Tucked into a large church Sunday night, previous mayoral candidate Nikkita Oliver moderated two debates through the Seattle Peoples Party platform. Seattle City Council Position 8 candidates Teresa Mosqueda and Jon Grant went head to head and so did mayoral candidates Jenny Durkan and Cary Moon.
The Peoples Party organization coalesced around the activist Oliver last spring in a bid to challenge Ed Murray when the incumbent seemed a sure bet for reelection. “We started to think about what that meant for those of us who aren’t wealthy or groomed for political office,” Oliver told the South Seattle Emerald as she announced her campaign.
Much of the same spirit shaped Sunday night’s forum. The debates featured a list of predetermined central values and a healthy dose of skepticism. Oliver said she personally feels voting is not the strongest way to instigate change.
If you don’t yet have your ballot in for the November election, CHS says you should still give it a chance. Here are 13 — in the spirit of Halloween — things CHS heard at Sunday’s forum.
- “Power concedes nothing without demand,” Grant said. “It is ridiculous we had to pack the halls to get police reform.”
- “Look if it’s a priority, then it’s important for you to say where you stand on these issues. How are we going to hold you accountable,” Grant said.
- “Over-policing and excessive use of force continues to occur in our black and brown and native communities,” Mosqueda said. She advocated for an independent police oversight board.
- “I know what it’s like to stand up even when your voice shakes, even when it seems impossible,” Mosqueda said. “We can fight for labor standards. And that’s what I will do, standing on the front line, on the strike line, on the fence with you. I am going to be that voice with you, not for you.”
- “My entire life has been dedicated to ending homelessness,” Grant said. “This is what I’ve been doing for the better part of a decade. There’s nothing I would want to do more than raise taxes on corporations…I’m tired of politicians saying we need more housing without knowing how we’re going to pay for it.”
- “I want to make sure youth are getting paid for the work they do, either as interns or as apprentices,” Mosqueda said. “We want to see a city where we can afford to stay, where we’re not getting pushed out, where we can have true opportunity and hope.”
- “In my early days [as mayor] I want to cite and build 1,000 new tiny homes throughout the city,” Durkan said. “They are not perfect housing but they are better than tents. Two: I want every part of the city to participate in the solution. So every part of the city has to create, overnight, 300 to 500 beds.”
- “I’m ready to listen to develop solutions with you and ready to be held accountable to you,” said Moon. “We all know our criminal justice system is the prison industrial complex, it is not a justice system.”
- “You heard it hear first, they’re going to give communities the resources,” Oliver said. “I’ve been doing a lot of free work for a long time.”
- “We are becoming a playground for the rich,” Moon said. “Unless we do this together we aren’t going to make the transformative changes in this city.”
- “We’ve got to make school a pipeline to opportunity, not jail,” Durkan said. “Any kid that gets through, I will give them two years of free tuition at a Seattle College. If we do that, they won’t need to steal because they’ll own the damn Safeway.”
- “I think the best indicator of if someone’s going to show up is if they’ve showed up before,” Durkan said. “I first started in rooms just like this when I was in my twenties, screaming for LGBTQ rights when they weren’t there. I saw friends die of AIDS. …it took year after year after year. As a criminal defense lawyer, I sat and tried to get alternatives to incarceration … You got to show it in who you hire, in what your programs are, and go to rooms like this where just as many people boo you as clap for you. I am going to do that as mayor because the future of this city is too important for anyone to be left behind.”
- Durkan received a very large amount of boos on her response to the homeless sweeps. Oliver told the audience this is why they have red cards, so they don’t have to interrupt. Durkan said, smiling, “they have a right to use their lungs, it’s America!”
Overall, the night brought the candidates down a rung or two in what has already been a strange and twisting campaign season. During the debate, Oliver pointed out that Moon’s track record doesn’t leave her doing any community work or organizing around issues most important to people of color. Durkan’s track record, on the other hand, is one based heavily in institutional work and Oliver said Durkan tends to take on a white savior, patriarchal mentality on topics involving communities of color.
You can watch the entire forum here: