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PRIORITIES

I've lived in District 1 for 20 years and Seattle for 33 years. Seattle is one of the most prosperous cities in the world, yet we’re failing to make meaningful progress on the key issues of public safety, homelessness, affordable housing, and preparing for climate change.

 

I have a proven track record of bringing people together, setting clear goals, and delivering lasting results. As a Seattle City Council member, I will listen to your concerns and prioritize solutions that make a real difference in your life. 

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A HOUSED CITY

The housing crisis affects all of us: it affects the many Seattlites who are overburdened with rent, either one paycheck away from homelessness or being forced to leave the city; it affects our local economy, as income is wrapped up in basic housing costs instead of invigorating local businesses; it affects all of us who want a safer and more humane city, who want to once and for all end the suffering and instability on our streets. 

Homelessness is a housing problem, and the “housing first” approach is the most cost-effective solution. If we were to account for all the externalized costs of homelessness such as increased emergency room visits, increased need for policing, and lost revenue for businesses due to Seattleites and tourists avoiding downtown—not to mention the high cost of sweeps—providing housing is the less costly solution. And of course stable housing plus wraparound services are also more effective with regard to durably addressing other challenges individuals may face, such as mental illness, substance use disorder, poverty, or unemployment.

HOW?

  • Match Our Planning Code to Our Needs: Relegalize middle housing in all neighborhoods and encourage street corner mixed-use (four floors and a corner store!). Further zoning increases, better curb management, and end parking minimums near frequent transit. Not only will this help with the housing shortage, but it will make our neighborhoods more diverse, vibrant, and walkable too. Create clear guidelines and neighborhood standards instead of arbitrary design review boards.

  • Bring Everyone Inside: Shelters are full every night. Tiny home villages have months long waits. We need to urgently buy up disused office and motel space, as well build more tiny homes and create more car lots for safe camping and parking, to make safe and sanitary spaces for everyone each night. Well-paid social workers provide on-site services to help people move to the next step in their journey toward long-term stability.

  • Utilize Jumpstart Funds: Ensure that funds generated from the Jumpstart tax are used for housing, as intended.

  • Vacancy Tax: Tax underutilized and vacant property. Assess a fee equal to 1% of the property value on any home left unoccupied for at least 6 months in a given year.

  • Support Social Housing: Seattle voters approved the creation of a potentially transformative “Social Housing” program. I believe this is exactly the sort of innovation that we have been looking for. While social housing will become self-sustaining, we must fund the start-up costs for this voter-approved innovation.

  • Create Anti-Displacement Zones: Specific neighborhoods at risk of mass displacement should receive special support.

  • Proactive Renter/Landlord Support: For renters at immediate risk of becoming homeless, create a program to temporarily help make payments and find both stopgap housing and long-term affordable housing options.

  • Re-Evaluate Our Housing Subsidies, Incentives, and Mandates: Are incentive programs getting the intended results? In many cases, it doesn’t seem so. We need to collect better data to finetune our various programs.

  • Green and Union Development: All city-funded projects must have Community Workforce Agreements and meet high environmental standards.

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A SAFER CITY

We can’t suffer further inaction and delays. We need swift and decisive improvements to public safety immediately. Unlike my opponent, I have a clear, comprehensive, 5-point plan, which includes measurable outcomes and a funding strategy, that won’t increase the burden on working families and seniors:

1) Recruit, train, and retain the best possible police officers, while holding them to the highest levels of accountability. Recruit additional Community Service Officers, ideally from the community they will serve, who can walk their beats and get to know everyone the community.
2) Fully-fund and expand the Mayor’s new CARE team so that it is set up to succeed, city-wide and across District 1, so that we can send the most qualified professional to the call, thereby freeing up time for our armed officers to be available where we most need them.
3) Invest in proven community-based gun violence prevention strategies, to surgically address gun violence at the source and build community trust.
4) Invest in immediately available emergency housing, safe lots for RVs, inpatient crisis care centers, wraparound services, and well-paid, low-turnover social workers, so that our streets, our parks, and all of our neighbors— housed and unhoused—are safe.
5) Recognize and address the upstream issues of poverty, inequity and systemic racism, creating an economy that works for everyone.

I am endorsed by the Seattle 911 Dispatchers Guild, social workers, correctional workers, bus drivers, Dom Davis, the founder of Community Passageways, and I have a 5/5 rating from the Alliance for Gun Responsibility.

I have listened to my district, and public safety is top of mind. We want to feel safe in our neighborhoods and the places we visit, like Alki or Downtown; we are frustrated by putting millions of dollars into false solutions; we have compassion for people who are struggling; we are ready for real, evidence-based, lasting solutions to public safety challenges, not divisive fear-mongering and status quo.

 

Creating a safe urban environment is one of the government's most important jobs. We need both police and alternative responses, we can lead with compassion and refuse to tolerate harmful behavior. And when we address poverty, mental illness, and drug addiction, we decrease homelessness and crime. 

 

We cannot put our urgent public safety needs on hold while we struggle to hire more police officers amidst a nationwide officer shortage. For far too long we’ve been overly reliant on armed officers as the primary tool in our public safety toolbox, and we’re especially feeling the pain of that short-sightedness now. Compounded by the fact that armed officers haven’t always made all of us feel safe—we continue to see racialized over-policing that leads to unjust brutality and death, and we haven’t yet found satisfactory solutions to that. We need comprehensive public safety to truly make our city safe for all of us. And that means we need a full suite of evidence-based tools in our toolbox. Now.

HOW?

  • Invest in Housing, Mental Health & Substance Use Disorder Care: This is at the top of the Public Safety list because we need to start truly investing in solutions that actually deliver lasting results. No more money down the drain. When mental health and substance use disorder needs are met prior to public crisis, public safety will be dramatically improved.

  • Recruit and Retain the Best Officers: According to the US Dept. of Justice, the Seattle Police Department has actually been more violent in their interactions with the public since the federal consent decree began. Seattlites need and deserve effective policing. We will recruit 400 officers, and we will set a very high bar, because we want the best, anti-racist, anti-sexist officers in the nation. We can continue to offer the existing high salaries and hiring bonuses, however data indicate that these do not actually work very well. The bigger complaint is low morale and overwork. The aforementioned alternative response teams and diversion programs will reduce overwork and low morale may be improved by re-investing in community policing practices, mental health care, expanded de-escalation training, and transparent, fair accountability processes.

  • Recruit additional Community Service Officers. We need to find a way to bring the younger generations into public safety roles. Not everyone wants to be heavily armed and drop into the most violent situations. But simply by being visible, in uniform, with non leathal weapons can be a big boost to public safety. We currently have only 20 CSOs in all of Seattle. We should seek to double that.

  • Skilled Unarmed Responders: Approximately one fifth of 911 calls are for mental/behavioral health or substance use disorder crises. We have waited far too long for Mayor Harrell’s CARE Team, which now needs funding and support to get it in operation all across District 1. We need fairly-paid, high-skilled, low-turnover social workers to lead mental and behavioral health crisis response, and medical professionals to lead substance use disorder care, to both preserve armed officers for the calls where they are actually needed, and also because we’ll be sending the most qualified person for the job. These additional teams will reduce response times, improve outcomes, minimize armed-officer contact with community, and alleviate the strain on the under-staffed police department.

  • Expand LEAD: We need to finally expand Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) into a full-scale program. LEAD has been so successful as a pilot program, including reducing participants’ recidivism by over 60%, that it has been studied by top experts and replicated nationally and internationally. We should learn from our own success and scale-up the program.

  • Therapeutic/Community Court: The Community Court program, although recently shuttered by the City Attorney, had an 80% success rate at preventing recidivism within two years. Community Court and a complimentary Therapeutic Court specifically tailored for drug use (building on King County’s decades old program) will be crucial tools for improving safety and helping get lives back on track.

  • Community Responder Programs: Create data-backed neighborhood-level safety alliances where community members and neighbors respond to low-level street crime. Scale up the promising “We Deliver Care” program.

  • Youth and Family Programs: Support music and sports programs, safe community spaces, and data-backed crime reduction organizations like Choose 180. Increase access to familial counseling.

  • Gun Violence Prevention: I will support and partner with groups like Alliance for Gun Responsibility, Choose 180, and Community Pathways that provide support and resources to communities that are disproportionately affected by gun violence. 

  • Build Safer Streets: We need to make our streets safe for everyone. Since Seattle committed to the Vision Zero plan, the number of pedestrian fatalities and serious injuries have doubled. The feeling of safety while walking, biking, and taking transit is essential to improving health, expanding accessible mobility, and meeting climate goals in our city. While other council members often block these improvement projects due to small vocal opposition, I will remember that my district has repeatedly requested safe mobility networks.

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A FUTURE FACING CITY

I envision a future where all Seattle residents can live healthy, prosperous lives, in a thriving sustainable ecosystem—where we all have access to clean air and water, and respite from heat and smoke. A future where we’ve made an equitable transition away from fossil fuels, leaving no one behind. One where we invest in infrastructure including transit, EV charging stations, free municipal broadband, green spaces, and public facilities to create stable, well-paying jobs that prioritize local hire and are protected by Community Workforce Agreements to ensure high-quality work and benefits for local workers and neighborhoods. A future where we walk, bike, and ride together to our favorite local businesses in vibrant, affordable, family-friendly neighborhoods. 

HOW?

  • Transit: Building out a transit system that is fast, reliable, convenient, and safe is mission critical for making transit the best option. Right now, we face two key problems: transportation is the single greatest source of emissions in the city, but our best route to driving down those emissions, King County Metro, is facing budget, staffing, and public safety challenges. Partnering with the county and fighting to expand and improve our transit system will be a key priority for me on council.

  • Port Electrification: Work with Duwamish Valley community leaders and port labor leaders to electrify short haul trucking and port docks. The environmental injustice of port emissions is simply too dire to not fix it.

  • Housing: We need a built environment where people can afford to live and work in the city. And we must upzone nearly everywhere: I support Alternative 6 for the One Seattle Comprehensive Plan. Supporting missing middle housing and dense, mixed use neighborhood centers will reduce carbon emissions and improve the vibrancy and livability of every corner of the city.

  • Bikes and Pedestrians: Complete a safe bike infrastructure network, and support e-bikes and e-scooters.

  • Heat Pumps: Remove fracked gas and add electric heat pumps tol eliminate climate and indoor air pollution, add life saving cooling capacity, and lower energy use through greater efficiency. 

  • Green Building Equity: I support the new Building Emissions Performance Standards, so long as we help our affordable housing providers and multi-family buildings make these changes, too. I will help them search for local, state, and federal funds to get this work done under a Community Workforce Agreement as quickly as possible so renters can get cooling capacity quickly without major rent hikes.

  • Resilience: Make every school, library and community center a climate resilience hub with clean air, heat-pump cooling, microgrid solar for backup power, and access to wrap around social services so when we have extreme heat, smoke, cold, or our inevitable earthquake, people have a place to go. And I will start with the historically underinvested neighborhoods first, like Georgetown and South Park.

  • Renewables: The Inflation Reduction Act allows local governments to build out renewable power generation at a deeply subsidized rate and public utilities can access much better financing than the private sector. This is a critical opportunity to rapidly build out renewables in a planned and rational manner that the private sector is not set up to achieve.

  • Offshore Wind Power: Bring together the Port of Seattle, businesses, and unions to develop an offshore solar plan and create good paying, new green economy jobs.

  • Green Education: I will work to secure state, federal, and private funding to make South Seattle College a top university in the nation focused on the forces that will most impact the coming decades: renewable energy technology, ethical artificial intelligence, and climate resilience. 

  • SPS to Union Trades: Partner with Seattle Public Schools to create a pathway into the building trades for students and ensure that a certain number of jobs on our public work are set aside for Seattle students to upgrade our city infrastructure. 

  • Urban Green Space: Better fund and protect parks, rain gardens, bioswales, green roofs, green walls, planter box barriers, green medians, street trees, and urban forests. And I will prioritize historically underinvested neighborhoods first.

SEATTLE'S PATH FORWARD

"Seattle’s Path Forward” is a call to action. The climate crisis is upon us and local action is crucial. To anyone who has ever said, "I want change but I don’t know where to start." Join me! We start right here at home. Seattle can, and should, show the nation what a successful, sustainable, and equitable city looks like. It’s not too late, but we have to start now!

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