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CHS Reader District 3 Candidate Survey — Call for questions

Follow the money. More of it has already flowed into the race for the District 3 seat on the City Council representing Capitol Hill, the Central District, and the nearby than any other in Seattle. The issues at hand — affordability, homelessness, worker rights, civil rights, transportation, and more — have been taking shape for each of the five challengers and incumbent in the race. You can find all of CHS’s Election 2019 coverage here.

In 2015, the last time the seat was up for grabs, CHS experimented with a new way of drilling in on important questions in the district– the CHS Reader D3 Candidate Survey. The 2015 results are posted here. In 2019, it’s time to ask new questions.

Here’s the plan:

  • CHS will work with readers to compile a 15-question District 3 candidate survey in time to get responses back and published before ballots hit the mail in mid-July.
  • We’ll make this survey an efficient, simple way for the candidates to communicate direct answers on questions of interest to our readers.
  • Some candidates may also choose to engage more fully in the comments.
  • Some candidates may not reply. We suggest you not vote for those candidates. Unless the 2019 questions turn out really, really bad.
  • Questions will be suggested by CHS readers, selected by CHS editors, and finalized by an online vote before we provide the survey to the campaigns.
  • Candidates are welcome to answer as much or as little of the survey as they wish but unanswered questions will be noted. Answers may be a mix of yes/no and 150 word or less “essay” responses. Answers can be a picture. Answers can be a song.

Please suggest your questions in the CHS comments below by Monday, July 1st at noon Capitol Hill Standard Time.

Feel free to pile on to the best or suggest refinements. We’ll grab a selection of the most interesting — and most popular — and do some editing before posting a roster for an open vote here on the site. We suggest you find a way to pose your proposed questions in a Twitter-friendly 140 characters or less — because if you don’t, we probably will. You can check character count here, if you need.

Need ideas? Here is what CHS asked about last time.

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64 thoughts on “CHS Reader District 3 Candidate Survey — Call for questions

  1. 1) When tents are set up in green areas in our neighborhoods, how long is reasonable to wait to get them removed? The nav team can sometimes take months in its current state, leaving residents helpless and frustrated.

    2) Are you in favor of the legislation introduced last year by Sawant and O’Brien to legalize camping in parks and other public areas?

    3) Nearly all the candidates, in a previous forum, supported construction of a safe injection site in D3. Murakami was the only one to oppose it. Are they worried about the impact introducing this site would have on the surrounding community, given the devastation the Vancouver, BC site (Insite) has brought to their Downtown Eastside neighborhood?

    4) Could those candidates who want to build a safe injection site in D3 please point out three favored locations for the site on a map of the district?

    5) Are you for or against opening any more city-sponsored encampments in D3? If for, could you please point out some locations on a D3 map that you think would be good spots for new encampments?

    6) Similarly, could those candidates who want to upzone please outline, in an ideal world, where their upzoned SFH neighborhoods in D3 would be?

    7) What existing commerce policies (please be specific) would you change to either encourage or discourage (for Sawant) growth and investment in D3?

    8) Every summer we experience a plague of gang violence, with random shootings, often hitting innocent bystanders and in broad daylight, throughout the CD. What specific policies will you change or enact to put an end to the violence?

    9) There has been a spate of recent reporting on our city’s long-held policy of not prosecuting repeat offenders. White Center just saw a rape committed by a man who had previously been convicted of nearly 100 crimes, with virtually zero consequences thanks to our policies. Do you support this policy and if not, how specifically would you change it?

    • On 1, it’s also worth noting that sometimes there can be severe impact to a family from having a tent outside.

      If you are trying to sell a home, a visible encampment can dramatically reduce its value to buyers, resulting in potentially tens of thousands of lost dollars.

      If there is drug activity, your front yard may feel unsafe. Your social circle may be impacted by not being able to have guests over. Your children may be impacted by not being able to play in the front yard.

      Not to mention the heightened risk of stepping on a needle, being attacked, or otherwise suffering damages, and the stress and anxiety this causes.

      Encampment residents steal bicycles, mail and packages to fuel their habit, and get away with it because not only do we not prosecute these crimes, the police are not even allowed to search the tent even if the culprit is caught on security video. Aside from the obvious financial and personal impact of losing your bicycle, people also lose gifts from loved ones, items of great sentimental value, critical drugs and medication (especially insulin), etc.

      This is just the start of the list of negative impacts caused by tents in residential neighborhoods. The current D3 rep (Sawant) seems to think that these are all worth her community suffering in order to provide the homeless with “shelter” (if that is what we are calling the tents). Many of the other candidates have dodged the question by claiming such fears are media-promoted hysteria. It’s been really disappointing.

      • Agreed. I see other comments about wanting to keep families in the district but policies like this aren’t helping.

  2. 1) What have you done in your current position to tackle the rising homeless/addictive drug problem facing Seattle.

    2) What actions, as a council-member, would you take to deal with the rising homeless/addictive drug problem in Seattle.

  3. What is your plan to support safe streets and continue to reduce car dependence in our district? How will you respond to the current current city administration’s demonstrated inclination to slow-roll and minimize expansion of non-car infrastructure? (see for example Bicycle Master Plan, 35th Ave NE)

    • Especially on Lake Washington Blvd through the arboretum. The single-lane road is so curvy and blind that there are very few places to safely jump into oncoming traffic and get around a cyclist. One slow biker can waste tons of time for tons of people as cars pile up behind.

      • Yes, I agree that road is a problem. How can we get impatient, lane-jumping drivers to stop endangering people on bikes?

      • When was it determined that the road in the Arboretum was designed to function as a freeway? It’s a two-lane road. Going through a park. Slow down. Enjoy the beautiful trees. Think of it as a little driving yoga mat.

      • Why is it fair for one single slowpoke cyclist to add 10 minutes to 12 drivers’ journeys (2 hours total of wasted time)? The world doesn’t revolve around cyclists, as much as you two would like to dehumanize car drivers.

      • The arboretum is a park, not an arterial… you shouldn’t try to use is as a way to get somewhere quickly or be upset if there is traffic. Remember the speed limit is only 25 through there in *any* case.

      • @Ace, Dave: It’s funny ’cause there was a path built, but due in part to anti-bike agitation it was designed to be useless for biking. The south end at Madison is somewhat awkward to access from common bike routes to the south. The north end doesn’t even make it out the north end of the Arboretum!

  4. What specific legislation will you put forward to help address climate change? No symbolic answers like a Green New Deal please.

    • I like it. Trick question to reveal the do nothing pontificates. There are few elected positions less able to effect climate change than city council.

      • Actually transportation and land use are intertwined and some of the biggest things we can do to address climate change. This is very much something the council has a lot of influence over.

        Trying to force people to drive less isn’t going to work if the transportation network and build environment continues to favor cars.

  5. Yes or No question. Do you support giving the Sonics Arena Investment Group a conditional vacation
    for a one-block section of Occidental Avenue South
    in SoDo?

    • Really, this is more important to me than anything else. If this got approved 3 or 4 years ago, we’d probably be signing KD this month.

  6. There is currently a lot of discussion and action at City Hall focused on increasing the quantity of housing produced (see HALA and ADU/DADU changes), but little focus on the type of housing produced. While ADUs and micro-housing can provide affordable options, they are not particularly practical for a family with kids. Would you support requirements that new apartment buildings, particularly where density increases such as HALA are involved, contain a minimum number of 2 or 3 bedroom units that can accommodate families (or roommate shares, which are often more affordable than separate micro-units)? Are there other policies you favor that would help to prevent families from being pushed out to the suburbs?

    • The reason developers don’t build 2 and 3 bedroom units is a lack of demand (at least for market rate units).

      For below market rate it might be worth dictating some larger units but it might not if there really isn’t need/demand compared to smaller units.

  7. Do you support imposing additional costs on real estate developers? For example, do you support imposing impact fees or other additional costs on new development? In the alternative, do you support policies to streamline the delivery of city services with regard to real estate projects and development, the intent of which would be to lower developer costs per unit of housing?

  8. Will you ever try to cut or propose to cut spending, especially for programs that aren’t working? Will you ever stop complaining about single-family neighborhoods and one day say thank you to those that pay thousands of dollars in property and other taxes to support you and your programs? Will you ever say thank you to your constituents? I think I know the answers.

    • Thank you, Louise, for promoting land use policies that prevent me from purchasing a home in your neighborhood.

      • 😀😀LOL. We bought over 40 years ago when no one wanted to live here, saved our money, made improvements when we could afford it. We can’t afford Manhattan or SF but I don’t begrudge those that can. I’m sure our now $23,000 property tax bill benefits you in some way.

      • Sorry bub… it’s in large part those very land use policies you love so much that prevent you from buying here, not the people who already live here. If land was not so valuable to developers, who can afford to completely out bid you for any house that comes up and then build 4 or 6 $800,000+ condos on it, you might actually have a chance to do what the most of us did, which was buy a less than pristine house that we could actually afford and fix it up with our own hands. Nowadays the buildings on a lot are worthless and the lot is valued sky high.
        In any case Louise is spot on. When I arrived here I certainly had some envy of the folks who were 20 years earlier than me – they got those big, beautiful old houses up on the top of Capitol hill for a song back in the 70’s, when that was yes.. considered to be a bad neighborhood… but I didn’t whine that they needed to change the zoning because I was entitled to a space there too. No, I found a house I could afford that was in, you guessed it, a less than ideal neighborhood. It doesn’t impress me at all that now, 20 years on from when I purchased, now that this is becoming a desirable neighborhood that you think you somehow deserve to be squeezed in because you want it and you should get everything you want.

      • Louise, since you have a home assessed over $2,000,000 I will shed no tears for your complaints about taxes.

        BTW your property would collect more in taxes were it to become townhomes or an apartment building.

        BTW we used to allow duplexes, triplexes, and small apartment buildings (along with corner stores) in all neighborhoods until the zoning changes of the 50’s and 70’s.

        Continuing to treat the majority of the city where residential construction is allowed as sacrosanct with only 1 unit per 5000 square feet or more allowed is simply going to make both single family and multifamily more expensive.

        We need to reduce the minimum lot size, Allow lots to be subdivided, and allow small scale multifamily in all neighborhoods if we are to accommodate growth without prices hitting the same levels as San Francisco.

      • Thanks @Chris. Sounds like Louise got hers, and now I’m SOL because I made the poor decision to be born 40 years too late to gain a real estate windfall. Personal responsibility, you know.

      • @ mike… wow, throw yourself a pity party. No…. you are not too late, you simply need to find, for yourself, the *next* neighborhood that will go from not being stellar to being desirable over the 20 or so years. You seem to have some outrageous idea that these neighborhoods have always been as nice, with all the walkable amenities that they have today. Um no… having a grocery store, shops, restaurants within a few blocks is really quite new – they weren’t here 20 years ago – very little was here then – an exterminator…. a towing companies yard…. a lot of neglected and empty store fronts.
        It’s not some mysterious thing that you are ’20 years too late’, child. Think a little -what was happening 20-25 years ago? The generation before you was in their early 20’s, just starting out and looking for a place to live and set down some roots. Where did they go – to a place they could afford. What has happened over the last 20 some years? They’ve become older, most likely have some savings and make a bit more money than they did and have fewer debts than when they were just starting out and the neighborhood has evolved with them. But you don’t want to have to go through that process… you want to demand that you get a spot in your first choice of where to live right now… and blame the people who already live here for it.. excuse me? Way to show how spoiled you are.

  9. Do you believe that before we add any additional taxes to individuals or businesses, for the purpose of addressing the homelessness problem, that we should first make sure we are investing wisely the nearly 1 billion dollars annually we are investing currently? And should there be any accountability associated with meeting goals before continuing to fund any organization?

  10. Someone asked how long did it take to get a tent moved out of their neighborhood. I live on Capitol Hill right by Trader Joe’s. A camper set up his tent and assorted garbage on December 31, 2018. The police and social workers and Century Link(he was camping on their property) were called. Finally on June 15 ,2019, he was told to move. He is gone now, but, his junk is strewn all over the neighborhood. If we throw it away; he must come back in the dead of night and rearrange it in about 6 places.

  11. Q: Are you willing to disclose the funders of your campaign and if not why not? Follow up for Sawant: who provides the funding for socialist alternative, your major donor?

    • Great question! Sawant, especially, needs to be transparent about her funding, especially since she has refused democracy vouchers in order to raise as much money as she wants….most likely from socialist sources outside of Seattle.

  12. Regarding several of the above comments posed as questions: I don’t have words to express the shame I feel in my neighbors today. Such small, insular, myopic thinking. So, don’t just do something, sit there (and complain how your wealth is being threatened).

    • Well turn that shame into pride! For yourself, because you are such a better, more thoughtful and caring person than everyone else in your neighborhood. What a feeling it must be, and be sure to let everyone around you know it, as well.

  13. What is your stance on both corporate taxes and income tax? If you support them, how do you propose to move forward on those issues, especially corporate tax (because of the constitutional issues with income tax). If you do not support additional taxing, how do you propose to address easing income inequality in the city? Also, in general, can you discuss how you use actual research to influence your policy ideas/decision?

    • I’m always mystified by these NIMBY D3 accusations. Ten years ago D3 was a bunch of car dealerships, art galleries and old community halls. Now you can barely see the sun on some streets because of the 6-8 story condo and apartment buildings popping up everywhere. The article right above this one is about a historic house that’s being demolished to make room for a new apartment complex. If this district is full of NIMBYs they must be the most incompetent NIMBYs on the planet to allow such extraordinarily rapid development.

  14. For Sawant: There is ample evidence that you are unresponsive to your constituents’ concerns. Do you deny this?

    • Has anyone ever tried to call Sawant’s office?

      I did once when this guy was selling drugs close to my place and the police wouldn’t do anything, and got treated to a ten-minute-long marxist spiel by whichever staffer answered the phone… I was shocked by just how brazen it was. Essentially it boiled down to “we can’t fix your puny parochial problem until we overthrow the global elite capitalist swine.”

      • That’s basically my one beef with Sawant. Sure, pursue socialist values. But also work on day-to-day stuff on the ground. Both/and.

        Pursue public housing, and make market-rate development more affordable.

        Have compassion for people with addiction, support safe consumption sites, decriminalization, etc. But also, especially, go after drug sellers.

  15. Will you work to enact legislation banning homeless sweeps unless there are more shelter beds available than the sweep would displace?

    • Indeed – my (several part) question to candidates would be 1st – will you own up to the fact that there is a visible and increasing subset of the homeless in Seattle that has serious mental health and/or addiction problems that are causing real and damaging health, safety and quality of life issues for the rest of the citizens of this city, problems and behaviors that we should not expect to simply live with or excuse? 2nd what are the realistic solutions that you would support that will actually solve these problems for *both* the homeless individuals *and* the citizenry at large? What programs do you propose that will actually get these people off of the streets and into the treatment that they need, instead of supporting and enabling them in continuing to destroy themselves and our environs?

    • Mairi, you’ve been listening to Sawant too much. What you’re describing is the existing policy. The thing is, there are always shelter beds open, because the people living in tents don’t want to go to the shelters because they have to leave their drugs at the door (also, it’s a hike to get from Pioneer Square back to SFH areas full of lucrative bikes and mailboxes) .

      My question for you, let’s suppose we did live in a world where the shelters were full. Would we just let the tents stay in our neighborhoods for years until all the needed shelters were built?

  16. Wow, looks like some Seattle Times commenters have landed here…

    1- Do you support banning homeless sweeps without providing shelter options?

    2- Do you support low-barrier/no-barrier housing-first policies? If so, how should the city fund these programs?

    3- Do you support a ban on the sale of city-owned property in favor of using it for public housing?

    4- Do you support a blanket upzone across all residential zones in the city, and if so, how high? Do you support allowing duplexes on all properties, and 4-plexes on corner lots?

    5- Do you support relaxing commercial uses in residential zones, allowing cafes, corner stores, groceries, offices, etc in areas that will help make neighborhoods more walkable?

    6- How will you push SDOT & the mayor to fully fund and expedite completion of the Basic Bike Network?

  17. 1) It is a common practice for landlords to take kickbacks from Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and only allow a single ISP to offer service for the whole building, despite what individual consumers may want. San Francisco passed an ordinance that prohibits landlords from interfering with tenant ISP choices and allows every resident to get service from whatever provider will offer it. Do you support a similar ordinance for Seattle?

    Some background:

    2) Do you support putting a lid over I-5 downtown?

    3) Do you support paying for stadiums with public taxpayer money?

  18. Hate crimes are rising and concentrated in District 3. How will you combat these types of bias incidents and improve inclusivity?

  19. Do you believe property tax levies are a regressive tax? If so, would you avoid putting future property tax levies on the ballot? If not, why do you believe they are a progressive tax, and what would you say to homeowners who are forced to sell because they can’t afford rising property taxes?

  20. What is your connection to Seattle, and District 3? Why should we believe that you will govern with the best interests of D3 in mind?

  21. What are you going to do about the deteriorating roads in District 3? Many roads were hurt after the snow storms and not much has been done around repairing potholes. Cycling has only gotten more difficult with bike ways riddled with ruts and potholes. How are you going to elevate our concerns to the Mayor and SDOT?

  22. Will you support the de-funding of SHARE and Nickelsville, and be open to new approaches for dealing with the Homeless crisis?