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City Attorney Candidate Presentation Today, 6:00 p.m.

The City Attorney Candidate Mini Forum will be held on Tuesday October 17th at 6:00 p.m. in conjunction with the Magnolia Community Council meeting. The Mini Forum will include short presentations from each candidate and community-focused questions on the elections. We encourage all members of the community to attend to hear, see and question the candidates. The City Attorney Candidate Mini Forum will be held at:

United Church of Christ – Pilgrim Hall
3555 W. McGraw
Seattle, WA 98199

Letter to City Council Candidates, Answers From Candidate Pat Murakami

Responses from candidate Pat Murakami:

With police reform and equitable justice being such timely issues and the homelessness, addiction and mental health crises playing out so publicly) how can city council help re-establish civic norms of public safety and individual responsibility (not just individual rights)?  How can we make up for lost time in rebuilding a right-sized police force with officers who are connected to the communities they serve?  Better protect our parks and public spaces from mis-use?

We need to get the homeless into proper shelters immediately, providing necessary wrap-around services, with the goal of getting all homeless into permanent housing as soon as possible.  If individuals have been offered alternatives to living in tents and RVs  and are still living in the streets, they should be offered 3 alternatives:  go into the shelter we provide, enter a treatment program, or leave Seattle.  Those that refuse to take one of these options should be investigated for possible criminal activity, such as running a Meth lab in their RV.  There are many nuances that would take too long to provide here. For example, giving non-compliant sex offenders an opportunity to get off the streets and become compliant again.

To rebuild our police force, we must recruit from other agencies across the country, give credit to former military members to advance through the academy faster, and request the State increase capacity at the State Law Enforcement Academy (which is a bottleneck in our attempt to fully staff the Police Department).

To improve behaviors in our parks and open spaces, we must record all interactions with individuals, i.e. not just give a verbal warning, but document that warning, so the next time an officer has contact with a person for inappropriate behavior, that officer can take stronger corrective action.

City Council is passing an unprecedented level of experimental legislation at the same time that our city budget and bureaucracy is very bloated, with little direct accountability for outcomes.  How can you bring pragmatism and follow-through on impacts to communities affected? (e.g. small landlords, small businesses, neighborhoods).

I want to create Citizen Oversight Commissions with actual power to propose corrective legislation, including a Budget Review Commission.  We need to bring small landlords and tenants to the same meeting, and help negotiate a balance which protects tenant rights while not creating overly onerous legislation for small landlords.  The concerns of small businesses, particularly legacy businesses, must be taken into account by City leadership.  Neighborhoods should have a voice in development to ensure development serves the needs of the community, rather than the community serving the profitability of the developers.  The City Council must invite impacted parties to the table for genuine input BEFORE legislation is passed.

The opioid epidemic is playing out painfully in our neighborhoods (like Ballard).  No one on city council seems to recognize the impacts to business costs, home safety, devastation to parks and green spaces and urban disorder.  How can we make better progress helping individuals in need and also mitigating the wide abuses to communities (not NIMBY, not hysterical)?

We all have a responsibility to be contributing members of society to the best of our abilities.  Drug addicts must be offered detox, rehabilitation and/or legal alternatives to illicit drugs (such as Suboxone).  Most people will accept services in lieu of jail time if they are confronted by law enforcement when they have committed a crime.

What are your thoughts on the issue of AirBnB/HomeAway rentals and reduction in long term rental apartments?  Where are the appropriate? How can city manage?

Short-term rental units should be registered with the City.  There should be oversight to ensure units aren’t clustered in single areas.  AirBnB/HomeAway landlords should be required to pay the same taxes as hotels, which make substantial investments to boost tourism in Seattle.

Would you hire your staff based the first qualified applicant. No need for interview, Obviously not, so what is your position on requiring landlords to rent to the first in line?

I disagree with this policy.  Landlords have a right to protect their property, and particularly to choose who might live in the same home with them.  There are better ways to help people with a criminal record to obtain proper, permanent housing.

I no longer feel safe in Magnolia on the bus to my downtown office or walking around the city – day or night because of the homeless issues.  How do you plan to address these?  How much do you think this homeless problem stems from drug abuse?

I want to create a campus with wrap-around services on-site for the homeless, thereby getting everyone off the streets and into proper shelter.  I think a large portion of the homeless population has a drug abuse problem, so the wrap-around services must include drug intervention services.

There have been advocates to rezone single family housing zones to multi-family and to relax the rules for parking and requiring a property owner to  live on the property.  Do you support these initiatives?  Why?  There are serious issues with too much garbage and noise and not enough parking.

I do not support any of these initiatives, because all of them negatively impact livability.

I can no longer afford to live in my own city.  Seattle rents have experienced the highest increase of any major city in the country.  What is your specific plan to create affordable housing?

We have let developers do as they please.  It is time to demand an adequate percentage of affordable units, across the affordability spectrum, in all new developments.  The City also needs to monitor the affordable units to ensure affordable rents are being charged – right now we have an honor system.  We may have to enact rent controls on large landlords.

What do you plan to do to address the traffic situation in the city? There are some easy ways to address these without just spending more money –

We need to increase buses on over-crowded routes.  I also propose a gondola system, taking advantage of our natural geography.  It would be far less expensive to build than fixed-rail, could be built faster, and would be an excellent option to reduce gridlock and get people out of their cars.

Seattle is experiencing unprecedented traffic gridlock.  What specifically will you do to was traffic congestion?

See answer to question above.  Also, we must stop allowing developers to block our streets during rush hour (a.m. and p.m.).


Question for City Council candidates received via email [Shortened version]:

Currently, under the “green house” regulations, there is a minimum number of trees that need to be put on a construction site.  Unfortunately, there are no regulations about the appropriateness of the species of trees that  are planted on each lot where the construction of the “green house” is.  There is no protection for the neighbors, as large trees are planted close the houses possibly undermining foundations or allowing rodent access to roofs.  The people at DPD were very clear that the situation is very bad.  The bottom line is that the responsibility for the current rules regarding the “green houses” belongs to City Council. Are you willing to address this issue?

Yes. Some of these problems would be addressed if we required more open space and adequate setbacks from lot lines. With enough open space, trees could be planted properly.

Letter to City Council Candidates, Answers From Candidate Jon Grant

Questions for City Council candidates from the audience – Candidate Forum September 12, 2017

Responses from candidate Jon Grant:

With police reform and equitable justice being such timely issues and the homelessness, addiction and mental health crises playing out so publicly) how can city council help re-establish civic norms of public safety and individual responsibility (not just individual rights)? How can we make up for lost time in rebuilding a right-sized police force with officers who are connected to the communities they serve? Better protect our parks and public spaces from mis-use?

Police reform and addressing our homelessness crisis are two central issues to our campaign.

We should invest in rebuilding the Community Service Officer (CSO) program, which places unarmed Seattle Police Department employees in communities to respond to low-level calls like property crimes and landlord-tenant disputes. The CSO program was dismantled in 2004; it’s time to bring it back. CSOs could play an important role in working with houseless people and individuals dealing with drug addiction by connecting people to services instead of routing them into the criminal justice system.

We must also bring bold solutions to our homelessness crisis. My campaign is the only campaign to have put forward a funded proposal to build 5,000 units of low-income and homeless housing to ensure that people get off the streets and into permanent housing.

City Council is passing an unprecedented level of experimental legislation at the same time that our city budget and bureaucracy is very bloated, with little direct accountability for outcomes. How can you bring pragmatism and follow-through on impacts to communities affected? (e.g. small landlords, small businesses, neighborhoods).

Many in our communities agree that our city government is unaccountable to the communities it serves. I am running to be a community advocate on city council, who will be responsive to concerns from regular constituents. My campaign does not accept any donations from corporations, CEOs or downtown developers. Instead, 90% of our funding comes from publicly financed Democracy Vouchers, which means I will always be accountable to you, not special interests and not big money.

The opiod epidemic is playing out painfully in our neighborhoods (like Ballard). No one on city council seems to recognize the impacts to business costs, home safety, devastation to parks and green spaces and urban disorder. How can we make better progress helping individuals in need and also mitigating the wide abuses to communities (not NIMBY, not hysterical)?

I support expanding the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program citywide. This program can help address our opioid crisis by getting people into treatment. The LEAD program provides caseworkers to chronically homeless individuals, low-level drug dealers and users, instead of pushing those people into the criminal justice system. The LEAD program has reduced criminal recidivism rates by up to 60% among the population it serves. We should expand the LEAD program citywide to better serve our communities. In 2018, we can challenge the County to match $1 million in city funding and we should set a goal to reach $5 million in yearly funding long-term to bring LEAD citywide.

What are your thoughts on the issue of AirBnB/HomeAway rentals and reduction in long term rental apartments? Where are the appropriate? How can city manage?

Like many in our city, I am concerned about the impact of AirBnB on our stock of long-term rental apartments. We should guard against entire homes or apartments becoming permanent short-term rentals when we are in the midst of an affordable housing crisis.

Would you hire your staff based the first qualified applicant. No need for interview, obviously not, so what is your position on requiring landlords to rent to the first in line?

The first in time requirement is an important tool in protecting against housing discrimination in our rental market. It also important to point out that the legislation does not require you to accept the first applicant; it requires you to accept the first qualified applicant. That means landlords can still set screening criteria when making a rental decision. In fact, this requirement is already a recommended best practice by the Rental Housing Association of Washington and the new legislation just codifies this best practice. When landlords pick one renter among multiple qualified applicants, their own biases, whether conscious or unconscious, may come into play. Landlords are still able to set their minimum screening criteria to determine qualifications.

I no longer feel safe in Magnolia on the bus to my downtown office or walking around the city – day or night because of the homeless issues. How do you plan to address these? How much do you think this homeless problem stems from drug abuse?

We are seeing a crisis of leadership with regards to our homelessness crisis. We had a ten year plan to end homeless that came and went. But in 2017, over 8,500 people were homeless in Seattle, including nearly 4,000 people sleeping unsheltered. Our city administration has doubled down on ineffective policies that further destabilize our houseless neighbors and do not effectively transition people into stable housing. It’s clear we need a new path forward.

It is time for the belief that housing is a human right to no longer be a noble catchphrase, but a funded policy that can be put into practice. Our campaign proposes building 5,000 homes in five years, which will effectively end unsheltered homelessness in Seattle.

To fund this proposal to build 5,000 homes in five years, we must increase the city’s corporate tax rate by 31 cents per $100 of revenue on the service sector and 16 cents per $100 of revenue on retail businesses. At the same time, we must raise the Business and Occupation tax exemption from $100,000 to $1 million dollars of yearly revenue.

This proposal provides needed tax relief to two-thirds of Seattle small businesses, while raising enough revenue to build 5,000 units of deeply affordable housing for the homeless in five years.

Seattleites have been more than generous with taxing themselves with levy after levy. But property taxes can be regressive, and low income and fixed income homeowners are feeling squeezed. This proposal ensures big business will pay its fair share.

There have been advocates to rezone single family housing zones to multi family and to relax the rules for parking and requiring a property owner to live on the property. Do you support these initiatives? Why? There are serious issues with too much garbage and noise and not enough parking.

I believe it is critical that we take an affordable housing and anti-displacement lens to our zoning policies. With 100,000 people moving to Seattle in the next ten years, we will need to expand our housing stock to accommodate them. However, I do not support a one-size-fits-all upzone policy and I support ensuring that neighborhoods have a say in how they grow. It is critical that we protect against displacement of existing low-income residents and ensure that new development includes housing that is affordable to working people. The city’s current policy, developed in concert with our biggest developers, is not a policy that serves our community.

I can no longer afford to live in my own city. Seattle rents have experienced the highest increase of any major city in the country. What is your specific plan to create affordable housing?

Across the country the cities with the worst housing affordability crises have already imposed a 25% affordability requirement on all new development. Seattle must do this too. Given the tremendous job growth in our city we must require developers to share the cost of mitigating the demand on our affordable housing stock.

Given the incredible and increasing demand for housing, the city has a tremendous bargaining position with private developers. The city has so far asked for very little; currently our affordability requirements are as low as 2% in some parts of the city. It’s time for us to demand more.

What do you plan to to to address the traffic situation in the city? There are some easy ways to address these without just spending more money –

 

Seattle is experiencing unprecedented traffic gridlock. What specifically will you do to was traffic congestion?

Our region is growing rapidly, with thousands of people moving each week. At the same time, we have seen traffic gridlock get worse and worse. We cannot address our traffic crisis without investing in public transportation alternatives that get cars off our roads. We should explore local funding options and permitting processes to speed up construction of light rail and we should bring back the employee hours tax to fund local bus service.


Question for City Council candidates received via email [Shortened version]:

Currently, under the “green house” regulations, there is a minimum number of trees that need to be put on a construction site.  Unfortunately, there are no regulations about the appropriateness of the species of trees that  are planted on each lot where the construction of the “green house” is.  There is no protection for the neighbors, as large trees are planted close the houses possibly undermining foundations or allowing rodent access to roofs. The people at DPD were very clear that the situation is very bad.  The bottom line is that the responsibility for the current rules regarding the “green houses” belongs to City Council. Are you willing to address this issue?

Yes, definitely. The real issue here is our city government not standing up to developers in advocating for the community’s interests. Unlike my opponent, I do not accept donations from big developers. You can be confident I will be a voice for community members who raise concerns about unaccountable developers.

Mayoral Candidate Forum Video – September 8, 2017

The Magnolia Community Council and fellow sponsoring organizations want to thank Gordon Strand for moderating the Mayoral Candidate Forum and the oral history team at the Nordic Heritage Museum for producing the following YouTube video of mayoral candidates Jenny Durkan and Cary Moon responding to questions from the community.

Mayoral Candidate Forum – September 8, 2017

Letter to Port Commission Candidates, Unanswered Questions from the Community – September 19, 2017

Response from candidate Peter Steinbrueck – September 22, 2017:

Since the Port candidates forum in Magnolia, I met with members of the Shilshole Marina liveaboard community,  and now have a much better understanding of their concerns over parking and add-on moorage fees for liveaboards at Shilshole Marina. I believe the fees should be fair, reasonable, and equitable. If I’m elected to the Port Commission, I will be happy to hold a community forum to hear concerns, and review and consider changes to Shilshole Marina’s liveaboards’ added moorage fees and parking rate structure.

Peter Steinbrueck


Response from candidate Preeti Shridhar – September 20, 2017:

Thanks for the opportunity.

My key considerations are:
1) The first parking decal for long-term moorage customers is free;
2) There will be less parking available during the next two years of construction and therefore supply and demand would affect the fee;
3) Parking fees were raised at the direction of former CEO Ted Fick. Now with a new Executive Director and Maritime Division Director being hired I would want to revisit that decision with them. Primarily I want to know why the fee went up and what the money is being used for.

Based on those factors, I would consult with the two new executives and the marina staff and either roll back the fee immediately or when construction is done.

Preeti Shridhar


Response from candidate Ryan Calkins – September 20, 2017:

Thank you for following up with the question. While this may seem like a fairly simple question, I think it points to a larger question, which is, what role does the Commission play in the day-to-day operations of the Port of Seattle. My philosophy about the Port Commission is that it should play an oversight role, ensuring that the Port, a significant public asset for our region, continues to serve its mission of economic growth and to promote the public good. Commissioners should be providing guidance for the management team of the Port of Seattle. Returning to your question about the rate of the second parking decal for those mooring at Shilshole Marina, my answer would be to request information from Port staff about why the rates had increased so precipitously. If there is a compelling case for why rates needed to increase (for example, to pay for unexpected maintenance costs or to reduce demand), I would support the decision of the Port staff. If there were no compelling reason, and if the rate increase were creating undue hardship for the tenants, I would support reconsideration.

Sincerely,
Ryan Calkins


September 19, 2017

Dear Port Commission Candidates,

Thank you for attending our September 12 Forum here in Magnolia presented by the Queen Anne, Ballard, and Magnolia community groups, the Nordic Heritage Museum and The Queen Anne Magnolia News. We appreciate your stepping forward to stand for election to this important post.

At our Forum, we promised the attendees that we would submit unanswered written questions to the appropriate candidates and post the responses on our Magnolia Community Council website. The following question was received for Port Commission candidates: Please respond within a week.

Port Commission candidates:

2nd parking decal at Shilshole was $30 in 2004

2nd parking decal at Shilshole was $65.76 in 2015

2nd parking decal at Shilshole was $240 in 2016

2nd parking decal at Shilshole was $300 in 2017

If you are elected to the port of Seattle will you propose rolling back the second parking decal at Shilshole bay marina to $65?

Thank you,

Bruce D. Carter

Magnolia Community Council

Letter to City Council Candidates, Unanswered Questions from the Community – September 19, 2017

Updated October 13, 2017

Responses from candidate Pat Murakami

Responses from candidate Jon Grant


September 19, 2017

Dear Seattle City Council Candidates,

Thank you for attending our September 12 Forum here in Magnolia presented by the Queen Anne, Ballard, and Magnolia community groups, the Nordic Heritage Museum and The Queen Anne Magnolia News. We appreciate  your stepping forward to stand for election to this important post.

At our Forum, we promised the attendees that we would submit unanswered written questions to the appropriate candidates and post the responses on our Magnolia Community Council website. The attached questions were received  for Seattle City Council candidates.

We will appreciate it if you can respond within a week so we can promptly post your responses.

Thank you,

Bruce D. Carter

Magnolia Community Council


Questions for candidates from audience 9/12/2017 [Questions typed as written on card.]

City Council Candidate Questions from the Audience

With police reform and equitable justice being such timely issues and the homelessness, addiction and mental health crises playing out so publicly) how can city council help re-establish civic norms of public safety and individual responsibility (not just individual rights)? How can we make up for lost time in rebuilding a right-sized police force with officers who are connected to the communities they serve? Better protect our parks and public spaces from misuse?

 

City Council is passing an unprecedented level of experimental legislation at the same time that our city budget and bureaucracy is very bloated, with little direct accountability for outcomes. How can you bring pragmatism and follow-through on impacts to communities affected? (e.g. small landlords, small businesses, neighborhoods).

 

The opiod epidemic is playing out painfully in our neighborhoods (like Ballard). No one on city council seems to recognize the impacts to business costs, home safety, devastation to parks and green spaces and urban disorder. How can we make better progress helping individuals in need and also mitigating the wide abuses to communities (not NIMBY, not hysterical)?

 

What is your thoughts on the issue of AirBnB/HomeAway rentals and reduction in long term rental apartments? Where are the appropriate? How can city manage?

 

Would you hire your staff based the first qualified applicant. No need fro interview, Obviously not, So what is your position on requiring landlords to rent to the first in line?

 

I no longer feel safe in Magnolia on the bus to my downtown office or walking around the city – day or night because of the homeless issues. How do you plan to address these? How much do you think this homeless problem stems from drug abuse?

 

There have been advocates to rezone single family housing zones to multi family and to relax the rules for parking and requiring a property owner to live on the property. Do you support these initiatives? Why? There     use serious issues with too much garbage and noise and not enough parking.

 

I can no longer afford to live in my own city. Seattle rents have experienced the highest increase of any major city in the country. What is your specific plan to create affordable housing?

 

What do you plan to to to address the traffic situation in the city? There are some easy ways to address these without just spending more money –

 

Seattle is experiencing unprecedented traffic gridlock. What specifically will you do to was traffic congestion?


Question for City Council candidates received via email [shortened version above, original question full length shown below]

Shortened question

Currently, under the “green house” regulations, there is a minimum number of trees that need to be put on a construction site.  Unfortunately, there are no regulations about the appropriateness of the species of trees that  are planted on each lot where the construction of the “green house” is.  There is no protection for the neighbors, as large trees are planted close the houses possibly undermining foundations or allowing rodent access to roofs. The people at DPD were very clear that the situation is very bad.  The bottom line is that the responsibility for the current rules regarding the “green houses” belongs to City Council. Are you willing to address this issue?

 

Original question

Currently, under the “green house” regulations, there is a minimum number of trees that need to be put on a construction site.  Unfortunately, there are no regulations about the appropriateness of the species of trees that  are planted on each lot where the construction of the “green house” is.  There is no protection for the neighbors. I recently had a MAGNOLIA grandiflora VICTORIA tree planted TWO feet from my foundation.  These trees are not supposed to be planted any closer than 15′ to a structure according to the City of Seattle guidelines provided to the public.  As it stands, there is no regulation about the number or species of trees planted per square feet of the lot the construction project is on.  I have TWO Magnolias planted 5 feet from my house and one planted 2 feet from my foundation.  These trees can easily ruin my foundation, ruin my roof, allow rodents to walk onto my roof (not jump), clog my gutters, clog my sewer pipes and clog my water line. These are normal occurrences for these trees.  There needs to be some sort of regulations regarding the appropriateness of greenery that  is permitted to be planted around new structures. It appears that the developer who put these truly inappropriate trees in, was hoping to sell to a newly arrived and naive buyer.  There is an entire row of trees that are planted EIGHT Inches from the sidewalk that goes up along the house.  The sidewalk is approximately three feet wide.  Within a couple of years the sidewalk will probably be showing damage from the roots.   The foundation of the house. is attached to the three feet wide sidewalk. A second house that was built above on the very small lot had four enormous Magnolias planted in a five foot strip between the new house and an existing house.  One of the trees was so large, it was not able to stand  up straight.  Instead, it was leaning on the new house.  Both houses will be easily ruined by the beautiful Magnolia trees roots.  At that point, the developer will be long gone. The people at DPD were very clear that the situation is very bad.  The bottom line is that the responsibility for the current rules regarding the “green houses” belongs to City Council. Are you willing to address this issue?

2017 City of Seattle General Election Candidate Forum hosted by the Magnolia, Ballard and Queen Anne Communities, September 12

You are invited to the 2017 General Election Candidate Forum hosted by the Magnolia, Ballard and Queen Anne Communities on the evening of September 12

Contact: Carol Burton: (206)-691-1298

A Candidate Forum featuring general election candidates running for local positions will be held on Tuesday, September 12th at 6:30 p.m. The Forum, moderated by retired County Councilmember Larry Phillips, will include short presentations from each candidate and community-focused questions on the elections. We encourage all members of the community to attend to hear, see and question the candidates. The Candidate Forum will be held at:

United Church of Christ – Pilgrim Hall
3555 W. McGraw
Seattle, WA 98199

Candidates for the following positions are expected to present: Seattle Mayor; Seattle Council Districts 8 and 9; Port Commissioners and King County Sheriff.

Please submit your suggested written questions for candidates by August 29 to magnoliacommunityclub@gmail.com. Written suggested questions may also be submitted at the event.

Due to scheduling conflicts, the mayoral candidate presentations will be pre-recorded on September 8 at 1:00 pm at the Nordic Heritage Museum at 3014 NW 67th St, Seattle, WA. All are welcome to attend the pre-recording.

This event is co-hosted by:  Magnolia Community Council, Queen Anne Community Council, Ballard District Council, Queen Anne & Magnolia News, Nordic Heritage Museum, Shilshole Liveaboard Association,  and The Coalition: Magnolia, Queen Anne and Interbay Neighborhoods.