Seattle City Council — District 7

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 7 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 the anchor of District 7 — it’s the city’s job center and one of the fastest-growing residential neighborhoods in the region. However, downtown still lacks some of the basic assets and infrastructure associated with livable communities, like family-sized housing, parks space and public schools. As a representative of downtown, what would you do on the council to ensure the center city is responsive to the growth we are seeing?

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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Jim Pugel

The incumbent City Council will cease to exist in 2020. Four current councilmembers are not running for reelection, and the remaining district-based incumbents are facing spirited challenges.. There is a reason for this: This council has often been ineffective in discharging their basic responsibilities to govern through representation of the priorities and needs of their electors. For too long, private agendas, individual priorities and exclusive objectives have dominated the legislative responsibilities of what should be a representative, neutral and rigorously analytical body. Specific duties – Mayoral oversight, budget and policy development, objective, data driven decision-making and providing a voice for their constituents – have been neglected in pursuit of personal opinions and selective advocacy. I am running for the 7th District to be part of a new era of City Council governance: Leadership through listening, objectivity, rigorous analysis of data and understanding the needs and priorities of our electors and the government we represent on their behalf.

The general assessment, from what I have discerned from constituent input in District 7, is that the current Council is not a listening Council, nor a representative Council. Worse still, there is a lack of confidence that they can effectively and competently craft policy to implement new and needed programs, such as those involving homelessness, crime and public safety, or the management of new revenue.

The impression one is left with is that the current Council is reactionary, and chooses paths of least resistance rather than thoughtfully implementing policy based on data, research and input from all constituents. Sadly, it appears to many to be government by those who yell the loudest and longest.

It is not enough to describe shortcomings. Here is what I bring: I am running for District 7 – my home and workplace for my entire life and career years – to provide leadership in pursuit of real solutions, and in the spirit of genuine, inclusive democracy. I am guided by 4 basic principles: Common sense; Engagement and continuous communication with my electors; Guidance by data and science; and Selflessness.


Andrew Lewis

The current City Council has done a good job advancing the rights of workers. All people deserve the dignity of being able to dependably and predictably schedule their work shifts, accrue paid sick and safe leave, and earn a liveable wage; and these rights should be enforced by a well-resourced and professional Office of Labor Standards.

The Seattle City Council has not done a good job prioritizing the charter service of public safety. The most recent publicly available data indicates Seattle has 1.9 police officers per 1,000 residents, well below the average of 2.7 officers per 1,000 residents for a City over 500,000 residents. The hiring, support, and retention of police services needs to be a higher budget priority.

Additionally, the City Council has had limited success elevating the crisis of our large numbers of neighbors experiencing homeless to a regional priority. Seattle cannot solve the problem on our own, we need extensive collaboration with King County and suburban jurisdictions to increase available permanent supportive housing and spread the burden of paying for it.

Finally, the City Council can be a bigger driving force for accountability and oversight through Performance Auditing, a competency within the legislative branch. I wrote an editorial in the fall about creating an annual performance auditing plan similar to the one used by King County, a government that has found $127 million in savings over the last three years. The City budget has increased from $4 billion to $6 billion over the last seven years, we need to put in place feedback loops and aspire to be the best run government in the country.

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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Jim Pugel

I have read the report numerous times, and sought counsel from public safety and other experts to better understand its arguments and conclusions, including the police chief, police officers, detectives, and prosecutors, as well as downtown residents, visitors and business owners. I have leveraged my strong relationships with human service advocates for their candid input. I have also reached out to the report’s critics and detractors.

While there are methodological and other research concerns which arise in a thoughtful reading of this study, it is important to note that it captures both a perception and reality that many feel is present in the City Center, and the neighborhoods of District 7. As a long term resident of Queen Anne, and in my previous life as a 32 year veteran of the Seattle Police Department, I witnessed similar degradation and dysfunction while serving as a police officer, the West Precinct (District 7) Commander, Assistant and Interim Chief of Police. Most recently, I have first-hand experience as the Chief Deputy and second-in-command of the King County Sheriff’s office, which oversees the operation of Metro Transit Police and Sound Transit police that serve the area but more importantly directly serve the 52,000 daily riders (and increasing) that patronize the transit systems.

I view our current situation with property crime to be a crisis. The economic drivers of this predatory criminality will not be solved overnight, and will require rigorous, long-term programs, inter-agency cooperation and initiatives. But the crime spree itself, to put it plainly, is a policing problem and challenge. Good old fashioned focused patrols, supported by crime pattern analysis and using the community’s eyes and ears – remember Block Watch – remain the most efficacious means to reduce and ultimately prevent property crimes. I was part of the comprehensive 911 patrol staffing and deployment analysis at SPD called Neighborhood Policing, and the key to having the capacity to undertake emphasis and proactive enforcement is adequacy of staffing according to a scientific model. It is clear we have neither staffing adequacy nor science behind our current police deployment system, a problem exacerbated by nearly a decade of Council inconsistency on budgeting to a baseline of 911 patrol resources.

If elected, I will come to my position with both experience and a track record of collaboration and inclusive leadership. I have been fortunate enough to work with myriad criminal justice agencies – both prosecution and defense – as well as businesses and business organizations – like the Seattle Chamber, DSA and BOMA – and, most important, all those who live, work and visit our city to enlist their ideas on how to address these complex challenges. My hands on experience shows me that meaningful progress is realized only through close and constant coordination between all involved and impacted public and private institutions, through cooperation and respecting all opinions. We must begin by passing unequivocal and enforceable laws, and ensuring clear pathways – including treatment and alternatives to incarceration – out of unlawful behavior. The absence of clear, enforceable laws and realistic policies – which include effective, humane alternatives balanced with responsibility and equitable consequences for criminal conduct – is the hallmark of our current Council, and therefore the focus of my reformist candidacy.


Andrew Lewis

Nobody in Seattle should be expected to tolerate being a victim of crime, and yes, I have read the report. First of all, the broad narrative of the report is certainly born out by my experience as a prosecutor in the Seattle Municipal Court. I can attest that I have seen many frequent flyer offenders cycle through the court only to return a few weeks later with a new charge.

I will briefly quibble, for the record, that the report suffers from a couple of inaccuracies and shortcomings that could have been addressed by contacting the City Attorney’s Office for comment. For example, citing incorrectly that the City Attorney’s Office did not charge an assault where urine was thrown at a nurse (we did), and only one name overlaps between our internal familiar faces list and the list compiled in the report. It is also difficult to discuss a report without any substantive recommendations.

That said, I have a long list of public safety reforms we can implement in the short and long term to make a substantive difference.

First, we need to commit to prioritizing police hiring and retention as a key budget priority. Public safety is a charter service of the City, and public safety starts with well-resourced community-based police officers. Most property crime is crime of opportunity, an opportunity presented by the lack of emphasis patrols from law enforcement. As we increase the number of police officers we should emphasize putting more officers onto the street conducted regular and routine patrols.

Second, we should prioritize proactive property crime enforcement. Undercover operations with decoy delivery packages or cars set-up by SPD with nearby surveillance officers can help build strong cases against professional property thieves, and deter future property crime.

Third, once prosecutors receive strong well-investigated cases, an emphasis on bolder and further reaching pre-file diversion programs needs to be our focus for resolving them. I am very proud of the work I have done in the Seattle City Attorney’s Office on the Choose 180 Program, an organization that provides mentorship, education opportunities, self-reflection, and community to young people (aged 18-24) as an alternative to the traditional accountability of jail and probation. Of the 245 we have referred to Choose 180 since September of 2017, only 8, or 3%, have reoffended. Most of the initial referrals are for some type of property crime, and are typically retail thefts. Early and meaningful engagement with young people just starting a career in property crime is critical to prevent recidivism and get them on the right track. The approach of Choose 180 is evidence based and works.

I would like to see a variety of additional pre-file diversion programs for different populations and peer-groups. For example, the carpenters and iron workers offer a program called Trade Related Apprenticeship Coaching (TRAC) which over the course of 16-weeks provides prison inmates with up to 460 hours of foundational training to pursue a career in the building trades after release. What if we offered a similar program on a pre-file basis, and declined a misdemeanor case in exchange for someone pursuing a career in the building trades?

Moreover, in the City Attorney’s Office, we are in the nascent stages of significantly increasing Legal Intervention Network of Care (LINC), which diverts people with significant behavioral health and substance abuse issues to in-patient emergency stabilizing care rather than the King County Jail. If people referred engage significantly with service providers our office will then decline to file charges. Pre-file diversions based on public health, employment, and mentorship reduce recidivism and get people the help they need. We need more of them.

Fourth, as Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes recently stated in a public statement, “I have envisioned for years an office where sworn, trained prosecutors have the capacity to review all police reports within 24 hours and make charging decisions within 48-72 hours–simply because justice delayed is justice denied.” I share Pete’s aspiration in this regard, and I would prioritize it as a Seattle City Councilmember. The Criminal Division of the Seattle City Attorney’s Office processes 14,000 criminal referrals a year with 32 prosecutors. We are constantly underwater and need more staff. In the meantime, I would support a dedicated retail theft prosecutor being funded to exclusively work with businesses, Retail Theft Program Officer Chris Shean, and loss prevention officers to make sure retail theft cases are being processed in a timely manner. Additionally, I would encourage employers to emphasize long term retention of loss-prevention officers, to retain contact information for loss prevention officers after they resign, to authorize overtime for loss prevention officers (And other witness employees) when testifying, and to contractually promise to pay loss prevention officers for their time testifying on cases after they have left the office. All of these have been issues from retail theft cases I personally have prosecuted.

Fifth, behavioral mental health is one of the biggest public health challenges we face as a State. Western State Hospital is no longer federally certified, and people referred for involuntary treatment to King County languish on Seattle streets instead. In some instances, and without the ability to appreciate the wrongfulness of their actions, our community members with behavioral mental health conditions violate the social contract and commit crimes. We need more capacity to address behavioral mental health.

I fully support efforts in the Legislature to pass HB 1593, which would create a 150 bed behavioral health teaching hospital at the University of Washington. This idea, based on my training and experience as a prosecutor, would do more than any other program to get people the treatment they need in a modern and therapeutic setting. As a City Councilmember, I will work with the Legislature to site this teaching hospital, either someone on the UW Montlake campus or Northwest Hospital. I will make it unequivocally clear that any environmental impact statement, permitting, design review, and other essential City requirements will be expedited. We need to do everything in our power to meet the public health crisis of untreated behavioral mental health.

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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Jim Pugel

I believe that the City’s role in addressing the homeless crisis – thusfar unfulfilled – is to offer clear and unwavering leadership and a clear plan toward resolving the homeless crisis, all the while respectful of the fact that homelessness also impacts communities and businesses. We substantially fund fragmented approaches to address chronic homelessness and its co-occurring conditions, specifically mental illness, emotional and substance abuse disorders. The bottom line: We do not have a clear plan. While there are important, data driven assessments at our disposal (e.g. The Poppe Report) we lack a comprehensive and courageous approach which balances the objective to stabilize the lives of homeless, disabled people with public safety and humanitarian objectives. Allowing homeless encampments, car camping and other laisse faire approaches is not a Program, nor fair or effective to either the businesses and residents impacted, or the homeless themselves. I have always believed – and as a police officer personally witnessed – that allowing homeless encampments is unhealthy and unsafe for both the inhabitants and those residents and business owners whose lives are detrimentally impacted by them. I have always been a strong supporter of preventing homelessness, rapid re-housing and the policy of ‘housing first’. I believe that the gold standard to address homelessness is permanent supportive housing. While we invest a lot of tax dollars in this great city, we likely need more investments, but –unlike the current approach – they must be smart, effective and data driven. It is only then that we can achieve what my friend David Wertheimer articulated so well: Make homelessness ‘rare, brief and one time’.

The looming specter of diminished support for homeless housing via Federal funding sources increases the urgency for a more regional approach to managing our resources and crafting a comprehensive approach to this crisis. In a real sense, we are on our own when it comes to addressing homelessness. One of my priorities will be to work toward a substantive consolidation of City and Counties government entities addressing human services, housing and mental illness as well as rational programs of addiction response. This common sense approach was achieved in the past with Metro Transit (e.g. the consolidation of county/city bus services), the Public Health agencies (into Seattle/King County Department of Public Health) and with Wastewater Treatment, which occurred in the 1970’s.

My core values on the issue of addressing homelessness are as follows – I refer to them as the ‘four pillars’ approach – the 1) prevention (both long term and immediate), 2) Harm reduction for those in homelessness now 3) Housing (rapid re-housing, transitional housing, supportive housing and permanent housing) and 4) enforcement (not criminalizing the status of homelessness but holding offenders responsible regardless of homeless status).

I adopted this approach/belief after being a founding member of the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) initiative in the Belltown neighborhood of Seattle. The program focused on drug users, non-violent sellers and sex workers. They were predominately homeless, addicted, had co-occurring physical and mental disabilities and were mostly unemployed. The scientific based study showed a recidivism reduction of 66%,a significant increase in housing, increasing is housing, significantly improved psycho/social qualities and no increase in cost compared to the ‘trail, nail and jail’ approach used for the previous 3 decades.


Andrew Lewis

Seattle needs to be a partner in a regional coalition, we cannot go it alone. I am a committed supporter of permanent supportive housing, and a housing first approach to getting people off the street and into a stable living situation. As a prosecutor, I have seen the massive failure of incarcerating people for crimes of poverty at a cost of $188 a day, when by most estimates permanent support housing can be provided for a third of the cost.

In District 7, I am a big supporter of permanent supportive housing at Fort Lawton, as well as King County’s proposed modular development on Elliott. But these projects alone will not provide the large scale of permanent supportive housing we need for all our neighbors experiencing homelessness.

I support working with King County, and our suburban neighbors, to dramatically expand the number of modular living units to create new permanent supportive housing sited on public land (King County, City of Seattle, Suburban Governments, Sound Transit surplus property). The modular units cost about $150,000 per-unit and are equipped with full plumbing, electricity, and in every respect are indistinguishable from a normal studio apartment. They are estimated to have a lifespan of about 20 years. If financed by a public bond over 20 or 30 years, the cost per-unit could be well under $10,000 a year. The burden of the bond could be spread across multiple jurisdictions, and supported by a modest countywide sales tax.

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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Jim Pugel

While there are remaining concerns held by many of the recent MHA vote, the objective of using public policy to increase opportunities to expand affordable housing options is a high priority of my candidacy. As a city, we should do what is necessary to ensure that below median and moderate income workers and residents have access to quality housing, should they freely choose to live in Seattle. It makes absolutely no sense for those who serve us in the hospitality industry, the trades, our child care, teaching, public safety and health care fields to spend multiple hours a day transporting themselves to and from their work places. There are myriad negative consequences to a City being unaffordable to workers and residents: Traffic congestion, stress and unhealthy life styles, absence from the civic life of their City, time away from family and friends, and other components that determine quality of life.

In my engagement and communication with District 7 residents and business owners, I am just beginning to see the wealth of progressive thinking on this issue. Like most daunting challenges, the answers are out there, as long as we value listening over personal agendas. I support converting city, county, ‘regional’ and state land to below median and moderate income use – an option recently permitted by state law – with the goal of developing public/private collaborative partnerships with the economic sectors and non-profits to develop quality housing, and to develop low cost programs to prevent any of these folks from being forced out of this housing.

I also support moving low-income and affordable income projects to the front of the line at Department of Construction and Inspections and allowing alternative construction approaches to the current onerous one experienced by everyone.


Andrew Lewis

I strongly support inclusionary zoning and a wide variety of available housing types. I grew up in a single-family neighborhood, but I have also lived in an apodment and I currently live in an old apartment building. Seattle has room for housing of all types, and these are decisions we should be making as a community.

First, I would prioritize in-fill development. I walk to work almost every day from Uptown to the Columbia Tower, and I walk past quite a few underutilized parking lots in Belltown which could be potential sites for new housing, perhaps with parking underground and retail on the ground floor. We will not get to our growth goals by simply making already dense communities more dense, but we need to take advantage of opportunities to in-fill neighborhoods with already dense zoning.

Second, I am a strong supporter of transit oriented development. Upzoning areas directly around transportation hubs, particularly as light rail is expanded, is a generational opportunity to plan growth dependent on grade-separated transportation, and not the automobile. I also support reducing the amount of required parking for transit oriented projects. I am a full supporter of Enterprise Community Service’s Home and Hope program, which aspires to create 5,000 units of affordable housing over the next three years through public, private, and non-profit partnerships.

Third, I do support loosening our overly restrictive accessory dwelling unit (ADU) ordinance, but support some changes to the current ordinance. Instead of categorically repealing the on-site parking requirement for ADUs, I support basing the parking requirement on access to transit and the walkscore of the property. Under the Transportation Benefit District (TBD) 8 out of every 12 households in Seattle are a 10 minute walk away from public transportation running on average every 10 minutes. But, for the communities falling in the 4 out of 12 households without effective access to public transportation, a parking requirement may be warranted. It is an ongoing conversation I look forward to having.

Additionally, it is overly restrictive to require the property owner to live onsite for every property with an ADU, but I do support some reasonable policies around resident occupancy requirements. For example, as the City of Tacoma just reaffirmed in their recent ADU ordinance, I support maintaining a residency requirement for Air BnBs or other short-term rentals. Again, this is a conversation I look forward to continuing to having.

Fourth, I support continuing to take advantage of opportunities to use public land to site affordable housing projects. I am a strong supporter of the Fort Lawton housing proposal, as well as the enhanced King County shelter on Elliott, and the possibility of adding affordable housing to the National Guard Armory in Interbay. These projects alone will not be enough to increase our supply of affordable housing to meet demand, but they will help considerably and at a lower-cost to the taxpayer.

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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Jim Pugel

Transportation of people via dependable means is paramount and both a business and quality of life necessity. In addition, freight mobility through and into the region is essential. Innovating and maximizing this core Council responsibility requires local leadership and regional cooperation to achieve, as well as working WITH corporations and operators of transportation systems toward mutually agreeable solutions. Everything must be examined and researched, with some more readily and proven solutions able to be implemented sooner than others: How we design our building/residences (loading docks/storage lockers for packages delivered to tower residents, etc.) hours of operation, hours of delivery, as well as alternative work schedules for employee must be examined and continually reevaluated for adjustment. Public transportation, car-pooling, safe pedestrian accessibility and evaluation of our current bike lane needs will be among my priorities. Consistent with my core values, this evaluative process will require both existing and new data analysis, particularly to ensure that our tax dollars are spent to achieve the highest benefits to the most people, balanced against serving those with access and functional needs.


Andrew Lewis

We need to invest heavily in policies to drive that 25% number down ever further.

First, one of the greatest policies the City has enacted over the last decade is the Transportation Benefit District (TBD) which allows the City to purchase supplemental service hours from King County Metro to meet the growing demand to commute in and out of the City. As mentioned above, the TBD has guaranteed that 8 out of 12 households in Seattle are 10 minutes away from transit that comes every 10 minutes or faster. I want to see a survey of the transportation deserts the final 4 out of 12 live in and see how we can use the TBD to drive re-routes, or create entirely new routes, to serve them.

Second, we need ST3 now, not in 20 years. I will work with Sound Transit, King County, and the State to get light rail through Uptown, Interbay, and to Ballard sooner rather than later. There is no easy fix to this, and it may require courageous conversations and creativity for how to pay for it, but we need to build a sense of urgency to expand grade-separated rail all over Seattle and King County.

Third, we need to replace the Magnolia Bridge. I know this sounds odd in a questionnaire for DSA, but as I knock on doors in Magnolia I have been surprised to learn that a great many of the 20,000 plus residents of the neighborhood commute downtown on a daily basis for work and play. A great many of them use the bridge to do it, and many of them use public transportation to get there. The Magnolia Bridge supports 265 daily bus trips, all of them serving commutes from Magnolia to downtown. The alternative access points to Magnolia at Dravus and Emerson are not equipped to deal with 265 displaced daily bus trips, and failure of the bridge would result in Magnolia becoming an exceptionally isolated transit desert, leaving residents with no choice but to drive downtown on a daily basis. This will not only cause congestion on downtown streets, but also on 15th Ave, a critical freight corridor.

Replacing the Magnolia Bridge is going to require building a coalition of Port, State, Federal, and County actors. I am proud to be endorsed by Rep. Gael Tarleton, who approved a proviso this session to get a State study of the Bridge, hopefully elevating it to be a WSDOT priority. I am proud to be endorsed by Fred Felleman and Peter Steinbrueck on the Port of Seattle Commission, and look forward to working with them to make sure a replacement Bridge preserves access to the Smith Cove Uplands and other critical Port facilities. We need to build a coalition to replace the Bridge, and I can build that coalition.

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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Jim Pugel

I completely support it, Based on the research I did with the DSA in 1998/99 on the “miracle” of Bryant Park in mid-town Manhattan, coupled with the incremental build out of the then just formed Metropolitan Improvement District and Clean and Safe program, I wholeheartedly support this collaborative concept. It works. You have my commitment that I will ensure the City holds up its end of the bargain, as the crux of this approach is a sustained and dependable partnership where the City (Parks, Police, Human Services and Transportation among others) does not abandon or abdicate their inherent responsibility and leave DSA and Downtown businesses and residents to carry the burden, on the premise that “DSA said they would take care of this”. Nowhere is this commitment to collaborate more critical than in the design of our future waterfront and along the I-5 corridor.


Andrew Lewis

When I lived down in the Bay Area during law school I became familiar with San Francisco’s “Living Innovation Zone” (LIZ) program through the Mayor’s Office of Civic Innovation. The goal of LIZ is to activate public spaces through public interactive installations that can define the character of neighborhoods and build community. I have very fond memories of the giant interactive “whispering dishes”, allowing people passing by to stop and experience the novelty of having a quiet conversation from 60 feet away. Many of the LIZ installations I experienced were created in collaboration with the Exploratorium, San Francisco’s version of the Pacific Science Center.

The LIZ manual, linked above, mentions numerous other participatory public installations and dynamic works of art. For example, The Great Wall of Oakland, a 100×100 screen with art projected onto it, or the Shadowing installation in Bristol UK that allows passersby to record their shadows under special streetlights, and then play them back.

Through partnerships with the Pacific Science Center, we could create our own interactive and dynamic installations. While most LIZ installations are temporary, some of them could become semi-permanent additions to our public spaces and perhaps landmarks in their own right.

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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Jim Pugel

Much of the disconnect between the current City Council and the people they are sworn to serve is based on choosing personal agendas over representative governance. As I stated above, I am running for the 7th District to be part of a new era of City Council governance: Leadership through listening, objectivity, rigorous analysis of data and understanding the needs and priorities of our electors and the government we represent on their behalf. If I am elected to represent District 7, tax and regulatory proposals will be guided by my pledge TO REMAIN IN TOUCH, LISTEN TO AND TALK WITH ALL CONSTITUENTS when examining challenges, data and – ultimately – in the public process of crafting policy and legislative solutions. Period. Detractors notwithstanding, I believe that Downtown is the engine of both of our progress, and progressivity – we should never forget that our most innovative, progressive and humanitarian initiatives are only made possible by the economic and ideological contributions of Downtown businesses and residents working together with advocates for equity and positive change. In terms of my candidacy, I seek to achieve the following formula: To ensure a strong and successful business community with a strong and successful employee/management base that serves a strong and successful client/customer/tourism/convention base.


Andrew Lewis

As I mentioned at the top of this survey, I do support the recent labor regulations passed by the Seattle City Council. All workers deserve dignity in the workplace and as the power of labor generally has declined over the last 40 years government has a role in regulating a floor of basic working standards.

But these reforms need to be a conversation, not ultimatums. Businesses are valuable civic partners and their voice is critical to shape regulations that are enforceable and pragmatic, as well as progressive. My door will always be open to both business and labor. It is in our common interest for Seattle to be a vibrant place to do businesses as well as a wonderful place to work.

Additionally, calling back to my answers on public safety, the City needs to commit to delivering basic charter services to business as well as the citizens of the City. While a core part of the social contract is that hard work should be rewarded and all workers should be free from exploitation; that same social contract demands a responsive police force, well run utilities, health and sanitation, and well maintained roads. One of the biggest concerns I hear from small business as I doorbell around District 7 is public safety. Slow police response times have forced some small business owners to take on the task of protecting themselves and their patrons, something we should never be asking any civilian to do. Critical labor regulations protecting the dignity and wellbeing of workers are an essential component of the social contract, and so is public safety. It is manifestly unfair for us to demand concessions from small business while not delivering the full benefit of public services they pay taxes toward. I will fight to make sure public safety is a higher budget priority.

Finally, I support efforts to create a legacy small business registry similar to San Francisco. It is hard to imagine Magnolia without Niko’s Gyros, Queen Anne without Hilltop Ale House, Belltown without Shorty’s, and everyday I miss Bakeman’s in Pioneer Square. I am interested in looking into property tax schemes for legacy small businesses based on profitability rather than property value, and other creative ideas to make sure that businesses which become community institutions in their own right can continue to do business in 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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Jim Pugel

At the outset, we need to re-examine and where needed reform the current permitting system. We are certainly not the first metropolitan area to experience “unprecedented growth”, and the lessons learned from comparable cities needs to be rigorously analyzed. So, too, we need to listen to the ideas of those who seek permits for commercial development, a process which many characterize as overly restrictive and byzantine. If we listen to our developers, builders, current businesses and organizations as well as experienced city planners we will arrive at the most effective and equitable set of alternatives. We must honestly confront a simple truth: The city is about 86 square miles, bounded by water east and west and legal boundaries north/south. We either go ‘down’, ‘up’ or ‘out’. As noted in question 7 above, this process will require continual reevaluation and integration of the human and freight mobility infrastructure and overlaid systems to determine the best time, place and manner for movement. And we must closely monitor not only our transportation systems, but our power and water storage, delivery and capacity systems to ensure sustainable growth.


Andrew Lewis

Seattle needs to embrace more mixed-use zoning and encourage developments with both residential homes and office space. My priority would be to focus such developments around transit-oriented hubs, particularly light rail stations. Portions of the University District may be particularly well-suited to accommodating this kind of growth, as well as my own neighborhood of Uptown. We cannot continue to have zoning siloed to a small slice of allowable uses on one property. The future of Seattle will be defined by projects where people can live, work, and play all in the same neighborhood.

However, I will caution that I am reluctant to rezone traditionally industrial or maritime lands to accommodate new commercial development. Our traditional maritime economy is an engine of blue collar and family wage jobs with low barriers to entry. As we grow, we need to protect and expand our traditional industries as well.

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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Jim Pugel

I want to consider BIAs to be our allies and partners. As with any partnership, true value is defined by the quality of the products of collaboration: Clear plans, inclusive proposals, well defined budgets, honest stewardship of public funds and on-going performance measurement systems. The same criteria applies to City government programs. An ideal relationship would involve continuous dialogue: The BIA should be brought into analysis of City initiatives – like homelessness – in the same way was the City should be brought into analysis of BIA initiatives, like regulations and permitting. I witnessed the success of the original BIA with the DSA, the ‘Clean-Scapes’ program to address disorder/hygiene in Pioneer square and what other municipalities have done to leverage better outcomes. As a council member, I will never turn a blind eye to my role to enforce the law or fulfill my responsibility as a caretaker for the City, but I emphasize that positive, collegial relationships with Downtown BIA and other leaders and constituents is powerful force multiplier.


Andrew Lewis

I am a big supporter of BIAs. Businesses that form the core fabric of our urban hubs and villages have immeasurable expertise and insight into the needs and future vision for our neighborhoods. As a Seattle City Councilmember, I will look to BIAs as a valuable partner to strengthen neighborhood specific projects on a public/private partnership basis.

Debora Juarez’s annual “Live in D5” event, a community gathering with music, local food, and information booths from civic organizations, is a good example of the kind of collaboration that can be facilitated by a BIA. The earlier examples of Living Innovation Zones (LIZ) present exciting opportunities for BIAs as well to add dynamism and interactivity to public spaces in their neighborhood.

The only problem with BIAs is that there are not enough of them. We only have 10 in the City of Seattle, and I would love to encourage more to develop in District 7. I would be supportive of a BIA seed fund to incentivize the creation of BIAs. The Magnolia Village, for example, would be a perfect candidate for a BIA. My own neighborhood of Uptown would as well. While BIAs have considerable benefits, they also can come with considerable costs for the businesses making them up. Having a more generous match for innovative projects proposed by BIAs could encourage their expansion.

10. Downtown is the anchor of District 7 — it’s the city’s job center and one of the fastest-growing residential neighborhoods in the region. However, downtown still lacks some of the basic assets and infrastructure associated with livable communities, like family-sized housing, parks space and public schools. As a representative of downtown, what would you do on the council to ensure the center city is responsive to the growth we are seeing?

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Jim Pugel

Back to the basics of my candidacy: I will always be guided by Common sense; Engagement and continuous communication with my electors; Honest adherence to data and science; and Selflessness. Fundamentally, I read this question as a set of priorities for consideration, and respect their importance to the people who work, live and visit Downtown.

I am optimistic about the future of Downtown parks and public spaces. I believe it is going from good to great. We have a progressive, vital residential community in the fastest growing population center in our City, whose ideas and needs for public space will result in a vibrant process. With the four different revenue sources dedicated to the re-development of our waterfront, and with the public/private collaboration on our current parks – and through vigilance and smart management – we are headed in the right direction.

It is extremely important to me that we both build and maintain adequate ‘family sized housing’ in the Up-Town, Queen Anne and Magnolia neighborhoods, as part of our strategy for adding appropriate density along the major existing and proposed transportation routes.

I have always supported and would love to see a public school in the center/downtown city. As we grow as a city, and if we are truly committed to being a welcoming and affordable city for families, we must provide access to quality schools in EVERY neighborhood, regardless of the cost. Seattle voters have been consistently among the most generous when it comes to capital levies, and the State must also step up to the plate and acknowledge that a child in downtown Seattle is as deserving of a good public school as a child in any other part of our state. The work done in partnership with the City to seek potential sites for a full service school or schools at Seattle Center, Westlake, area, or other locations are welcome and overdue. We should also look at private developers and opportunities to integrate education spaces in new buildings.

As a product of our public schools in a working class household, who raised my own family in one of our quickly growing neighborhoods, I am committed to making sure we have quality schools for all, regardless of income, zip code, and background.


Andrew Lewis

As a graduate of the Center School, the public high school located in the Seattle Center Armory, I know first hand the value of going to school in the City’s core. The never ending calendar of festivals, plays, sporting events, distinguished visitors, and some of Seattle’s most famous cultural and architectural icons made the Center School a perfect fit for me. But the Center School is not enough, and we need to make sure that some of the fastest growing neighborhoods in our urban core are getting the full benefit of the social contract.

I am proud to be endorsed by School Board Directors Leslie Harris and Eden Mack, and I look forward to working with them on the critical issue of school capacity. I support creative solutions to add a new public school to the Memorial Stadium property on the Seattle Center campus. The property itself is owned by the Seattle School District, but the City will have a critical role in making sure the project runs smoothly since it is surrounded by one of the most unique public and cultural spaces in the City of Seattle.

Additionally, I am a strong supporter of Seattle’s community centers and the amenities they provide. There are few public spaces in the City of Seattle that offer services and diversion for people of all ages. Pre-schools, teenagers playing basketball, retirees playing chess, dance classes, cooking classes, day care; I could go on all day. Every neighborhood in this City should have a community center. I fully support restoring a community center to Belltown. We can do it through creative public and private partnerships, like the recent acquisition of the Lake City Community Center, or a development agreement to incorporate a public community center into the first few floors of an otherwise private new downtown project.

As far as parks, I support lidding I-5 and using a significant proportion of that space for a central park connecting Downtown and First Hill. The vision of Downtown as a neighborhood situated between a centerpiece waterfront park with sweeping views and access to Pike Place Market, and a robust lid park covering the large gray scar of I-5 is one we must aspire to realize.

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