4 to Explore: A Northeast Neighborhoods Newsletter

1 Meeting to Connect

1 Meeting to Connect

Seriously Save Seattle’s Trees

Remember that tree you loved to climb as a kid? Several tree advocates have raised concerns that real estate developers would be able to rip out the trees we love with the damaging changes to our tree protection laws proposed by Councilmember Rob Johnson.

The idea of protecting trees was started by a well-meaning Executive Order from then-Mayor Tim Burgess.  But some City Councilmembers, led by Rob Johnson, have twisted the positive concept so that, like “Alice in Wonderland,” up is down and down is up. The new ordinance, cynically dubbed “Trees for All,” would actually destroy more trees. While claiming to care about the environment and climate change, the current proposal would carve more loopholes in the city’s tree protection law.  Instead of whittling down the law, our elected officials should listen to their constituents and strengthen the law to preserve the larger trees we cherish while planting many more new trees so that we truly remain the Emerald City.

Councilmember Johnson cynically timed this weaker tree ordinance exactly when community groups are knee-deep spending their time and resources fighting City Hall’s inadequate Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) triggered by the Ed Murray/Rob Johnson “H.A.L.A” proposal. Being forced upon communities throughout Seattle, the “M.H.A.” provision of H.A.L.A. requires real estate developers to build or write a check for a relatively small percentage of affordable housing in exchange for the ability to construction larger buildings. (For the most recent Op Ed about the upzones, CLICK HERE.)

While I was not a “tree-hugger” before researching this article, City Hall’s apparent assault on trees that are essential to our quality of life had me envisioning how I would not only hug a tree but also chain myself to it to prevent its removal.

Everyone loves trees. No matter your age, background, or ambitions, big trees provide beauty, oxygen, comfort. The benefits branch out like a leafy green democracy. Because big trees take decades to grow, planting little sticks in their place is not equivalent. Therefore, when our elected leaders propose laws that would allow more big trees to be ripped out, that’s wrong and should be stopped.

Saving big trees is also fiscally responsible. How? Keeping an existing tree is free. Moreover, trees provides health benefits. According to an article in The Atlantic, “It is becoming increasingly clear that trees help people live longer, healthier, happier lives—to the tune of $6.8 billion in averted health costs annually in the U.S., according to research published this week.”

What needs to change:  The City should immediately cancel / retract its flimsy and disingenuous “Determination of Non-Significance” (DNS).  The DNS seems wrong on its face. Moreover, a DNS from city officials forces regular folks who care about trees and have better ways to spend their time and life savings, to file a legal challenge to City Hall.

In addition, the advocacy group “Friends of Urban Forests” is asking City Hall to:

  1. Allow more time for possible changes, analysis of impacts, and public input on the current tree ordinance draft by delaying action to the beginning of 2019 as recommended by the Seattle Urban Forestry Commission.  [UPDATE: It seems some City Councilmembers heard this plea, according to the statement they issued Sept 12, 2018: CLICK HERE.]
  2. Put back existing protections for Exceptional Trees  (“An exceptional tree: 1. Is designated as a heritage tree by the City of Seattle; or 2. Is rare of exceptional by virtue of its size, species, condition, cultural/historic importance, age, and/or contribution as part of a grove of trees.” Lower the threshold for large exceptional trees to 24″ diameter at 54 inches high (DBH*).
  3. Limit removal of trees to no more than 2 per year on developed property
  4. Put back the prohibition on cutting down trees greater than 6″ DBH on undeveloped lots.
  5. Base tree permits on diameter and species of trees, not tree canopy measurements.
  6. Require all trees 6″ DBH and larger that are removed to be replaced on site or off site or a replacement and maintenance fee must be paid to the City.
  7. Require 2 week posting and yellow ribbons on trees for all permits for removal; include a online public posting of applications and permit approvals.
[ * Here’s how you measure “diameter at breast height” (D.B.H.):  at 4 1/2 feet or 54 inches above the ground, wrap a measuring tape around the tree trunk and divide by Pi (3.14). Example, if the tape measures the tree’s circumference as 6.5 feet around, that’s 78 inches divided by 3.14 = 24.8 inches – Exceptional! For a video on how to measure, CLICK HERE.]

This season’s “Meeting to Connect” is SERIOUSLY SAVE SEATTLE’S TREES.

BEFORE: (lovely mature trees on corner of NE 50th Street and 15th Ave NE)
photo of bulldozer at NE 50th Street & Brooklyn on March 7, 2017

AFTER: (trees removed thanks to weak city policies):
photo of bulldozer at NE 50th Street & Brooklyn on March 7, 2017

MORE INFO:

  • For an article in “The Atlantic” on the health benefits of trees, CLICK HERE.
  • For a good example of how architects and developers actually listed to neighbors to retain trees, setbacks, and parking (Bryant Heights), CLICK HERE.
  • For the most recent version of the proposed ordinance, CLICK HERE.
  • For condescending Disneyland diagram of how the new ordinance will make everything super called “Trees for All”, CLICK HERE.
  • For the Sept 12 statement from City Councilmembers indicating they MIGHT amend their proposal for the better, CLICK HERE. But let’s be vigilant and see what the next version of their legislation actually says.
  • For the Friends of Urban Forests, CLICK HERE and for Tree PAC, CLICK HERE.
  • For the Urban Forestry Commission, CLICK HERE.
  • For the Urban Forestry Commission’s letter criticizing the proposed ordinance, CLICK HERE.
  • For more about how important trees are to birds and other wildlife, CLICK HERE for the AUDUBON STORE (The Nature Shop) in Northeast Seattle.
  • For a more passionate piece on this topic, CLICK HERE for “Outside City Hall”
  • For a view more favorable toward the proposed ordinance, see the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties: CLICK HERE.

MORE “MEETINGS TO CONNECT” 

  • WHAT: CITY BUDGET DELIBERATIONS (for 2019)
  • WHEN: Of the over 35 budget meetings Sept 24 to Nov 19, 2018, here are some key ones:
    • Monday, Sept 24 at 2:00 p.m.: Mayor’s presentation
    • Wednesday, Sept 26 at 6:30 p.m.: District 5 (far Northeast/North Seattle) at Bitter Lake Community Center, 13035 Linden Ave. N. with Councilmember Debora Juarez and Budget Director Ben Noble.
    • Thursday, October 4 at 5:30 p.m.: Public Hearing (location t.b.d.)
    • Monday, November 19 at 2:00 p.m.: Final Adoption
  • WHERE: usually City Hall (or watch on Seattle Channel), except for Sept 26 and Oct 4 (see above).
  • WHO: lobbyists, interest groups, sycophants and, hopefully, the people of Seattle
  • WHY: because it’s YOUR $5 billion and YOUR city
  • MORE INFO:

1 Meeting to Connect

NATIONAL NIGHT OUT and more!

Can setting up a barbecue in the middle of your street make your neighborhood safer? YES it can — on NATIONAL NIGHT OUT.

On Tuesday, Aug 7, 2018 after 6 p.m. (which is also Election Day), your neighbors throughout Northeast Seattle will connect and enjoy food on their blocks. Connecting with neighbors makes everyone safer.

As we know, Northeast Seattle has suffered its share of significant crime incidents, including the recent home invasion and shooting in Bryant, scary school lock-downs, frequent bank robberies (such as Key Bank in Wedgwood), and the horrific multiple shooting at Cafe Racer.

This season’s “Meeting to Connect” is NATIONAL NIGHT OUT.

  • WHAT: National Night Out (crime prevention and neighborhood bonding)
  • WHO: You and your neighbors, Seattle Police & Fire Departments
  • WHEN: Tuesday, August 7 from 6:00 p.m. into the evening
  • WHERE: on a neighborhood block near you. To set up a block party or find one nearby, CLICK HERE.

If you prefer to learn more about Seattle’s National Night Out on Facebook, CLICK HERE.

While our Police Department has made tremendous strides reforming how it uses force and analyzing data to fight crime under Police Chiefs Kathleen O’Toole and Carmen Best, our new Mayor Jenny Durkan is in the process of selecting a new Chief from among 3 finalists. My former boss Tim Burgess played a key role in conducting a national search for a highly qualified replacement who can solidify the reforms as required by the federal judge. Stay tuned.

— The head of our North Precinct continues to be Captain Sean.ODonnell@seattle.gov — and he grew up in NE Seattle!

— Community Policing Officers (solving community issues; not 911): Um, it seems like our police department has veered away from “community policing” as it’s no longer possible to find our community policing officers on the SPD website.  We hope the new police chief embraces community policing to build community and prevent crimes.

— Crime Prevention Coordinator: If you would like to talk to someone at SPD about crime prevention techniques, ongoing crime problems in your neighborhood, getting involved in Block Watch, and setting up a meeting to train you and your neighbors on crime prevention tips, contact Mary.Amberg@seattle.gov or call her at 206-684-7711.

Our North Precinct has been the subject of intense debate about how best to deploy tax dollars for crime prevention and enforcement, specifically how to spend tax dollars to replace the 34-year old station currently across from North Seattle College. Protests derailed the project. For the latest, CLICK HERE. In sum: instead of building a new station on Aurora (Highway 99) soon, the City will extend the useful life of the existing station until decisions can be made on a new station later — perhaps even building two, scaled back stations to cover the large geographic area of the “North Precinct” (entire city north of the ship canal).

If you’re inspired to stay connected with your community after experiencing National Night Out, here are links to some of our community councils:

Be sure to get on your neighborhood email list so that you can report suspicious activity and spot trends together. When in doubt, always call 911.

MORE “MEETINGS TO CONNECT” 

  • WHAT: WEDGWOOD ARTS FESTIVAL
  • WHEN: Sat, July 14 and Sun, July 15, 2018 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • WHERE: Our Lady of Lake Parish at 35th Ave NE and NE 89th St
  • WHO: you, your neighbors, and art lovers
  • WHY: art, music, food, fun
  • DETAILS: CLICK HERE
  • WHAT: MAPLE LEAF ICE CREAM SUMMER SOCIAL
  • WHEN: Wednesday, July 18, 2018 at 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
  • WHERE: Maple Leaf Park on Roosevelt Way NE at NE 83rd Street
  • WHO: you, your neighbors, and ice cream lovers
  • WHY: ice cream
  • WHAT: LAKE CITY SEAFAIR FESTIVAL & PARADE
  • WHEN: Saturday, Aug 4, 2018 (Parade starts 7:00 p.m.)
  • WHERE: Parade runs south on Lake City Way from 135th Street to 125th Street
  • WHO: you, your neighbors, and seafairing lovers
  • WHY: Seafair!
  • DETAILS: CLICK HERE for website CLICK HERE for their Facebook.
Neighborhoods endure. But it takes neighbors like you to keep them going. Connect!

1 Meeting to Connect

Ravenna-Bryant Annual Meeting and other Community Councils

No matter which neighborhood you call home in Northeast Seattle, there is a Community Council of active volunteers who track important local issues, lead frequent meetings to inform the public, and raise concerns to government officials.

The community council covering one of the largest geographic areas in Northeast Seattle is the Ravenna-Bryant Community Association (RBCA).

To learn about RBCA’s key accomplishments for the neighborhoods in 2017, CLICK HERE. Most recently, the RBCA has been advocating for traffic-calming, pedestrian safety measures on Northeast 65th Street.

This season’s “Meeting to Connect” is the annual gathering of the RAVENNA-BRYANT COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION.

  • WHAT: general membership annual meeting of the Ravenna-Bryant Community Association (you don’t need to be a member to attend)
  • WHEN: Monday, April 2, 2018 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
  • WHERE: Ravenna-Eckstein Community Center at 6535 Ravenna Ave NE, Seattle, WA 98115
  • WHO: you, your neighbors, and city officials — including the Assistant Chief of the Seattle Police Department (SPD)
  • WHY: because you love where you live

Board members of RBCA (and most community councils) meet monthly and bring a diversity of views on how to be good stewards for the neighborhoods. The current chair is Inga Manskopf, with previous chairs including Sarah Swanberg and former candidate for City Council Tony Provine. Add your voice to the mix.

The Special Guest will be Assistant Chief of Seattle Police Department Steve Wilske. As we know, Northeast Seattle has suffered its share of significant crime incidents, including the recent home invasion and shooting in Bryant, scary school lock-downs, frequent bank robberies (such as Key Bank in Wedgwood), and the horrific multiple shooting at Cafe Racer.

The Assistant Chief can answer your questions and will likely advise us to call 9-1-1 for nearly every public safety concern, even if it’s not an emergency because it enables SPD to use those statistics to deploy resources, such as police patrols.

Crime Prevention Coordinator: If you would like to talk to someone at SPD about crime prevention techniques, ongoing crime problems in your neighborhood, getting involved in Block Watch, and setting up a meeting to train you and your neighbors on crime prevention tips, contact Mary.Amberg@seattle.gov or call her at 206-684-7711.

One of the best ways to get involved in your neighborhood is to attend the community council in your neighborhood and subscribe to their newsletters. Click on the links below to see their next monthly meeting:

To subscribe to RBCA’s e-newsletter, CLICK HERE. The Ravenna Blog seems to be most active on Twitter, which you can access by CLICKING HERE.

MORE “MEETINGS TO CONNECT” (from the sample of Northeast Seattle community groups listed above):

  • WHAT: University Park Community Club (UPCC) shares information about “Mobility” around the incoming Sound Transit light rail station at Brooklyn Ave NE in the heart of the U District.
  • WHEN: Wednesday, April 18, 2018 at 7:00 p.m.
  • WHERE: University Lutheran Church at 16th Ave NE and NE 50th St Seattle, WA 98108
  • WHO: you and your neighbors and local transportation experts
  • WHY: because you want to learn more about the light rail station that opens in 2021. Will there be a way to drive there and drop off your family members?

Community Councils of connected neighborhoods used to join together to collaborate and share information at a district level, forming 13 District Councils across Seattle. Disappointingly, Former Ed Murray abandoned the all-volunteer District Councils. Some believe he did this because many of those groups were opposing the centerpiece of his H.A.L.A. recommendations: the top-down, back-room deal to grant citywide upzones to real estate developers in exchange for funding some affordable housing in the future. The irony is that the volunteers still meet in neighborhoods throughout the City, while the former Mayor was abandoned.

Neighborhoods endure. But it takes neighbors like you to keep them going. Connect!

1 Meeting to Connect

Forum on School Funding

Overcrowded classrooms make it harder to teach and learn. Schools in North Seattle continue to burst at the seams even as regressive taxes keep rising.  Yet our Seattle Mayors and City Councilmembers consistently dodge a key source of money for our schools:  Developer Impact Fees.

Although we are accustomed to blaming our State officials in Olympia for poor policy and funding decisions for our public schools (much of which is still warranted), our city officials also have tools they refuse to use.

Impact Fees, already authorized by State law, enable cities to charge for-profit developers a fee to help construct and renovate schools, fire stations, parks, and nearby streets to mitigate the impact the new real estate developments have on communities. Impact Fees could help relieve overcrowded classrooms. Savvy city leaders collect Impact Fees throughout Washington State (including other Puget Sound cities) and the nation.  Why not in Seattle?

Asked at the December 6, 2017 meeting of Wallingford Community Council about charging developers Impact Fees, Councilmember Rob Johnson replied lamely, “I don’t know the status of impact fees.” Yet he’s the chair of the City’s land use committee that would craft such fees. He suggested checking in with Councilmember Mike O’Brien. O’Brien and Sally Bagshaw surprised supporters of impact fees by penning an Op Ed in the Seattle Times along with affordable housing expert Lisa Herbold called “Seattle is Overdue for Developer Impact Fees.” But that was back in July 2017 and nothing has happened — even with the opportunity to direct policy or research funding during the Oct-Nov budget process.

This season’s “Meeting to Connect” is a FORUM ON SCHOOL FUNDINGorganized by local Parent-Teacher-Student Associations (PTSAs).

  • WHAT: School Funding Forum
  • WHEN: Wednesday, Jan 3, 2018 at 7:30 p.m.
  • WHO: you, your fellow parents, grandparents, guardians and others in the neighborhood passionate about fully funding public schools
  • HOSTED BY: local PTSAs
  • WHERE: Hamilton Middle School 1610 N. 41st Street, WA 98103.

At this meeting, we need to collectively ask, “Why have city leaders failed to collect $$$ from Developer Impact Fees?”

Here is the official invitation to the meeting from the PTSAs: “You may have heard rumors of recent new funding for Washington state’s schools and restrictions by the state on the use of local levies. At the same time, Seattle Public Schools forecasts a budget shortfall, with increasingly overcrowded schools and even basic projects like refurbishing Lincoln High School remaining underfunded.

Join us at 7:30pm on January 3rd in the Hamilton International Middle School library to hear from our local legislators on how Seattle will be impacted by recent and upcoming legislation, and what you can do about it.

Panelists will include:

  • Washington State Senator Jamie Pedersen (District 43)
  • Washington State Representative Nicole Macri (District 43)
  • Seattle Public Schools Director Rick Burke (District 2)
  • Seattle City Councilman Rob Johnson (NE Seattle)

We’ll hear from each member of the panel as well as take questions from parents…”

For budget news and views from the Seattle School District, CLICK HERE.

Later this year, city leaders will be asking voters to renew the property taxes that fund both the Families & Education Levy and the highly successful Seattle Preschool Program. Before asking existing homeowners AND renters to increase regressive property taxes again, City Hall should enact Impact Fees to show that we are leveraging all available resources. It’s an equity issue:  investors benefiting from the city’s growth should contribute their fair share. As Nikkita Oliver deftly framed the issue earlier this year, real estate investors are people, too, and of course they should care about education and infrastructure. Investors should want the people for whom they build their buildings to enjoy healthy communities. It’s good for business and it’s the right thing to do. Moreover, it’s important to note that the blame/burden rests not with for-profit developers who naturally strive to build profitable projects while trying to influence an unpredictable City Hall. The responsibility rests with City Hall officials — those serving the public must show the political will to craft a fair deal for the public.

MORE “MEETINGS TO CONNECT”:  Upzoning Your Neighborhood. As mentioned in our Holiday Edition, City Hall plans to upzone your neighborhood whether you want it or not. To tell City Hall how you feel about it, CLICK HERE for our article. The upzone meetings are Jan 30, 2018 at Hamilton Middle School and Feb 28, 2018 at Whitman Middle School, both at 6 p.m. Engage with your neighbors!

1 Meeting to Connect

H.A.L.A. Open Houses / Community Protests

Booming population. Choking streets. Skyrocketing costs.

Managing growth in Seattle was a key campaign issue this past November as we voted for a new Mayor and both city-wide Councilmembers. Despite some new leadership, City Hall is plowing ahead with the land use and housing policies hatched by disgraced Mayor Ed Murray — his backroom deal with influential real estate developers called H.A.L.A. (Housing Affordability & Livability Agenda).

As part of its plan to up-zone 27 Seattle neighborhoods, the city government released its Final Environmental Impact Statement (Final EIS) on Nov 9, 2017 and is hosting “Open Houses” to tell us all what to expect regarding upzones in our neighborhoods.

According to the City website, “Come and review maps of proposed MHA zoning changes to your urban Village.

District 4 includes the following urban villages:
Eastlake, Fremont, Greenlake, Roosevelt, U-District, Wallingford

Districts 5 + 6 includes the following urban villages: Aurora-Licton Springs, Ballard, Bitter Lake, Crown Hill, Greewood-Phinney Ridge, Lake City, Northgate.”

Unfortunately, the Final EIS fails to adequately address how the city will handle the increased pressures on bus service, school capacity, parks, trees, and other issues. For example, Section 1.43 (page 75 of the 1,050 page document) offers a lame response to how the Seattle Public School (SPS) District would respond to the city government’s 27 upzones: “SPS would respond to the exceedance of capacity as it has done in the past, by adjusting school boundaries and/or geographic zones, adding/ removing portables, adding/renovating buildings, reopening closed buildings or schools, and/or pursuing future capital programs.”  While the upzones will financially benefit many real estate investors, the final EIS has no specifics, timeline, or decision on whether to require Impact Fees — which could help to build schools here in Seattle like they do throughout Washington State and the nation.

Moreover, while City Hall leaders wring their hands about economic inequities, their Final EIS also fails to address the economic displacement of existing residents.

Due to the shortcomings of the City’s massive upzone plans, a coalition of community groups is protesting HALA by formally appealing the Final E.I.S. For information about coalition or to support it, CLICK HERE. For mainstream media coverage of their formal appeal, CLICK HERE.

In addition to the concerns mentioned above, many are upset by the lack of true affordable housing in the so-called “Mandatory Housing Affordability” (MHA) policy that accompanies the upzones. They feel our city government is “giving away the store” to for-profit developers by not having them set-aside more apartment units for low-income tenants. That’s because city government is allowing for-profit developers not only to build more market-rate (un-affordable units) than authorized under today’s zoning code, but also to write a check instead of actually building the urgently needed affordable housing onsite — many would agree that excluding low-income families from your new apartment building is not  “welcoming,”  “equitable,” or “progressive values” as touted by City Hall.

It’s important to note that several real estate developers think HALA will not benefit them. Smaller real estate developers, in particular, often generate a smaller return on investment, depending on the project they are building. The blame/burden rests not with for-profit developers who naturally strive to build profitable projects while trying to influence an unpredictable City Hall, but rather with the City Hall officials and their inability or unwillingness to rigorously use math, business acumen, and best practices to negotiate a fair deal for the public they serve.

For our previous columns on HALA concerns, CLICK HERE.

This season’s “Meeting to Connect“: H.A.L.A. OPEN HOUSES / COMMUNITY PROTESTS.

NORTH SEATTLE DISTRICT 4 upzones:

  • WHAT: Upzones/Mandatory Affordable Housing (MHA) “Open House”
  • WHEN: Tuesday, Jan 30, 2018 at 6:00 p.m.
  • WHO: you, your neighbors, and small businesses fromEastlake, Fremont, Green Lake, Roosevelt, U-District, and Wallingford.
  • HOSTED BY: the City Hall officials pushing H.A.L.A.
  • WHERE: Hamilton Middle School 1610 N. 41st Street, WA 98103.
[UPDATE: There is also an official “public hearing” on Monday, February 12 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Eckstein Middle School 3003 NE 75th Street, Seattle, WA 98115. For the official city link, CLICK HERE. For an article critical of the upzone plans, CLICK HERE for the Eastlake Community Council and access to their Eastlake Newsletter.  It’s doubtful that the feedback from Jan 30 could be incorporated quickly enough to have a public hearing on a specific proposal, which demonstrates once again City Halls’ bogus process of “engaging” with the communities.

 

NORTH SEATTLE DISTRICTS 5 & 6 upzones:

  • WHAT: Upzones/Mandatory Affordable Housing (MHA) “Open House”
  • WHEN: Wed, Feb 28, 2018 at 6:00 p.m.
  • WHO: you, your neighbors, and small businesses fromAurora-Licton Springs, Ballard, Bitter Lake, Crown Hill, Greewood-Phinney Ridge, Lake City, and Northgate
  • HOSTED BY: the City Hall officials pushing H.A.L.A.
  • WHERE: Whitman Middle School gym, 9201 15th Ave NW Seattle, WA 98117

For the full calendar from City Hall, CLICK HERE. For the maps, CLICK HERE.

IDEOLOGUES / LOBBYISTS / INTEREST GROUPS WARNING: The audience might be swarming with activist members of single-issue interest groups — many of whom are funded by the for-profit developers pushing the upzones — and other ideologues encouraged by city officials and lobbyists to attend in order to insulate City Hall from the criticism of the residents and neighborhood businesses skeptical of the upzones. So, find your neighbors and don’t be shy about asking questions of city officials. It’s complicated stuff, requiring overlapping maps and “insider-baseball” land use terminology. Be persistent — the city officials work for you and this is your community.

Like the many Seattle residents who want to grow affordable housing and impede urban sprawl, we have been extremely frustrated with H.A.L.A. because it falls short on both affordability and livability. And, while the changes forced by H.A.L.A. benefit several real estate developers, landowners, and land speculators, City Hall is imposing H.A.L.A. in an undemocratic and divisive manner — pitting well-meaning people against each other and demonizing or steamrolling long-time Seattle residents who express skepticism or concern. Bullying residents is bad policy — it’s not sustainable in Seattle, it’s not scalable to other cities, and it’s just not right.  Without the H.A.L.A. bulldozers revving their engines, the same neighborhood leaders, interest groups, and residents barking at each other over Twitter would probably be enjoying a beer or coffee together, discussing how best to manage growth within Seattle and how to stem the harmful development sprawl spreading rapidly in areas east of the Cascades and throughout the U.S.

photo of bulldozer at NE 50th Street & Brooklyn on March 7, 2017

1 Meeting to Connect

The Debates for Seattle Mayor and City Council

And then there were Two.

Our official prediction for November 7:  Finally a female mayor!

After ongoing blasts from my 8-year old daughter for my prediction that we would celebrate a female President last year, we can finally conclude with 100% certainty that “progressive” Seattle will finally overcome its odd track record of all dude mayors for the past 100 years (though I also love Tim Burgess as mayor.)

This season’s “Meeting to Connect”: THE DEBATES FOR SEATTLE MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL.

photo of bulldozer at NE 50th Street & Brooklyn on March 7, 2017

CITY COUNCIL:

Option #1

  • WHAT: City Council Candidates Debate
  • WHEN: Wednesday, October 18 at 6:00 p.m.
  • WHO: Jon Grant, Teresa Mosqueda, Lorena Gonzalez, Pat Murakami, and you.
  • HOSTED BY: Seattle City Club and Seattle Public Library
  • WHERE: Central Library 1000 Fourth Ave, Seattle, WA (downtown) or in your living room in Northeast Seattle with neighbors.
  • ATTEND: If you want attend the event live, CLICK HERE to register.
  • SUBMIT QUESTIONS: Complete City Club’s online form by CLICKING HERE.

Option #2:

  • WHEN: Saturday, Oct 14 at 9:00 a.m. (with breakfast!)
  • WHO: Jon Grant, Teresa Mosqueda, Pat Murakami, and you. (Gonzalez declined.) Moderated by C.R. Douglas!
  • HOSTED BY: Seattle Neighborhood Coalition
  • WHERE: 500 30th Ave S, Seattle, WA

MAYOR:

  • WHAT: Mayoral Debate
  • WHEN: Tuesday, October 24 at 6:30 p.m.
  • WHO: Jenny Durkan, Cary Moon, and you.
  • HOSTED BY: Seattle City Club, KING 5, KUOW, and GeekWire
  • WHERE: Starbucks Support Center 2401 Utah Street South, Seattle, WA or in your living room in Northeast Seattle with neighbors
  • ATTEND: If you want attend the event live, CLICK HERE to register.
  • SUBMIT QUESTIONS: Complete City Club’s online form by CLICKING HERE.

And now for our Wet Blanket Commentary:  We are not thrilled with either mayoral candidate regarding a key issue: managing our city’s growth. It was supremely disappointing when Durkan instantly embraced the disappointing “Housing and Livability Agenda” (H.A.L.A.). While perplexed in 2014 when Ed Murray thought Affordable Housing could be solved in the same way as the Minimum Wage — by hastily hand-picking interest groups to meet in secret — we greeted it with an open mind when announced in 2015. But HALA has morphed into a bad dream speeding into your neighborhood on a bulldozer. It’s heavy-handed implementation by Rob Johnson is fueling displacement of existing residents while requiring embarrassingly little affordable housing (2% to 12%). The candidates must explain how they will put both the “Affordability” and the “Livability” back into HALA a.s.a.p.

We are troubled that Moon wrapped herself into an extreme “urbanist” top-down, “we know what’s best for communities” dogma. More importantly, Moon lacks the deep government administration experience of Durkan. We supported Nikkita Oliver in the primary mainly because SHE LISTENED to all communities. We hope Durkan (the likely winner) will listen and wake up to boost the community engagement and affordable housing of HALA.

For the official list of all candidates in 2017, CLICK HERE.

To see who is contributing $$$ to each of the candidates, CLICK HERE.

photo from "The Stranger"

While Jon Grant and I have often agreed on how to preserve and increase affordable housing (including our criticisms of Mayor Ed Murray’s HALA proposals), we did not have any reason to speak when Jon ran against my former boss Tim Burgess in 2015. Now with downtown interest groups lining up like sheep behind Teresa Mosqueda — even though she provides few specifics on how she would govern — I realized I should be open-minded about Jon Grant and hear his vision for Seattle. With many of our neighbors yearning for a “community voice” on the City Council, Jon Grant’s answers pleasantly surprised! For our recent interview of Jon Grant, CLICK HERE.For non-snarky primers on Seattle’s general election, click HERE and HERE.

Drinking Game? We know our readers are mature and serious; therefore, suggesting that you play a drinking game while hosting a Debate Watching Party in your neighborhood falls short of our substantive approach. But here’s how the game would have worked:

  1. Everyone at the party picks a zesty local government word or phrase, like “Growth Management.
  2. Each time a candidate utters those words, Drink.
  3. Want a hangover? Pick words that you’ll hear a lot: “Equity,” “Density,” “Bike Lanes,” “Climate Change,” “I Will Protect You From Trump,” “No, I Will Protect You from Trump.”
  4. Want to stay sober? Pick words that you’ll never hear: “Budget Savings,” “Utility Bill Savings,” “Potholes,” “Pension Reform”, “I Will Charge Impact Fees Day One”, “No, I Will Charge Impact Fees Day One.

Whatever you do, VOTE. Show City Hall that, together, we have a strong community voice here in Northeast Seattle.

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