Candidate Scorecard

Downtown’s success depends on effective partnerships with elected leaders. This is particularly important as we recover from the impacts of the pandemic. DSA scores and ranks contenders in certain races based on their responses to a questionnaire rather than endorsing candidates. This year, mayoral and city council candidates were asked one question and rated on how closely their responses align with DSA’s mission to create a healthy vibrant downtown. Considerations for candidate scores includes knowledge, experience, qualifications, their plan for downtown’s recovery and how they intend to achieve it. Our ratings were developed by a panel of DSA members and are based on written responses to the questionnaire below, in addition to their performance in our recent council and mayoral candidate forums.

Issue

Downtown Seattle is the largest employment center in the Pacific Northwest, generating approximately 52% of the business tax revenue in the city of Seattle. Downtown is also home to the region’s major cultural and tourism attractions. In the past year-plus, downtown has been severely impacted by the pandemic, which required employees to work remotely and which likely played a part in the closure of more than 200 downtown storefronts that depended on workers and visitors as customers. In addition, downtown businesses and residents have suffered millions of dollars in property damage from the demonstrations and protests. Concurrently, downtown is experiencing a growing homelessness crisis and seeing more people in need of mental health and substance abuse services amid continued public safety concerns on the streets.

Question

Now, with the general population being vaccinated and a gradual return of workers and visitors, how will the city of Seattle support downtown’s economic recovery? As someone who seeks public office with the city of Seattle, please briefly describe your background in business or business-related issues. Then in detail, please describe the city’s role in helping downtown recover. What is your recovery plan for downtown, and how would you propose to implement it?

Mayoral Candidates

Colleen Echohawk / Good Alignment

echohawkforseattle.com

For the past 7 years, I served as the Executive Director of the non-profit Chief Seattle Club (CSC). CSC serves the native homeless population in downtown Seattle. During my tenure, CSC grew from a small drop-in center with a $500,000 annual budget to raising $85 million for three housing projects. CSC’s programs have expanded to include Social Entrepreneurial ventures like Native Works, job training programs, housing placement programs, multiple daily meals, and a farm in partnership with the Port of Seattle. The expansion of CSC’s reach was not done alone, but in partnerships with public / private entities across the City, non-profits, and for-profit ventures.

As a small business owner, I know how hard it is to manage and grow your own workforce, engage with clients, and deliver on your promises to keep your revenue flowing and doors open. In 2013, my husband and I founded the private consulting firm Headwater People. We saw a need for transformational organizational planning that was anchored in the principles of adaptive leadership, equity, and experiential learning. Since 2013, we have grown carefully to include 11 part and full time employees.

I have served on numerous boards engaged in tackling some of downtown’s toughest issues, including two years on the MID and the DSA Board. As Mayor, the key priorities I bring toward economic recovery with Downtown Seattle include (1) safe and clean streets, (2) expedited application and permit approval processes, and (3) sufficient business support services.
Addressing the humanitarian homelessness crisis is my top priority. We need to care for every human being in our City and get everyone off the streets and into housing. This is why I created a 22 point Emergency Housing Action Plan to be completed within my first 14 months as Mayor: echohawkforseattle.com/emergencyhousing. Well lit streets, clean and clear signage, accessible sidewalks, separated bike paths, and green buffers between roadways are other strategies I will prioritize. For immediate street cleaning, bridge repair, and complete streets infrastructure, I will seek short term contracts and amplify public / private partnerships like the Metropolitan Improvement District.

By streamlining application and permit approval processes, we will support farmers markets, festivals, film screenings, concerts, and performances. Special events create a thriving culture for our City. And they should not be limited only to national organizations, but rather be available to local businesses, performers, and artists. Creative use of public right of way for sidewalks and parking lanes, as well as ensuring there are meaningful venues in all neighborhoods, can do this. I recognize that not all neighborhoods benefit from organizations like DSA. By forming new BIDs, engaging residents through Neighborhood Associations, and prioritizing small business owners in these neighborhoods, we will strengthen Seattle.

I will create an inter-departmental team to coordinate business assistance. Activities, challenges, solutions, and policy proposals will be reported directly to me by the Director of OED at regular cabinet meetings. We must support BIPOC and WMBE owned businesses through grants and long-term land leases. We also need to support the reopening and revitalization of businesses. High retail and restaurant vacancy rates in our business core is a challenge, but presents an opportunity to recruit new businesses that can create new pathways to wealth.

Lorena González / Not Aligned

lorenaforseattle.com

Dear President Scholes,

We appreciate the invitation to participate in the candidate evaluation process and respectfully have chosen to decline. As you know, Seattle is an integrated web of communities and neighborhoods, and while each business district has its own unique needs, singling one out for attention is not conducive to pulling the city together to tackle its very real challenges. The issues you raise in your question, such as homelessness and COVID-19 recovery, are not unique to the downtown area. Downtown is a vital part of Seattle and the region’s economy, but it is not the only part of Seattle’s vibrant local economy.

Such a narrow geographic focus misses the larger challenge of addressing systemic inequalities across the city, and helping small businesses recover from the pandemic and thrive in every neighborhood, not just one. As Mayor, Lorena will bring people together to help all parts of our city succeed and will continue her work toward this shared and important goal. We look forward to continuing to engage with you and your members on these citywide issues and to crafting solutions that will promote a just and fair recovery.

Respectfully,
Alex Koren
Campaign Manager Lorena for Seattle

Bruce Harrell / Outstanding Alignment

bruceforseattle.com

Downtown Seattle was the most impacted neighborhood throughout the pandemic. The loss of office commuters, retail destination commerce, service sector jobs, and tourism hurt not only our city – but impacted the entire economy and well-being of our region. As Mayor, I will take on three interrelated priorities of importance to downtown residents, businesses, and cultural institutions:

First, we must unite our city around an economic recovery that starts with our small businesses, and is rooted in values of equity and opportunity. It means putting an end to divisive rhetoric and bringing all to the table around shared goals. It means rebuilding trust. I kicked off a citywide small business listening tour in downtown Seattle and have had direct conversations with hundreds of local business owners and employees. I hear the same pleas for leadership and action.

I’ll also prioritize help for our restaurants, bars and nightlife, museums and other destinations. Part of what makes Seattle a draw for young people, visitors, and companies looking to create jobs and attract talent is the diversity of our civic, hospitality, and cultural communities.

Second, we must immediately address the homelessness crisis. Current city leadership made a terrible mistake not devoting more ARPA relief funds to immediate housing and services. I’ll fix that and leverage other existing state and local resources to this crisis.

At a recent homelessness forum I was the ONLY major candidate to endorse and support the Compassion Seattle Charter Amendment. While no proposal is perfect, I applaud this effort as both a value statement on the urgency of this crisis, and as a positive step forward – finding common ground between downtown businesses, service providers, unions, and advocates for compassionate action. A humane and innovative city should never allow people to live outside without sanitation and mental health support. My administration will own this crisis, without excuses.

The third issue is public safety. I’m the only major candidate for Mayor committed to top-down culture change and reform at SPD without threat of arbitrary defunding. ALL neighborhoods – and all the people of Seattle – deserve response from skilled law enforcement in times of crisis or concern, with additional personnel to serve those in crisis where a uniformed officer is not needed or appropriate.

A strong commitment to public safety is not just a priority for downtown businesses and employers – it is essential for the thousands of people who call downtown home. Safe downtown streets are vibrant, lively places with people from all walks of life. We must also do everything we can to make sure those who live downtown feel secure and supported.

I understand the issues facing downtown employers and workers, having served as Chief Counsel for US WEST, and managing partner of a downtown law firm on 4th and Union representing businesses, working people, and nonprofits. The skills I obtained in these roles and while on Council – strategic thinking, collaboration, and intentional listening – I’ll bring to service as Mayor. My leadership will change the narrative on downtown – and our city – with positivity, direct action and measurable outcomes.

A Downtown Seattle that is thriving, welcoming, and safe is a Downtown that once again will serve as a focal point of our region’s prosperity and growth. My administration will not lose focus on these priorities. Let’s work together to get it done.

Art Langlie / Good Alignment

artlangie.com

My business experience runs deep.

I’ve been fortunate to help build our city. I began my career as a Seattle home remodeler. After serving as Executive Director and Seattle Area Manager for the Associated General Contractors, I held business development positions at Turner Construction, Cochran, and Sasco. I worked on projects integral to Seattle, including Seahawks Stadium, projects at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and the Four Seasons Hotel Seattle.

Since 2012, I have served as an executive with Holmes Electric.

My philanthropic experience includes service on the advisory boards of the Salvation Army Norwest Division and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. I also served on the boards of ArtsFund and Intiman Theater. My work with the Salvation Army gave me unique insight into durable solutions to solve homelessness.

Downtown is the heart of Seattle.
A strong downtown office, retail, and entertainment core is the key to recovery as a world-class city.

I am a lifelong Seattleite. I formed my view of civic life during the 1990s. A once vibrant downtown was faltering. Metro Bus Tunnel construction closed Pine Street and disrupted the vitality of the retail core. Two long-time retail institutions, Frederick and Nelson and I. Magnin, permanently closed. I remember a feeling of loss — not merely for those stores but for the city.

Fortunately, the city and the business community tapped into the muscle memory that put on a World’s Fair and passed Forward Thrust. They recommitted to Downtown. Nordstrom made the former F&N building its new flagship, Pine Street reopened, a parking structure was built, and the healing for the heart of downtown began.

It happened because business, government, and not-for-profits worked together toward a common goal.

Let’s begin the reboot we so desperately need, starting with the complex and solvable problem of homelessness and public safety.

Public safety has deteriorated, and the epidemic of homelessness has concentrated in our downtown. Conditions have become much worse with repeat property damage, shoplifting, and assaults compounded by decreasing SPD response times.

I will repair the relationship between our officers, government, business community, and our most vulnerable communities. I will listen to all and work to re-establish trust in the people we depend on for public safety — and vice versa.

I will engage the expertise of the DSA and neighborhood business organizations whose members have been working on solutions and suffering the consequences of ineffective City leadership.

I see six critical, related actions regarding homelessness:

  1. Set clear, healthy boundaries for our community. We’ll provide shelter and compassionate services but not allow unsanctioned public camping and related violence.
  2. Treat the crisis of homelessness as an emergency.
    • Include addiction and mental health services, staffed by professionals to provide care at point-of-contact and beyond.
    • Partner with best-in-class medical and mental health professionals to provide interventions.
    • Create personalized health and recovery plans to lift people out of homelessness, addiction, and poor mental health.
  3. Increase accountability and support.
    • Measure results with contracted service providers.
    • Expand successful programs; eliminate unsuccessful programs.
  4. Quickly scale up safe, clean, and warm shelter options.
    • Provide safe places to deliver services for communications, personal hygiene, and other basic needs. I like both the SODO shelter model funded by the city and county, and my plan for personal shelters, creating 600 in the first 100 days.
  5. Rapidly build permanent supported housing.
  6. Plan the durable solutions. Engage public, private, and not-for-profit leaders to implement long-term solutions that support people as they regain command of their lives.
    • Create partnerships to provide skills needed to employ the unemployed and chronically underemployed.
    • Provide the resources people need to obtain a living-wage job at the end of the program.
    • Advance people through a job bank and relationships with private employers.

Lance Randall / Good Alignment

lancerandall2021.com

I am a graduate of the University of Oklahoma Economic Development Institute.

I was the Project Manager with the Macon Economic Development Commission (MEDC) serving as the single point of contact for prospects that expressed interest in locating their operations in Macon/Bibb County. I worked for MEDC for 5 years.

I was the Vice President of Existing Industry for the Greater Macon Chamber of Commerce leading the Chamber’s business retention and expansion activities.I worked for the Chamber for 4 years.

I was the Business Relations Manager and Business Services Manager for the Office of Economic Development (OED) doing recruiting, retention and expansion activities for the Seattle. I worked for OED for 8 years.

I was the Interim Executive Director and Director of Economic Development For Southeast Effective Development doing recruiting, retention and expansion activites for Sotheast Seattle. I worked for SEED for 5 years.

I will revitalize the downtown core and our neighborhood business districts, stop the exodus of businesses and the elimination of jobs, and create a more friendly environment to support all businesses that are operating in the city.

Action Items:

  • Bring together downtown commercial property owners, county and city officials to create a property tax incentive program to refill the commercial retail spaces that have been vacated. The program will reimburse expenses incurred by landlords who undertake tenant improvements or provide free rent to bring small businesses back to downtown.
  • Review the processes for city reviews, inspections, and small business permits to reduce the time required for small businesses to start-up
  • Create a rapid response program through a partnership with neighborhood chambers and business associations to quickly assess and meet the needs of small businesses in their business districts. The organizations will receive adequate funding to build staff capacity to conduct outreach to struggling businesses and will have access to resources and city staff to solve problems.
  • Restore the vitality of our downtown core by making it safe for residents, employees, shoppers and tourists who frequent the businesses, entertainment venues, hotels, retail stores, restaurant and attractions. I will emphasize more public safety resources on the streets of downtown walking the beat to deter criminal activity and arrest those who commit crimes against people and property.
  • Create a partnership between the city government and our local corporate foundations to raise money to fund a local grant program to provide significant financial assistance to small businesses. The grants can be used to catch up on delinquent lease payments, rehire employees, replenish inventory, upgrade equipment, and for marketing to help them recover from the damage caused by the pandemic and economic downturn.
  • Strengthen relationships with state and federal officials to ensure that funding available comes to Seattle to support recovery.
  • Encourage workers to return to downtown by working with local artists, our many sports franchises and community organizations to create city-sponsored events and experiences which will restore the value of togetherness in the heart of downtown. From live music shows to food festivals and sports rallies, the city core will become a destination, not an obligation, of daily life in Seattle.

Casey Sixkiller / Outstanding Alignment

sixkillerforseattle.com

My earliest memories of downtown are sitting on Santa’s lap at Frederick and Nelson. That was a different era, before the revitalization of the 1990s that ushered in new life and excitement to downtown. While downtown has overcome its share of challenges over the years, its future is now being threatened by forces it did not create: unchecked street-level crime, homelessness, empty storefronts, and evolving pandemic guidelines. Whether you view downtown as a symbol or see it for the economic powerhouse and residential neighborhood that it is, we must breathe life back into the heart of Seattle.

As Mayor I will approach downtown recovery with urgency and in partnership. I have worked in and out of every level of government, bringing the public and private sectors together to preserve and create jobs, build infrastructure, and bring new solutions to the market. Along the way I have learned not to let the perfect be the enemy of the good and that managing expectations, even when it may not be popular, yields better outcomes. I’ve also owned my own business. I have felt the excitement (and fear) of hiring your first employee, signing your first office lease, making payroll, and also the sting of taxes and regulations that send mixed messages about whether to expand your business, or even where to locate it.

I know we can meet the challenges holding downtown back. It demands rallying around a shared definition of success, putting aside our differences, and advancing practical solutions that don’t take years to achieve. My recovery plan has five key components:

1) Stabilizing small businesses by providing immediate B&O tax relief, increasing and streamlining grants, and new resources to cover unanticipated costs and lost revenues;

2) Expanding joint marketing and programming to attract customers back downtown; cutting through bureaucratic permitting and street use processes to pilot new, innovative uses of rights of way and filling vacant storefronts with new businesses;

3) Fully leveraging the opening of the Climate Pledge Arena, Seattle Waterfront, and expanded Washington State Convention Center;

4) Ramping up emphasis patrols and enforcing existing laws to address street-level property crime and community harm that has been allowed to escalate for far too long;

5) Executing a comprehensive and systematic approach utilizing tiny homes, hotels, and other shelters to compassionately transition folks living in downtown parks and streets inside to safer spaces, connected to enhanced services, beginning with those encampments that are preventing businesses from reopening, preying on visitors and vulnerable individuals alike, and negatively affecting downtown’s brand and experience–and then keeping those areas encampment-free.

Growing up in Seattle, we didn’t agree on everything, but we found ways to make progress on important issues. We cannot pin our future to the broken, truncated systems the City Council has spent more than a decade creating. We need to invest in solutions we know work, cut loose what isn’t, and recenter success on outcomes rather than empty promises. The future of Seattle is as bright as we work today to make it — it starts with downtown. It is a symbol not just for our residents but to others that Seattle is back and open for business. As Mayor I will be downtown’s biggest champion and brand ambassador, not just because I love downtown, but because our city’s future depends on it.

Mayoral Candidates Who Have Not Responded

City Council Candidates

Teresa Mosqueda / Some Alignment

Position 8
teamteresa.org

COVID-19 impacted all people and communities within Seattle, including our City’s economic hubs, the small business owners in those hubs, the workers who relied on jobs within those hubs, and the people who continued to live and work in those hubs. As we celebrate vaccination rates and low case-loads, we can turn our focus to equitable recovery. I am looking forward to working together with DSA on critical priorities; getting Seattle back on a path to prosperity for all who live and work here.
Politics in this city have been divisive, and while healthy debate is good, focusing on fighting to win a narrative as opposed to centering those who live, work and visit our city is not. I intend to continue bringing folks who disagree with me to the table to build strong policies, and focus on common ground so we can direct revenue toward restarting our local economy, supporting our smallest businesses, providing childcare to more workers, and housing those who are living in the doorways of businesses across our city. That is how we can collectively create a downtown Seattle that is thriving, healthy, and activated.

Last year, I showcased it’s possible to come together to build policies that support our urgent needs. Following discussion and input from small and large business owners, unions, and other stakeholders representing our downtown core, I passed JumpStart Seattle. While some businesses remain opposed to the progressive revenue I championed, all were welcomed to the table to help envision a stronger recovery. The data shows our economy would have been worse off, and slower to recover, without the tens of millions that went directly to small businesses— keeping struggling storefronts open,and people employed — childcare support for working parents, and funding to keep vulnerable families housed and supported during a time of need. These funds helped mitigate the surge in homelessness no city was prepared for when congregate sheltering was no longer an option, but the needs still far outweigh the resources.

Since COVID began, I have been vocal in my support for housing those unsheltered in hotels and tiny homes, something I have heard directly is a top priority from DSA and downtown businesses. In one DSA meeting, a representative told me “the previous navigation team model wasn’t working and we had to do something different.” That’s what I’ve fought for – policies to provide a foundation to make immediate improvements downtown and assist the workers who power our economy. I have championed legislation for servers in restaurants/bars, retail staff, and hotel workers welcoming tourists back to the tens of thousands of office commuters who bring energy to our city center.
Last week I announced $128 million in the Seattle Rescue Plan that will provide direct assistance to downtown businesses, help workers transition back to offices by supporting childcare/workforce development, and dedicate nearly $50 million in direct funding for the homelessness crisis— a citywide priority disproportionately felt by those who live and work downtown.

There is common ground. When we work together, we have a stronger Seattle. We must redouble efforts to house the unsheltered, get people back to work by providing the support and training needed, and provide flexible funding that trusts small business owners as best equipped to determine how those dollars should be deployed. I look forward to four more years of healthy debate, collaboration, and rebuilding.

Sara Nelson / Outstanding Alignment

Position 9
saraforcitycouncil.com

I’m running for City Council because Seattle is going in the wrong direction and I’ll bring the experienced, practical leadership so urgently needed right now. I served as a Legislative Aide for Councilmember Richard Conlin for almost ten years so I know how local government should function. ¶I’m also co-owner of Fremont Brewing and I’ll bring the missing voice of small business.

I’m proud that Fremont Brewing gives back to our community, leads the craft beer industry in sustainability, and provides extensive employee benefits. We were hit hard by COVID but we managed to retain all our employees and increase their hourly wage to make up for lost tips.

My top priority is economic recovery because we’ve got a lot of work to do to achieve a long-term, equitable economic recovery. Tragically, Council is not acting with any urgency to help small businesses and simply hoping downtown will bounce back is not a plan.

As I read DSA’s 2016 – 2020 Strategic Plan with close attention, I kept asking myself, why isn’t City Hall taking leadership on the elements of your three areas of focus? Instead of reinventing the wheel of downtown’s economic recovery, your strategic plan’s policy objectives should serve as the blueprint and when elected, I’ll partner with DSA to develop a package of priority legislation and allocate funding for its implementation.

I will also seek DSA’s input on some of my own ideas including: 1)Land use changes to allow flexibility for street level residential on some downtown streets: The stoop approach would add life and eyes to downtown streets as well as units that could be more affordable for families and young people than tower units. 2) Proactive, targeted business recruitment: The City lacks the capacity and expertise to do this work internally so we must invest significant resources tor targeted business recruitment to develop and implement recruitment programs for various business sectors. Businesses won’t come by themselves – especially not in this climate — so we’ll need to court and incentivize them to do so. 3) Fix our broken entitlement/permitting system! The difficulty getting permits for everything from simple home renovations to MUPs slows economic growth all over the city and especially downtown because time is the biggest driver of cost increases.

All of these plans will be for naught until the City removes encampments from our streets and open spaces and gets serious about reducing crime. To say that Council has abnegated its responsibility for ensuring public safety and addressing encampments is an understatement. Council has left businesses and residents to fend for themselves and people simply don’t feel safe walking around downtown, especially with our stores and restaurants boarded up.

These are tough times but with crisis comes opportunity. We have the chance for a major reset in this town and it starts with electing candidates for City Council who can be held accountable for delivering measurable results instead of ideological rhetoric. I’m the only candidate in this race with experience in both the public and private sectors and I’ve received the endorsements of the Seattle Firefighters, Building and Construction Trades Council, and the Ironworkers. I’ve also been endorsed by many former electeds (such as Gael Tarleton) and environmental leaders (such as Denis Hayes and Ken Lederman). DSA will have an ally and partner with me on City Council and I ask for your support.

Nikkita Oliver (they/them) / Not Aligned

Position 9
nikkitafornine.com

As we re-open we must: prioritize workers; address the housing crisis; make downtown an arts & culture destination; & establish a safety net for workers that includes prevailing wages, healthcare, hazard pay, & dignified working conditions. The health of our most vulnerable workers & residents dictates how we recover.

During the pandemic, according to LinkedIn data, for every tech worker who left, the industry pulled in 2.2 workers. Continuing to pursue progressive taxation is necessary to fund social, affordable, green housing for all. Affordable housing near downtown means workers can live close to work; increasing daytime & nighttime presence. It will also decrease commute times, support the hospitality industry, and help us achieve our climate goals.

Commercial rent control in Seattle is good for small businesses. The City Council did already pass relevant legislation. Unfortunately, prohibitions in the legislation only remain in effect until the civil emergency is terminated. This ordinance provides protections in the form of rent control, repayment plan requirements, & prohibition on late fees, interest, & other charges. We must make this permanent.

During the COVID-19 crisis public transportation was made free. We have heard from workers that, in the least, maintaining a ride free zone will contribute to making downtown more accessible. But, of course, simply making transportation free would benefit us all.

Reactivating downtown means supporting arts, culture, & hospitality. The City of Seattle can provide funding to support revitalization through RFP that small businesses, venues, and community organizations can apply for to bring arts & culture back to downtown attracting visitors & encouraging workers to spend more time downtown outside of work hours.

Workers should have every protection possible. We should maintain free covid testing sites for workers until we know the crisis is over. We should put in place a citywide mask mandate in all indoor businesses. It should not be the responsibility of workers to ask for vaccination cards which may cause hostility. The safest way to proceed is to require everyone wear masks inside businesses until it is safe.

There are a myriad of reasons why people are without homes that do not include drugs or mental health. Thousands of Seattlites are facing the possibility of homelessness if we do not address the eviction crisis. We must defund ineffective public safety systems & invest in humane, dignified solutions. Sweeping people and criminalizing poverty, mental health, and drug use is not preventative. In fact it forces people into a detrimental cycle of instability worsening the crisis.

We must provide radical accessibility for residents without homes by prioritizing services and housing. There are hotels in downtown Seattle that are closing. Seattle can work with King County to purchase these hotels as a mid-term solution to the crisis. We must also invest more public safety dollars in a diversity of supports such as city-wide mental health teams, substance use support centers, de-escalation teams (not connected to police), safe lot programs, and tiny house villages.

COVID-19 exacerbated pre-existing crises and inequalities. There is no substitute for building housing, developing pipelines into prevailing wage jobs, and generating revenue through progressive taxation to address these crises.

Brianna K Thomas / Good Alignment

Position 9
peopleforbrianna.org

Equitable economic recovery is something that I’ve been advocating for and will absolutely be a top priority once elected. This means prioritizing our small businesses, which are the backbone of our economy and community. It also means prioritizing the arts and entertainment industries, including tourism and hospitality attractions.

I am eager to work with the DSA to create systems that allow businesses to flourish. Due to the impacts of the pandemic nearly 200 downtown businesses have permanently shut their doors, including many with BIPOC owners. That is why I will propose a temporary abatement of B&O taxes for new small businesses that start up downtown, so we quickly fill those empty storefronts. With the viaduct gone, we have a unique opportunity to build ground-floor retail, and I look forward to working with Friends of the Waterfront on projects like this. The Council should continue to work to simplify and improve permitting processes for businesses, like we saw with the extension of outdoor dining and Safe Street permits.
The Council can also more adequately fund the OED, which is currently a very under-funded but incredibly important resource. To fund this recovery, we need progressive revenue streams.

I am committed to investing in 15-minute neighborhoods where people can meet all their needs for living, shopping, working, and playing without having to venture far from their homes. If the planning and implementation of our development is committed to sustainability and racial equity, we can become resilient to climate impacts. As someone who hasn’t had a car in years, I am passionate about enhancing downtown’s walkability and transit accessibility, as well as access to parks and other greenspaces, which includes the vibrant neighborhoods of Pioneer Square, South Lake Union, and Belltown. I look forward to working with the DSA to partner meaningfully on these initiatives. I know that the DSA has put a lot of thought and effort into their Third Avenue Vision, and look forward to making these ideas a reality.

The city must play an active role in addressing homelessness and the mental health crisis that impacts too many of our neighbors. I’m a firm believer that the answer to homelessness is homes. Waiting to invest in long-term housing and the healthcare services needed to address trauma and addiction is costing folks’ humanity. I am prepared to work with all stakeholders in the region to ensure our budget reflects the urgent need for housing and wraparound services. Programs like JustCares centers getting folks out of tents, and into appropriate shelter that restores our community and our neighbors dignity.

I had the distinct privilege and challenge of being the Council President’s Chief of Staff during the movement to defund the police. I think there’s a more productive way to have conversations about change than by damaging property. I don’t condone breaking windows and setting fires to make a point, and I know how difficult that has been for our businesses downtown. I know firsthand what it’ll take to effectively address these calls for change while bettering public safety, and as a Black woman I empathize deeply with the calls for police reform. The city’s budget needs to reflect our community’s priorities, which means economic recovery, public safety where SPD’s budget isn’t bloated and behavioral health workers are commensurately paid, affordable housing, and reliable transit for all.