Published July 24, 2015 – video interview below
Lisa Herbold, 48, a Highland Park resident, is a longtime assistant to Councilmember Nick Licata, who is not running for another term. She told WSB it’s a “big transition” between being a support person and the candidate. She acknowledges that “public speaking has been a challenge as well … but I’m learning … I want to be a better version of me and am working on some of the skills that are dormant in me.”
FIRST WSB REPORT ON HER CANDIDACY: February 11th announcement
WHAT ARE PEOPLE ASKING/TELLING HER ABOUT WHILE DOORBELLING? She said that as of our interview, she’d done 110 hours, and “it’s the most pleasurable part of the campaign for me.” As for the issue, “Almost to a person, it’s about development. People understand growth is inevitable … but they feel the city hasn’t done a good job of managing that growth.”
“People are tired of the city coming to them with projects that are perceived as ‘done deals’ and asking for their comments after the facts,” instead of coming in with goals and asking for input on how to reach those goals. She cited the SW Admiral Way Safety Project as an example – she was at the first meeting about it – and was amazed that “the side of the road where (parking removal was proposed) was the side of the road where people park on so their car doesn’t get hit … perfect example of how, if the process was reversed, and the city went out and identified what the objective was, and engaged the community, you wouldn’t have signs all over town opposing the project.”
BUT SHE’S WORKED WITH THE CITY FOR 17 YEARS, SO WHAT WILL SHE DO DIFFERENTLY? “I don’t think most people could say I’m a status quo person … we’ve always been a strong voice to hold developers accountable, put out proposals that are bold and challenged the status quo.” She says she’s been described as “the outsider’s insider.”
WILL SHE VOTE FOR THE ‘MOVE SEATTLE’ LEVY? Yes. Although – “I was a strong proponent for diversifying the funding mechanisms,” which didn’t happen; “that said, I’m not going to let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” She acknowledges that many people believe the reliance on property-tax levies is problematic. As for what’s in the levy, she thinks any neighborhood could say there’s not enough in it for them; she wishes it had more specifics about where new sidewalks will be built, for example, and stronger pedestrian-safety commitments. She thinks people might not understand that levies like this are “ongoing things,” funding what there’s no “sustainable source of revenue” for, so you don’t ever get to the point where “things are fixed.”
WHAT ABOUT SPECIFIC WAYS TO IMPROVE EGRESS/INGRESS FROM WEST SEATTLE? She mentions the possibility of a roundabout at Highland Park Way/Holden, near her house. Otherwise, the city should pull people together to talk about problems and solutions.
HOUSING AFFORDABILITY: Our interview was the day after the mayor’s plan and HALA recommendations came out. She said she was happy to see safety issues brought up in the plan, because community-service officers played into mediating landlord-tenant disputes, among other things. And she’s “very very pleased to see the affordability requirements attached to both the linkage-fee program and the mandatory inclusionary zoning both attached to 60 percent (of income)” as opposed to the 80 percent level in other programs such as the Multi-Family Tax Exemption. She would have liked to see more discussion of displacement impacts of redevelopment, the teardowns of “naturally affordable” older housing. Also: “Are these upzones making it more likely that we will meet these housing goals, or are they serving some other (objective)?” She mentions the “existing capacity for growth that we need – so why do we need these upzones?”
ANY ISSUE THAT’S NOT GETTING DISCUSSED ENOUGH? “I don’t feel we talk enough about the displacement impacts of our land-use policy” – 40,000 structures in Seattle are homes to rental households, single-family to 4-unit dwellings, and while “we have a race and social justice policy in everything we do, it doesn’t seem to extend much to land-use policy.”
WHAT ABOUT ENCAMPMENTS? “The time when Nickelsville was in Highland Park was a challenging time for everyone involved,” she said. (She had worked with the HP Action Committee on issues they had with the long-running unauthorized encampment; the first mention of her in WSB archives was in a report on an HPAC meeting in 2011.) But she thinks it’s OK that the same site is now on the list of potential future sites. She thinks the idea of identifying “new sites … is grounded in equity and fairness” though she also acknowledges encampments are not long-term solutions to the problem, just short-term solutions to immediate risks to life and safety.
HOW DID SHE WIND UP IN WEST SEATTLE? She previously lived on Beacon Hill in an “intentional community” and after two years, she said, while it was a “fun experiment,” she’d “had enough” and happened onto a Highland Park house that good friends were selling so they could move elsewhere – “just a matter of timing and opportunity” – and she is in the 700-square-foot house to this day.
WHY VOTE FOR HER? Her experience and focus, “really about trying to find ways to make government work better for our district … I want to use what I’ve learned to represent District 1 in a way that’s more responsive.”
SEE HER INTERVIEW WITH US: We first asked her the difference between campaigning and working with constituents on behalf of an elected official.
SEE HER ON THE SEATTLE CHANNEL VIDEO VOTERS’ GUIDE: Here
CONTRIBUTORS’ LIST: Here