I’ve been in the business of public safety for almost 30 years. I believe that public safety is not just a matter of police officers, firefighters, and other first responders doing their jobs, but also about people feeling safe and engaged as they are doing their jobs, living in their community. As your Councilmember for District 2, I will focus on:
- Creating a Consistent Community Policing Program. I will work with the Chief of Police to ensure the best Commander available is assigned to the South Precinct and ask for a commitment to keeping that Commander in place for at least four years. This will allow the community to establish a strong working relationship with the Precinct Command Staff and further comprehensive community policing and relational policing efforts for District 2.
- Crime Prevention. I will prioritize the“A Beautiful Safe Place for Youth” (ABSFY) program in the budget to keep reducing crime in the Rainier Beach Community.
- Enhancing Partnerships with Our Firefighters and First Responders through Community Activities. I will advance programs to increase community interaction with our district’s first responders. These programs will engage the public with firefighters, medics, and police officers through safety fairs and Fire & Police Station Open Houses. This way, the public can see the facilities, equipment and vehicles, and learn how to promote public safety in their own neighborhoods.
Gun violence is a is a tragic reality in our country and in our city. While high-profile events and mass shootings garner the media attention, there are many more incidents occurring every day that get no coverage. We don’t hear about the victims that are shot and injured every day. We don’t hear about those that take their own lives with a firearm.
I have been an advocate for youth gun violence prevention for over 25 years. In my Crime Prevention role, I am currently at the table with the community-based organizations working to reduce community violence through their work with our youth and their families. In the mid-1990s, I helped create – and was the program Manager of – the Options, Choices and Consequences program. This program teamed police officers, medical professionals and prosecuting attorneys who went into classrooms to talk with youth about the realities of gun violence. We showed them emergency room photos of what gunshot trauma does to the human body. We talked with them about the legal consequences in being involved in a gun crime. We asked them to think about how each scenario could have been different and what other choices could have been made to avoid a tragic outcome. And encouraged them to consider what they would do if they found themselves in a situation where a firearm is present. It was not a “Scared Straight” program, but one of helping youth stop and think before they act. We had success with the program, but it was shelved to pursue other priorities. I will advocate for this program to be pulled off the shelf and updated, and work with our partners and schools to get back in the classrooms and have those conversations with our youth.
Working to reduce violence and victimization is what I do daily. Keeping people safe is front of mind. With the increase in gun violence in the community, it’s time for us to pull out all the stops to address it.
As the City Councilmember for District 2, and as most of these shooting incidents are occurring in District 2, there are specific things I will do to address these issues. First is to continue to be at the table with those service providers and faith leaders that have come together to address the increase in gun violence. Second is to advocate for additional funding to better resource those community-based crime and violence prevention programs who serve our youth and their families. Third is to implore the Chief of Police to pull the Options Choices Consequences youth gunviolence prevention and education program off the shelf, update it and reconvene the partnerships to implement it back in the schools.
I applaud the efforts of The Alliance for Gun Responsibility in achieving the passage of I-1639 Safe School, Safe Communities legislation. These commonsense measures – raising the purchase age of assault weapons to 21, requiring in-state background checks, a 10-day waiting period to purchase, and training requirements – are steps that can help reduce firearm violence. Requirements that guns be safely stored with cable or trigger locks, lock boxes or safes are also commonsense measures to restrict unauthorized access to a gun. Emergency Risk Protection Orders and Domestic Violence Protection Orders provide tools for removing guns from the hands of those who, for various reasons, should not have them. I commend The Alliance for the work and look forward to working with them and being a champion in the work of trying to reduce gun violence in our community.
We can agree we need to do what we can to keep firearms out of the hands of those that should not have them. This can be done on a policy level. Yet, reducing violence cannot be legislated; that takes us. It takes us to model the behavior we want to see. It takes us to let that young person know that there is a different way to settling arguments or disputes other than picking up a weapon. It takes us to let a young person know they are loved and have value. And it takes us to teach our youth that others have value, too. What needs to change is not policy, but hearts. Let’s wrap our arms around our youth and their families, love them and support them.
I believe that everyone has the fundamental right to housing that is affordable, comfortable and safe. In order to minimize the displacement of our neighbors, we must make sure that housing affordability policies are carefully crafted and thoroughly vetted to avoid unintended consequences. Residents must have ample opportunity to give feedback on major changes to their neighborhoods.
- Convene a District 2 Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) Evaluation Committee. This committee will be comprised of representatives from the neighborhoods in District 2 and will take a look at how the MHA has impacted neighborhoods. I will bring the suggestions from this committee to the council and I will urge my colleagues to make the necessary changes in order to minimize the displacement of our neighbors in District 2.
- Allocate Affordable Housing Funds to District. The Seattle Office of Housing manages Mandatory Inclusionary Zoning (MIZ), which requires developers to designate a percentage of units as “affordable,” or pay fees to the Affordable Housing Fund. I will work to have a fair portion of these funds designated to housing projects in District 2, so that fees earned in our District are used to support those in our District.
Commercial and Manufacturing Space Affordability
While the goal of Mandatory Housing Affordability is to address the housing affordability crisis, it unfortunately has created an affordability crisis elsewhere. As the City prioritizes residential housing and re-zones available space, small businesses are struggling with displacement. The few commercial spaces that are available are not affordable.
As the Councilmember for District 2, I will propose specific legislation to stop the displacement of small businesses.
- Equitable Development Funding for Commercial Space Development. I will introduce legislation to designate a portion of the Equitable Development Fund specifically for small commercial space development. Organizations developing mixed-use projects in District 2 will have priority in accessing these funds to offset costs of construction and improvements for tenants.
- Property Tax Credit to Reduce Small Commercial Space Lease Rates. I will introduce a pilot program in District 2 that will work with Seattle’s Finance and Administration Department and the King County Tax Assessor’s Office to provide property owners of commercial space with a tax credit. These tax credits could be applied to the development of new commercial space, upgrading existing space, or the leasing of a vacant lot to manufacturers. This will help small businesses compete with the rising cost of commercial space.
Economic & Community Development
Economic development is vital for creating an economy that helps to maintain strong businesses and high quality of life for Seattle residents. As the Councilmember for District 2, I will champion policies that will help — not hurt — businesses. I will work with the Department of Neighborhoods, The Office of Economic Development and The Office of Arts and Culture to make sure that adequate funding is allocated to District 2 for community development.
- Marketing District 2 to Attract Businesses. The Greater Seattle Partnership is our regional business recruiting organization. With their assistance, I will conduct an analysis of District 2 to develop a recruiting strategy to attract businesses to our neighborhoods.
- Business Retention and Expansion of District 2 Businesses. I will work with the Seattle Office of Economic Development to create a District 2 business retention and expansion program (BREP). I will work with all of the business associations in District 2 to facilitate connections with decision makers in City Departments and create a comprehensive plan to facilitate growth.
- Vibrant Neighborhoods: I will work with the Mayor’s Office and the Office of Economic Development to increase the allocation of funding for the “Only in Seattle” program. These grants will bolster community enhancement projects throughout District 2. I also support the Columbia Hillman Arts & Cultural District and other programs that celebrate and enrich the art, culture, and history of our district.
- Department of Neighborhoods, “Your Voice Your Choice”. Your voice matters. If elected, I will set up a series of meetings with the people of District 2 to generate ideas on how to effectively use funds allocated for streets and parks. Your priority will be my priority.
- A District 2 Specific Neighborhood District Council. The City Council created Neighborhood District Councils in 1987 to promote and support public involvement at the neighborhood level. They provided input to City leadership on Neighborhood Matching Funds, budget priorities and community concerns. The councils were disbanded in 2016. So, in addition to the “Your Voice Your Choice” initiative, I propose creating a District 2 specific Neighborhood District Council that would be open to all residents and businesses in District 2 and provide a forum for me to hear directly from you – in your neighborhood – about your priorities, ideas and concerns. Further, I propose that while the meeting day and time would be consistent (say the 4th Tuesday of the month from 6:30-8pm for example), the location of the meeting would rotate throughout the District. For example, one month we would meet in Georgetown, the next month in the Chinatown/International District, the month after that in Rainier Beach or New Holly, and so on.
Accountability, Responsiveness & Customer Service
As I talk to the people of District 2, I have heard repeatedly that people are frustrated. They are frustrated that our city government does not listen to their concerns. The people of District 2 have been overlooked for too long. The City must seek input from residents on the decisions that impact them the most. As your City Councilmember, I will be accountable to you. I will work for you to create a community that we are all proud of.
- The City Council must engage in thorough, thoughtful, and evidence-based processes, but it must also make decisions in a timely manner. Residents deserve solutions for their concerns, not endless debate.
- The City Council must listen to, and seek input from, the people it serves. When you call, I will answer. If I’m not available, I will instruct my staff to return all phone calls and emails the same day that they are received.
- I’m focused on achieving results. As your City Councilmember, I work for you. Your concerns and priorities will always come first.