Seattle City Council — District 4

Downtown’s success depends, in part, on effective partnerships with Seattle’s elected leaders. While DSA does not endorse candidates for office, we do interview them about important issues facing downtown and the city, and rank them according to our priorities.

Candidates are given an opportunity to answer questions in writing and in person about key issues, including public safety, transportation, homelessness, economic competitiveness, and the urban experience.

Candidates who complete the questionnaire are scored on how closely they align with DSA’s priorities in these areas. All scores are posted below. As a part of our commitment to transparency, we also share all written responses — as we received them — so you have an opportunity to better understand each candidate’s perspective.

The primary election is Tuesday, Aug. 6.

Meet the District 4 Candidates

Additional Candidates:

  • Frank Kruger  /  No Response
  • Beth Mountsier  /  No Response
  • Shaun Scott  /  No Response

Questionnaire

Click on a question to jump to candidate responses.

  1. Looking at the current City Council, on what issues would you say it has been particularly effective and, in your opinion, where has it been less effective? Why?
  2. More than 52,000 daily transit riders from across all seven City Council districts use Third Avenue daily to get to and from their jobs in downtown Seattle. While Third Avenue acts as a front door to our downtown, it’s also the epicenter of the Seattle’s largest outdoor drug market. A recent report commissioned by DSA and neighborhood district partners has outlined a large amount of criminal activity across the city, including property crime, assaults and robberies, is being perpetrated by a small number of prolific offenders who cycle through the criminal justice system. Have you read the report? If elected to the Seattle City Council, what policies might you pursue to curb property crime and address these issues in downtown in order to make our streets safer for all? How might you work with your elected colleagues to enact these policies?
  3. Homelessness continues to be the top issue facing Seattle, yet we have made little progress toward housing our homeless population. In your estimation, what is the City’s role in addressing this crisis? Where would you spend your energy, leadership and resources to have the greatest impact?
  4. Seattle’s lack of housing options that are affordable to our low- and moderate-income employees is an important issue for DSA and its members. In the wake of MHA passing at Council, what kinds of new policies would you pursue to help expand the availability of affordable housing in Seattle? How might current zoning fit into your thinking? Who would you imagine working with to enact these policies?
  5. Between 2010 to 2018, downtown Seattle added over 85,000 jobs. During this time, we have seen a major shift in how the majority of people get to and around downtown, with percentage of people driving alone to their jobs shrinking to roughly 25%. Still, as the regional transportation and economic hub, downtown street space is at a premium. What steps do we need to take over the next two-to-four years to ensure that people can access downtown and that our streets work well for all users?
  6. DSA currently manages and activates Westlake and Occidental Square Parks through an agreement with the City, which has allowed us to bring furniture, programming, staffing and security into these parks, as we work to make them welcoming for all. We also manage McGraw Square with some of the same types of activities. What is your view of this type of public/private partnership as the City contemplates major new public space opportunities along the waterfront and above Interstate-5?
  7. Downtown Seattle is the economic center of the region, with large and small businesses employing more than 300,000 people. However, economic success for employers and employees are continuously strained by unpredictable and burdensome regulations and taxes being imposed at the city level. How will you work to ensure that there is more predictability and consideration for employers to support growth in jobs, retail, restaurants and investment in downtown?
  8. In 2015, a city report looked at Seattle’s commercial development capacity and determined we could absorb another 115,000 jobs by 2035. Yet, in the last three years alone, we have added over 23,000 jobs, indicating that we are likely to surpass our growth targets much earlier than anticipated. Seattle has limited existing zoning capacity, and inadequate permitting systems in place to accommodate the future demand for commercial development. Where might you look to expand our city’s capacity in this regard?
  9. As the City strives to allocate limited resources to manage and activate our complex urban environment, it has increasingly turned to Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) for support. These BIAs build community capacity and give agency and tools to local communities to address their own priorities. What is your view of these groups and their impact?
  10. Downtown is not only one of the fastest-growing residential neighborhood in the region, but also the jobs center of Seattle. If you are elected to serve on the City Council, how would you go about balancing the needs of your district with the City has a whole? What are the top issues facing your district and how do you see them intersecting with the issues at play in downtown?

1. Looking at the current City Council, on what issues would you say it has been particularly effective and, in your opinion, where has it been less effective? Why?

» next / all


Heidi Stuber

I am happy to see City Council identify the number of unhoused people in our city as a crisis and I appreciate their efforts to create more affordable housing, especially as it has not been easy to push for the density that is needed as our city grows. I support their efforts to increase ADUs as a way to increase density without completely changing communities. I was involved in advocacy efforts on the Short-Term Rentals legislation and appreciated that City Council was willing to rewrite the legislation in response to community feedback. I believe the final legislation limiting but not outlawing this industry and increasing taxes so short-term rentals could be a part of the solution for affordable housing was a fair and balanced process. However, I don’t see City Council taking enough action to reduce homelessness and prioritize getting people housed. When council members talk about the homelessness crisis as primarily an affordable housing problem, they are missing the portion of the unhoused population that could not access housing, whether due to substance use or mental health issues, without government support regardless of rental rates. I don’t agree with the reluctance to clean up unauthorized tent encampments and the glacial response rate of the Navigation team. I also firmly believe that businesses are not the enemy and proposing taxes without input from the business community and bringing them in to be a part of the solution is short-sighted and unsuccessful, as we saw with the head tax. I think Seattle is ready for more collaborative, responsive, and solutions-focused leaders on City Council.


Alex Pedersen

Effective: Frankly, I cannot think of a big issue on which the current City Council — as a whole — has been particularly effective, especially as I listen to the concerns of residents and small businesses in District 4. I think that individual Councilmembers have worked hard and have good intent, but the group has not been functioning as well as it should be to benefit most residents, especially with a budget of $6 billion. Ineffective: Big picture, there is a lack of accountability from the current City Council. They are not great at listening to their constituents, being transparent, or getting results that most residents want. Let’s delve into just one example – the one that is top of mind for residents and businesses across our city: Homelessness.

  • Homelessness: Spending has gone up, but homelessness has not gone down. There is no strategic plan or clear dashboard for the public or stakeholders to see progress toward goals and, until recently, there was a disturbing lack of coordination with King County where the dollars originate for mental health and substance abuse treatment. I have an extensive background in affordable housing and literally worked in division of HUD in Washington D.C. during the Clinton Administration that awarded grants to cities to reduce homelessness. The City Council should fund only data-driven best practices proven to reduce homelessness in other cities. I look forward to rowing in the same direction as the Mayor to get results and improve regional coordination.

Emily Myers

The council successfully shepherded the MHA proposal. It was a win for so many communities in Seattle and a step in the right direction for equitable land use and zoning. It will increase affordable housing stock and support urban village development around transit hubs. This required a lot of unity across the council in the face of pushback and demonstrated our ability to support progressive policy across the city. Seattlites are frustrated by lack of visible movement to address our homelessness crisis, and we see it manifesting in the tone of the council. I believe the current councilmembers are compassionate and respectful when they approach our crisis of unsheltered homelessness. However, too much of the money in our city’s budget is directed toward short term, emergency shelter. We need to reorient spending toward evidence based solutions: permanent supportive housing, diversion and retention programs, and supporting safe, clean, sanctioned encampments. These are proven strategies working well in other cities that we under-fund and undersupport and I look forward to working with my colleagues to build constituent support to end homelessness.


Sasha Anderson

I think one issue where the council has been particularly effective is in getting the MHA legislation passed. Although it only spans a very small portion of the city, I think it was a much needed step and will hopefully open the doors to more residential zoning as opposed to primarily single family zoning. The reason I believe the council has been effective in this area is because they faced a large amount of hesitation and backlash regarding any zoning changes, and were still able to get the ball rolling on critical legislation. An area where council has been less effective is in communicating what they are working on to constituents and having a strategic plan outlined for their work. We are seeing a large amount of constituents who feel they are out of the loop and do not know what the council is focused on, and also feel they are not being heard by their representatives. Although I can only begin to understand how difficult it is for council members to engage with their constituents consistently with their workload, I think the council can, and needs, to do a better job of keeping their constituents informed and responding to constituent concerns.


Cathy Tuttle

I tend to agree with the majority of the Council. I think they have disregarded their responsibility as a check on the Mayor and her budgets. Council should not have backed away from the head tax, but instead worked on a more actionable plan and interfaced with local major employers for affordable housing while addressing the crisis levels of people experiencing homelessness. Council should also have pushed back harder when the mayor dragged her feet on transportation issues. The business community tends to be more forward thinking on sustainability issues than the Mayor’s Office. I believe more positive synergy is possible between Council and the DSA in working toward Seattle’s sustainable equitable future.


Joshua Newman

The City Council has been effective at the basics of city government, at keeping the lights on, the garbage collected, and the parks open; no small task. Seattle continues to function reasonably well, is reasonably clean in most places, and business continues to thrive, perhaps in spite of city government. The Council has obviously missed the mark leading Seattle to address Climate Change and certainly addressing the housing affordability and homelessness crises. They were unable to strike a balance between enforcing laws, supporting people in need, and ensuring the City Government spent its tax dollars efficiently.


Ethan Hunter

One of the areas where I believe the council has been somewhat effective in recently was passing the HALA-MHA legislation. I was disappointed that developers could pay a fee to get out of having certain new units built be for affordable low income housing. Had I been on the council I would have pushed to either significantly raise that fee or eliminate it all together. I think that the council has been less effective in dealing with the growing drug epidemic. Because the councils relationship with the Seattle Police Department is poor, the two groups haven’t been able to work effectively to create policies that would empower police to do their jobs effectively and help those most in need get the help they deserve.

2. More than 52,000 daily transit riders from across all seven City Council districts use Third Avenue daily to get to and from their jobs in downtown Seattle. While Third Avenue acts as a front door to our downtown, it’s also the epicenter of the Seattle’s largest outdoor drug market. A recent report commissioned by DSA and neighborhood district partners has outlined a large amount of criminal activity across the city, including property crime, assaults and robberies, is being perpetrated by a small number of prolific offenders who cycle through the criminal justice system. Have you read the report? If elected to the Seattle City Council, what policies might you pursue to curb property crime and address these issues in downtown in order to make our streets safer for all? How might you work with your elected colleagues to enact these policies?

» next / « previous / all


Heidi Stuber

I’ve met with Fire Fighters, a police Sergeant, an addiction expert, and a mental health advocate and everyone agrees, our current approach to the intersection of homelessness, crime, and substance use is not working. I have looked at the report and I share the point of view that it is unacceptable to allow repeat offenders to commit crimes and fall further into addiction without intervention. In our efforts to be a liberal and compassionate city, we have become enablers to drug addiction, which can be a fatal disease. Our police need to be enabled to enforce property crimes, nuisance crimes, and drug-related crimes and our City and County prosecutors need to follow up with prosecutions, especially for repeat offenders. I think we can also increase participation in LEAD and Mental Health court to make sure those who have comorbid issues are getting the services and treatment they need. We need to ensure our city is a desirable location for the employees who work downtown every day, for the tourists who want to visit, and for the Seattle and King County residents who want to eat, play, and visit downtown.


Alex Pedersen

Yes, I have read the report “System Failure” twice and followed up with its author as well as with the University District BIA in D-4 to learn more and let them know I want to help solve these problems. Thank you for your leadership on this report. It was needed – it’s something the city government should have done.

The report should have been a wake up call to the current City Council. Yet we have not seen action. On the one-month anniversary of that report’s publication, I issued a press release calling on the City Council to use its oversight authority from the City Charter to launch public hearings to hold the criminal justice system accountable by resolving why the worst offenders are continually released back into the community without proper help and supervision.

I will be a voice on City Council that makes public safety a top priority of city government. I will make sure our police officers and fire fighters receive the resources and support they need to keep pace with the challenges arising from our growing population.

  • Hire More Officers to Reduce Response Times
  • Boost Morale of our Police Officers
  • Emphasize Crime Prevention
  • Concentrate Enforcement Efforts on Problem Places and Worst Offenders
  • Enable Police to Patrol the Beats More; Fill Out Paperwork Less
  • Continue to Seek Opportunities for Diversion and Restorative Justice
  • Track How Criminal Cases are Resolved to Improve Our Criminal Justice System
  • Monitor and Maintain Police Reforms
  • Control Police Overtime Costs to Use for Crime Prevention
  • Explore a 3-1-1 Call Center Available 24/7. In addition to giving citizens an easy-to-remember phone number (3-1-1) to call day or night for city services that encourages accountability, a 3-1-1 Call Center will reduce the overload on our 9-1-1 Call Center and the “non-emergency” line that is staffed by the same team as the 9-1-1 Call Center. This has worked well for more than a decade in cities from San Francisco to Chicago to New York. Seattle’s current “Customer Service Bureau” is available ONLY on weekdays. While the “Find It Fix It” technology works for some, a 3-1-1 Call Center open 24/7 will enable residents without access to fancy iPhones to receive the best customer service.

Why I Can Deliver Solutions:

  • I will work with, not against, our police department.
  • I have the experience as a City Council legislative aide for one of the foremost crime prevention experts who chaired the Council’s Public Safety Committee: Tim Burgess, himself a former police officer. I will continually encourage my City Council colleagues to work collaboratively with our Mayor to keep all communities safe by preventing violent crime and reducing property crime.
  • I have the credibility advancing evidence-based, upstream crime prevention programs:

Gun Safety Research: Despite resistance from the National Rifle Association, I led the effort to fund innovative research with the University of Washington to improve gun safety – the first of its kind in the nation.


Emily Myers

Previous to this questionnaire, I had read reporting on it and spoken to others, but have since read it in full.

I understand the concern about crime in downtown. I have avoided going downtown after dark many times due to feeling unsafe as a woman walking alone.

One driver of property crime and violent crime in our city is our model of policing. I support increased community policing, a model wherein police officers live and work in the communities they police. This model means the police presence is decentralized and there is increased community involvement for reasons besides responding to crime. This can deter crime while still reducing incidents of police use of force because the relationship between officers and citizens is engaged at times other than arrest/detention. This will require a strong relationship with community members affected by property crime, community members vulnerable to police violence, and the Seattle police department. It also requires good pay and incentives for police officers, which depend on strong contracts between SPOG and the city, which I will work to accomplish. I support a transition to a more robust model of community policing because I believe it will make our city safer for everyone.

Additionally, as the report lays bare, much of the crime is due to individuals cycling between homelessness and incarceration. This is a sign of a failure of our criminal justice system to rehabilitate people entering “the system”. According to the report 100% of these repeat offenders displayed signs of homelessness and substance use disorder. One program, the LEAD program, is working successfully as a diversion program and should be expanded. However, this program is not mandated, and thus does not reach all individuals. Expanded programs to support those with substance use disorders and bring them into contact with social services, social workers, and other individuals outside of the police force could also reduce this population of people repeatedly carrying out crime and cycling in and out of incarceration. For instance, expanded suboxone and methodone distribution centers for those experiencing homelessness, strengthened needle exchange, and the completion of a safe consumption site will increase the likelihood that members of this population come in contact with health care, services, and social workers who can support these individuals and reduce risk of repeat offenses. I will work towards these goals by partnering with community organizations and implementing the latest scientific research on addiction to address this aspect of crime.

Finally, we must fund a large expansion to permanent supportive housing. It is clear that a strong, but prominent subpopulation of people experiencing homelessness in Seattle have severe mental illness and/or co-occuring substance use disorder.

Permanent supportive housing, with peer mentoring, dedicated case workers, and stable access to basic needs (food, shelter) is a model of restorative, non-punitive rehabilitation that can lead to people leaving this cycle for good.

I will support existing projects to develop a safe consumption site, which several   current council members support. I will work with my colleagues at the city, county, and state to build public support for a new revenue stream to end homelessness, a program that would include the building of permanent supportive housing to the scale necessary to house our chronically homeless population. I would work with the Seattle Police Officers Guild (SPOG) to implement expanded diversion programs, like the Navigation Team, to prevent the criminalization of homelessness while still working to reduce property crime. I will also collaborate with my colleagues on the council to oversee the Mayor’s budget and ensure that our spending priorities are aligned with the proven best practices.


Sasha Anderson

I have yet to read the report, however it is in my top 10 on my to-do list. In the meantime, have been working hard to meet with first responders and have also met with one business owner on third avenue so that I can become better informed on this issue.

Thus far I have met with the Seattle Firefighters Union and am currently in the process of setting up a meeting with the police department. Something that has stood out to me from the meetings I have had thus far is the importance of LEAD (Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion). Both firefighters, police officers, constituents and business owners have shared that because the program has been shown to work, they would like to see it expanded and have LEAD officers working more downtown (up until now they have been primarily focused in Ballard). Increasing the amount of LEAD officers is one way that I would address this issue if elected to the city council, as it has been proven to be effective and is making our streets safer. Based on the success of the program thus far, I do not believe it would be difficult to work with colleagues to get policies further expanding LEAD enacted so that our streets could be safer.


Cathy Tuttle

Yes I have read the System Failure report. It is shocking. Yes I agree there is a need for criminal justice reform. I support the need for business owners and the staff they employ to have a safe working environment, and understand the perception of crime as well as prolific offenders negatively impact local business health downtown and in other business hubs around the city.

That said, there are limited actions the City can take to address repeat offenders who cycle through County jails and Harborview, a King County hospital.

Our criminal justice system is most effective when we spend our tax money on prevention rather than incarceration because incarceration won’t prevent crimes being committed again. Current City Councilmembers are supporting more treatment programs for mental illness and drug addiction, as well as housing and centers with wrap around services. I’d continue to support these initiatives, and recommend funding to help DSA work to activate Third Avenue with positive eyes on the street activities. The DSA’s work to activate Westlake and Occidental has made an incredible difference for the vitality of downtown and for the people of Seattle that could be a model for Third Avenue.


Joshua Newman

Yes, I’ve reviewed the report. The sampling methodology is dubious; nevertheless, it is disturbing that 100 frequent offenders can be found cycling through our criminal justice system. To be clear, this is a local result of our state and national wealth inequality. Large corporations and the wealthy have not paid their fair share of taxes for the last 40 years. Lower taxes and the concentration of wealth have left state and local governments unable to properly fund mental health facilities or a thoughtful and effective criminal justice system.

Despite these limitations, Seattle and King County must remove these frequent offenders from our public streets. This is not an attempt to criminalize homelessness or mental health disorders, as the report finds the likely cause of repetitive property crimes to be substance abuse. Seattle and King County must find the funds and staff to provide substance abuse treatment while incarcerating these individuals. These individuals are the outliers of our society, and are not representative of the larger homeless or mentally ill populations.


Ethan Hunter

To combat property crime I would first want to see prosecutors in King County actually prosecute these criminals. Because so many of these so-called “Low level crimes” go unprotected police in our city feel as if the work they do to stop criminals isn’t being taken seriously by prosecutors in King County. In district 4 I support a new police precinct, this would be a huge step in decreasing response times. I also want to see us hire more police officers, I would support signing bonuses and pay increases to influence people to join the SPD. On the issue of signing bonuses for new police hires I think the current council is already in agreement with this.

3. Homelessness continues to be the top issue facing Seattle, yet we have made little progress toward housing our homeless population. In your estimation, what is the City’s role in addressing this crisis? Where would you spend your energy, leadership and resources to have the greatest impact?

» next / « previous / all

Heidi Stuber

Seattle is a beautiful, well-resourced city that is drawing visitors from across the country and the world and it is imperative that we change course and start taking action in response to the homelessness crisis. Our city’s current approach to Homelessness and Crime represents a serious threat to the economic viability of the downtown region. My first priority in office would be establishing one city department to oversee our city’s response to the homelessness crisis, manage our current resources wisely, and ensure we are prioritizing exits out of housing. We need to reorganize the budget to provide adequate diversion and rapid rehousing programs for the working poor, we need to quickly create more low-barrier housing with wrap-around services in tiny home villages and authorized tent cities in neighborhoods around the city, and we need to work towards a more sustainable solution by getting developments funded by MHA built as quickly as possible. Once we are confident that are resources are organized and we have access to more temporary and transitional housing, we need to re-establish our expectations for clean and safe public spaces downtown and in the surrounding urban neighborhoods.


Alex Pedersen

Role: As the chief funder of programs that provide services and create affordable housing, City Hall should be held accountable for reducing homelessness, especially when King County stands ready to coordinate efforts.

Energy: I would spend most of my energy ensuring there is a comprehensive plan to reduce homelessness with relevant performance metrics and outcome goals visible to all so that we can earn the trust of the business and philanthropy communities – they need to trust City Hall to invest their funds effectively to get results.

Sadly, the number of people experiencing homelessness in Seattle increases — despite more spending by our local governments. I will use his extensive background in affordable housing and commitment to accountability to fund only data-driven best practices proven to prevent and reduce homelessness as we have seen in other cities. I will also work collaboratively and persistently to achieve the necessary coordination with King County on mental health, drug dependency, and other key programs so that we have a comprehensive plan and achieve real progress on this regional crisis. Getting results is necessary to provide compassion toward people experiencing homelessness and to support those on the front lines working to reduce homelessness.


Sasha Anderson

I think an important point to note here is that in 2018 approximately 5,800 homeless people were moved into housing in the greater Seattle area, which is a 30% increase from 2017. The reason I bring this up is to underscore that the city is working on the issue, and is making progress, however it is not being scaled as much as it can be due to lack of resources.

I strongly believe the city should continue to take a leadership regarding the homelessness crisis, and as a city council member, I would work hard with the city government to:

  • Make property affordable for nonprofit housing developers so they can provide low cost housing to those in need.
  • Continue the work that is being done to extend shelter hours to be 24/7 and include case management and social service providers. We know that the housing first model works, and we need to work as hard as we can to scale this model.

Another critical aspect to this crisis is the amount of people who are on the brink of losing their home or being evicted due to being cost burdened. I think it is critical to work to keep people in their homes, and I would do this by:

  • Working to raise the ceiling for senior income from $30,000 to at lease $50,000 annually. Right now seniors have to prove they have an annual income below $30,000 in order to receive a break on their property taxes and utilities. The seniors who I have talked to who are doing this are barely making it by, do not repair any outstanding issues on their homes, and oftentimes only heat one room so as to keep their utilities low. We all know that it is practically impossible to live on $30,000 a year in Seattle, yet the current legislation makes it impossible for seniors to live well and still get a much needed reprieve on their taxes and utilities. This needs to change if we want to keep them in their homes.

 


Cathy Tuttle

All levels of government have a role in addressing the crisis of homelessness: federal, state, county and city. Unfortunately, federal, state, and county governments have not done enough and so it falls to the City of Seattle to play a greater leadership role. There is no single cause of homelessness and there is no single solution.

I will direct my energy to two parts of the problem where I feel the City can be most effective at finding solutions: 1) affordability, to prevent our citizens from being pushed out of housing due to basic inability to pay rent and 2) support, to address our people with housing issues that are more complex due to physical and behavioral health issues.

Regarding affordability: Our current zoning regulations create market distortions that depress housing production and increase housing cost. My approach is to ease these regulations so that we can respond to the pressures caused by our booming economy and catch up on our housing supply needs. I’m especially interested in prevention programs like Home First that strive to keep people who are at-risk of becoming unhoused.

Regarding support: There is no magic solution to dealing with the numerous complex public health issues driving homelessness. It requires money, plain and simple. Anyone who says homelessness and attendant mental health and substance abuse issues can be solved without additional revenue is not serious about addressing the issue. So, I will partner with a wide range of constituencies to craft a revenue package highly targeted to solving the problem, supported by a clear and realistic plan for how the money will be used.


Joshua Newman

Seattle must coordinate with and enable King County to provide a regional, systemic approach to addressing homelessness. If elected, I will support and enable King County’s centralized All Home as homelessness is a regional problem, though it is most visible in Seattle.

In the near term, we should establish managed FEMA-style tent cities that give people with nowhere else to go, a secure, sanitary, and supported living location. This can only ever be a temporary solution; a bandage to apply in the current crisis. It must inevitably lead to transitional housing, an expanded public housing program, more market-built homes, and permit supportive housing for those who need that support.


Ethan Hunter

I think city council has a huge role to play in addressing the homeless crisis. In district 4 and throughout the city, small business owners are feeling the impacts financially of people sleeping sidewalks where they own businesses. To address the issue of homelessness I would start by investing money into shelters and free/reduced income housing. I think the council can also work to provide these people with the resources to getting/continuing an education or getting a job. Many of those who are homeless are capable of working and they should be contributing members of our cities economy. I also support additional housing incentives for those who are homeless who find and maintain a job.

4. Seattle’s lack of housing options that are affordable to our low- and moderate-income employees is an important issue for DSA and its members. In the wake of MHA passing at Council, what kinds of new policies would you pursue to help expand the availability of affordable housing in Seattle? How might current zoning fit into your thinking? Who would you imagine working with to enact these policies?

» next / « previous / all

Heidi Stuber

Affordability is a big concern for this industry because it impacts workforce availability. Employees are having to commute longer distances to get to work or juggle multiple jobs just to survive in our city. I don’t think HALA was a perfect piece of legislation, but it was a step in the right direction. I would like to see more efforts at increasing density in single-family zones without increasing height limits by relaxing rules for ADUs and basement apartments and allowing homeowners to convert a single-family home into a duplex or triplex. This would add density in our single-family zones without fundamentally changing the neighborhood. Seattle is known for having missing middle housing that would be a great option for moderate income employees. We need to thoughtfully increase density, in a graduated manner, with highest density near transit and job hubs, in order to house the number of people who live in our city. MHA will also enable our city to build needed government-subsidized housing for low-income workers. We are a growing city and we need to approach affordability both from a thoughtful housing density and a public resources perspective, to make it easier for middle-income employees to live and thrive in the city of Seattle.


Alex Pedersen

Affordability:  First, I think City Council should view “affordability” holistically, rather than just in the realm of affordable housing production. Accountability leads to Affordability. City Hall needs to be held accountable for how it raises taxes, increases utility bills, and then spends that money. City Hall can also do more to encourage transit ridership, which can help to make a household’s transportation budget more affordable.

That said, the preservation and creation of affordable housing are still vital factors to expand the availability of affordable housing. I have an extensive background in affordable housing having underwritten the financing of over $2 billion for over 30,000 units across the country and worked at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in our nation’s capital. I believe I am the only candidate running in my district who is qualified to engage in a meaningful way on this important issue so that all stakeholders feel they are making progress.

Some Key Policies:

  • Land: I think the City government can do a better job obtaining buildable land from the private market and then providing long-term leases of that land and its own “surplus” land to nonprofits for the construction of affordable housing. Nonprofit housing developers are often too busy building or managing projects to have the bandwidth or predevelopment dollars to snatch up land before costs rise.
  • Encouraging Condos: City Council should encourage the creation of more condominiums (including units big enough for families). Condos are a more affordable starting point for homeownership. I look forward to supporting our state legislators in reforming overly restrictive condo laws that have impeded the creation of these affordable homeownership opportunities.
  • Manufactured Housing: Modular housing, which I recently inspected in Vancouver B.C., is built in a factory and assembled on site. It can be attractive and good quality while costing less — and it is constructed much faster than traditional housing so we can get people experiencing homelessness into housing quickly.
  • Zoning: Before making additional dramatic changes to zoning, I believe it would be prudent for our city government to collect and assess the “before and after” data on the impacts of the new Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) legislation. This could include the quantity and location of new affordable housing production, the displacement / movement of existing residents and businesses, crime statistics, traffic / transit impacts, protection of historical structures, school capacity, tree canopy quantity/quality, impacts on workers, etc. Many well-meaning people worked hard to develop the various H.A.L.A. proposals and many well-meaning people raised legitimate concerns about the process and some of the key policies. It’s no secret that I thought the details of MHA and the implementation of MHA were not handled well by City Hall policymakers. I shared the concerns of many with the lack of transparency and lack of truly meaningful engagement of impacted communities. It’s also not clear whether policymakers optimized the benefits for low-income housing. Now that the current policymakers enacted MHA, City Hall must implement carefully by keeping track of the data to make sure their policies are generating the hoped for positive outcomes. Once we have some relevant data, we can explore additional affordable housing policies with meaningful community input and an emphasis on creating affordable housing opportunities where there is sufficient infrastructure, including reliable and frequent transit.

Stakeholders: For the good of all, there’s a lot of trust that needs to be re-built and, as a District Councilmember, I would be just one important voice. I look forward to working openly with all stakeholders while staying focused on the requirements of this district position — to listen to, inform, represent, and take care of my constituents.


Emily Myers

I support changes in zoning that promote missing middle housing. That means allowing duplexes, triplexes, and fourplexes or other forms of low-density, low-height multifamily housing in all neighborhoods. I also support easing the permitting requirements on accessory dwelling units and providing resources to low income homeowners and seniors attempting to build ADUs to prevent displacement.

In terms of low-income housing, as mentioned earlier, I believe part of the response to our homelessness crisis is also a housing response – investing in more public housing and working with developers to expand access to housing for low-income residents to prevent homelessness, housing insecurity, and help our high number of residents who are rent-burdened. For example, the University’s Master Plan must focus on affordable housing — as it is attempting to expand both the number of students and employees at the Seattle campus. We know that both for climate and quality of life, there should be affordable options for these folks near campus.

 As mentioned above, current zoning of “single family” is outdated and exclusionary as our city grows. We consistently hear from District Four neighbors about frustration over their children not being able to afford moving back. These folks want to see more diversity in the neighborhoods schools and places for families of all incomes to move, but want to see “neighborhood character” preserved. In order to successfully change zoning laws to make our neighborhoods more equitable, we will need to map out low- and mid- density zones and focus on form rather than use in our zoning so that we can more creatively use lots in our city to house more people: a better plan for the climate and for affordability.

 I will work with sitting councilpersons, urban planners, transit & climate experts, racial equity experts to anticipate impact, organized labor, the business community to discuss how zoning/growth can positively and negatively impact their businesses and where we can grow small neighborhood business zones. Central to this process will be multiple community led planning commissions and community town halls, to hear input from our district and across the city. It is essential that in our plans to hear from community members we do outreach to groups not often represented in these meetings. We must engage with communities of color, working class people, seniors, and students. Additionally, in considering district 4 zoning changes, we have to remember that many people in other parts of the city would want to move to the district if there were more affordable housing opportunities and hear input from outside the district as well.


Sasha Anderson

Zoning is the most crucial component of expanding the availability of affordable housing in Seattle. As a renter who hopes to one day be able to buy a home in our city, I would work hard to expand the single family zoning that currently makes up 75% of our land that can be built on in Seattle to include more residential zoning. The Neighborhoods For All report that was released by the Seattle Planning Commission outlines multiple ways that our land can be rezoned to be more affordable and inclusive, and would include a mix of zones from RSL, LR1 – 3, townhouses, condos, and rowhouses. The council has shown that it is dedicated to expanding our options by approving MHA, and from my talks with two current council members, they would like to see it expanded further. Because of this, I imagine working with the council to enact expansion of MHA would be a first step. Additionally, I believe including stakeholders in the community who are experienced in land use and zoning, such as affordable housing nonprofits, developers, and neighborhood councils, would enable wider support and buy in, and be an important way I would work to enact the expansion of MHA.



Cathy Tuttle

Current zoning contributes to our affordability crisis by driving up the cost of housing, extending commutes farther into the suburbs, and increases dependence on cars, for which there is no more room on downtown streets. When we address zoning, we have to include all stakeholders but not give preference to groups or individuals who can afford to game the system with legal appeals. Seattle, particularly downtown Seattle, has the capacity to build many more residential units, especially including 2- and 3-bedroom affordable housing for families.


Joshua Newman

Cities throughout King County, and especially Seattle, must end exclusionary residential zoning policies. Current Single-Family Homes zones should allow up to 4 units on most lots, which will enable developers to construct the “missing middle” housing sizes we current lack. While increasing this density, we can protect the architectural and garden beauty of Seattle by simultaneously implementing a Form Base Code that mandates architectural and urban forestry requirements.

Seattle’s history of redlining has combined with rapid population growth to create our current housing affordability crisis. I will work with all stakeholders including my fellow councilmembers, local neighbors, the business community, land used advocates, and the social justice community, to drive these changes. However, increasing density will not entirely address the needs for all members of our society, and we must plan to expanding our public housing programs across King County.


Ethan Hunter

To help the availability of affordable housing I would like to significantly raise the fees that can be paid opt out of having certain new units set aside for affordable housing, or eliminate the fee all together, and have it be a requirement for developers to have a number of units built as designated affordable housing. I would like to see neighborhoods near major transit stations be up-zoned first. This would help those who ride transit to do so easily and be an incentive to those who don’t use public transit, to use it.

5. Between 2010 to 2018, downtown Seattle added over 85,000 jobs. During this time, we have seen a major shift in how the majority of people get to and around downtown, with percentage of people driving alone to their jobs shrinking to roughly 25%. Still, as the regional transportation and economic hub, downtown street space is at a premium. What steps do we need to take over the next two-to-four years to ensure that people can access downtown and that our streets work well for all users?

» next / « previous / all

Heidi Stuber

As we grow as a city, we can’t continue to travel and live the way we always have. A big priority for me is seeing increased use of mass transit both to improve congestion and combat climate change. District 4 is lucky to be home to 3 light rail stations by 2021 so we can be a big part of the solution for transportation. We need to expand bus lines and service hours, particularly to include the last mile in connecting to light rail. In order to get more people utilizing mass transit, the city needs to expand low-cost Orca cards for middle class families and individuals, many of whom are commuting into the downtown area. While we should see some increase in parking as new commercial developments are constructed, I don’t believe we can build our way out of the parking shortage. I support incentives for small businesses and individuals to participate in vanpooling, ride shares, and work from home options in addition to mass transit in order to reduce congestion and make it easier for Seattleites and visitors to get in and around downtown.


Alex Pedersen
  • Get more people to ride Sound Transit’s light rail to make the most of those big investments: Our District 4 is unique because we are blessed with three light rail stations: Husky Stadium and then Brooklyn Ave (U  District) and Roosevelt in 2021. To reduce congestion and benefit our environment for everyone, we should focus on making it easier for more people to ride light rail. To make it easier to ride light rail, we need to:
  • Solve the problem of the so-called “first and last mile” by launching and measuring the success/failure of various, low-cost pilot projects. (As you probably know, the “first and last mile” is beginning and end of an individual’s trip from their home to reliable public transit. It is typically the most logistically challenging leg of a journey, especially when it’s raining or dark or you are simply not able to walk one mile each way from your home to the Sound Transit station at Husky Stadium. For many, it’s just easier to drive.) Pilot projects to test “first and last mile” solutions could include:  shuttle vans, smaller/more frequent buses, discounts for those riding Uber/Lyft to a light rail station, providing safe drop-off/pick-up places, combining package delivery with “people delivery,” and other innovations learned from other cities. King County Metro has an “Innovative Mobility” division which is piloting new technologies. Whichever pilot projects move the most people in the most cost-effective manner, City Hall should help to expand.
  • Work with our federal delegation to lobby for federal money to speed up construction of the next stages of our light rail system.

Emily Myers

I will watch what is happening in Manhattan closely, but we have seen congestion pricing make downtown areas more lively and safe. It has the potential, if done correctly with equity concerns in mind, to increase traffic of people to Downtown Seattle while reducing car traffic, due to improved safety for pedestrians, less noise pollution, and improvements in public transit affordability that would result. We need to reconsider making Third Street a bus only route, especially with the tunnel closed, having one street completely bus dedicated will improve travel for cars on other road, improve travel for buses, and improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists which is good for business. We must insure developers building downtown include pedestrian friendly scaffolding so sidewalks don’t get closed when a new building is going up. Finally, we should consider how ride share and services like Lyft and Uber are contributing to congestion and ways to mitigate this while still providing access to users who rely on these services.


Sasha Anderson

I have been working to meet with transit leaders so that I can become better informed on this topic, however one of the initial steps I believe we can take to make sure our streets work well for all users is to focus on first and last mile solutions. In District 4 alone, we will have two new light rail stations opening up in 2021. Making it easier for transit riders to get to the station will ensure more folks will take advantage of rapid transit, which will lead to less cars downtown. I am also doing research on congestion taxes so that I can better understand if this would be an equitable way for there to be less congestion downtown, or if there are other ways that can focus more on incentives for taking transit rather than penalties for operating vehicles.


Cathy Tuttle

Downtown has a limited number of north-south lanes and the majority of those lanes are currently allocated to cars, which are the least efficient mode of transportation. As a City Council member, I will advocate for policies to balance the allocation of space on our downtown streets to better match reality. That means transit lanes, bike lanes, and space for people on foot to travel and engage with the daily life of the city.


Joshua Newman

We must first acknowledge that our roads are sharing public spaces that all of our neighbors have a right to access equally. We must also recognize that transportation technologies require different amounts of that public space. Seattle is no longer a tiny city, and we must prioritize moving individual people and freight, not vehicles. We need to remove arterial street parking and use that public right of way for transit, freight, and protected bike lanes. Additionally, we need to implement an Area Congestion pricing program, that tolls individual vehicle trips throughout Downtown and South Lake Union and fund increased transit. These policies will ensure access to downtown, and enable businesses to prioritize their freight and delivery shipments will maintaining access to the area.


Ethan Hunter

I would work with businesses in the city to promote things like ride sharing and public transportation as a way of transportation throughout the city. Getting as many people out of cars and into buses, light rail or by carpooling is not only good for traffic but good for our environment. Doing this would also free up more parking spaces for those who do drive. I would consider a toll in certain parts of the city for single occupant cars.

6. DSA currently manages and activates Westlake and Occidental Square Parks through an agreement with the City, which has allowed us to bring furniture, programming, staffing and security into these parks, as we work to make them welcoming for all. We also manage McGraw Square with some of the same types of activities. What is your view of this type of public/private partnership as the City contemplates major new public space opportunities along the waterfront and above Interstate-5?

» next / « previous / all

Heidi Stuber

The public/ private partnership has made these parks more vibrant and welcoming for families, tourists, and employees who work downtown. I support expanding this model into other public spaces, however, especially with Westlake Park, we also need an action-oriented solution to the homelessness crisis so this can be a clean and safe community for everyone. I know multiple people who have said they will not return to Westlake Center with their families because of the drug crime they witnessed there. I know this is part of a much bigger problem, which I referenced above, and I will reiterate that our police and prosecuting attorneys need to work together to get repeat offenders off the street.


Alex Pedersen

First, thank you for doing this. For the past few years, I have enjoyed the vitality and safety of Westlake ever since DSA made this a special place again. Obviously the city government had failed to do it, so DSA stepped up with a positive outcome. In other cases, I’m not sure the private sector should be doing such work unless there is a direct impact to the private sector and the city is failing to do it. For example, I do NOT think the private sector should take over the operation of the city’s community centers. I look forward to delving deeper into the various options for managing the waterfront and lidding I-5 with a focus on public benefits. I understand that DSA has studied various models from other cities and would be open to exploring partnerships if they are best for optimizing public benefits.


Emily Myers

Both the Waterfront project and the lidding of I5 are huge opportunities to invest in public space and resources.The spaces should be shaped as a public work to ensure that the development meets Seattle’s needs for housing and greenspaces. However, through these projects I support expanding public/private partnerships as these imagined projects come to fruition in the next decade. Urban art projects, public programming, and health & fitness activities like those in Westlake and Occidental Park spur community engagement and incentivize us all to keep these spaces safe, clean, and protected.


Sasha Anderson

I am 100% for public/private partnerships, and believe it is important to foster and expand them in order to have a city that works for everyone. This is especially the case when those partnerships have been shown to be extremely beneficial, welcoming, and are working.


Cathy Tuttle

The DSA’s work to activate Westlake and Occidental has made an incredible difference for the vitality of downtown and for the people of Seattle. These public spaces have seen ups and downs but now, with the DSA involvement, they are full of life all hours of the day. It is a success story that needs to be told and retold, and it is an approach that needs to be maintained, supported, and potentially expanded.

As you know, I have travelled the world consulting with cities on plans and policies involving public space. Many spaces like Westlake and Occidental benefit from purposeful activation. However, there is a thing I call “naturally occurring activation.” It is something you see when you travel to European cities. If you build a city with finely grained mixed uses, with housing and retail and commercial uses all on the same block or on different levels of the same building, if you combine this with pedestrian scale spaces adjacent to pedestrian scale streets with pedestrian scale lighting, street furniture, and other amenities, you create naturally inviting places with eyes on the street at all hours of the day.


Joshua Newman

Westlake and Occidental Square Parks should serve as models for other highly utilized and centrally located public spaces, such as the future Waterfront parks, I-5 lid, and Denny and Steinbrueck Parks. As Seattle’s density increases, our entire community can benefit from public-owned spaces that ensure public access, while allowing the immediately neighboring businesses and residents greater responsibility, benefits, and positive influence over those public spaces.


Ethan Hunter

I support these public-private relationships. The private sector has a huge role to play in continuing to grow our economy and make our city a welcoming place for everyone.

7. Downtown Seattle is the economic center of the region, with large and small businesses employing more than 300,000 people. However, economic success for employers and employees are continuously strained by unpredictable and burdensome regulations and taxes being imposed at the city level. How will you work to ensure that there is more predictability and consideration for employers to support growth in jobs, retail, restaurants and investment in downtown?

» next / « previous / all

Heidi Stuber

As an Executive for a local, small business, I know firsthand how it is becoming increasingly difficult for small businesses to thrive in Seattle. Between the high cost of rent, the struggle to pay employees a living wage, and employee turnover, businesses are being stretched thin. We need a City Council that is interested in hearing from and supporting the business community, not alienating them with policies and taxes that aren’t supported by the majority of Seattle. As a business-friendly voice on City Council, I would work to limit new regulations and taxes that hurt small businesses and be a voice advocating for the importance of economic development and job growth for the city as a whole.


Alex Pedersen
  • Recognizing the Risks and Challenges of Starting and Expanding a Business: In addition to my public service, I bring substantial private sector experience to the table. The Seattle City Council – too often without seeking or incorporating meaningful feedback from the business community – has been imposing what seems like a constant stream of new costs and regulations. These can have a negative, cumulative impact on restaurants, hotels, and other businesses within the hospitality industry. When combining these costs and regulations with an increase in property taxes that are passed through to business owners with a triple net lease and SDOT projects that tear up streets for too long or remove customer parking, we see businesses struggling to stay in the city they love. Yet these same businesses provide jobs and add to the tapestry of our city’s character and vitality. I believe it is possible to provide what the labor community needs while also providing what the business community needs – in fact, that balance is the policymaker’s objective so that we have a sustainable system in which we thrive together. While the Seattle City Council policies may be laudable, the substantial extent and quick pace of those policies have many concerned that the Council too often uses the Seattle business community as a guinea pig for social policies — without meaningful consultation and without a full understanding of the impacts and implementation headaches.
  • Increasing Public Safety by Reforming the Criminal Justice System: Business districts across our city recently commissioned an important report to collect and analyze arrest and court records. Published in February 2019 and titled “System Failure,” the report demonstrates that we need much better results from our criminal justice system to deal with repeat criminal offenders. I called on our current City Council to launch public hearings to hold the criminal justice system accountable by resolving why the worst offenders are continually released back into the community without proper help and supervision. As evidence of the need for positive action, the CEO of Bartell Drugs recently announced she will not open any more stores in downtown Seattle due to violent assaults in her stores. [The press release can be found at this web address:  https://electalexpedersen.org/media/

Emily Myers

While large businesses can afford lobbyists and dedicate resources to address the City Council, medium, small, and micro-businesses are often left behind. We cannot afford to lump the diverse business community together and must address the diversity of business and their needs. I believe we must bring greater transparency to the City Council process–meaningful deliberation and an evidenced-based approach–when considering tax changes and business regulations will better allow business owners and employees to stay involved in the lawmaking process.

These businesses offer unique services and have diverse needs. While all parties may never be in 100% agreement, we can do better by identifying shared goals. It’s clear the City Council needs to do a better job bringing everyone to the table, and actively working with local businesses as we craft solutions to our city’s largest challenges.

If I am elected to the City Council, I will actively seek input from businesses of all kinds across my district to learn about the specific and general problems they face and how we can work together to make them more manageable. I’m also interested in learning more about the DSA’s ideas to support economic growth and would gladly work together to meet our shared goals.


Sasha Anderson

In order to do this I think the first step is for me to have a clear understanding of our city’s budget. By having a very clear picture of where our resources are going and making sure the money is being spent wisely, we can ensure more predictability and economic success for employers and employees alike. Because of this, my team is currently in the process of mapping out the city budget so that I can become better informed of where and how we are currently allocating our funds and how to make future decisions that will not impose negative regulations and taxes on already overburdened businesses.


Cathy Tuttle

As a consultant in Seattle, I pay city B&O taxes and purchase a business license annually. These are not burdensome.

Either way you look at it the head tax debacle signaled a failure of City government to consult with the major companies driving Seattle’s booming economy. You might say the City Council simply didn’t do its homework both in terms of the potential impact of the tax on the business climate and in the explaining the purpose of the money to be raised to the general public. The wellspring of energy generated against the tax must have surprised the current Council, for Seattle regularly welcomes increases in property taxes. It demonstrated, however, a measure of naivete and a misunderstanding of the anti-tax power base in the city. As someone with strong neighborhood ties and a clear sense of the significance of Seattle’s large businesses to the city’s general welfare, I would bring a balanced understanding of business and community interests to the Council.


Joshua Newman

In my experience, addressing systemic problems requires cross-functional teams that represents all the stakeholders. This ensures we fully understand all sides of a problem before developing a solution. I will take the same approach on City Council, by bringing the businesses, labor, and political communities together.

I know how important the business community is to Seattle and our society; I don’t take it for granted. I see you as partners not enemies, to quickly address the challenges we face. Most business owners love their community and are happy to participate, to help it grow. Even though I am calling for additional taxes on our business community, I want to make it easier to do business in Seattle. Easier to get around, to find employees, to secure permits, and complete inspections. We are in this together.


Ethan Hunter

I will do everything in my power to make sure that small and medium sized businesses aren’t being killed by taxes imposed by the council. As someone who works in a restaurant (In Seattle) I understand the challenges that my employer faces. I will take a close look at what regulations aren’t necessary and work to cut those out.

8. In 2015, a city report looked at Seattle’s commercial development capacity and determined we could absorb another 115,000 jobs by 2035. Yet, in the last three years alone, we have added over 23,000 jobs, indicating that we are likely to surpass our growth targets much earlier than anticipated. Seattle has limited existing zoning capacity, and inadequate permitting systems in place to accommodate the future demand for commercial development. Where might you look to expand our city’s capacity in this regard?

» next / « previous / all

Heidi Stuber

I am open to learning more about where to increase commercial capacity in our city. It seems that the easiest pathway is to increase capacity in our existing industrial zones: Interbay, Sodo, Georgetown, Duwamish, etc. and loosen permit restrictions to make it easier and faster to be allowed to increase density in these areas. With our housing supply needs as well, I think we could also look at areas that intersect with our current industrial zones and investigate whether mixed use zoning could work in some of those neighborhoods.


Alex Pedersen

Just so I understand the math:

  • 2035 minus 2015 = 20 years
  • 23,000 jobs / 3 years x 20 years = 153,333 jobs by 2035 vs. 115,000 current estimate, if the pace of the past 3 years continues.

There is likely to be at least one economic recession impacting the Seattle metro area over the next 20 years, so it’s hard to predict whether the job growth capacity estimate would be exceeded. I would like to make decisions based on data and will certainly keep an eye on this trend.

To answer your question, I would favor expansions near the light rail stations in Urban Centers and future light rail stations — with meaningful input from the impacted communities and as long as vital and viable affordable housing is not removed. The goal would be to encourage increased commercial capacity where there is frequent and reliable transit, so as to not exacerbate commutes/traffic.


Emily Myers

As Seattle continues to make much needed zoning changes that allow for increased development and more affordable housing, the City Council should also be cognizant of economic opportunity and growth. By making strategic zoning decisions, we can increase commercial space, jobs, and prosperity for workers and employers both.

As the light rail expands, I believe we must focus on transit-oriented development. My vision is to upzone and develop around transit stations to create walkable urban villages with abundant housing and commercial spaces. By establishing housing and businesses close together and easily accessible by foot and transit, we can increase the need for new businesses while decreasing housing costs and carbon emissions originating from driving.

Seattle is on track to continue growing at a rapid pace–we must make the most of our opportunities to build a truly modern city with sufficient housing and economic opportunity for all.


Sasha Anderson

Overall, I think a key component of this issue is to expand our current zoning to make space for a need that we know is critical to Seattle’s prosperity.

While expanded zoning is being worked on, one way we could start to look for where we can accommodate this demand would be in the forthcoming affordable housing apartments where commercial space is for sale or lease, or that is currently available. For instance, there is commercial space that has been up for sale or lease in a new apartment building in the U District, however it has sat unoccupied for over two years because local businesses and nonprofits cannot afford it. Having this occupied would be beneficial not only for the organization or business operating in the space, but would also be good for the community. Additionally, as demand grows, the city can look to zoning that is marked both residential and commercial as a way to accommodate more commercial development.


Cathy Tuttle

The city and its downtown must grow if we are to sustain the quality of life to which Seattle has become accustomed. As the city grows, there is no question that the permitting system slows downtown growth and that in these times of intense redevelopment it may be necessary to add staff and hours to the Department of Construction and Inspections. It may also be necessary to redesign environmental and preservation hurdles (EIS and Landmark processes among others), so that their requirements are more easily satisfied.

There is little question that the Growth Management Act and the City’s responses to it have done their job to increase urban density while protecting outlying more rural parts of county and that must continue. Increasing downtown density is therefore consistent with regional sustainability and meeting job growth over the next 15 years. If elected, I will work to speed up permitting. Increasing zoning capacity will require serious planning initiatives. The city has already begun adjusting zoning capacity and expanding the downtown by upzoning significant portions of Lower Queen Anne (Uptown) That effort can serve as a model for other close by neighborhoods to embrace redevelopment. The combination of a

Cultural Arts District with a future of more intense residential and office building growth as demonstrated in the city’s work with this neighborhood can serve as a model for other close by neighborhoods that must embrace redevelopment as we absorb significant job growth in Seattle.


Joshua Newman

I know the current permit process is completely inadequate, and fails to support both for-profit and public-minded development. The additional risk is too high for many projects that face an 18- to 24-month permitting and design review process. I will look to dramatically improve Seattle’s permitting process time by getting it down too at least a year and ideally less than 6 months. We can do this by traditional process improvement method, specifically removing unnecessary waiting time and reassigning current city employees to expand permitting capacity.


Ethan Hunter

As mentioned earlier I would support changing zoning laws to allow for taller and denser buildings near major transit stations to begin with. Some areas in my district including Ravenna I would not want to see up zoned because of the historical significance of it. But obviously we need to allow for taller and denser buildings throughout our city as we continue to grow at fast rates.

9. As the city strives to allocate limited resources to manage and activate our complex urban environment, it has increasingly turned to Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) for support. These BIAs build community capacity and give agency and tools to local communities to address their own priorities. What is your view of these groups and their impact?

» next / « previous / all

Heidi Stuber

I will admit I do not know the history of the BIA’s in depth, but from researching them recently it appears they are important in representing local neighborhood needs and making sure small businesses have a voice in how to shape their community. I believe local neighborhoods should be involved in drawing visitors to their neighborhood, managing parking and sidewalks, and keeping areas clean and safe. However, I don’t know enough about the economic impact on small businesses and condo owners to know if the expense is worth the benefit to each community. I am open to learning more about how they work, how successful they have been, and whether the majority of local residents want a BIA in their neighborhood.


Alex Pedersen

I fully support the model of Business Improvement Areas as allowed under state law:  after a fair vote, allow a fair tax of the immediate areas that will truly benefit from the additional services needed such as enhanced safety and cleaning – as long as there is accountability for proper use of the funds. As with all issues, City Hall should embrace transparency and truly engage the impacted communities while avoiding over-reaching – to prevent backlashes that could hurt the goals of each BIA, especially when renewal is needed. As a legislative aide, I worked on BIA renewals and, as a City Councilmember, I would help to facilitate reasonable renewals, especially in my district. A successful BIA in one district can help to justify BIA renewals throughout the city.


Emily Myers

I am supportive of BIA’s and believe that they can serve as a strong, local supports for communities and their neighborhood businesses. These give businesses the direct support they need while helping to organize and focus their efforts as a unified group to create an improved Seattle economy. In District 4, the U District Partnership is taking proactive steps to prepare businesses for new development and light rail, while collaborating with the city, UW, neighbors, and other stakeholders to develop a long term, but specific, focused vision for the University District. I would be interested in exploring other opportunities to expand the BIA program and would gladly work alongside BIAs in my district and throughout the city.


Sasha Anderson

As mentioned above, I think public and private partnerships are not only extremely valuable, but also crucial to a city that is working for everyone. Although at this time I have not heavily researched BIA’s, having the understanding that they are working on community building and supporting local folks to address their own priorities is something I can get behind and support. I will also be looking into them further so as to gain a deeper understanding of how the council could work effectively with BIA’s.


Cathy Tuttle

BIAs can be an effective tool for building community capacity and giving agency to certain sectors of the local communities they serve. BIAs tend to improve only those very local aspects of the community they serve — the taxed individuals or entities that make up individual BIAs. I’m pleased the BIAs are joining together to address larger citywide and regional issues, for example the recent System Failure report. I’d welcome more active collective BIA work on employee housing, regional transportation, freight, sustainability, energy, parking and other issues that go beyond the footprint of a single BIA.


Joshua Newman

BIA’s are an excellent tool and have helped to create more vibrant, safer neighborhoods. It is an example where local governance is often best, allowing neighbors to act with great speed and more flexibility than waiting for the larger, centralized city government.


Ethan Hunter

I think BIA’s have and will continue to have positive impacts on communities, especially with the limited resources we have as a council.

10. Downtown is not only one of the fastest-growing residential neighborhood in the region, but also the jobs center of Seattle. If you are elected to serve on the City Council, how would you go about balancing the needs of your district with the City has a whole? What are the top issues facing your district and how do you see them intersecting with the issues at play in downtown?

« previous / all

Heidi Stuber

District 4’s needs are similar to the city’s needs. We need an action-oriented response to Homelessness, as does the city. We need to increase density and housing supply to help make housing more affordable, so employees who work in the city can live here as well. We need strong schools graduating students who are prepared to join the 21st century workforce in this city and beyond. And we need a comprehensive transit solution that helps combat climate change, as does the city as a whole. The local needs of my district have to do with clean and safe parks, safe streets and sidewalks, thoughtful density plans, and easy and affordable access to light rail. Both density and access to light rail for District 4 have a positive impact on downtown as it will house and transport workers going into the downtown corridor.

Alex Pedersen

Balance: I worked hard for an at-large Councilmember who chaired the Budget Committee and served as President of the City Council (Tim Burgess). I attended community meetings on his behalf across the entire city. Therefore, I am wired to view the city – and the region — holistically. Moreover, I recognize that many of my constituents work or rely on downtown. The groundswell of support of my candidacy from fellow community leaders does not limit or narrow my perspective. In fact, my unique credibility with neighborhoods is exactly why I am the right candidate most capable of garnering additional support for urgent downtown priorities that impact the whole city.

Top Issues: The top issues in my district are the same or connected to the top issues in downtown. The unifying theme is the need for more accountability from City Hall. Accountability means listening, transparency, and results. I can deliver that accountability due to my compelling combination of public service and private sector expertise.

  • Reducing Homelessness: Sadly, the number of people experiencing homelessness in Seattle increases — despite more spending by our local governments. I will use my extensive background in affordable housing and my commitment to accountability to fund only data-driven best practices proven to prevent and reduce homelessness as we have seen in other cities. I will also work collaboratively and persistently to achieve the necessary coordination with King County on mental health, drug dependency, and other key programs so that we have a comprehensive plan and achieve real progress on this regional crisis. Getting results is necessary to provide compassion toward people experiencing homelessness and to support those on the front lines working to reduce homelessness.
  • Increasing Public Safety: Public Safety should be a top priority of city government. Our police officers and fire fighters need resources and support from city leaders to keep pace with the challenges arising from our growing population. Firefighters report that they feel increasingly unsafe as the number of dangerous incidents increases. The City Council should work collaboratively with our Mayor to keep all communities safe by preventing violent crime and reducing property crime. The City Council should also use its oversight authority under the City Charter to gather data and hold the criminal justice system accountable, so that the most prolific offenders are not continually released back into communities without proper help and supervision.
  • Improving Transportation: All people — including seniors and families with children — need to be mobile to work, shop, play, and thrive in our city. But our city’s traffic and roads are a mess. With meaningful input from residents, City Hall must focus its limited resources to ensure we have reliable roads, transit (see above), and sidewalks to safely move the most people — while enabling freight to move efficiently throughout our region to benefit our economy.

Emily Myers

The top needs of my district are housing affordability, completing transit projects and improving E-W routes for light rail access across district four, and the affordability of childcare and early learning programs. Improving housing affordability and access to the soon-to-be completed light rail stations in NE Seattle will help people get to work in Downtown and to have more access to family homes. Additionally, our planning of higher density urban villages around the new light rail stations, as well as improved bus, bicycle, and pedestrian access to these neighborhoods will be a model for other parts of the city as light rail grows into the next decade. The hope is that by making the transit system work efficiently in NE Seattle, less people will drive into downtown, reducing congestion and improving quality of life for all. Finally, childcare affordability is a city-wide problem that is extremely top-of-mind for many of the young families in my district. Expanding access to childcare facilities will also help with congestion and traffic problems, because families often have to drive around the city to drop of kids and then get to work. Further, business owner will benefit from their employees having stable, affordable access to childcare. Although property crime and homelessness do not affect district four to the same extent as downtown, our University District does have a microcosm of the same individuals cycling through law enforcement and related public safety and public health issues. I believe that a robust response to homelessness will improve outcomes for the entire city.


Sasha Anderson

One of the top messages I have focused on in the campaign is that I am running because I believe the council needs a representative who is not only dedicated and passionate, but who understands that we do not exist in an autonomous bubble in our district, but rather that we are all connected, and the health of each district in Seattle is dependent on the health of all others.

I would go about balancing the needs of my district with the city as a whole in several ways:

  • Having office hours in district 1x weekly so as to be available to my constituents
  • Maintaining a collaborative relationship with my council colleagues in order to make sure I am aware of the issues facing their district
  • Responding as quickly as possible to constituent and fellow council members concerns alike
  • Participating in neighborhood council meetings in each neighborhood in my district 1x a quarter
  • Learning from council members who have served what are the best ways they have identified to manage constituent concerns while simultaneously working to address city-wide concerns

The top issues that are facing my district – affordable housing, reliable transportation, and public safety, are also at play downtown, so I see them as intersecting very directly. An additional issue I see facing both downtown and district 4 is rebuilding the trust between constituents and the council. All of these are extremely close to my heart and are integral parts of the campaign.


Cathy Tuttle

When Seattle’s downtown thrives, the entire city thrives. City funds spent in District 4 improving streets, maintaining parks, serving seniors, overseeing P-Patches, building low-income housing, serving the needs of the homeless, enhancing cultural life and preserving historic places represent in large measure the redistribution of downtown wealth.

My role as the representative of District 4 is to assure the equitable distribution of funds to the district and to protect the economic vitality of the city’s downtown. The arrival of light rail to the D4 district also intersects with basic downtown needs. The redevelopment of neighborhoods around the light rail stations particularly the new Roosevelt & Brooklyn stations must continue to happen in a sustainable way to provide both multi- and single family housing for people working downtown. Based on the extensive doorbelling I’ve done to date, the top issues in District 4 are addressing homelessness, the impact of MHA on the traditional single family fabric of its neighborhoods including the loss of parking, the changes light rail stations are bringing and the influx of people that accompanies them, and the need for affordable housing. Mostly I hear about quality of life issues with downtown parallels, e.g.: homelessness, parking, changing ways people move about the city and affordable housing. Addressing these similar issues will require different responses downtown, but the understanding that will inform them is not so different. My experience in park planning with Seattle Parks around the city, the knowledge I gained staffing the Planning Commission, and the balance I achieved at Seattle Neighborhood Greenways between advocating for a connected downtown bike network and for safe streets in residential neighborhoods, coupled with the skills developed pursuing my doctorate in urban design and planning puts me in an excellent place to address complex city and business issues.


Joshua Newman

The issues facing District 4 are the same as those facing all of Seattle, so balancing these needs will not be a significant challenge. Our most pressing need is to address congestion, which should be done in a systemic, city-wide method, not piecemeal by district. Congestion pricing will be beneficial to downtown, but replacing arterial street parking with transit-only lanes will provide dramatically improved transit service to NE Seattle. It will be critical to successfully integrating the U-District and Roosevelt subway stations into the neighborhood. Uniquely, District 4 must cooperate with the University of Washington, but other districts have large players they must also coordinate with.


Ethan Hunter

Some of the most pressing issues in District 4 are also some of the most pressing issues in our city. Issues such as homelessness, drug addiction, public safety, transportation, etc are not just issues that are enclosed to Northeast Seattle. I see solutions to these issues as ones that can be beneficial to not just the people in my district, but for everyone in our city.