Seattle City Council — District 5

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 general election is Tuesday, Nov. 5.

Meet the District 5 Candidates

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?

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Debora Juarez

As chair of the committee on Civic Development, Public Assets, and Native Communities, I am proud of the legislation and funding my committee appropriated to activate both Westlake and Occidental Parks.

The Seattle City Council has been quite effective in working on capital projects that benefit the city and its residents. I have led on a number of the projects:

Renovation of the Seattle Center: $1.6 billion

  • Waterfront Local Improvement District: $712 million
  • NHL Headquarters at Northgate: $80 million
  • Lake City Community Center: $18 million

Ann Davison Sattler

(a) The current city council has been ineffective on the issue of the city’s officially declared state of emergency on homelessness since it was officially declared in 2015. They have done little to improve the suffering on the streets during their entire term.

(b) City council has also been ineffective at keeping our city clean, and neighborhoods and green spaces free of litter and dumping.

(c) It has been ineffective at addressing the addiction crisis overwhelming much of our city.

(d) As these multiple issues converge, the current city council has been ineffective at the management of businesses’ and residents’ outcry for public safety.

(e) The current city council also ineffectively negotiated the financial terms with the private investment group who wanted to bring hockey here. Unknown to many are the unfavorable terms the city agreed to in the details of that negotiation. A corporate sponsor will be paying a lot of money to have KeyArena’s name changed to a name of its own. The current city council let all of this revenue go to the private investors instead of negotiating to split the revenue evenly (as it had been before, for the arena under the previous Sonics’ lease with the city from 1995-2010.)) This loss of corporate sponsor revenue will result in an estimated loss of $4-6 million dollars per year, multiplied by 39 years of the lease, for an estimated $156 million dollar loss in revenue for the City of Seattle. The current city council has also allowed this deal to be described to us as “privately funded.” Initially, investor funds will be used, but that financing will be repaid by the City through multiple, atypical, public tax subsidies to the corporation (B&O, parking, leasehold excise tax and others.) Ultimately, the City of Seattle will be paying the hockey team owners well over $450 million over the 39 year lease; and it will be more if the private corporation exercises its option for another 16 years thereafter. The ineffective negotiation and management of this deal resulted in the interests of the public being shortchanged.

(f) The council was also ineffective at recognizing a significantly better option for bringing a professional sports team to our city. The current city council denied the conditional street vacation permit and rejected the SoDo Arena proposal. That deal not only would be completely privately funded with zero public subsidies but would also provide millions of property tax dollars, of which, more than half would go to our public schools. All that plus getting us much closer to bringing the Sonics back to Seattle, part of our civic history.

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?

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Debora Juarez

I have read “System Failure – Report on Prolific Offenders in Seattle’s Criminal Justice System” (February 2019) by Scott Lindsay. As a former public defender and King County Superior Court judge, I am well aware of how certain individuals cycle through the criminal justice system; and, as a councilmember I am engaged and understand the importance of public safety. As such, I voted to add 40 more uniformed police officers and 12 community service officers to our police force. Our police and City Attorney’s office are tasked with enforcing the law and I expect them to do it. With regards to property time, I have been working with the North Precinct to expedite response times for property crimes. Specifically, I am working with Captain Sano about getting officers out on the street more and being more visible, engaging in community policing with business owners, and then also being in the community more (e.g. parking in public places to do their paperwork, going into stores in uniform, etc.) In short, community policing and engagement is key to a successful public safety initiative.


Ann Davison Sattler

Yes, I have seen the report. First, although outside the purview of the city council, as a council member who is also an attorney, I would endlessly shine a light on the city attorney’s office and the lack of charging and prosecuting of crimes so that the public is not left in the dark about why this cycle is happening. Second, with my approach to the declared state of emergency on homelessness by having a FEMA-like emergency response, we would enforce our no public camping law and instead have needs assessment locations that include emergency shelter for people. I outline the specifics, including costs, in a published plan. By doing this, we likely would see a lowering of property crime and assaults because we would have an organized and directed first responder system instead of the current haphazard, reactionary method. Third, I would look at funding longer treatment for those committing multiple, lower level property crimes, such as 30-day inpatient treatment. There is a lack of funding for such treatment now and 2-3 days in jail is not a deterrent nor is it long enough for any addiction treatment, if needed.

Fourth, working with elected colleagues is essential and that means communication, much of which should be public, so that when we discuss matters of public safety the public actually can be informed. Lastly, we need to focus on hiring and retaining more police officers and other first responders to stay on pace with our population growth. We could have two north precinct locations, one on the west side of I-5 and the other on the east side. I have a published proposed location for one of the precincts in conjunction with my plan for a homelessness emergency response.

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?

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Debora Juarez

I believe we as a city have an enormous responsibility to address our growing homelessness crisis – this is one of the main reasons I am running for re-election. As city councilmember,I secured funding for God’s Lil Acre, the only hygiene center in District 5, so they could be open all day instead of just in the morning. I also secured funding in the budget for small, local nonprofits addressing homelessness with navigation services and resources, including Aurora Commons, North Helpline’s food bank & enhanced community center, and Mother Nation.

Moving forward, I believe this is a complex issue that must be dealt with from many different angles – from affordable housing to mental health care and substance abuse counseling. We need to start by helping small, local community organizations (like God’s Lil Acre) deliver the services needed to both keep folks from becoming homeless and offering many modes of assistance for shelter. That being said, a regional response is truly what is needed. I hope to be instrumental in the emerging Seattle and King County response to homelessness. One of the ideas I support is a Public Development Authority (PDA) as a separate branch, with resources from the city, county and region to help improve our response to offering services and sheltering the unsheltered.

Organization, amount and usage:

  • God’s Lil Acre / $200,000
    Expanding hygiene center hours.
  • Seattle Helpline Coalition / $575,000
    Navigation services, assistance with move-in deposits, expansion of homelessness prevention services including financial assistance to prevent evictions and utility shut off.
  • Aurora Commons / $160,000
    Navigation services for people who are survivors of sex work, opioid addiction, and mental health disorders.
  • Mother Nation / $190,000
    Homelessness prevention services for Native American women.

Ann Davison Sattler

Our current city council has failed in responding to the 2015 declared state of emergency on homelessness that has now been in effect their entire elected term length. Showing real leadership on this issue does not just mean building more and do nothing while we wait. My proposal is to create needs assessment locations like we would if we encountered a natural disaster and declared a state of emergency. We ideally would be working directly with neighboring municipalities and the county to set up needs assessment locations for people to get directly connected to services. This coordinated response means regional coordination for site locations, first responders, transportation for people, and service providers on site. A coordinated response means regional leader communication, something that District 5 is lacking. We cannot afford to have communication obstacles between neighboring municipalities for a crisis at this level. I would focus on building open lines of communication with our neighboring municipalities so we can better allocate some of our City and regional resources for this emergency response. I would work with them directly so we can be productive for Seattle and our neighboring region.

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?

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Debora Juarez

MHA and HALA were steps in the right direction to expand our housing stock and increase our supply of affordable housing. Density is key to having a housing stock that meets the demand of our growing city as is transit oriented development. I support increasing density and expanding upon the programs that the Office of Housing is working on- Incentive Zoning, Home Repair Program, Low-income Weatherization, and Multifamily Tax Exemption Program. We are delivering on the the Housing Levy and in the last month, we have opened two buildings of low income housing that will house more than 150 families. I partnered with, and will continue to partner with, the state legislature, city departments, businesses, neighbors, and organizations like LIHI and Compass.


Ann Davison Sattler

Density should be focused within a half mile of the transit hubs and that means a variety of housing types also. We need what’s considered “traditional” housing but also other options for housing, such as dorm style and single-room-occupancy units with shared common kitchen and main space. These could be used to not only create affordable housing but also community, particularly if the units could be available for older residents or single parents to share, creating additional community support. I would support ADU usage, but in combination with topography so that a neighborhood has a balance of green open space along with additional units. There are some larger residential lots in D5 that would be ideal for ADUs. I would push to streamline the timing for permits for such units, while maintaining owner occupancy requirements because it better serves the north end neighborhoods. I would work within single-family zones to protect them specifically as it tapers away from transit hubs so that we can still have a variety of spatial and family unit configurations in neighborhoods. I would work with small builders and developers along with other council members and neighborhoods specifically to best protect the art and cultural hubs and distinctiveness of each of our Seattle neighborhoods.

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?

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Debora Juarez

Expanding access to reliable and safe transportation must be a top priority for our next council. Currently, my appointment to the Sound Transit board is pending. However, I hope to continue my advocacy for the needs of our city. I was a strong voice for the 130th Link Light Rail station and stood up for equitable, transit oriented development to bring new affordable housing units and jobs to North Seattle.


Ann Davison Sattler

One area that adds to congestion is street parking. Delivery vehicles need to restock business,stores and restaurants all along the area and some have alleyways to use but on street parking should have shortened durations. We need to incentivize ride sharing more for workers who must commute and encourage telecommuting for downtown businesses for their workers as much as possible. We need to work well with our municipal neighbors who are part of Sound Transit and that starts with opening up communication with them.

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?

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Debora Juarez

I am supportive of public/private partnerships. As the chair of the Civic Development, Public Assets, and Native Communities Committee, I have not only supported, but also funded these partnerships. Together, we activated Occidental Park and the Westlake Center Park. I look forward to doing more of these projects.


Ann Davison Sattler

Our City should increase public/private partnerships because of the depth of innovation and breadth of knowledge our private sector has. That said, it should not disproportionately profit any one business entity in such a partnership far more than the City (see answer to number 1 above.) It should be a fair partnership to both parties to collectively manage assets that enhance the livability for all residents in the most efficient and effective way possible.

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


Debora Juarez

I have worked extensively with local small business throughout Seattle and focused on bringing their voices to the table. I created the D5 Business Coalition and worked with the Mayor’s Small Business Advisory Council to partner with businesses and ensure they have a say in ongoing decision-making.


Ann Davison Sattler

Instead of the unanimously approved head tax from our current city council, I would focus on job growth and local hiring incentives. We could create a real-time municipal legislation database with the legal profession and business industries that could strive to provide up to date information that is accessible for all-sized businesses. Also when issues arise whether from business concerns or matters brought up in the ordinary course of city management, I would reach out to industry leaders of mid to smaller sized businesses to inform them because often large businesses can keep up to date but many smaller ones cannot. Lastly, I want to look at streamlining the business landscape for businesses so that doing business in the city is not so overburdensome that their time is spent more on being in compliance than on the topic of their business.

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?

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Debora Juarez

District 5 is a great option for expanding our city’s capacity and accommodating our future needs for commercial development. We are dense with activity, light rail, and NHL HQ. Our urban villages are accommodating, welcoming, and ready for business. D5 is open for business!


Ann Davison Sattler

Following along with density within a half mile of the transit hubs, we should be looking at those areas for commercial development also in order to provide increased opportunities for those living nearby. The commercial growth could then be spread through the city in a more balanced way and then lessen the transportation needs for workforce and customers. In the north end of Seattle, there is a lot of usable commercial areas but to be able to use it properly and maintain open, green space also, we need to maintain adequate staffing to get the permitting done. Lastly, the job creation we have seen these last years should still be encouraged and not discouraged as it was by the current city council’s unanimously approved head tax.

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?

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Debora Juarez

I’m supportive of BIAs. Hopefully, we can build support for such a valuable tool in the North end.


Ann Davison Sattler

BIAs are a terrific way to share the power and influence. When residents and local business owners have some portion of the power and influence over their own area it creates not only a sense of ownership but also develops a pattern of care for the area. Such a pattern of care is an immeasurable social asset for a neighborhood and because of that, they should be encouraged.

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?

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Debora Juarez

I have a proven ability to balance both the needs of my district and those of the city as a whole. I represent all the residents of Seattle, but honor the needs of D5. For example, I helped secure the funding for the Key Arena renovation in downtown, and also brought the NHL Headquarters to District 5.


Ann Davison Sattler

My top 3 issues for the city as a whole and District 5 are the same:

  1. homelessness & housing (to discern who can self-care and has an affordability issue)
  2. public safety
  3. addiction prevention & recovery.

Instead of continuing the same approaches that have increased the spending on homelessness, increased the number of people on the streets, and increased the number of deaths on the streets all since the city declared a state of emergency on homelessness in 2015, I believe we must respond with urgency to our declaration. Because we need to see progress for those in need, and for those providing the support through taxes, a new approach is needed so we will start to feel hopeful again. By being honest about the state of our streets and stepping up to face the problems directly, we will also gain back the confidence of the people and be able to be even more productive in basic city management, the entire purpose of the council. Business owners and residents in D5 and downtown are experiencing compassion fatigue and/or tax fatigue while seeing people continuing to suffer on the streets, with the land we are borrowing neglected, and unsafe and unclean neighborhoods. It is a reckoning time for all of Seattle and voters need to Act.

Candidates recently answered questions on local issues from The Seattle Times. You can read their answers here.