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‘Terrorist’ dog, one candidate comes out as fiction writer, and ‘Seattle is not dying, but compassionate’ — The results of the CHS Reader D3 Candidate Survey are in

“All Candidate (Candidate word clouds created with

We asked, you answered. Our call for questions for the CHS District 3 Primary Candidate Survey, that is. From dozens of reader proposals, CHS distilled 20 questions, including “Favorite D3 Park,” Which D3 areas “are most in need of new transit and transportation infrastructure?” and “What solutions for homelessness have worked in other cities that you’d like to try here?”

UPDATE 9:18 AM: Due to an error on CHS handling of questionnaire answers, we inadvertently missed candidate answers to a handful of questions. This post has been updated and a description of unanswered questions has been removed. We apologize for the error.

Egan Orion, whose campaign has benefitted from financial expenditures by the CASE PAC, answered a question about how to avoid another very expensive D3 race by 2023: “I think the best way to prevent another expensive, combative election is to elect a council member that lives up to their promises and meets the needs of their constituents.” As you might expect, most candidates took aim at Kshama Sawant and/or PACs in their answers.

Before we get to the other answers, here are a couple of quick stats and observations

  • The longest answers came from incumbent Sawant, who leads with just over 4,300 words — 18 of those were either “big” or “business”, a lot more were “most regressive tax system in the country”— while Zachary DeWolf and Ami Nguyen kept it most concise with around 1,700.
  • Logan Bowers kept the mentions of his solo wheel(ing) at “only” twice. Nguyen referred to her job as public defender two times.
  • Orion used the term “data-proven” or “data-informed” “solutions” three times, one time before claiming the data is “far from clear” on safe injection sites. Orion was quoted saying “I’m all for safe consumption sites,” in Madison Park Times last April.
  • Only one candidate used a smiley: Zachary DeWolf, writing he was “rated last place by SOS ;).”
  • Pat Murakami leads with the most mention of dogs, including one time to refer to medical marijuana for her dog Yoshi and her late Jack Russell “Terrorist.”
  • The Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion program is by far the most popular among candidates, at least when you count how many times they namechecked it (seven times). Orion, Sawant, and DeWolf want to expand LEAD; Bowers wants to “aggressively apply” it. Nguyen appears to describe a need for a program similar to LEAD for repeat offenders but doesn’t mention the program by name.
  • Volunteer Park is the most popular D3 park.
  • All five candidates challenging the incumbent promised to establish a new location for a D3 office to meet with constituents and hold office hours. (Sawant said she chose, partly because of high rents, to focus on hiring more community organizers rather than renting a second office.)

Here’s what candidates said about other issues: 

Transit: Sawant, Murakami (who in May told the crowd at a transportation forum in the CD she had to drive to the event because of concerns for her “personal safety” and the only candidate to answer “Maybe” when the Seattle Times asked if Seattle needed more bike lanes) DeWolf, Bowers and Orion all say they want to invest in public transit and bike infrastructure.

Nguyen doesn’t mention plans for either but focuses on constituents who feel “unheard by SDOT,” which she wants to “make accountable” to the city council and constituents. Sawant wants to expand late-night Metro services and wants to explore free late-night ride shares to help reduce traffic fatalities. Bowers and Sawant are the only candidates who mention the city’s scaled-back Bicycle Master Plan. Bowers also linked transportation issues to zoning for businesses within walking distance of homes and his goal to make the city “100% walkable.” DeWolf says that “if you build it, they will come.” Murakami (who answered “maybe” when The Seattle Times asked if the city should be building a First Avenue streetcar line) wrote that she wants to connect the streetcar lines with a “virtual painted magnetic track.” (Read more in questions 7 and 8)

Climate Change: Most candidates, except Nguyen, who only proposes to “subsidize green energy technology for low-come families”, have a lot of ideas on how to combat climate change. Some, like Orion, get somewhat lyrical about “beautiful green energy” produced by, among other ideas, incentivizing green buildings, wind farms, and electrifying public transport. Sawant also proposes the latter and wants to make it free.

Murakami wants to ban plastic water bottles and start a program encouraging everyone, including restaurants, to commit to Meatless Mondays.

Bowers has ideas for Seattle City Light, including changing its rate structure and selling/buying surplus energy.

Bowers, DeWolf, and Sawant brought the climate change issue/question back to public transit, walking, biking, and car dependency. DeWolf and Nguyen also applied an equity lens to the issue. (Read more in question 15)

Homelessness: The survey didn’t explicitly ask candidates to outline plans to address homelessness, though we did inquire about their personal track record on addressing homelessness and asked which solutions from other cities they’d implement. Some highlights: Orion, Bowers, and Murakami all say to be in favor of “housing first.” Murakami says she supports microloans and housing vouchers as eviction prevention, DeWolf calls for “diversion programs” — including conflict resolution, family reunification, mediation, or financial assistance — and an increased focus on youth and young adult homelessness.

Nguyen, DeWolf, and Murakami want to increase permanent supportive housing. Sawant focuses on housing (affordability) and social housing, rent control, the expansion of tiny home villages, and wants to stop the sweeps of encampments. Bowers also said he’d like to try increased spending, like New York, on shelter. (Read more in questions 4 and 5)

CHS doesn’t do endorsements, so we highly suggest to read all the questionnaires — if only to find out which pot shops and parks the candidates frequent, their take on lidding I-5 and public transit habits, which candidate wrote a novel featuring the Volunteer Park Water Tower or who believes that “Seattle is not dying, Seattle is compassionate” — and make up your mind before ballot boxes close on August 6.

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17 thoughts on “‘Terrorist’ dog, one candidate comes out as fiction writer, and ‘Seattle is not dying, but compassionate’ — The results of the CHS Reader D3 Candidate Survey are in

    • Reality cheque’s comment makes a sweeping judgement based on zero facts. Evidently solely because of the CASE endorsement (?), you and others assume to know the internal thinking and integrity of Mr. Orion. I reject the ridiculous notion many are claiming that he is an Amazon pawn. There is no such evidence.

      • You might not know anything about Orion, but those of us who actually pay attention definitely have more to go on than the CASE endorsement. You should try reading about him: for instance, did you know he was head of the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce?

      • Hear hear. The smear campaign perpetrated by the Sawant cultists is nauseating and predictable.

        Essentially they play six degrees of Jeff Bezos with all her opponents and then use that to say just the most awful things. It’s so tiresome.

      • OMG! Hed of the Chamber of Commerce? You mean that group of businesses that employ everyone and have created an amaing collection of small businesses that are the envy of the city? For shame!

      • Exactly. It is so lazy to link all of Seattle’s problems to Amazon. It’s not that simple.

        Sawant’s minions also claim that Mayor Durkan is an Amazon pawn. Also not true.

  1. Tom, of course I know that. And of course Amazon is not based on Capitol Hill. Why are you implying that the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce is some evil organization?

  2. This is a nitpick but it’s in the headline: I don’t think Terrorist is the name of Murakami’s dog. I think it’s a common breed name joke where she replaced “Terrier” with “Terrorist.”

    Orion needs to give a clear answer on Safe Injection Sites, period. To be hand-wavy and back-and-forth on a decision that could be devastating to D3 is absolutely unacceptable.

    • Hi Ace, I completely agree that you deserve a clearer answer on Safe Consumption Sites. As someone who approaches addiction with a harm reduction strategy in mind, I started this campaign in April thinking that Safe Consumption Sites were effective and good as part of a comprehensive strategy. After talking to first responders and addiction experts, my view is not nearly so black and white now. Proponents and opponents of SCS will point to Vancouver as either a big success or big failure. In the first year of their program, petty crimes in the area did drop by 40% and overdoses plummeted. But there are definitely pros and cons to this strategy, and Seattle isn’t Vancouver (they have a more concentrated population of those with substance abuse disorder whereas ours is, in general, more diffuse). So while I think it *could* be a small part of a much more comprehensive approach to addiction and harm reduction, I’m not yet convinced it’s the right way forward here. In my campaign as well as in office, I will always be guided by experts and data. If it’s shown to have a demonstrable impact on crime and on getting more people into recovery, it should be considered. If it does more harm than good, then it shouldn’t be. We should always look at the problem we’re trying to address and find appropriate, data-driven solutions to that problem.

      I think on drug use and recovery in this city, we need treatment on demand, drug court, expanded Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) programs, Medication Assisted Therapy in our jails, and more permanent supportive housing for those experiencing chronic homelessness compounded by mental health and addiction issues. There are many proven ways forwarded. Let’s start there.

      • Thank you, Egan, for this posting. I personally am against the city supporting such injection sites. I’ve been wondering about your position. I agree that a straight “yes or no” position that some folks espouse ignores the nuances of this issue. So I appreciate and accept the view you have presented here.

      • Thank you for your response Egan.

        For me personally, safe injection sites are a top issue. I am vehemently against building one in D3.

        Yet I also believe that they can work and be part of a comprehensive strategy.

        How is this not a contradiction? Because I don’t believe the city has a comprehensive strategy. From what I’ve seen their strategy is to dangle carrots for the mentally ill and addicted all day, and when they don’t work, to look for a bigger carrot. There is no attempt to force people into treatment, to stop people from committing crimes, or to protect the other 99.99% of society from the extraordinary negative externalities associated with a sprawling addiction and homelessness crisis.

        A safe injection site would just be another huge carrot. “Come get your free drugs, shoot up legally, concentrate all your narcotics and criminal activity in one spot, and we’ll try, as you kill yourself on our watch, to at least make sure you do it safely and futilely urge you to get treatment.”

        Meanwhile, contrary to what Sawant said in her response, the negative externalities of a safe injection site are both obvious and brought to life in Vancouver. It is a magnet for all the addicts and criminals in the city. If you were to build a safe injection site within two blocks of Cal Anderson Park, that would be the end of Cal Anderson Park. In a previous comment I said that any candidate who wants to build such a site should point out on a map of D3 where they want it, because the surrounding area will immediately become an epicenter for drugs and crime, just as we’ve seen in Licton Springs with their low-barrier encampment.

        I have nightmares of Madison Valley turning into another Licton Springs, or really any area of this city south of the West Seattle Bridge or near Aurora north of the canal, where it’s like living in an entirely different city. I don’t want a representative who will volunteer D3 to become the next such area! Especially someone like Sawant who would just do it for ideological purposes without caring what actually happens to the people living there.

        Maybe a safe injection site will save (actually save, not just delay an inevitable overdose) a couple lives. But
        A) I think the devastation it would wreak on the surrounding neighborhood/community is too high of a tradeoff.
        B) I think there are a hundred other strategies we could pursue first that would be much more effective and less destructive.

        Give me serious law enforcement and protection, promise to keep the surrounding area clean as a whistle, have a serious and aggressive diversion plan to stop people from getting to the point where they would use such a site, and have a serious and aggressive plan for what to do with people who continue to use it without ever seeking treatment, and I’ll be cool with a safe injection site.

        It’s clear that the current city council is actively hostile to giving us any of those things though, and just wants to build a safe injection site without any of them.

  3. Super glad that the north broadway businesses stopped that streetcar from coming any further on the street. I still wish the bike lanes could be extended without including the streetcar on broadway (how does a person even get to the start of the PBL without crossing every lane super awkwardly?.
    -the chamber was an influential part of keeping that center lane on the north side instead of making it like the crowded portion between pike and pine

  4. Thanks to CHS for conducting the questionnaire and to the candidates for participating. I love that we get candidates posting comments to these stories.

    Comment: I’m surprised to see all candidates supporting the 1) 1st Ave Streetcar and 2) expansion of E-Scooters into Seattle. I think both are bad ideas.

    1st Ave Streetcar: This is an amenity for downtown real estate owners that will lose money during operation. We should at least make the local property owners pay for the service (analogous to the Waterfront Park Tax).

    E-Scooters: Data clearly shows that introduction of shared E-scooters comes with a dangerous increase in injuries and fatalities. We need to be smarter about introducing these technologies.