On the Issues
Why I am running for Seattle City Council
As a lifelong resident of Beacon Hill, I have experienced firsthand the rapid changes in our district. Seattle’s growth has disproportionately affected residents of District 2. Too many of our neighbors are being displaced and forced to leave the city. And for too long, the Seattle City Council has overlooked the needs and concerns of people in our District. Our district deserves a Councilmember who prioritizes the people of District 2. Our district deserves representation that brings real results to District 2, not endless debate. I’m running for Seattle City Council to be a strong advocate for the issues that matter most to you. As your Seattle City Councilmember, I pledge to be responsive, accessible, and accountable to you.
For nearly 30 years, I have worked on public safety and quality of life issues impacting the neighborhoods of District 2. As a Crime Prevention Coordinator for the Seattle Police Department, I have a history of bringing people together to effect positive change. From implementing youth gun violence prevention programs to leading advocacy programs for crime victims, I have a strong track record of getting results in District 2, and I will continue to fight to protect our neighborhoods and the residents who live here.
I’ve been in the business of public safety for almost 30 years. Public safety is not just a matter of police officers, firefighters, and other first responders; it is about well-maintained infrastructure, economic vitality, community engagement, and quality of life.
- Supporting our first responders is essential to a safe and vibrant community. We need to hire more police officers, not just to increase the overall headcount, but to keep up with the rate of retiring officers. Mayor Durkan’s proposal to offer a $15,000 hiring bonus for lateral officers is a good first step. Enticing officers from other jurisdictions to serve in Seattle is a cost-saver, because these officers have already been through a law enforcement academy. These officers can be on the job, serving our community, five months earlier than a new-hire officer.
- Well-maintained infrastructure means that the street lights work, trees and greenery are maintained as not to obstruct pedestrian or vehicular travel, trash and garbage are cleared, and street and sidewalks are maintained (yes, that means filling the potholes). It means that sensible, doable solutions for transportation are put in place to ensure vehicular traffic flows smoothly and that pedestrians and cyclists can move safely. Well-maintained infrastructure includes transportation solutions that alleviate congestion, like partnering with King County Metro to expand public transit, which would in turn, lower operating and capital costs for all.
- Economic vitality means our business districts are thriving, neighborhood employment opportunities are increasing, and more people are engaging with their community. I believe in inclusive economic vitality and opportunity, in which our neighbors and family businesses are not displaced. When discussions in the City focus on helping small businesses, they invariably focus on Aurora, Lake City, and parts of downtown and Pioneer Square. Infrequently do we focus on the needs of the small businesses struggling in District 2.
- Community engagement means taking interest in our neighbors’ well-being. It means building community, and coming together to solve issues. If a community bond is not strong, it is not safe. The more we engage, the more we claim our neighborhoods by showing that we care for and will fight for them. The more we engage, the more connected we will become.
- Quality of life encompasses all of what is written above. When we take actions to improve the quality of our own lives and the lives of others, we create a wave of change that positively impacts public safety, crime reduction, and livability in our communities.
In a region as prosperous as ours, no one should have to live unsheltered or out of their vehicle. As Mayor Durkan has stated, “Every night, thousands of our neighbors sleep outside without shelter, in some of the most inhumane and dangerous conditions you can imagine. While every single person experiencing homelessness in Seattle has their own story, what is true across Seattle is the need to help our neighbors move to safer places as we work together to build a better future for all who call Seattle home.”
I have been to encampments and have seen the heartbreaking conditions. I have spoken with neighbors and business that are impacted by the homelessness crisis. I have met with residents of tiny house villages. I have seen the grit and determination many homeless folks have to make a better life for themselves and for their families. People of color and LGBTQ youth are disproportionally represented among our homeless population. I have worked and will continue to work with community-based organizations who are not only trying to break the cycle of homelessness, but working to prevent our neighbors from becoming homeless is the first place.
As a city, we spend about $96 million dollars a year addressing homelessness. In spite of this spending, results have been marginal in getting our unsheltered neighbors out of unsanitary and unsafe conditions and into housing that meets their needs. I’m encouraged by the regional approach that the Seattle and our neighboring cities have undertaken, but I want to see even more achievable results. This means smarter investments in rental assistance, building additional housing units, increasing our low-to-moderate barrier shelter capacity, investing in permanent supportive housing, and investing in treatment and services for mental health and addiction. I support the Human Services division in their work on homelessness. I aim to provide the support they need to cut through red tape and get it done.
I am fortunate enough to live in the house my family built on Beacon Hill. If this home had not stayed in my family, I wouldn’t be able to afford to live here. The current housing market puts home ownership out of reach for many of our working families. Rental costs in some neighborhoods have become so high that some neighbors are forced to move out of the city. I support efforts such as the Mandatory Housing Affordability Plan, the Multifamily Tax Exemption, homeownership assistance through the City’s Office of Housing and community-based efforts through organizations such as Southeast Effective Development (SEED) and HomeSight. Further, I support the tax reduction/exemption and tax deferral programs offered by King County for our seniors and disabled neighbors. I will work to ensure these efforts not only continue, but are enhanced, so families are not displaced due to rising housing costs. We must invest in mechanisms to keep people in their current homes and build enough affordable housing units to allow people to be able to live in this city without exceeding 35% of gross annual income.
Opportunities for Youth: Education, Employment and Entrepreneurship
We must prepare Seattle’s youth to take advantage of our city’s economic growth and vitality. We must invest in educational programs in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) fields, apprenticeships in building and construction trades, and financial literacy. I will advocate for partnerships with the technology giants in our city to create educational programs that will help our youth compete in today’s economy. I want to fill the high-tech centered jobs that have allowed our city and region to flourish with local talent. I want that talent to be grown right here, in District 2.
Accountability & Responsiveness
Our City Council has a reputation of not listening to the concerns of their constituents. We deserve a city government that is responsive and accountable to the people it serves. The City Council must engage in thorough, thoughtful, and evidence-based processes, but it must also make decisions in a timely manner. Seattle residents deserve solutions for their concerns, not endless debate. I’m focused on achieving results. As your City Councilmember, I will work for you. Your concerns and priorities will always come first.