Video of King County Candidate Forum

At our October 2019 meeting, Ballard District Council hosted King County Council District 4 candidates Jeanne Kohl-Welles and Abigail Doerr.

BDC board members posed questions to the candidates and then opened it for audience Q&A. Topics covered include homelessness, transportation, affordable housing, parks, criminal justice reform, public health, and more.

Following are minute marks for various topics to help people zero in on specific candidate responses:

0:00 BDC President Tom Friedman gives brief overview of King County government scope/budget

3:00 Candidate opening statements

HOMELESSNESS

9:25  Seattle has 30% of the county’s population, but 70% of the county’s homeless people. What would you propose and support to geographically broaden services so public safety and health burdens are not concentrated so heavily in urban areas like Seattle, and specifically Ballard? How do we approach as a more county-wide effort?

14:27  King County is building modular housing on Elliott Ave, which has faced delays in opening on schedule. Given the state of emergency and available budget, is modular housing an appropriate option? What do you recommend for taking things to scale and acting more urgently?

18:10 How should the county respond to RV parking for those whose home is the RV? Is sleeping in vehicles a good strategy for the county to pursue (vs providing an indoor bed with vehicle parking outside)?

TRANSPORTATION

21:35  Re: light rail to Ballard, what is your position on a tunnel and underground station near 20th and Mkt St vs an overhead connection to a surface station east of 15 NW?

26:33  About 5 years ago Metro eliminated all off-peak bus service up and down 32NW, resulting in NO bus service midday, nights, and weekends. This has left the Sunset Hill neighborhood with no access to the public transit system other than in peak hours weekday. Similarly residents along Seaview Ave do not have ANY access to public transit. Yet residents in these areas continue to pay transit taxes. What would you propose to provide access to these residents to public transit?

31:55 follow-up on Sunset Hill / Seaview routes (reroute 40 bus? subsidized Uber/Lyft vouchers to connect to route access points?)

AFFORDABLE HOUSING

34:15  Part of the crux of the issue is how do city, county, state, federal government cooperate so we actually get affordable housing. Also there is a cycle where the city needs more taxes so it encourages property development to get the taxes, which leaves us with less affordable housing.  How can the County work with the City to assure a better housing mix?

PARKS

40:46  In August, King County voters overwhelmingly approved an $810 million parks levy. What is your vision for using that money?

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

45:14   Last week city businesses released a report that criticized the city for not prosecuting repeat offenders for misdemeanors and minor felonies. This is likely also an issue in the county. What’s your vision for how the county can better respond to this repeat offender issue?

49:27  As our criminal justice system reforms and non-traditional programs like LEAD continue to expand, how can the county provide better public reporting and accountability on local impacts and outcomes?

PUBLIC HEALTH

53:05 What’s your position on sanctioning Safe Consumption sites in the county? If you support them, would you me amenable to locating them outside of Seattle, in other areas of the County?

56:24. Have you looked into how Snohomish Co. is approaching this issue?

AUDIENCE QUESTIONS

1:00:18  Pea patch & green space question

1:04:16  Center City Streetcar (funding priorities) question

1:08:38  Vehicle housing question (considering upcoming regional authority organization/funding)

1:13:12 Public health – Funding priorities for upcoming levies (e.g., Harborview and Medic One funding)

1:17:03 How long has Abigail lived in the district?

1:17:41 Making bus fares optional? Fare enforcement, hole in operating budget, philosophy of payments. How do you expect to make this work?

1:23:24 Climate change as highest priority. Should this be a formalized criteria for every county decision?

CLOSING

1:28:04 Final candidate statements

Additional Voter Info

King County Council District 4 includes Ballard, Green Lake, Queen Anne, Magnolia, Belltown, and NW Seattle (Bitter Lake, Greenwood, et al) (Link to district map)

Seattle Times’ articles
King County Info