VIDEO: With 5 weeks left to campaign, Seattle City Council District 1 candidates meet again @ WSB forum

As promised, we’ve uploaded video from our Seattle City Council District 1 candidates’ forum as fast as we could. Thanks to the ~40 people who braved the intense rain tonight to come see Maren Costa and Rob Saka respond to questions for an hour at the Senior Center of West Seattle. Most of the questions we asked were sent to us by WSB readers; thanks again to everyone who suggested questions. We’ll add written summaries of the Q&A sometime soon. Upcoming forums in West Seattle include:

OCTOBER 3: Seattle CityClub and GSBA will present a District 1 debate in the Brockey Center at South Seattle College (6000 16th SW; WSB sponsor), 7 pm, in-person and livestreamed. More info here, as well as a registration link which the sponsors say offers a chance to suggest a question.

OCTOBER 5: The Harbor-Alki Neighbors’ Group has announced an in-person “town hall Q&A” with the candidates at 7 pm Thursday, October 5th. The venue will be Admiral Church (4320 SW Hill).

OCTOBER 10: Westside Interfaith Network and the League of Women Voters co-sponsor an in-person form at Our Lady of Guadalupe (35th/Myrtle), 7 pm.

OCTOBER 23: Age-Friendly Seattle forum at the Senior Center (4217 SW Oregon), 3 pm. Go here to register and suggest a question.

67 Replies to "VIDEO: With 5 weeks left to campaign, Seattle City Council District 1 candidates meet again @ WSB forum"

  • Urbanist September 25, 2023 (11:36 pm)

    haven’t watched the full thing yet, but listened to the STP and non-driver questions answered. disappointed by the weak responses by both candidates, but more certain in not voting for Saka who’s answers alluded to doing nothing for the sake of car drivers (“impact to businesses”, “urbanists who don’t travel”, “what about our car drivers? Uber eats and Amazon package delivery?” (that one’s funny b/c both of those are symptoms of bad urban design and sprawled communities)). I can tell Costa is on the side I agree with, but needs to package their thoughts better around transit. tho I agree, sound biting “free transit” is gonna get NIMBYs up in arms.

    • M September 26, 2023 (8:18 am)

      I’ve been in a conversation with Rob regarding roadway safety improvements and he’s really disconnected on the topic. He was not open to discussion.

      • Jay September 26, 2023 (2:05 pm)

        Sounds like Rob being Rob. I’ve read a number of things from him and watched a number of these debates at this point and he seems so disconnected from everything being stereotypical politician talking points. Even in these small settings like the senior center, the dude cannot remotely talk like a human being interacting with humans. I don’t love Maren and I think she struggles to articulate things but she actually seems interested in thinking and talking things through so I guess I’ll vote for her.

        • Facts September 26, 2023 (5:24 pm)

          i particularly like Saka’s answer to “how will you consider the voice of non-drivers” which was “we need to consider the voice of drivers”. shows where their thinking is

          • Jay September 27, 2023 (8:54 am)

            Seems to be his responses to everything. Mention that Maren supported defund the police back when it was trendy to do so (regardless of her current positions) and then repeat the question in the form of a statement, without any actual content.

    • WS resident September 27, 2023 (3:45 pm)

      C/o Brett Hamil from South Seattle Emerald: QUICK VOTER GUIDE
      Rob Saka: EVERYONE he ran against in primary endorsed his opponent
      Tanya Woo: never bothered to vote for the seat she’s running for
      Maritza Rivera: 27/40 employees signed a letter to the mayor citing her toxic work environment
      Kenneth Wilson: renter-hating NIMBY

      • CrBCAKE September 29, 2023 (11:49 am)

        Hello WS Resident ~ Love  Brett Hamill as a cartoonist, but he’s definitely a Sawant radical. I don’t really take his advice on political issues.  Quick note about his comment about the previous candidates supporting Costa.  I did in fact vote for one of those candidates. However, I was disappointed when they supported Costa, because none of them agree with her platform. I think for most of us, it was obvious that there were some bruised egos. As said, I did support one of them, but I also realize that there is a reason that my person did not advance, and that is because he wasn’t the best candidate. And in the end, he is just one vote with one view. If he now supports Costa and has changed his platform to support there, that is okay. But i will not change my beliefs just to show loyalty to him.  I am going to vote for the person who I think will be represent me and protect my family. And after listening to the candidates I am going to vote for Rob Saka.

  • BeTheChange September 26, 2023 (12:20 am)

    28:27mm – This is the type of person Seattle needs right now. Rob Saka, you’ve got my vote.

  • WestSideDave September 26, 2023 (12:38 am)

    Man, great debate. Thank you WSB for bringing this to us.  Super suprised and disappointed that Costa tried the slander approach (at 15:45 of the video). Very impressed that she was shut down so quickly and directed to answer the question. No dilly-dally in West Seattle. Good job WSB!  

    • Facts September 26, 2023 (1:20 am)

      lol, did you not watch the video? the dude that yelled at 15:45 was addressing BOTH candidates not answering the question. Saka got an extra 30 sec. to go off topic while Costa was shut down right away. There was substantial dilly-dally, Dave. also slander has to be untruthful to be slander: Saka is lying to you.

      • Suzanne September 26, 2023 (4:26 am)

        Did you even read the article you linked to? The donors named in it, especially  former Costco CEO Jim Sinegal as the biggest-named donor, have a history of backing primarily Democratic candidates. “For his part, Sinegal has donated generously and often in recent years to Democrats, including President Joe Biden, California State Rep. Adam Schiff and former Georgia State Rep. Stacey Abrams.”

        Your accusation that Saka is lying falls flat. You provide zero facts (despite your name). And your link actually strengthens the argument to vote for Rob Saka for those of us who want real change. A vote for Costa continues Herbold’s disastrous policies.

        Voting for Saka is a vote for much needed improved public safety. 

        • Facts September 26, 2023 (11:43 am)

          How does donating to Democrats negate donating to Republicans? they’re playing both sides of the field; one doesn’t cancel out the other. My link shows that Trump donors are donating to Saka.

      • CrBCAKE September 26, 2023 (8:16 am)

        @Facts (Maren?)  I watched the video.  I felt like Saka was very robust with great answers. Costa seemed very scattered and disengaged. No need to call anyone a liar. Everyone should watch the video and decide for themselves.

      • BeTheChange September 26, 2023 (8:20 am)

        Hi Facts, no, I think the moderator was yelling at Costa, who spent a lot of time trying to talk about donors, rather than addressing the issues. This was my first time listening to either candidate and the lack of ideas and answers from Costa was disappointing. Your follow up as a supporter who freely calls others a liar is a turn off. It’s not helping her.

        • Facts September 26, 2023 (8:51 pm)

          alright, I listened to it again since y’all having bad takes. the yelling person was addressing the room and people being removed if not civil, so no yelling at either candidate. he mentioned 30 seconds to answer the question, which is directed at Costas. which is pretty biased as Saka did not answer the question in any capacity beforehand. but sure, keep framing it a certain cause you can be bothered to be objective.

      • WS Res September 26, 2023 (8:29 am)

        Oh interesting, a story about Saka’s donors that WSB readers can’t impugn with sexist and ageist comments about the author! (When I’ve posted a link to a similar article in The Stranger, it’s been dismissed because the author is a young woman.)  Good link, thanks.

        • Facts September 26, 2023 (11:44 am)

          Definitely avoided the link to The Stranger to try and get past reactionary bias

  • Del September 26, 2023 (3:42 am)

    Maren Costa really has no idea what she’s doing on stage does she? She didn’t read about the transportation and couldn’t answer the questions. She was against the recent council vote for criminalizing drug use to match state laws, but complained about fentanyl use on buses?  Maren very clearly likes the sound of her own voice, but has no resolutions or plans on how to fix anything.  

    • Facts September 26, 2023 (11:50 am)

      I feel y’all miss the forest for the trees with this drug law. Y’all forget that laws increasing criminality are always going to be abused by law enforcement to target, profile, and harass communities. Their probable cause is expanded which results in more harm. I don’t know how we can live in a world post-NY stop-and-frisk and have people cheering on direct oppression of vulnerable groups. We can try to fix drug use w/o criminalizing and putting people in cages; how is that hard to understand?

      • neighbor September 26, 2023 (2:12 pm)

        It’s not hard to understand. But the reality is that we don’t have any other effective resources available and in place. We decriminalized public drug use in the city years ago thinking – like you – that it would be a better approach. It wasn’t, and while many of us would still like to see more done than *just* enforcement, it’s become abundantly clear that non-enforcement has only made things worse.

        • Facts September 26, 2023 (5:11 pm)

          I didn’t think decriminalization was the end-all-be-all. Instead, it was a half-ass approach that had liberals’ attention until it passed and they lost interest in pushing for more resources to help folks out. Decriminalization, mental health resources, and other measures all must be implemented together. Instead we just go back-and-forth all the while vulnerable people are harmed.

      • WS Res September 26, 2023 (2:22 pm)

        It’s not hard to understand, but it doesn’t jive with the authoritarian impulse to do something TO people, rather than FOR people, who are struggling with substance use. See: why we don’t have safe injection sites, why we don’t have enough treatment to refer all these people the police can now target, etc. Until we collectively recognize that our gut impulses are no way to build a functioning society, we are going to see the same, reactionary calls for retribution, punishment, immiseration, and disproportionate response that keep the same old cycle going. And while we have the biggest portion of every city and county budget going to people who are NOT in the business of “working themselves out of a job” (unlike the values in the mental health/recovery fields), we’re going to see the same absolute refusal to tolerate any changes that might make a difference.

  • Admiral Mom September 26, 2023 (7:33 am)

    No to Maren. She just tells you what you want to hear. And manipulates language -“mom of special ed child adopted from foster care” means “my partner and wife adopted a child years ago. I have never lived with that kid” or  “public school mom” truly means “kids in SPS and charter schools”. Not that charters are bad but come on, don’t be deceitful.

    • Facts September 26, 2023 (11:53 am)

      SPS means “Seattle Public Schools”? How can you assume that Costa never live with her child? Manipulates language, lol. What a misogynistic view point. No mention of Saka relying on the same virtue-signalling language.

    • WS Teacher September 26, 2023 (9:29 pm)

      In the state of Washington all charter schools are public schools. That’s not an incorrect statement. 

  • Appreciative WS Voter September 26, 2023 (7:58 am)

    First, thank you to the WS Blog for not only being our source of breaking news, but also the facilitator of our political dialogue!  Second, thank you to both candidates for running.  It is clearly a huge time commitment, a sacrifice for public service, and very personal.  The issues that this city faces are many, and they are complicated.  A city council member is allowed to take time to study the issues, to learn while in office, to have their positions evolve, and to make compromises to get things done. For this reason, it is difficult to make a choice between candidates for office based on debate performances.   That said, I think this vote is ultimately about risk, and making the less risky choice.  Let’s face it – both candidates are adequately liberal to represent this district!  On a national political scale, they would be standing directly next to each other with lots of spectrum around them, and mostly to the right. Maren Costa’s reflexes have become clear over this campaign, and while she seems earnest and thoughtful and smart, I fear she is too extreme, and thus would be too risky at this time in history. She did say in the May forum that she (and she alone) supported defunding the police, and she did in her opening comment last night (I was surprised!) talk about raising taxes (using “progressive revenue” as a code word).  She also clearly has animosity toward Amazon, its own complicated beast in this city.   These are not specific policy positions, but rather indications of her instincts.  We don’t even know what issues the council will be dealing with over the next years.  And thus, we need to care about the core beliefs of our candidates. Costa leaves me concerned that we would end up with more of a Herbold/Sawant leaning, and this city needs to pull back just a little teeny bit from such extremism. That is why, with deep respect for both candidates and for the process, I think we need to elect Rob Saka.  We cannot afford the risk of sending his opponent to office.

    • Facts September 26, 2023 (12:03 pm)

      What’s risky about putting more money towards alternatives to policing? That leads to safer community interactions. Just look at the helicopter man-hunt that happen recently. Complete over-the-top response and waste of resources that could’ve better been spent for a mental crisis intervention team. What’s risky about raising taxes, especially on companies that rely so much on public infrastructure and have avoided paying a fair share? We can’t keep cutting or stagnating on taxes and expect change. Do you want to continue to have levies that bump up property taxes?

      • 1994 September 29, 2023 (10:08 pm)

        Explain to us how a mental crisis intervention team was going to make contact with the guy who travelled by foot from the  Lincoln Park area to about 1 mile or more down the road, sneaking through yards, and hiding in a  brushy green belt area? Do you see the mental health crisis team walking miles on foot, snooping in yards for a guy who may  react with violence? 

  • CrBCAKE September 26, 2023 (8:07 am)

    Well I watched the whole thing and found Rob Saka to be very engaged, with some very solid answers to the questions. Costa seems very disengaged. She asks for the question to be repeated multiple times and her answers were very scattered. I’m sure she’s a nice person, but it really felt like just another multi-millionaire who’s looking to pad her resume. Saka on the other hand seems like he’s really up on the issues and genuinely interested in making Seattle a better place to live.  I didn’t vote for either in the primary, but getting to know more about each of them now, I really think Saka is the right choice.

  • DC September 26, 2023 (8:43 am)

    It is unbelievable that when asked how we can move past the blame game (three years later and multiple police budget INCREASES later) his answer is that he wont.  Really sad that so many people’s politics is motivated by anger and disdain for for those they disagree with. 

  • Mike September 26, 2023 (8:45 am)

    If you like the current Council’s craziness, and want it to continue, vote for Costa.

  • BeTheChange September 26, 2023 (9:01 am)

    This debate is definitely worth watching. It really shows the difference between the two candidates. Saka really came across as very knowledgeable on all issues. He seemed to speak honestly, genuinely, and passionately about the issues. And brought a really great perspective. I really like him. Please watch the video and decide for yourself.

    • Facts September 26, 2023 (11:55 am)

      Saka avoided answering questions left and right. I don’t know how you can say he was knowledgeable on all issues when he avoided many details that would’ve revealed whether he actually read up on certain things. e.g. “The STP was dense, but got a high level overview” which I remember saying in school when I didn’t read the book while Costa was honest about not yet getting to it.

  • Jackson K September 26, 2023 (9:33 am)

    Is it me or was Rob yelling out his answers. Maren seemed lost on a number of questions. This was not an impressive “debate.” Everyone I speak with want more focus on Public safety, public safety, and public safety. Individuals, families, and business owners deserve better. 

    • Little One September 27, 2023 (9:43 pm)

      Sigh, those were my observations as well. Both candidates have positions I agree with and disagree with. Public safety is top of mind for me as well, but I have concerns about Saka after watching this event. Overall, I’m not sure what either could accomplish and that’s not good either.

  • Anne September 26, 2023 (9:35 am)

    Looking for more of the – same old same old-vote for Costa.

  • Deejay September 26, 2023 (9:36 am)

    If you liked Lisa Herbolt vote for Maren Costa – I certainly will never give her my vote – she’s naive and will “highly likely” continue down the path of City of Seattle implosion. WE NEED TOUGH LOVE IN THIS CITY, not baby coddling.          

    • Jakes September 26, 2023 (10:06 am)

      NO to Saka. We need stability. Not chaotic grenades like Harrell and Davison and Nelson who continue to sink this city further into despair appeasing to developers and profit over the good of the people. 

      • PDiddy September 26, 2023 (11:29 am)

        Oh lord you are exactly why the city is a disaster and not safe. And why I support Saka.

    • Facts September 26, 2023 (11:57 am)

      Love seeing “tough love” being used to minimize police brutality and a prison industrial complex 🙃 maybe you’ll come around when the boot is on the neck of you or your family

      • DeeJay September 26, 2023 (12:17 pm)

        clearly with your thinking, based on your words,  you’re just one person why our city and current times are the way they are.    I feel for you, and fear you’ll only realize your current beliefs are not the best for all when it’s way too late.  “Police Brutality”.  ha.  I see you’ve fallen into the false media concocted story – this is really sad.  Get out and get to know your police – go ride with them on one of their shifts.  #educateYourself

        • Facts September 26, 2023 (5:21 pm)

          i loved the tried and true “go on a ride along” with the cops. have you not been paying attention? i’d rather not ride shotgun while an officer plows into a pedestrian. i’d rather not listen to racial slurs on my time off. what kind of mindset do you have to hand wave police brutality? you live a sheltered life, don’t cha. for the record, i’ve interacted with a lot of police in WS. i tend to go out and talk and help folks on the street that are struggling, and all too often when the cops are called by the worried homeowners watching from their windows, they demand i leave and stop interacting with my community while they verbally harass and interrogate the person i had calmed down. maybe you should interact more with the police, DeeJay? cause i sense heavy projection when it comes to that “fallen into… media” comment :)

          • HaopyCamper September 26, 2023 (10:52 pm)

            That’s great that you do that and I’m sure you have good intentions which I am in no way questioning. But do you have training and or a way to defend yourself if things go sideways? Or would you just then call the police?

          • Facts September 27, 2023 (2:54 pm)

            @HaopyCamper no i would never call the police. seen too often how they escalate and cause the dangerous situations that people expect. never have felt threaten or unsafe around folks going through tough times because humans have great capacity to mirror what is happening around them. being open, showing empathy, and speaking human-to-human and as equals is the easiest way to maintain a situation. albeit i acknowledge that as a man that is a large factor in what emboldens me.

  • Quiz September 26, 2023 (10:05 am)

    Thank you WSB. Saka is clearly the best candidate.

    • Jake September 27, 2023 (7:23 am)

      Costa is the best candidate* By far. And why I agree with the other candidates on supporting her over Saka, who will damage this city further. 

  • Brooke September 26, 2023 (10:14 am)

    Maren actually has a plan and stays cool and collected.  Rob continuously slanders her and obviously upset that all of the candidates are backing her.  Even the mayor switched from endorsing Rob to Maren.  It’s pretty eye opening if the people that have gotten to know him have switched sides.  Maren is willing to listen to all sides and bring people together.  She has my vote as she’ll actually get things done.  

    • Graham September 26, 2023 (10:32 am)

      I don’t believe the mayor has officially endorsed anyone. Can you please share a link, article, or announcement that backs up a claim about who the mayor endorses?

    • Sourceplease September 26, 2023 (10:37 am)

      Brooke, I don’t see Bruce Harrell endorsing Maren on her endorsements page or in a Google search. Out of curiosity, where does it say Harrell is endorsing her?

      • Jake September 26, 2023 (11:11 am)

        I would only vote for who Harrell DOESN’T endorse. He’s awful. 

    • Bill38 September 26, 2023 (10:48 am)

      This is incorrect Brooke, looking at both candidates’ websites and social media accounts the Mayor has not endorsed either of them. Its totally fine to support one candidate over the other but lets please be honest and stick to the facts. 

      • Ro September 27, 2023 (11:25 am)

        This was probably an honest mistake on Brooke’s part. Rob’s failure to gain the mayor’s endorsement speaks volumes.

  • waikikigirl September 26, 2023 (11:12 am)

    I have no say on these 2 candidates because we do not live in the City of Seattle boundaries but like I’ve said before “everything that is voted on” in the City of Seattle has that trickle down effect onto the out lying neighborhoods. So please, please think long and hard before you vote, if you want Seattle to keep going in the direction it has been these past few years or if there is someone “new” that can make Seattle good again! But I know who I’d vote for if I could.

    • CAM September 26, 2023 (8:31 pm)

      I have absolutely no desire for Seattle to be going where it has these past few years and will be voting for someone who I believe will counteract the destructive and toxic influence of Ann Davison and the constant wish washy, populism of Bruce Farrell. 

  • Melissa September 26, 2023 (11:36 am)

    It’s so hard to know from just one video. The other one I watched is the 20 minute debate which was on King 5. That was a HUGE eye-opener. But again, just snapshots. Probably what means the MOST to me, is that the other 6 candidates have all banded together to endorse Costa. Why would they do that? That really tells me everything I need to know about who is best for our city.

    • Shakenbake September 26, 2023 (2:50 pm)

      I’m sure the other candidates are great people, but they are only people whose platforms don’t support Costa at all. Has a lot of us scratching our heads, but won’t make Me vote for someone who thinks like she does. My loyalty is to my family and city, not to other candidates. I’m voting for Rob.

  • Peter September 26, 2023 (12:08 pm)

    I’m very concerned about Costa’s clear lack of knowledge and inability to articulate details. I’m very concerned about Saka’s abrasive style and continually harping on one thing. That said, Saka has my vote for correctly identifying city code and permitting as a major obstacle addressing Seattle’s severe and worsening housing shortage, which Costa doesn’t adequately address. Costa literally said she wants pre-set designs for new buildings (47:38). Mandating specific designs would add yet more layers of bureaucracy to housing construction and end all architectural creativity. For me that’s a hard no to Costa. 

    • DashH September 26, 2023 (1:49 pm)

      In other forums, Costa has actually been much clearer and more detailed about the need for streamlined and varied housing options. See the recent housing forum:“In particular, Davis, Hudson, and Costa were unabashedly for more housing and displayed a firm grasp of the issues at play to make it happen and a knack for laying out a captivating vision of a greener Seattle with more homes, transit, walkability, and amenities.” On the other hand, Saka has talked about the need for maintaining mandatory parking minimums and “neighborhood character,” an old school dogwhistle against change.

  • Brandon September 26, 2023 (12:34 pm)

    Well done District 1! For once we have a mediocre candidate on the ballot who has a couple common sense answers but unfortunately still wants to follow failed policies regardless historical evidence. Baby steps I guess, because it’s still better than the past and what they’re running against. Whether we help ourselves a small fraction or dig deeper into the mess we made is entirely up to us. No pressure!

  • WSB September 26, 2023 (12:56 pm)

    IMPORTANT REMINDER: While we don’t require registration for commenting on stories, we do require that you choose one handle per discussion – don’t try to use multiple handles in the same comment thread in a bid to appear as if your comments arw from more than one person. (This seldom happens except for political stories.) Once you’ve chosen a handle for the discussion in a story, stick to that handle in the thread for that story. – TR

  • skeeter September 26, 2023 (1:07 pm)

    Transportation is a topic of great interest to me and this exchange has me deflated.  Saka’s focus is addressing concerns with the placement of the Delridge light rail station.  First of all – we need light rail and voters approved light rail.  The Delridge station is necessary and slowing down the process  by complaining about displacement is a reckless delay of the will of the voters.  Second – I don’t know if Saka even understands that he’s running for Seattle City Council and the light rail is the responsibility of the Sound Transit Board.  And then we’ve got Costa who is completely unprepared to discuss transportation except to make vague statements about supporting transit.  She admits she hasn’t read the Seattle Transportation Plan.  Then later Costa says something to the effect that she’s sure her position on transportation overlaps with the Seattle Transportation Plan which, again, she hasn’t read.  Such a disappointing display.  

  • Seattlite September 26, 2023 (1:19 pm)

    Neither are going to influence the current city council to write/pass policies with the substantive changes that Seattle needs to get out from under the mess of current policies that have been written/passed and resulted in  putting the criminal above law-abiding citizens.  Criminals are not the victims.  The victims are the victims.

    • Brandon September 26, 2023 (2:03 pm)

      True. But one potential “no/ maybe not” vote might slow down the rapid decline versus an “absolutely yes”.

      Remember though, these are representatives of the majority of voters (and/or interests).  So, you’re not going to influence the council in one way or another anyway unless the electorate decides to figure out those policies don’t work and hold everyone accountable for doing what they asked for when their seats are open.

    • Jake September 27, 2023 (7:24 am)

      The criminals are Target, Rite Aid, Amazon, big Developers, union-busters, CEOs, greedy landlords, etc. 

  • Ro September 27, 2023 (9:01 am)

    I was in the audience during the debate, and the atmosphere was somewhat surly. It is unfortunate that Rob’s supporters felt emboldened to boo and hiss. Not a role model of civil discourse. The endorsements speak for themselves.

    • WSB September 27, 2023 (9:45 am)

      Just to be clear for anyone who wasn’t there or hasn’t watched the video, we did shut down the booing fairly quickly (that was co-publisher Patrick Sand heard giving the admonishment). We have never had to open a forum with a warning that no booing would be allowed but I guess we’re going to have to in the future – TR

    • Facts September 27, 2023 (2:48 pm)

      best part are the Saka supports thinking that the moderator
      addressing the audience was actually yelling at Costa. i see it too
      often that the folks in the minority for an election or policy have to
      rely on the idea that their views are somehow supported by a silent
      majority and glom onto the slightest bit of bias confirmation to say:
      “see! look! everyone believes the same stuff as I do!” it’s kinda sad
      that their views can’t stand up on their own merit.

Sorry, comment time is over.