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 primary election is Tuesday, Aug. 6.

Meet the District 5 Candidates

Additional Candidates

  • Tayla Mahoney  /  No Response
  • Alex Tsimerman  /  Declined to Participate

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.


John Lombard

While in many areas I believe the Council has performed acceptably, I don’t believe there is any major area where I would describe it as “particularly effective.” The Mandatory Housing Affordability legislation was obviously a major accomplishment, but I have serious concerns about its effect on existing affordable housing, and I also don’t think that the zoning changes it included were well-communicated to many of the urban villages in District 5 that were affected. I’ve appreciated the Council’s support for three specific issues that I have advocated: increasing funding for the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program beyond that proposed by the Mayor; committing to fully fund a replacement for the Lake City Community Center, which is an important priority in District 5; and placing a moratorium on redevelopment of the Halcyon Mobile Home Park while the City and residents there determine a long-term strategy to preserve affordable housing there.

The most important issue that I think the Council has not effectively addressed is homelessness—which is really a complex set of issues. The Council has not recognized and seriously attempted to address the drug crisis that is enmeshed with so many aspects of homelessness. The Council also has not given adequate weight to the impacts homelessness is having on neighborhoods and businesses. The City needs to communicate and enforce clear rules about where encampments are allowed and where they are not. It needs to increase capacity for authorized encampments, so that basic services (sanitation, hygiene, case management) can be provided, while reducing the scale of unauthorized encampments. It needs to increase treatment and case management services more generally, while applying the criminal justice system appropriately, especially for repeat offenders.


Mark Mendez

The current City Council has been successful in raising taxes, but hasn’t developed a coherent strategy for dealing with the issues surrounding growth, affordable housing, and involving the community at large in developing policies.

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.


John Lombard

Yes, I have read the report, “System Failure,” and was shocked by it. The Council can support increases in the police force and can clearly articulate expectations about arrest policies. However, the courts, prosecutors, and corrections system are independent from the Council’s authority. As “System Failure” makes clear, the parties that make up the criminal justice system need to work together to make the many different reforms necessary to deal effectively with the disproportionate harm being done to society by prolific offenders. The Council needs to listen closely to what their constituents want from this process, participate actively in discussions with the other parties in the criminal justice system, ensure that the interests of their constituents are reflected there, and be prepared to fund the City’s share of recommendations that come out of the process.


Mark Mendez

Yes. I will take steps to develop a coherent set of policies regarding homelessness, drug addiction, and people with mental health issues. My strategy would be to consult with those adversely impacted by prolific offenders, search for and identify effective programs in other cities, and build a consensus on how to deal with the problem.

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.


John Lombard

I believe Seattle is experiencing both a drug crisis and a housing crisis, which get conflated in our discussions of “homelessness.” The City has key roles in addressing both the drug crisis and the housing crisis, although the County and the State have the lead in service delivery for treating substance abuse and mental health. We need to continue to move towards a better coordinated regional response.

I would focus my energy, leadership, and resources on the issues identified in my response to the first two questions above: communicating and enforcing clear rules about where camping is allowed; expanding authorized encampments and reducing unauthorized ones; expanding treatment and case management services; and assisting changes in the criminal justice system so that it deals more effectively with prolific offenders.


Mark Mendez

Homelessness and housing affordability are very closely linked. Affordable housing stabilizes families for future economic development and continuity, to grow in the community. It is important to help to finance units available for people experiencing homelessness and to transition into permanent housing. We should provide more rental support and provide counseling and direction to access housing. We should provide more tiny homes, rezoning to allow more access to independent living, including mother-in-law units and temporary living on individual lots owned within the City by residents willing to allow temporary space. We should continue support of voter approved bonding initiatives and City of Seattle support of tax credit investments both private and public with other Public Lender’s such as the Housing Trust Fund and the Washington Housing Finance Commission. In order to produce more affordable housing, market rate developers need to work closer with the nonprofit affordable housing developers, in joint ventures to increase affordable housing units. Increased funding with state and federal resources is needed and thus the City needs to work to advocate for more funding to be able to increase the availability of funding for new and redeveloped properties to secure, safe and increased unit availability. Access to services and information for availability of affordable housing within the community is essential. If more project managers and onsite managers had adequate information for direction for people with needs they would have better access to more from homelessness to stable housing. Special attention should be on areas of high numbers of homelessness and people of color, providing further support for housing. We need more multi-use properties that provide affordable housing units, retail, and community continuity. We should support nonprofits to purchase and transition older existing housing stock in order to maintain neighborhood continuity and cohesion with City funding in order to keep tenants in the units and allow nonprofit property owners to maintain current rents.

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.


John Lombard

I am concerned that existing affordable housing is being lost to redevelopment, even when that redevelopment includes a share of new affordable units. The net effect may still be negative, or nearly so. For that reason, I have supported Councilmember Herbold’s legislation to require replacement of lost affordable units. I believe her legislation should be expanded beyond the five urban villages where it is currently proposed.

I generally support the proposed legislation for Accessory Dwelling Units in the City. I believe we need to make ADUs easier to permit and build. They provide a more affordable form of housing in single-family neighborhoods, while providing an extra stream of income to help elderly and low-income homeowners to remain in their homes.

I support many of the ideas in the Seattle Planning Commission’s “Neighborhoods for All” report, including: allowing duplexes, triplexes, and cottage housing in many parts of single family neighborhoods (provided those neighborhoods are part of the discussion to determine these locations); reducing the minimum sized lot in many parts of Seattle (District 5, where I am running, has a disproportionate share of large lots in the City); and creating “urban hamlets”—smaller scale, less dense versions of urban villages, in areas near transit or neighborhood commercial districts.


Mark Mendez

Homelessness and housing affordability are very closely linked. Affordable housing stabilizes families for future economic development and continuity, to grow in the community. It is important to help to finance units available for people experiencing homelessness and to transition into permanent housing. We should provide more rental support and provide counseling and direction to access housing. We should provide more tiny homes, rezoning to allow more access to independent living, including mother-in-law units and temporary living on individual lots owned within the City by residents willing to allow temporary space. We should continue support of voter approved bonding initiatives and City of Seattle support of tax credit investments both private and public with other Public Lender’s such as the Housing Trust Fund and the Washington Housing Finance Commission. In order to produce more affordable housing, market rate developers need to work closer with the nonprofit affordable housing developers, in joint ventures to increase affordable housing units. Increased funding with state and federal resources is needed and thus the City needs to work to advocate for more funding to be able to increase the availability of funding for new and redeveloped properties to secure, safe and increased unit availability. Access to services and information for availability of affordable housing within the community is essential. If more project managers and onsite managers had adequate information for direction for people with needs they would have better access to more from homelessness to stable housing. Special attention should be on areas of high numbers of homelessness and people of color, providing further support for housing. We need more multi-use properties that provide affordable housing units, retail, and community continuity. We should support nonprofits to purchase and transition older existing housing stock in order to maintain neighborhood continuity and cohesion with City funding in order to keep tenants in the units and allow nonprofit property owners to maintain current rents.

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.


John Lombard

I would be interested to hear DSA’s recommendations. I suspect that DSA may oppose a congestion fee, while I lean towards one, if mechanisms can be included to mitigate regressive impacts. A congestion fee would likely discourage some people from traveling downtown, which I know would especially be a

concern for retailers. Nevertheless, a congestion fee should in fact substantially reduce congestion, making it easier for everyone else to get around. One reason I lean towards supporting it is that, as I understand it, where the fee has been applied in New York, the business community has overall been pleased by this reduced congestion. It seems to me that the business community in Seattle might ultimately do the same.


Mark Mendez

I support continued expansion of light rail through-out our region and expanding access to safe and reliable transportation. Many of our buses are already full which forces people to wait for the next bus, we need to increase reliability. District 5 community groups like the Pinehurst Community Council have been leading the way by successfully advocating for the 130th and I-5 light rail station. However, in order for people to reach the new light rail stations in our district and others in the City, we need to improve the east-west bus connections to connect people to the light rail stations. East-West bus connections have been inadequate in our district and other parts of the City for a long time. District 5 will have three new light rail stations in the next 10 years. Without the hard work and hundreds of hours of volunteer work by the Pinehurst Community Council and other community groups, we would not have this important light rail stop to serve our District 5 communities. I support community led solutions to our transit challenges. I was on the board of Lake City Neighborhood Alliance and Co-Chair of North District Council who supported Pinehurst Community Council’s efforts to secure a light rail station at 130th. Residents of District 5 and other parts of the City have been pleading for safety improvements for decades while our most vulnerable residents risk getting hit by cars everyday. I will focus on building safe routes to schools and more sidewalks on our most used arterial streets and highways .

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.

 


John Lombard

I am strongly in favor of these types of partnerships. Any public/private partnership that expands access or improves the experience of a public space for all members of the public who wish to use it enhances a public service. Public/private partnerships can raise concerns if they limit access or if they use a public asset in a way that provides a disproportionate benefit to a private party at the expense of other parties. But where those concerns do not apply, such partnerships can provide substantial public benefits at little to no public cost. The private parties who make those partnerships possible deserve recognition and support.


Mark Mendez

This type of public/private partnership in our existing and new public space opportunities across the City is invaluable! I have seen the value and have had the opportunity to work with nonprofits, businesses, and community groups to bring many fun community events activating our most underutilized and ignored parks in District 5, especially in the Lake City neighborhood. I have seen the power these events have to bring the community together and positively activate our parks. I have helped bring together hundreds of people from many different backgrounds with our free neighborhood community events. For example, I have worked with community groups to bring diverse community events that represent the diversity of our neighborhood and the City like Lucha Libre, World Dance Parties and Potlucks, Music in the Park, Shakespeare in the Park, Salsa Night in the Park, free dance lessons, African Dance, public art, and many more. I also worked with community partners, businesses, and nonprofits to create the Lake City Mural project to transform the neighborhood with public art, empower youth, support local business, improve public safety, and build community. I would work for and support more of these types of public-private partnerships and I have the experience to help make it happen. Fun build community!

Lake City Mural Project

Music in the Park

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?

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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.


John Lombard

Businesses deserve to be consulted early in any consideration of new regulations or taxes that would affect them. The city always needs to try to consider the unintended consequences of proposed actions, and to modify proposals as much as possible to address them. The Council should consult the Downtown Seattle Association, the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce, the Mayor’s Small Business Advisory Council, the Manufacturing Industrial Council of Seattle, and other parties, including individual businesses that might be disproportionately affected by a proposed action, before seriously considering any new regulations, taxes, fees or other actions that would affect business.


Mark Mendez

Rather than taking a “top down” approach to taxes and regulations, work with business, labor, and other taxpayers to develop strategies which work for everyone. I will seek out individuals and groups to develop solutions in an effort to effect positive change. I will develop a process to ensure the most underserved voices are brought to the table. I have a record of ‘getting things done’ by bringing together and partnering with a diverse group of people and organizations to address the biggest challenges in Seattle and District 5. I have worked for several nonprofit, education, and public organizations; I was Co-Chair of the North District Council, on the board of Lake City Neighborhood Alliance, and on the board of Meadowbrook Community Care. I want to bring the same model of success I have had working together with community groups and organizations and apply that model to the City and District 5 to ensure more predictability and consideration for employers to support growth in jobs, retail, restaurants, and investment in downtown and across the City.

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.


John Lombard

I would be interested to consult all the groups identified in my answer to #7 above for recommendations. Appropriate actions would depend in part on what types of jobs are expected, where they might most naturally be located, what types of zoning could accommodate them, and the ways in which the current permitting system is inadequate. I would be happy to consider expanding capacity for jobs in District 5.


Mark Mendez

My approach is grassroots and collaborative; I would bring together a diverse team of stakeholders in the City and across district 5 to develop a comprehensive growth plan based on neighborhood feedback and participation. I would develop a process to ensure the most underserved voices are brought to the table. For example, District 5 has enormous potential for sustainable and diverse growth. District 5 will have three new light rail stations in the next 10 years. Neighborhoods like Lake City, Bitter Lake, and Aurora-Licton are a ‘blank canvas’, we have an opportunity to create a ‘new vision’ and new opportunities and places for people to live, work, learn, and play. District 5 has a lot of potential for growth because many of the business, like the auto dealerships on along Aurora and Lake City Way, do not have any buildings on them. Neighborhoods like Lake City, Bitter Lake, and Aurora-Licton have the potential to double their populations which will expand our city’s capacity.

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.


John Lombard

I support BIAs as a way for businesses to share resources to address shared concerns with some direct control over how their funds are spent. While BIAs require some oversight to ensure they complement and do not conflict with other City services, and also to ensure they are accountable to all of the businesses paying into them, I think they should have maximum flexibility to do the work their ratepayers want to see done, within those constraints.


Mark Mendez

I support BIAs. BIAs that follow best practices and benchmarks to hit like marketing, business development, capital improvements, community service, and parks and public services help make our communities a better place to live, work, learn, and play.

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.


John Lombard

The biggest issues In District 5 are homelessness, public safety (especially property crime), affordable housing, and transportation. These are also the biggest issues citywide. They all should be approached with the needs of the whole city in mind.

District 5 Councilmember Juarez sometimes takes too narrow a view of the interests she is supposed to represent. When the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program came to her last fall seeking support for funding to expand their services, Councilmember Juarez would not provide that support without a guarantee of expansion in District 5. LEAD had already begun serving the Aurora Corridor in District 5 and even was proposing to put its North Seattle office in District 5. But LEAD staff could not guarantee an increase in clients from District 5, since most of their workload is determined by referrals from police officers. In contrast to Councilmember Juarez, I would have been prepared to pledge my support for the LEAD budget request, both for the good of the city and because I would have been confident that District 5 would receive expanded service over time, as LEAD ramps up to full capacity across the City.


Mark Mendez

The top issues facing District 5 are housing affordability and people experiencing homelessness; risk of displacement, unsafe streets and sidewalks, transportation, climate change, and equity. Most of the top issues facing District 5 are the same issues that all of the City is facing. There are many ways we can collaborate and work together to solve our top issues across the City. What is unique about District 5 is our lack of safe streets and sidewalks. District 5 was annexed in 1954, which has contributed to our lack of sidewalk infrastructure and makes pedestrian safety a major priority in District 5. We can only solve our biggest challenges by working together and bringing many diverse voices to the table. Together we can make Seattle the best city the best place to live, work, learn, and play.