunched onto arterials and collectors. Freeing up zoning will help open up options that simply aren’t available right now (variety of style, size, affordability, etc as a function of location).

          • StopCuttingDownTrees September 30, 2021 (9:33 pm)

            Single-family zoning is about preserving existing, quiet, liveable neighborhoods and protecting tree canopy. Beehive complexes and urban-style retail clusters do NOT belong in the leafy bedroom communities that surround the dense urban core. Single-family zoning protects us from the greedy developer orgy that would turn all of Seattle into a concrete jungle.

  • Jeepney September 30, 2021 (9:32 am)

    The reason that the homeless situation has not been “solved” is because there is too much money in it.  Think about it, where have all of the taxpayer dollars gone in the past 20 years?

    • Pessoa October 2, 2021 (7:16 am)

      Someone once said, aptly, “poor people are big business.”

  • Grey Beard September 30, 2021 (1:59 pm)

    Seattle is one of the most expensive city’s in the country. Its not just housing its everything. I am very fortunate to have bought a house in WS back in 2009 for 350k. That was a lot back then. Now my house is worth high 700k. I remember the Junction was like a town in the mid west. A couple antique stores and a train shop. Over the years more money has moved into WS. Its great to see the progress but with that property values go up and taxes. Sadly most people cant afford a 700k house. I know I cant. Other factors are big company’s paying less tax then the average middle class worker.  That’s wrong. This all leads to less housing for the middle to lower income people. Sadly there is no way to fix it. Seattle cares about helping people on the street. You can see that by visiting Bellevue. Also Seattle is not the only city that is suffering, its every city. 

    • Derek October 1, 2021 (9:22 am)

      Seattle subsidizes Bellevue. Bellevue can’t have their ultra-conservative cop-loving oasis without Seattle existing. 

  • Stephen September 30, 2021 (2:10 pm)

    I think we should be more concerned about the rights of law-abiding citizens than those who are camping illegally in public spaces.  Our policies only seem to attract more homeless campers from outside of the Seattle area, which means our approach is not working. 

    • Kevin on Delridge September 30, 2021 (6:02 pm)

      The sad truth is that we need a national strategy on homelessness. It will be near impossible for any one state or local government to solve the problem without resorting to the easy “send them away” option. Obviously a tall order today, countries that have had success are smaller and have focused on a national housing first strategy.

  • Homer J Simpson September 30, 2021 (2:39 pm)

    Is it just me or is this election starting to look exactly like the “Don’t blame me, I voted for Kodos” episode?Anyway, good luck to either Kang or Kodos in “solving homelessness” by throwing more of our money into the bottomless pit.

  • anonyme September 30, 2021 (3:15 pm)

    Gonzalez takes the “progress” out of “progressive”.

  • Business owner September 30, 2021 (9:19 pm)

    Seattle being touted as the “Sanctuary City” thus not prosecuting crime, and spending insane amounts of money on homelessness, has basically advertised that this city (to all states that don’t want to deal with the NIMBY), that we will pay for it, and with enthusiasm!  Doesn’t anyone see that other states are giving their freshly-freed prisoners one-way tickets to cities like Seattle, Portland and San Francisco?  This “open-arms” reputation is why we have seen an insanely uptick of homeless population.  I have lived here all my life and have never seen Seattle like this, ever.  Without any punishment for petty crimes only exacerbates the situation.  I’m sorry- been going to Idaho for an annual vacation for 20 years, and have been amazed at how clean and civil the place is.  They don’t allow people to camp in the streets.  All must think…they have no compassion!!!  Nah- they just don’t allow it, don’t coddle, and guess what?  They figure it out, or move somewhere that makes their lives easier (aka, to continue their drug use and petty criminal activity to sustain that).  I KNOW that Seattle provides so many opportunities for people to get clean, find housing, counseling etc.  In fact, the Seattle Times stated that it costs us taxpayers $80,000, per homeless person, to provide housing.  Think about that… Everyone I know, makes less than that, and STILL pays rent, utilities, goes to work, etc. and yes… wait for it… are dealing with major addictions of their own!  So- not saying we have any great candidates to choose from… but Lorena is the epitome of “enabling” and thus making Seattle THE destination for inmates (from other states, that have just been released) to get one-way tickets to our city… so we have to deal with them… just saying.

  • Business owner September 30, 2021 (9:25 pm)

    And before those that think my Idaho vacation makes me a staunch Republican, nope, they have a very amazing river which I white water raft every year.  And to those that think I’m a troll and then disappear… I reaffirm what I stated before… I post, finish my cocktail, and head to bed:). Goodnight!  I have a business to run early in the morning:)

  • Wsanon October 1, 2021 (11:35 pm)

    I work for a great company, they’ve been downtown for 30 plus years, we pay high wages, have great flexibility and have really nice benefits. Everyone is so concerned with the Amazon’s of the world and not the places like where I work. The owners are watching these races because while we’re still currently working remotely, we hope to go back two days a week next year. We’ve already had one employee that goes in periodically get assaulted very badly. They can’t with good conscience bring people back and have people waiting for transit at night if downtown doesn’t become a safer place to be. I’ve worked downtown for 15 years, 3rd and Pike was always an issue, but now it’s the whole of downtown that’s bad. Unfortunately we are going to move offices if Davison , Gonzalez and Oliver come out ahead in these races. The other candidates aren’t great, but these three are for status quo and worse. Oliver might find it hard to find her tax revenue if companies just shift out of Seattle.

Sorry, comment time is over.