District 6 City Council Candidate Forum at Nordic Museum, October 2019

Video of Our October 2019 D6 City Council Candidate Forum

THANK YOU to everyone who attended the D6 city council candidate forum at the National Nordic Museum, co-hosted with Ballard Alliance and moderated by Enrique Cerna. We had a great crowd of about 200 people.

We have posted a full video on YouTube. Please share it with other D6 voters. 

What Did We Ask the Candidates?

Following a brief opening statement from candidates, moderator Enrique Cerna posed the following questions to the candidates.

Opener

  • What’s your vision for the City? Do you think the City Council is currently on the right track or do you think we need a different approach to city government?

Infrastructure/Transportation

  • What are your thoughts about deteriorating infrastructure such as pipes, bridges, roads, sidewalks, given the enormous growth and density in this city and, in particular, Ballard and Crown Hill?
  • Regarding light rail to Ballard: there are several proposed routes and station alternatives that are currently slated for study in the forthcoming Environmental Impact Study (EIS). A new tunneled route is being evaluated by Sound Transit staff that would terminate underground near 20th Ave NW and Market Street. Do you think all this alternative should be studied in the EIS?

Small Business

  • In July, The Ballard Alliance and the District Council were copied on a letter from a District 6 company – Impact Bio Energy – that was addressed to the Mayor and City Council with the subject line: “Street Crime too Much for our Company.” The letter indicated the company will be moving their green energy business out of Seattle due to vandalism, theft, drug use and lack of support from the city to deal with those problems. They received no response. How would you respond to this company and others who are considering moving out of the City for these same reasons? (Copy of Letter to Mayor and City Council July 18 2019[1])

Public Safety

  • In recent years, Ballard has become a hub of services to help address issues of homelessness, addiction and mental illness, yet police response times in Ballard continue to greatly lag compared to the rest of the city. What is your solution to improve response times, public safety resourcing and accountability?
  • Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best has said she is struggling to keep police officers and recruit new officers. She says one of the problems is a lack of support from the city council. What will you do to help the chief and the department?
  • As you know, the Ballard Alliance and several neighborhood business groups released a report which highlighted systemic failures within the municipal criminal justice system, including significant increases the number of cases declined by the City Attorney’s Office; an average of a 6 months delay to file new cases; and a high number of cases that are dismissed without meaningful resolution. If you were currently serving on Council and received this report, what action would you take?

Homelessness

  • The 9th District Federal Court ruled that it’s illegal to prohibit camping if there’s no place for people to go. Last summer some members of the King County Board of Health advocated for FEMA-style shelters with cots, water, food, outhouses, emergency showers, and centralized treatment opportunities to get everyone inside for the winter. It went nowhere politically. Is this something you would be willing to support and propose to the city council?
  • Earlier this year, the City began enforcing established policy that prohibits obstructions or encampments located on public-rights-of-way, such as sidewalks, public spaces and in City Parks. Would you stop this policy, keep it as is, or expand it to more areas? How should the City respond to people who repeatedly refuse available services?
  • How should the City respond to the RV problem in District 6?

Land Use/Zoning

  • The City Council recently passed land use legislation that allows up to 3 separate dwelling units on a 3,200 sq. ft. single family lot. There is no longer a requirement for off-street parking nor is the property owner required to live in one of the units. Many long-term residents have expressed concerns that this policy caters to developers and would, over time, lead to significant changes to single-family neighborhoods. Do you agree with these latest zoning changes or would you propose some modifications? What would you modify?
  • This week city council passed new renter protection legislation, including a law that allows tenants to house additional roommates or family members, “if consistent with the unit’s occupancy limits.” This limits the landlords’ ability to manage which adults occupy a property, regardless of background or rental history. How would you have voted on this specific legislation and why?

Neighborhoods/ District 6

  • We’ve now been through one full 4-year cycle of City Council District terms. There are many who feel – including District 6 residents – that their neighborhood is not being adequately represented by their Councilmember in city hall. Do you agree? And if so, what would you do differently if elected?
  • What is the biggest issue that differentiates you a) from your opponent, and b) from the incumbent?

Closing Statements from Candidates

Ballard Alliance and Ballard District Council with candidates Heidi Wills and Dan Strauss
Ballard Alliance, Ballard District Council, and moderator Enrique Cerna with candidates Heidi Wills and Dan Strauss, Oct 2, 2019, at National Nordic Museum