Our U District community held a unique candidate forum that brought together both City and County councilmember candidates to discuss issues affecting the U District. City Council candidates Alex Pedersen and Shaun Scott, and King County Council candidates Larry Gossett and Girmay Zahilay answered questions from our community groups and neighbors in attendance. Paige Browning from KUOW moderated the event.
We saw how our future city and county councilmembers will build bridges to collaborate across legislative boundaries to represent our neighborhood’s interests. Coordination between councils is essential as the U District is impacted by the opening of light rail, high-rise development, displacement of affordable housing, chronic homelessness, and climate change.
The full video of the forum is available below on this page, thanks to KODX. And, in case you missed our very successful forum in June, you can check out that event video online.
The forum was co-hosted by the U District Small Businesses, U District Community Council, Seattle Fair Growth, Seattle Displacement Coalition, and U District Advocates; held at U Heights Community Center; and live-streamed by KODX Radio.
City & County Council Candidate Forum
Questions from the Five Sponsoring Community Groups
U District Small Businesses
Question: Do you support the increase of 6” to each lane on Brooklyn Avenue NE to accommodate the possibility of direct bus transfers to our pending U District light rail station?
U District Community Council
Question: What will you do to address a public safety issue of this severity that is routinely happening in our community today?
U District Advocates
Question: Do you support revitalizing the Ave into a pedestrian-priority destination, routing Metro buses off the Ave, and how do you think we should get there?
Seattle Displacement Coalition
Question: Do you support a requirement that developers replace 1 for 1 each low income and affordable apartment they displace, and what other actions would you take to preserve existing naturally-occurring affordable housing in the face of high-rise growth?
Seattle Fair Growth
Question for City Council: What steps would you take specifically in the U District to improve the current MHA ordinance, especially with regard to affordability, preservation and displacement?
Question for County Council: How do you both stand on current zoning and how would you improve on the Seattle law to provide more affordable housing and to avoid displacement of low-income families?
Other Questions Asked by Moderator
Are you supportive of seeking a local historic district designation for the Ave, as Ballard Avenue, Columbia City, Pike Place Market, and the International District already have?
What do you personally find unique or memorable about the U District?
21 Questions From the Public
How will you support people with disabilities - inclusive of mental and from substance abuse?
U Heights has plans to open a safe lot for folks living in their cars. Is this something you would support and what value do you see in such a project?
Fourth District candidates: Are you aware of the level of bulk public surveillance in Seattle, and what is your opinion of automatic license plate readers collecting 2.4 million reads on a population of 675,000?
Now that the new ADU/DADU (accessory dwelling unit, detached accessory dwelling unit) regulations have been passed, how will you work to protect the family neighborhoods from massive development by speculators and the loss of their uniqueness?
As a recently housed person after 6 years of homelessness, would you clearly tell the public on a periodic basis how many units of affordable housing were built where and how many people received housing?
Will there be any corrections to reinstate bus runs on Roosevelt and University Way to downtown?
How important are programs such as tiny house villages, encampments, and safe lots in the city/county strategy to end homelessness, and do you support these strategies and what will you do to ensure their success?
The rise of property taxes in essence also gets passed onto renters. Currently there is no overlap with the MFTE (multifamily tax exemption) incentives and MHA (mandatory housing affordability), but would you support something where multifamily landowners get some benefit in taxes for following MHA by building affordable units?
Homelessness appears to be largely a symptom of drug addiction and Seattle appears to be attracting addicts from across the country. Can we make Seattle less of a magnet?
How would you collaborate with each other to help King County reach its planned goals for climate change?
Support is growing in Seattle for congestion pricing, yet a currently widely-discussed plan for congestion pricing contains a loophole for ride-sharing vehicles, by charging fees based on only one of the vehicle’s trips in or out of the city center each day. Will you support a congestion pricing proposal that charges based on actual net contributions to traffic and vehicle pollution?
What reforms would you enact in District Four to help make our two upcoming light rail stations into tools for reducing carbon emissions?
For City Council candidates: Do you support policies that will allow more people to be housed in single-family neighborhoods?
For City Council candidates: How would you manage our street right-of-way to make room for a greater variety of transportation options such as transit-only lanes and bicycle infrastructure?
For City Council candidates: What are your thoughts about the new reports of Amazon’s $1 million contribution to Seattle City Council races?
Creating a historic district or other similar protections will keep buildings safe, but how can we help support the actual businesses in the area and the humans who live there?
Seattle has one of the very highest property crime rates among large cities in the USA. What would you do to change this?
Who is taking campaign money from the Seattle Chamber of Commerce and/or Amazon?
Studies indicate that ride-share vehicles travel twice as many vehicle miles per passenger mile as owner-operated vehicles. As autonomous vehicle technology further expands ride-sharing by lowering costs, it threatens no only to worsen traffic and accelerate climate change, but also to turn Seattle’s air pollution crisis into an air pollution catastrophe. Will you support legislation to require that autonomous vehicles operating in Seattle be zero-emissions, and that ride-hailing services commit to a timely zero-emissions transition plan?
In 2012, the City hired a consultant to see the effects of upzoning to tall buildings in the U District. Part of that report found it would take $80,000 a year to live in those high-rises. It also found 20% of U District residents earned less than $50,000 a year. Do you support upzoning in the U District when it displaces many of the current residents?
Apartments and condos are banned on 80% of Seattle residential land. These forms of housing are critical to both market and social/nonprofit housing. What two steps will you take to eliminate the ban on more affordable housing forms in Seattle?