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15 things CHS heard at the 43rd District Dems D3 forum

You can view video from the debate on the 43rd District Dems Facebook page

The 43rd District Democrats contributed to a rush of candidate forums Saturday afternoon with its event featuring six candidates for the Seattle City Council’s District 3 seat, which includes Capitol Hill and the Central District, discussing issues like homelessness, climate change, and even their favorite mayors in city history. The day also included the most direct political attack by a challenger on the incumbent yet.

While Pat Murakami’s call for a used cruise ship to house the city’s unsheltered population didn’t make a second appearance, Logan Bowers continued his push for a triplex on every block and incumbent Kshama Sawant continued her crusade for rent control and social housing.

The 43rd District Democrats will also be hosting a “Ballots & Bubbly” event Tuesday night at 7 PM at The Riveter, where many of the D3 candidates can talk to voters in smaller settings, and Seattle University will be hosting a marathon of district race town halls on Sunday.

15 things CHS heard at the 43rd District Dems D3 forum

  1. The forum featured one of the clearest rebukes of Sawant’s tenure yet in one of these events from Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce head Egan Orion, who accused the incumbent of being more focused on raising her national profile and money for the Socialist Alternative party: “She’s neglected the people of District 3.” He added moments later: “We need sound policy, not soundbites; we need a council member who will seek out constituents not a camera and a podium.” He said, if elected, he would have office hours in cafes in the district to talk to voters.
  2. Orion also marked a direct contrast with Sawant in voicing his opposition to her call for rent control. “If you look at the studies about rent control, it shows that it’s actually a disaster for the availability of homes.” The Seattle Pridefest executive director instead called for bringing vacated apartments and hotels back up to code as an immediate solution. Similarly, Zachary DeWolf and Murakami, a self-described neighborhood activist who repeatedly urged protecting legacy tenants, also floated a vacancy tax on empty units.
  3. Public defender Ami Nguyen thinks a way to help with the homelessness crisis is to have nonprofits in the area coordinate with one another so that the unsheltered are “taking a step forward.” Case management once they’re in homes is also necessary, she said.
  4. Seattle Public Schools Board member DeWolf, who said he served on the 43rd District Dems board from 2014-2016, mentioned using a shallow rent subsidy program to help people stay up on their rents and strengthening the partnership with SPS to build affordable housing around schools so that students and teachers can live close to where they work.
  5. On top of her oft-repeated pushes for rent control and increased social housing, Sawant also called for expanding tiny house initiatives as an immediate solution, citing the village at 18th and Yesler. “They provide really good transitions to permanent housing because it gives you stability and security to get your life together.”
  6. The environment was a hot topic during the forum with multiple candidates, including Orion and Sawant, calling for an all-electric public transportation fleet, and Nguyen focusing on environmental justice for low-income communities like the one she grew up in. “Environmentalism seemed like a thing for the rich, we need to stop that,” she said.
  7. Bowers, who has clearly been focused on affordability as the foremost issue in his campaign, said housing is “always the number one way to prevent carbon pollution.” He said, “allowing people to live in the city reduces our carbon pollution. If they get squeezed out into the suburbs, they have to drive everywhere.” He also wants a “100 percent walkable city” with major necessities close to all homes.
  8. Orion repeated multiple times a priority of his to fill potholes in streets before establishing bike lanes. “We have to do the basics before we can go on to create these other things which are going to be fantastic.”
  9. Murakami said she would like to see the creation of bike boulevards to give cyclists the right-of-way and protect them. She also mentioned a low or no-interest program to help people buy electric bikes. “I think a lot of people would bicycle if they had that opportunity.”
  10. Sawant said she wants to decriminalize rider non-payment on public transit and even make public transit free through progressive revenues.
  11. With an uptick in gun violence centered in the Central District, DeWolf said he wants to see more investments in community-based violence prevention, victim reentry programs, and more counselors and mentors in schools. And in a direct call-out of Sawant, Bowers said speed bumps aren’t a solution.
  12. Nguyen said in office she would push for a capital gains tax, a proposal pushed by some Democrats in the Legislature this year but one which failed amid concerns that it was an unconstitutional income tax. “We should not rely on property taxes in order to fund the programs that we need for the community.”
  13. DeWolf, Nguyen, Orion (“I sort of like it”), and Sawant voiced support for allowing non-citizens to vote in municipal and county elections. Bowers said “I don’t think so, but I’m undecided.” Murakami said only if they’ve lived here a certain length of time. All candidates said they supported 16- and 17-year-olds voting in city and county elections.
  14. On a question on who their favorite mayor in Seattle history, Norm Rice got a shoutout from Orion, DeWolf, who also applauded Tim Burgess and current mayor Jenny Durkan, and Murakami. Orion also said he really likes Durkan. Bowers shouted out Wesley Uhlman, mayor from 1969 to 1978. Sawant said she would rather build a movement than focus on individuals who, in her estimation, don’t respond to the needs of the people.
  15. The D3 race is down to six final candidates. Sara Brereton did not officially file for the race and Friday’s deadline has come and gone. “While I had a very positive reaction at the SOS forum I realized my message is unelectable, that it’s critical in November (Sawant) is held accountable for her failed policies by losing,” Brereton tells CHS. “District 3 residents who want results over rhetoric are going to take our seat back.”

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23 thoughts on “15 things CHS heard at the 43rd District Dems D3 forum

  1. “ Sawant said she would rather build a movement than focus on individuals who, in her estimation, don’t respond to the needs of the people.”
    Did everyone in the room groan or laugh when she said this?
    Because that’s pretty funny coming from her.
    Does that mean ALL the people, or just the ones you want to pander to?

  2. Thanks for the post! I’m relying on CHS for my information on our council race.

    I’m curious about DeWolf’s proposal to partner with SPS to increase affordable housing near schools. Is he proposing bringing Seattle Public Schools into the affordable housing game?

    • Relying upon one media source for your information about something as important as these council races is not the way to go. If you want to make an informed choice, and you should want to make an informed choice, you have to do more. Capitol Hill blog is great, but read, attend, or access something else before you decide who to support.

      • Boy, ain’t that the truth? I used to put a lot of value on what The Stranger had to say, before they started randomly going off the deep end on some issues, but still spot-on for others. One source is rarely enough. But it’s a good start at least.

  3. Here’s a fine addition to the housing discussion:

    “The authors said the idea that housing will “trickle down” to lower earning workers has not happened. High construction and land costs will incentivize developers to build luxury units.”

    “We now argue that policies such as blanket upzoning, which will principally unleash market forces that serve high-income earners, are therefore likely to reinforce the effects of income inequality rather than tempering them,” the report said.

    • It is a good addition, but Seattle Weekly is misrepresenting it. The major point of that study is that it won’t affect inter-regional migration and inequality – so, upzoning Seattle won’t cause people in Eastern WA to move here or increase their incomes. When it says it will “reinforce the effects of income inequality”, it is talking about the inequality between incomes in King County and Yakima. Importantly, the authors very clearly and explicitly state (p8) that they agree with these three arguments
      “1. Restrictive zoning and other regulations in prosperous metropolitan regions limit
      the expansion of housing supply;
      2. Such constraints drive housing prices up;
      3. It adds to the income of developers and landowners and transfers income away
      from workers living in or seeking to live in these regions (whether as buyers or
      renters) and, in doing so, enhances inter-personal income inequality;”
      The caveats it presents to these arguments are those which the conventional wisdom is pretty comfortable with, although perhaps Seattle Weekly isn’t – upzoning alone is not enough, it takes a significant influx of housing to change the supply and demand relationship, and significant public investment to subsidize low income housing.

      • Three of the study’s points are that increasing the supply of market-rate housing is not going to lower housing prices; that affordability does not trickle down; and that upzoning encourages gentrification and displacement.

        As cd commented above, those facts have been obvious to many, but they are very uncomfortable realities for the neoliberal majority of the City Council, the mayor, and the other devotees of HALA/MHA, who will no doubt continue to deny them.

  4. Yes, I am disappointed that Capitol Hill blog chose to pick as one the 15 points the snarky remark about speed bumps that refers the piece by King 5 that also disappointed. It is not the King 5 is not mainstream, but generally they don’t engage in ignoring the basic intent of a meeting. If anyone is interested in the content of the meeting, I am posting a link below. if anyone really looks at the tape of the meeting, no one there proposed this as the solution, it was looked at as small piece that the residents on 21st could use to discourage some negative activity and encourage positive activities. CPTED has been one proven strategy for neighborhoods–not THE solution. Sawant was facilitating neighbors working together to take some actions that are not difficult to implement.–yON_uYJLftvoN6M

      • I think I was the one that requested the CPTED. Still haven’t heard anything back from the city. Does the city still actually do them??? I think they were too closely associated with the “broken window” theory and fell out of favor. Hostile architecture and hostile vegetation are rarely discussed anymore. IMO CPTED’s provide excellent frameworks for property owners to make common sense changes. They have worked for me.

      • Yes, your coverage of the CPTED was fair and fine. To feature Bowers, “And in a direct call-out of Sawant, Bowers said speed bumps aren’t a solution.” By including that as a highlight and as call out of Sawant only continues to add magnification to the false implication that is Sawant’s main idea and amplifies the current misleading headline featured on King 5 that Sawant is proposing this as THE solution, which is not true. She clearly offered this session as only on small piece of the solution to give residents on 21st Avenue an opportunity to advocate for some small CPTED type solutions that could be implemented fairly inexpensively
        and quickly as a small piece of the solutions for that street where (5 shootings have taken place? Our families and community members initiated the advocacy.

        You could have either chosen not to highlight the statement or framed as an “attempt” to call out Sawant. He did not specifically name Sawant; so you must have seen as a call out due to the King 5 headline. Certainly that was not your headline. Instead you chose to amplify the King 5 headline.

    • Anyone who thinks speed bumps are a solution to hand gun violence has never fired a hand gun.

      Hard to hit a paper target standing still even with the best pistols.

      Speed bumps? They’ll just make the shooters slow down and make them more likely to hit their target.

  5. Capitol Hill Blog presented an earlier fairly fair article on the Human Services Committee meeting with Sawant. That is one reason that I am surprised that that they chose that as one of there 15 points to highlight.

  6. Egan Orion seems like a smart, no-nonsense candidate…and he makes alot of sense. I think he is the most promising person to make sure there is “no more Sawant.”

  7. This is a comment in response to Ian. 21st Avenue neighbors have been very active on this in emailing the mayor and city council and last week met with the Seattle Neighborhood Group on a CPTED, I had to be out of town but also am interested in what was learned. I would be happy to put you in contact with some who participated.

    • Joanna I was at the first meeting. This is when I brought up the CPTED. It’s not like anyone had heard of them before. I couldn’t goto the subsequent meeting as it was the same night as Eastpac. I feel Eastpac is the correct forum for these discussions. One can only attend so many community meetings.

      • EastPac routinely mentions them in problem area. I believe we or someone did for Midtown. I know SNG was contacted for that one. It was certainly discussed. Due to the constant changing ownership and situation there, I am not sure who owned it. I agree about the number of community meetings and ensuring that all are able to know about reports and happenings. Nonetheless, one was done last week probably through the block watch that is forming. And yes, you should be a part of these discussions. I make every effort to attend many community meetings and missed that first meeting, as well due to attending the EastPac meeting. The one last week was a walk through with SNG. Yes, collaboration and ensuring that support is maximum and effort not duplicated is important.

  8. I have lived here since the 1960’s. No way am I an authority on anything but my take on who is running for office leaves me with the feeling of despair and apathy. Would I prefer a new, or old, rope for my noose? The jobs at City Council are so impactful and our current representation shows GLARINGLY what happens when those sitting are blind & incompetent.
    Seattle has millions to spend making 23rd ave a danger to drive (navigate) but can’t maintain pot holes???? Tip of the iceberg, just an indication how far out of touch those pushing the buttons are. Homelessness?
    Here’s a big disconnect.The hobo camps of the depression at least were out of sight and developed mainly due to society’s economic collapse. The 21st century hobo camps are mainly drug addicts who resort to crime (because there is no punishment) with no incentive to work. And today’s hobo goes boldly on with their despicableness because they feel that it is their “RIGHT” to do so.