VIDEO: From crime to climate, more questions for Seattle City Council District 1 contenders

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

In just one week, ballots will be mailed out for the general election, and you can vote as soon as you get yours. The two West Seattleites contending in the highest-profile local race, Seattle City Council District 1, continue an intensive campaign schedule in the meantime, with another side-by-side Q&A forum Tuesday night.

This one was presented by Westside Interfaith Network, Our Lady of Guadalupe, and the League of Women Voters, at OLG’s Walmesley Center, moderated by local journalist/broadcaster Brian Callanan (serving in a volunteer capacity). The questions for candidates Maren Costa and Rob Saka spanned a variety of topics; after an hour of asking questions planned by forum organizers, Callanan turned to audience questions submitted in writing during the event. (We counted about 40 people in attendance.)

Our video, unedited, starts and ends with the opening and closing statements from each candidate. Below it, we briefly summarize the questions and answers, in the order they were asked and answered.

Unless a phrase/sentence is within quotation marks, it’s our summary, not a direct quote, and we’ve kept our summaries to the portions of the replies that answered or attempted to answer the questions. For the full replies, watch the video.

Q: Do you agree with the drug-use bill recently passed by the City Council? Would you have made any changes?

COSTA: It seems “performative.” We don’t need more performative politics. we need to get things done. If you want to jail people for drug use, that won’t happen. If you want to provide diversion/treatment, that won’t happen, because we’re not funding programs. I’m 100 percent in favor of treatment, We need to fund the diversion programs. We cn lead with compassion and not tolerate harm.

SAKA: All the bill did was codify state law. I strongly support that. I collected petition signatures and testified in favor of the bill. I shouldn’t have to do gymnastics to get around people [drug users] and paraphernalia on the street. Too many people are dying in the streets. I strongly support it.

In rebuttals, Costa described Saka’s petition and council-meeting testimony as “performative” because he was urging Councilmember Lisa Herbold to support a bill she was already sponsoring. Saka said Costa didn’t support the bill; she said that was an inaccurate characterization of her position.

Q: D-1 has no homeless shelter. Is this a problem and how would you address it?

SAKA: It’s a challenge. Many places in the district are heavily impacted – Pioneer Square, SODO, WS. My community is bearing the brunt of a lot of challenges and opportunities. #1 is lack of access to affordable housing. Need to streamline permitting process. We can start with root cause but “we’re not going to root-cause our way out of this.” I do support encampment (sweeps).

COSTA: Where encampments could go, I would like each council district to offer three sites. The solution to this is pretty widely known. We need to build more housing, emergency housing, supportive housing, “even million-dollar condos, we need it all.” Saka will struggle to say how to pay for it. I want to be sure that price tag doesn’t land on the working class. We (currently) pile everything onto the property tax.

SAKA: Where are we going to find the money? I support an audit, streamlining and consolidating services, (not) a plan to tax more without being sure people are getting more bang for our budget buck.

COSTA: Read my plans. I worked at Amazon for 15 years, we had frugality as a principle. We can have an audit. I would like to see the mayor tell each of his direct reports, find 10 ways to save money.

Q: State House Bill 1110 – should it be applied for more multifamily housing in rich neighborhoods?

COSTA: This is coming up in the next Comprehensive Plan. I’ve spoken with those who worked on last plan – they said the next version should “plan for more housing.” We are decades behind because of zoning. The most forward-looking option is #5. It’s bare minimum. There’s an Alternate Plan 6 that some groups put together – I would like to investigate more.

SAKA: Yes. Affordability crisis is result of bad decisions 10 to 15 years ago, we need to add growth and density.. I support Comprehensive Plan option 5 – my opponent supports an option 6 which doesn’t actually exist.

In rebuttal, Costa said she didn’t want to derail work already done but says if another option better met the city’s needs, it would be “shortsighted” not to consider it.

Q: Has the Levy to Move Seattle been successful? would you support successive ilevy, how big should it be?

SAKA: Yes, I think it’s been fairly successful, added “a ton of bike lanes” – I’m here to focus on basics of what the city should do. – public infrastructure, public works … there’s a dire need for sidewalks – certain communities are struggling – east of Delridge, zero sidewalks – Arbor Heights too. I want to focus on sidewalks and bridge maintenance and repairs – I think “we’re good on bikes for now.”

COSTA: Would like to see it renewed – we’ve all seen and felt the pain – we need transit (light rail). We could do a more rigorous job of ensuring we’re not letting special interests impact what we’re doing here in the city … we build new things before we fix existing problems, and we’re heading into a budget shortfall – would like to see a source of funding (not just property taxes).

Q: What about impact fees? Do you support these? Could it support equitable transit?

COSTA: Need to be sure we’re not creating unexpected consequences – hope impact fees don’t slow down housing construction – we need to support Metro (and) protect our bus drivers.

SAKA: We need to be very thoughtful about implementation. Many jurisdictions have impact fees today, we don’t, need to weigh pros and cons but also need to create conditions where developers want to build here. Not only to play catchup but to plan ahead. If we impose something draconian, they might decide to go somewhere else. Need to make sure people feel safe to get on bus to begin with.

Q: Alternatives to sworn police officers. Do you support this? Why haven’t they been successful (in Seattle)?

SAKA: Yes. Formula for disaster … I support hiring more police but it doesn’t mean they need to respond to every single crisis situationn. I’ve met Amy Smith, new CARE department director, listened to the plans – here to build and scale and grow that – other cities like Albuquerque and Denver who have scaled and grown their programs. We don’t need to recreate the wheel and be first.

COSTA: Very excited about the new plan, Amy is doing a fantastic job … we are all ready for this, I hope to see it go through – yes, we need to hire more police, but we need to get behind new department. up to 50 percent of calls can move to this new department and we just doubled our police force overnight. The $7 million budget, though, is not enough.

Q: This is the first (District 1) election since boundaries were redrawn. What are the challenges of the new areas (in the district)?

COSTA: We have Beach Drive, the Duwamish, the Port, now we have added SODO and Pioneer Square – not a lot of voters in SODO but a lot of businesses there, with challenges including crime …Pioneer Square looks beautiful – there’s a new beach down there! – but food providers need help…

SAKA: It’s a beautiful district; I have immersed myself and gone to the neighborhoods – the district also has Georgetown and South Park, some of most polluted areas in country – need more public safety – a lot of people live in West Seattle and go to work in SODO, including my wife – there’s a lot of natural cross pollination.

Q: What committees would you serve on?

SAKA: Public Safety Committee, preferably as chair, thinking that would be an easy swap since current District 1 Councilmember Herbold chairs that committee. Also, having contributed to the “innovation economy,” whatever committee deals with economic development.

COSTA: “I want to be where i want to be of the most service,” depending on who gets elected to the council and what their strengths are. “It’s about making things work for the city – getting back to solving problems – bring people together – we need to get people talking to each other again.”

Q: Seattle recently passed a tree ordinance. Was it balanced?

COSTA: We shouldn’t be pitting trees against housing – this bill was a good example of, “move the ball down the road” – it’s better than it was before – we can continue to make it better – we can add density without sacrificing tree canopy.

SAKA: The process wasn’t as transparent as it should have been, was rushed through. It’s not grow and build vs. the trees … I released a climate plan, see it on my website – need a more transparent process.

Q: On police accountability, do you support an independent commission?

SAKA: Yes. I fought to hold bad police accountable – I’m the reason we have (King County) subpoena power for law-enforcement oversight — “I believe in good police and good oversight over police – doesn’t mean I don’t support police” …

COSTA: “I do support the highest levels of accountability we can manage” – would love to see SPOG [Seattle Police Officers Guild] contract reflect at least that level of accountability. She brought up the recent case of an officer recorded laughing after another officer hit and killed Jaahnavi Kandula.

In rebuttal/postscript, Saka said he’s the only candidate in this race who released a statement about those remarks – “that incident undermined confidence” in Seattle Police … Costa said, “When we don’t hold bad apples accountable, we’re demoralizing the good apples.” She also observed Generation Y and Z people are not flocking to police work because of concerns about the culture.

Q: Seattle needs housing for people earning 0-30 percent of the Area Median Income – do you see this coming to West Seattle?

COSTA: I will certainly be advocating for that. We need everything. Market forces left alone won’t provide level of affordable housing we need, government needs to step up. Yes, we need to ensure every dollar spent appropriately, and fix the tax code.

SAKA: Yes, I see this coming to West Seattle – a shared opportunity to diversify and densify our neighborhoods – notes the Admiral Church partnership with Homestead Community Land Trust – “I support things like that.”

The questions after this were suggested by attendees, in writing, during the forum.

Q: Seattle is facing a budget deficit. – which department would you look to cut, which revenue sources would you increase?

SAKA: Want to be sure current tax money is wisely used – people are not seeing results – we’re going to audit … do want to explore revenue sources, head tax, Jump Start – but (regarding property tax) “seniors have the right to retire in place” …

COSTA: I think we need to look at an “extreme capital gains tax,” need to turn up Jump Start, a vacancy tax is great, going to bring in $30 million …

Q: The question wondered about why juveniles apparently can’t be arrested for some crimes, and also wondered about (SPD) community-service officers.

SAKA: Not familiar with (juvenile) policies, will look into it, here to hire more police, can’t arrest because we don’t have enough. Also here to enforce the highest standards of excellence for police.

COSTA: Some unintended consequences when we can’t arrest juveniles, they’re used (by adults) to commit crimes … we want to be careful when we incarcerate them, but we need to hold them accountable … Regarding CSOs, we need more, would like them to be armed with nonlethal weapons.

In rebuttal/elaboration, Saka said, “Yes, we need more alternative responders but there is no substitute for police officers,” adding that we need more police to “restore good old-fashioned community policing.” … Costa said that innovation is vital rather than solely relying on police because “we can’t put public safety on hold until we can hire more.”

Q: Who is the city councilmember you have the most respect for and why?

COSTA: Not just one – Herbold is best at responding to emails; Teresa Mosqueda has passed legislation that has bubbled up to federal level.

SAKA: “I have a ton of respect for every last one of them.” Here to work with whomever else is on the council. Admires Tammy Morales for recent sidewalk proposal. Most closely aligned with Debora Juarez, Sara Nelson, and Alex Pedersen, who endorsed him earlier in the day.

Q: What was a bad decision the council made in past years?

SAKA: Defund. That vote was made with no African American councilmembers – it was supposed to benefit me – it was a failed experiment.

COSTA: (The new public-safety department) CARE is what we intended to do – wish we had done it then.

Q: How can the city effectively combat climate change?

COSTA: Climate resiliency hubs in every neighborhood, a safe place to go in an adverse weather event – all schools, all libraries – two other things = individual cars/trucks, the more we can reduce that, the better – and building emission performance standards; they must have teeth, or else we won’t make our 2030 goals.

SAKA: Strong energy-efficiency standards, trained workforce to build climate resilience – expand EV charging – expand our transit options, need to get people out of cars, but we also need to make people safe. Add tree canopy.

Q: Developers don’t want to buy land in Seattle and deal with all the fees and permitting, how will you change that?

SAKA: Look to what’s been successful elsewhere like Houston – need to reopen the permitting building, closed since pandemic.

COSTA: Process is kind of a nightmare, need to streamline, also reorganize the way things are – look at the boxes and arrows on an org chart that can change how things get done – (projects) get assigned a team, then a different team – we should keep the same team on a project all the way through.

Q: Does SPOG [police officers’ union] have too much power?

COSTA: Police officers hired to protect and serve, so many good apples, demoralized if bad apples not held accountable, need to ensure not jeopardizing public safety – need to ensure the city is safe.

SAKA: I support holding individual officers accountable – yes, SPOG has bloked some reform – on disciplinary measures, we do need to revisit what’s appropriate.

Q: Asked by a high-school student – today is Nat’l Mental Health Day, it’s Bullying Awareness Month, how will you deal with those issues?

SAKA: He was in the foster-care system because his mom had mental-health challenges – he will support and invest in additional services.

COSTA: She is parent of a child who “was suicidal and homicidal” – residential care saved him – there’s 80 beds – more kids need those – (what hospitals are available) is not enough – comes down to funding.

Q: How do we be sure each demographic is set up for a good future?

COSTA: Need to look at each age range, demographic, find out what’s important to then – user research and user experience design is what I did in big tech.

SAKA: I support ensuring seniors can retire in place and not be pushed out by next levy – I support exemptions. I wrote (King County) policy that it’s unlawful to discriminate against family caregivers and veterans.

Q: Are things working as envisioned with the bag tax and sugar tax?

SAKA: Not sure.

COSTA: Thinks the sugar tax is working and that overall “behavioral modification taxes are helpful.”

That was followed by closing statements, which you can watch on the video.

WHAT’S NEXT: Today (Thursday, October 12th), the candidates are scheduled for a lunchtime forum with the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce, 11:30 am at Alki Masonic Center (40th/Edmunds), registration required.

ELECTION REMINDER: Your ballot could arrive as soon as one week from today. You’ll have until Tuesday, November 7th, to get it into a King County Elections dropbox or to get it postmarked in outgoing USPS mail. Need to register to vote? Go here.

55 Replies to "VIDEO: From crime to climate, more questions for Seattle City Council District 1 contenders"

  • Robert October 12, 2023 (3:25 am)

    Teresa Mosqueda endorsed Costa  along with the Stranger. The mayor, Juarez, Nelson and Pedersen endorsed Saka along with the Times. We know which block each will vote with.  I want real, pragmatic change and increased accountability in the use of public funds. We put the mayor into office looking for a new direction. Now we need to give him a Council that will support his efforts   

    • Steven October 12, 2023 (1:34 pm)

      Agreed 100%we need logical and pragmatic leadership! 

    • k October 12, 2023 (3:13 pm)

      If the mayor who was on city council for 12 years was elected for a “new direction”, then the guy whose main campaign promise is sucking up to the guy who has been in city government for 15 years will definitely help Seattle go in a new direction, lol.  You guys crack me up.

      • Canton October 12, 2023 (7:05 pm)

        The majority chose Bruce for mayor. Who cares if Bruce and Rob are friends? I’d rather have a council member that can work with the mayor to fix these issues now.

        • K October 13, 2023 (7:04 am)

          It’s the idea that Bruce is an agent of change after sitting on city council for 12 years, and that Saka–who has done nothing but promise to kiss the mayor’s ring–must then also be an agent of change.  It’s laughable.  Somehow 15 years in city government makes you the guy who will bring change while one council candidate is “more of the same” because she resembles an 8-year incumbent?  People talk about how bad Seattle has gotten, but none of that is on the mayor who’s been there 3 years? And was on the city council for 12 before that?  Some major cognitive dissonance going on.  Maybe DON’T vote for the mayor’s bestie if you don’t like where the city is headed, because that bestie has been driving this ship for a while.  

          • Canton October 13, 2023 (11:09 am)

            Nah, I think I’ll vote for his ,”bestie”.We need more collaboration in city gov. We have bigger issues than banning plastic bags and straws and taxing the sugar.

          • K October 13, 2023 (3:04 pm)

            If collaboration is what’s important to you, cool.  That’s a valid reason to vote in the cronies.  But if you’re looking for change, the guy who spent his whole career making Seattle what it is today and the council candidate promising to do whatever Harrell says are not going to change anything.  It’s the “I want change so I’m voting for more of the same” folks who confuse me.

  • Andrew October 12, 2023 (3:45 am)

    Climate issues should have nothing to do with the city council. That’s not their job to worry about “climate”.

    • Cat Girl October 13, 2023 (6:43 am)

      Climate change is the single most important issue facing us today. Nothing else matters if we don’t protect the environment, because nothing else will exist if the ecosystem collapse. Action needs to start locally, so it’s incredibly important that we know how our local representatives feel about protecting our climate. 

  • Mrs. Myrtle October 12, 2023 (7:29 am)

    Very helpful summary of their stance on issues. Thank you! Definitely going to vote for Saka over Costa now. She’s more of the same and it isn’t working. 

    • elephant in the room October 12, 2023 (3:27 pm)

      So you’re saying that the council would be better with people who repeatedly fail to provide detail on their positions? Listen, Rob Saka is just echoing the list of impossible tasks that reactionary survey respondents list as their top concerns, but completely fails to provide detail on what he’d do besides get people in a discussion together. Maren Costa has her plans documented and is lucid and intelligent when explaining them. The elephant in the room is still here, we have people dying on the street in every neighborhood in this town. It’s hard to believe someone like Saka warrants attention from his own family much less across the huge district he’s running to represent.

      • bradley October 14, 2023 (12:08 am)

        No, it’s more about not believing Costa’s plan(s) are worth voting for.

  • WS NEEDS CHANGE October 12, 2023 (7:43 am)

    I have watched all of these debate videos. Thank you so much WSB for facilitating and providing this forum.  If you step way back, the summary of their positions seems to be that Maren will be Lisa Herbold 2.0, with a more explicit interest in raising taxes.  Rob is clearly the slightly more moderate candidate, while still being adequately liberal on all of the social and other topics that matter.  That is the essence of this choice.  We just cannot risk electing Maren and having more of the same representing this district.And, on the issue of the former candidates endorsing Maren, those were the losers in this primary.  That’s it. Rob has been endorsed by winners, including sitting city council members and now the mayor.   We should care what the winners say, not the losers!

    • CrBCAKE October 12, 2023 (11:40 am)

      That is a good point about the importance of who is endorsing each candidate. Costa’s 2 big campaigning ideas are that she has support of the other candidates who failed to make it through the primary and that there are some PAC’s that she doesn’t like.  Neither are related to policy or how she or Saka will govern.  Costa gets nervous and has trouble answering how she will adequately, represent low income and underserved communities, she tries to obfuscate her support for the defund movement.  There are lots of red flags there.  But to the point of her supporters; if the former candidate’s ideas and opinions were so great, why didn’t they pass the primary?  A group of good people I’m sure, but they didn’t have the right answers to get through the primary, and now they are hating on Saka and willing to ruin the city because their egos are bruised. Ugly politics that should not be rewarded. Vote for Saka.

    • Brandon October 12, 2023 (1:19 pm)

      Correction: We should respect what everyone has to say, and care accordingly.  But vote on what is true and right, as best fit since no candidate is perfect.  Or not, that’s your prerogative.   Winners as evidenced in past decades of Seattle leadership are not synonymous with what is true or right.  If they were, we wouldn’t be having to constantly fix the mistakes they made.

      Crime didn’t just spike for no reason.  Businesses haven’t vacated the city for no reason.  Cost of living hasn’t been inflated for no reason.  Past ‘winners’ awarded us with this.  Evidently, winners and losers mean nothing.

      • elephant in the room October 12, 2023 (3:31 pm)

        Let’s go Brandon! Seriously though, I 100% agree with you. We’ve steered ourselves down this tunnel with hopes of mayoral leadership, but the last 20 years of leaders have been duds. Let’s get someone with a plan on the council and give her the audience to right the ship. Too many metaphors, but people are dying on our streets and the Mayor and Saka are siding with landlords who want to put nuisance humans in jail.

        • WS NEEDS CHANGE October 12, 2023 (7:34 pm)

          Brandon, completely fair point.  Winners did get us here.  I retract that part of my comment.  I stand by the irrelevance of the endorsements of the primary losers.  Phil Tavel’s is particularly suspect, since his policies and Rob’s are nearly identical.  The others don’t like Rob because they are all of the Lisa Herbold mold and thus naturally support Maren.Elephant in the room, I find Maren inarticulate and devoid of specifics, but irrespective of that:  she would just perpetuate Herbold, Rob would be more moderate.  That, ultimately, is the choice, all character judgments aside.   Lisa Herbold won twice.  If you like her and what she has done, vote for Maren.  Seriously.  If you want change, vote for Rob.  

          • elephant in the room October 12, 2023 (11:12 pm)

            You like hyperbole. I understand, hyperbole is the biggest and most fabulous rhetorical device the human species has ever conceived. That said, you are making a diametrically false equivalence between Herbold and Costa. I guess there are similarities. They are both women, they both seem to have two ears, they both breathe oxygen. Where it’s impossible to equate them is right over the trap Rob Saka steps in every time he opens his mouth. Herbold sponsored the bill to lock drug users in prison without sponsoring a bill to fund the shelters and services where armed police are not mandated to send them. Yes, the ordinance is a logical fantasy. Yes, Rob Saka is hitching his wagon to the ordinance. No, Maren Costa is not a knee-jerk reactionary like Lisa Herbold. You ~could~ wander onto Maren’s campaign website and read the verbose details of her policy plans. You could also choose to make this important decision based on a video you watched yesterday where she may have been tired or nervous or any number of emotions. It’s clear that a lot of people respond to Rob Saka’s screaming. If that’s you, please understand that people are dying on our streets and it would be great to fast-track a plan to fix that. Rob Saka thinks there’s some magic non-existent unfunded shelter they’ll go instead of heaven, hell, or jail, which is precisely the fallacy that Lisa Herbold made law. Who’s just like Lisa Herbold? Rob Saka is more of the same.

          • LionShare October 13, 2023 (6:15 am)

            I think the big issue with Costa, which forms the primary basis of the comparison to Herbold, is a lack of connection to reality. The notion that you can root cause your way out of the problem of homelessness and addiction is like thinking the City of Seattle can solve the climate crisis. It’s neither capable of, nor equipped to do so.  The best we can do is to help mitigate the issue.  Meanwhile, in the real world, we’ve got to address the symptoms. In the immediate case, zombie fentanyl users destroying our public spaces and causing a massive amount of crime. As far as housing goes, this is not a working productive group, so all the affordable housing in the world isn’t going to change them. Moreover, root cause solutions take decades to implement and being about change.  What’a Costa going to do in the mean time to address the immediate problem? I sure haven’t heard anything coherent. Look, we would all love an ideal world where everything is free and everyone is trying to be a productive member of society. But that’s not the real world or what you get when humans are involved. Rob lives in the real world and understands we need  real world solutions.  Costa, not so much. 

  • SunshineWS October 12, 2023 (8:31 am)

    Congratulations Rob Saka on receiving the endorsement of Mayor Harrell! God bless you and your family.

  • Jay October 12, 2023 (9:01 am)

    Not impressed by Costa, but I really hate Saka. I think he’s going to dominate the NIMBY demographic though, and I’m afraid that’s a majority in West Seattle. The comments about needing to address individual officers rather than accountability for SPOG, that we need to stop spending money on bike infrastructure, etc. are awful but could likely push him to win. Costa is a weak candidate, but Saka is embodying all the malicious policies that are making Seattle a less safe place to live both in terms of crime and public safety.

    • LionShare October 12, 2023 (12:08 pm)

      Malicious policies? Please advise. As one of the most hyper liberal cities in the nation, I’m having a hard time figuring out what you are talking about. I  can see the argument that the abject leniency and lack of accountability for dangerous and destructive activity is making Seattle less safe; but not the opposite side of the coin. And for me, I think Saka nailed it with notion that you can’t “root cause” your way out of the problem. Not when humans are involved. City Council members are delusional if they think they can solve the issue of addiction. Sure, we can offer services and try to direct people toward better choices before they even go down that path. But life will never be all sunshine and rainbows. it is a daily struggle that takes hard work, dedication, and resolve to get through. That’s why it’s called the human condition. Sorry, but no council member will ever solve that issue. 

      • HappyCamper October 12, 2023 (2:49 pm)

        I agree. This city is so liberal that an even somewhat moderate liberal is called a MAGA candidate (see below). It’s totally out of touch and too far imho. I consider myself pretty darn liberal but make sure to stay tethered to reality. We don’t need activism as a basis for government, we need level headed objective reasoning and informed decision making. The past policies of Herbold, etc have for sure contributed to the problems we are having. Are they 100% responsible? Of course not, but some decisions were probably not the best like a knee jerk desire to defund the police. It’s just not realistic. It would be great to send just a social worker to all of the calls they’re needed for but what happens when people get violent and there wasn’t an armed officer dispatched and they’re busy on another call and understaffed?To me on the crime and safety subject we cannot normalize “petty” crime being acceptable. It’s not ok for someone to cause any sort of harm, physical, financial or whatever else to someone else, addict or not.What do you do when a kid builds a castle out of legos and then another kid stomps on it? As the kid cries that his castle is ruined just tell him deal with it because the other kid is having a bad day? The grown up version is there poor small business owners working so hard to operate their business just to have problem trash them. Just not ok.

      • Brandon October 12, 2023 (3:31 pm)

        No need to bring needles to a balloon fight. You’ll just leave everyone with hot air and real life.

      • elephant in the room October 12, 2023 (3:38 pm)

        You’ve fallen for it. Yes it is malicious to actively ignore housing affordability and shortages. Yes it is malicious to lock drug users in jail. Yes it is malicious to endorse a strategy of prologing the homeless plague for several more winters and trust SPD to keep crime at bay. We have easy wins that need funding, which is a finite resource. “We can walk and chew gum” applies to policy but not to financing. It’s a zero-sum game. There is a root cause to this, we don’t have enough affordable housing. We’ve always had druggies, but they had cheap apartments and shelters. Rob Saka is a shill for landlords, and he’s trying to take money away from affordable housing. That’s malicious. It is and there’s no argument for that.

        • Brandon October 12, 2023 (4:56 pm)

          I love this talking point.  I’ll address the elephant in the room: How much affordable housing is “enough?”

          • WS Res October 12, 2023 (6:56 pm)

            When we, like countries with a functioning safety net, don’t have people living on the street.

          • elephant elephant elephant October 12, 2023 (11:22 pm)

            Brandon. Brandon Brandon Brandon. Do you know the cost difference between fast-tracking the permits for an apartment project and chasing people from encampment to encampment for the next 10 years? Neither do I, but judging you by your ability to speak in complete sentences I’ll assume you are capable of understanding that affordable housing is a comparative win-win. To your question, I’ll even poke at the socialists and say that “the market will decide” when we have enough affordable housing. We’ll know it when our kids’ teachers, our police and other first responders, and the people who cook our restaurant meals and clean our offices won’t have to commute an hour to their affordable housing. Imagine how cool Seattle would be without the homeless plague? It’s the only problem we need to solve right now.

        • Canton October 12, 2023 (7:12 pm)

          Then I like the “malicious” approach.

          • THISCOMMUNITYHATES October 13, 2023 (8:52 am)

            no need to quote it, Canton. distancing yourself from the malice is cowardly. give it your full-chest support! :) you want people to be hurt, simple as

    • Al King October 12, 2023 (2:55 pm)

      Jay your comment just cemented my vote for Saka. 

  • April October 12, 2023 (11:15 am)

    Voting for Rob! Costa is just more of the same and we need change!

  • shotinthefoot October 12, 2023 (11:20 am)

    a vote for Saka is a vote for maga. No thanks. 

    • LionShare October 12, 2023 (1:34 pm)

      It’s this type of hyperbole that causes so much misinformation. At most, Saka could fairly be characterized as a center leaning liberal.  But MAGA? Come on – at least attempt some level of intellectual honesty.  Your comment reminds me of the MAGAs who chide republican centrists for being “RINOs”. Apparently, if you don’t lean extremely to the left and swallow all the progressive Kool-aide, you must be a MAGA-loving Trump supporter.  We are better than this. Much better. 

    • wscommuter October 12, 2023 (2:03 pm)

      Speaking as a liberal/moderate Dem, your comment pretty much sums up the doctrinaire view of Seattle’s far left.  “If you don’t support the far left, then you’re a Trump supporter.”  Good luck with that kind of willfully ignorant and ironically MAGA-type thinking.   I’m candidly not enthused by either candidate, but I’m going to hold my nose and vote for Saka simply as the less worrisome of two unappealing candidates.  

    • SS October 12, 2023 (3:27 pm)

      What??thats not even close to accurate.

      • SS October 13, 2023 (11:31 am)

        ^ to clarify – calling either of these candidates MAGA candidates is ridiculous.

    • bradley October 14, 2023 (12:17 am)

      Well then I guess Costa is voting for The Squad.  Seriously, grow up.  MAGA?  The post should be deleted as untrue and fabricated without cause.

  • CrBCAKE October 12, 2023 (11:47 am)

    Rob Saka continues to win me over with full, well thought, passionate, genuine, achievable responses. This was another great forum which really showed the difference between the candidates. Maren kept going back to the “when I met with the Mayor”, in order to hide here defund leanings, so it must have been tough for her to wake up to the news that the Mayor’s endorsement of Rob Saka.  Rob Saka is the right candidate to move Seattle to a healthier, safer, and economically viable place to live. He’s got my vote!

    • elephant in the room October 12, 2023 (11:28 pm)

      Rob Saka keeps bringing up his endorsement by the mayor to hide the fact that 90% of notable endorsements have gone to Maren Costa. The endorsement game is great. The same people that say “we need a change in the council” also say “Saka is our man, he’s endorsed by the mayor and the failed council”. I hate to cast aspersions, but this fallacious logic smells of astroturf support from non-district residents. You don’t happen to have a sheet of talking points under your keyboard, do you? 

  • Steve-O October 12, 2023 (3:31 pm)

    Saka is not great, and it may be just to get elected but it seems he is tracking a bit more to center and MAY be a slightly common sense candidate – which we desperately need.  Costa seems to be moving toward Herbold+.Add to that hopefully getting Maritza Rivera in Dist 4 and we might just move into sane territory on CC.

  • SunshineWS October 12, 2023 (3:33 pm)

    Costa and her team are getting a little lazy in their responses. I kind of feel like they’ve given up trying to even debate the issues and have just gone to a “trump, trump, trump” defense… I all I really hear from her is “look, some of the failed candidates support me!” and “look, Rob Saka had a donor that also gave to trump”….  Total desperation mode. Sorry Maren, we’re smarter than that.

    • elephant in the room October 12, 2023 (4:36 pm)

      If you are looking to Rob Saka for answers, you’re not as smart as you think. Rob has his trite lines that he uses over and over, and he might appeal to people with his “angry guy at the coffee shop” demeanor, but the council is the big leagues and he lacks talent. Maybe he’s spent too much time memorizing his go-to stories, but Maren spent that time writing up her plan for the solutions we need. It sure would be great to not have destitute people everywhere with no shelter! It sure would be great to get the indoors no matter what it takes for us financially in the short term! It sure would be great to be proud of the city and not called out by neighboring towns as a hellhole! We can fix it, Sunshine! We can! Not with Rob Saka though, he’s just not talented.

  • CrBCAKE October 12, 2023 (7:55 pm)

    I feel like Elephant in the room might be a little too invested.  They seem to want to personally attack Rob.  They don’t seem to have any problem with his platform, but want to attack his delivery (trite lines) and attack him as “without talent”.  Rob Saka is the most talented and established person to run for office in a long time. Overcoming foster care, a distinguished military career, and then law school. He came home and served on various city commissions and non profit boards… He seems to me to be quite talented.  Whomever Elephant in the room is, they are obviously working on behalf of Costa, and are most likely one of the candidates who didn’t make it through the primary.  I could be wrong, but that’s how I phil. 

    • elephants do their homework October 13, 2023 (1:11 am)

      Wrong. I am just a dad living in West Seattle who doesn’t want a vindictive name-dropper as his representative in city council. “Most talented and established person to run for office in a long time”, huh? Seems like hyperbole. Same hyperbole that gets us the “countless council members” who endorse the Saka campaign, the thousands of doors he claims to have knocked on, the “countless” committees he has served on, and his ninja warrior gymnastics at the junction. I will be voting for Maren Costa because I don’t want someone like Rob Saka representing me. That’s not an exaggeration in any way, shape, or form… or Harrell, Windermere Real Estate, Elliot Bay Neighbors, SPOG, Homestreet Bank, Goodman Real Estate, Maritza Rivera, or University Neighbors Committee. Font change intentional, just like for the astroturf cut-and-paste job above (search the page for “Maritza” to find for yourself, I got you “Steve O”). 

  • smells like astroturf October 12, 2023 (11:49 pm)

    This thread has a ton of responses, several from me (I’m “elephant in the room”). Something I just noticed, it’s almost impossible to believe that the number of people commenting on this story actually watched the video. I say that because as of Fri morning @ midnight the video has a total of 25 views. There are a dozen people on this thread volunteering their detailed support for Saka’s positions. I find it extremely hard to believe that half the people that watched the video decided to deliver full-throated support for him. Even if he won the debate hand-over-fist, 50% verbal support is quantitatively unreasonable without some influential motivation. I’m not necessarily alleging underhanded behavior, but I’m 100% alleging that the Saka campaign is directing folks to comment on the site. Prove me wrong, it smells disingenuous which fits the mold for the Harrell/Saka/SPOG contingent. Honesty is the best policy, and dirty politics have kept the elephant in the room for a decade.

    • CMT October 13, 2023 (8:00 am)

      You are only supposed to use one name/handle per thread in the WSB comment section (per WSB).  That way it is clear when one person is repeatedly advancing the same opinion.

    • bradley October 14, 2023 (12:22 am)

      Some voters don’t need to watch *every* single video or debate to form an informed and objective opinion.  Just sayin’.

  • Scarlett October 13, 2023 (8:27 am)

    Voters can’t even be honest with themselves, how does one expect politicians to be honest with them?   You all get what you deserve, or is the case in Seattle,  secretly desire.  

  • Stop Taxing Me October 13, 2023 (10:28 am)

    I just want someone who will stop raising my property taxes; I’m retired & on social security.  They don’t seem to understand that the increase in property values IS NOT cash in the bank. 

    I support funding most programs that are essential to the health & well being of all residents … but my support stops when you keep taxing property owners to fund programs that are not working. 

    You haven’t stopped the drug use, you haven’t stopped the crime, you haven’t stopped the homelessness … all you do is ask for more money to solve these problems, this time.  This time will be different, uh huh.

  • True North October 13, 2023 (1:01 pm)

    Hyperbole, bloviation, obfuscation, false claims, outright lies, mud slinging. It seems to me that a lot of the folks commenting would make very good politicians. Reality check, neither of the 2 candidates is a MAGA, or a liar, or a polished politician. They are simply 2 citizens that have a vision of their own to rectify the major issues we face in our city and throughout the country. Neither is like the other and neither is like anyone else, they are their own person. To declare they are anything else is rude, childish and ignorant (defined as the choice to be stupid.) WE have problems, we are more divided in this city and country then ever before. We do not need anything but common sense, finding the middle ground, looking for new answers and performing in moderation. I like both candidates, I’m voting for Rob because I think he is more inclined to moderation. And, BTW, to the person commenting that fewer people watched the video than those who are offering up opinions is a good example of stupid. Some people may well have watched with more  people than just themselves, and some may have attended the event in person. 

  • Josh October 13, 2023 (5:21 pm)

    The fact Saka thinks “we’re good on bikes” (tell me you haven’t ridden a bike or spoken to someone who rides a bike on what ‘network’ of ‘safe’ biking infrastructure this city has without telling me) while also saying he plans to “get people out of cars” to a later question really is a huge signal about him. He doesn’t believe in anything other than saying what he has to to get in power. He is just a puppet for whatever Harrell wants and will happily kiss the ring in hopes of climbing the ladder. Costas responses have a clear structure detailing a real platform. For me the choice is clear: Costa is clearly more interested in serving us than themself. Vote Costa. 

  • bradley October 14, 2023 (12:23 am)

    Hear, hear.  There’s an Adult in the room.  

  • Scarlett October 14, 2023 (8:52 am)

    Moderation?  It’s always the clarion call,  the stampede to the center, when frightened people want to protect what they have and don’t want to examine the gross inequities of the financial system, conservative or liberal.  That pandemic that ballooned my assets, including my home value?  Let’s make sure we return to moderate politics to protect those assets – sorry, did I say unrealized  assets?   The pandemic that locked my neighbor up at home while I was able to go to work, often abitrarily and due to lobbying clout of my sector of the economy, lets not examine that, lets get back to that ‘ole level playing field and business as usual.  The self-deception and the rest of the intellectual drivel is almost too much to take. 

    • bradley October 14, 2023 (12:18 pm)

      That’s a pretty broad brush you like to paint with.  Way off base, too,   

Sorry, comment time is over.