Tonight, Seat­tle City Club is host­ing a may­oral debate with six of the lead­ing can­di­dates for Seat­tle’s top pub­lic job, includ­ing Jessyn Far­rell, Bob Hasegawa, Cary Moon, Niki­ta Oliv­er and Jen­ny Durkan. NPI will be chron­i­cling the pro­ceed­ings with live updates as the night con­tin­ues, so stay tuned.

QUESTION: What sets you apart?

ANSWERS: Niki­ta Oliv­er stressed that she is an authen­tic, hon­est can­di­date who would help unite the city. (Oliv­er notably stands alone in hav­ing declared her can­di­da­cy pri­or to Ed Mur­ray’s deci­sion not to seek reelection.)

Sim­i­lar­ly, Bob Hasegawa remind­ed the audi­ence that his his­to­ry in social jus­tice advo­ca­cy demon­strates that he has strong­ly held pro­gres­sive convictions.

Mike McGinn stat­ed that he has expe­ri­ence being a may­or and claims that he does not work with pow­er­ful actors just because it is polit­i­cal­ly expe­di­ent. Moon did not actu­al­ly answer the ques­tion, but appealed to the city act­ing as a uni­fied force.

QUESTION: How will you reduce Seat­tle cit­i­zens’ tax obligations?

ANSWERS: Hasegawa point­ed to the increas­ing gen­tri­fi­ca­tion and dis­place­ment of peo­ple in Seat­tle, say­ing we need more trans­paren­cy and an effec­tive account­ing of how the city invests the peo­ple’s tax dollars.

Being more spe­cif­ic, Far­rell stat­ed that she finds the depen­den­cy on prop­er­ty and sales tax unfair and sup­ports push­ing larg­er busi­ness­es to pay their “fair share” of tax­es. McGinn and Moon con­curred with Far­rell, but Moon wants to pri­or­i­tize the many pro­grams the City of Seat­tle attempts.

Oliv­er stat­ed that the city needs to put mon­ey towards what it val­ues. She wants to see increased fund­ing for projects to end homelessness.

Oliv­er stat­ed that the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem is one area to reduce the city bud­get as fis­cal resources are wast­ed on crim­i­nal­iz­ing pover­ty. Durkan wants to look at what the city needs first, focus­ing less on whether to decrease or increase our budget.

Almost all of the can­di­dates not­ed that mov­ing away from our depen­den­cy on sales and prop­er­ty tax­es will be necessary.

QUESTION: How do you hope to address the threats of dis­place­ment and gen­tri­fi­ca­tion in the Inter­na­tion­al District?

ANSWERS: Far­rell talked about the need for a plan for every sin­gle neigh­bor­hood, but not a “cook­ie-cut­ter” strat­e­gy. She did not spec­i­fy any­thing meaningful.

Durkan seemed to only expand on Far­rel­l’s com­ments at first, but then stat­ed that she would be sup­port­ive of tax breaks for those at risk of displacement.

Moon expressed a con­cern about devel­op­ers push­ing for high­er prof­its in Pio­neer Square, but did not men­tion details. Oliv­er wants to move away from the pri­vate mar­ket, hav­ing the city invest in land trusts and afford­able com­mer­cial units.

QUESTION: Do you sup­port rent control?

ANSWERS: Oliv­er declared that she sup­ports rent sta­bi­liza­tion, while Far­rell not­ed that rent con­trol is present­ly unavail­able as a tool to Seat­tle right now. She sug­gest­ed cat­alyz­ing coop­er­a­tion among larg­er enti­ties to sta­bi­lize rent.

QUESTION: What do you plan to do about ille­gal home­less encamp­ments pop­ping up around the city?

ANSWERS: McGinn spoke of a need for more shel­ter, and increased mobi­liza­tion of resources. Moon argued for more sanc­tioned encamp­ments and tiny homes, want­i­ng more open­ness in hous­ing options.

Far­rell advo­cat­ed for mov­ing resources away from police enforce­ment and into low bar­ri­er shel­ters and men­tal health/abuse care.

QUESTION: What are your top three strate­gies for reduc­ing congestion?

ANSWERS: To invest in jobs and hous­ing bal­ance, Moon says we should look at tran­sit bik­ing and pedes­tri­an improve­ments, and look­ing at trans­port with a racial equi­ty lens. Oliv­er talked about expand­ing tran­sit that runs east and west, begin­ning to plan for future light rail sta­tions, and giv­ing free ORCA cards to those under eigh­teen to encour­age youth ridership.

Hasegawa and Far­rell echoed Oliv­er in their sup­port for speed­ing up the built-out of Sound Tran­sit’s Link light rail. Accel­er­at­ing the timeta­bles for get­ting Link to Bal­lard and West Seat­tle is some­thing all the can­di­dates seem to support.

QUESTION: How would you go about boost­ing basic bus service?

ANSWERS: Far­rell and Durkan argued for sub­si­dized bus pass­es and increased bus access, while McGinn and Moon focused their com­ments on the fre­quen­cy and speed of ser­vice.. Oliv­er advo­cat­ed for increas­ing efforts to edu­cate youth about their mobil­i­ty options, includ­ing get­ting around by bike. Hasegawa, not unex­pect­ed­ly, argued for free tran­sit, reduc­ing funds on fare regulation.

QUESTION: Do you feel that the Seat­tle con­sent decree was effec­tive? How should we hold offi­cers accountable?

ANSWERS: Moon said the decree was effec­tive in get­ting the Seat­tle Police Depart­ment to com­mit to change, but that we must still empow­er the com­mu­ni­ty com­mis­sions and improve stan­dards regard­ing employment.

Oliv­er advo­cat­ed for train­ing on implic­it bias and men­tal health, while Hasegawa echoed her sen­ti­ment on men­tal health and de-esca­la­tion train­ing. Hasegawa also not­ed a need for first aid to be prompt­ly admin­is­tered fol­low­ing use of force.

Oliv­er ful­ly advo­cat­ed for increased com­mu­ni­ty con­trol on law enforce­ment. Oliv­er was by far the most elo­quent on this issue, not­ing that the most policed com­mu­ni­ties, par­tic­u­lar com­mu­ni­ties of col­or, have far bet­ter insight of what police over­step looks like and that the city should be look­ing to those communities.

Durkan dis­agreed with McGin­n’s com­ment that the con­sent degree was not work­ing, stat­ing that the reform was nec­es­sary for cur­rent improvements.

Moon advo­cat­ed for ful­ly fund­ing the com­mu­ni­ty police com­mis­sion as a sign of empow­er­ing the com­mis­sion to increase trust between police and communities.

QUESTION: Do you sup­port the cre­ation of a safe injec­tion site in Seattle?

ANSWERS: Far­rell expressed con­cern, say­ing she could sup­port of the idea if it is imple­ment­ed with increased access to men­tal health and drug abuse resources.

Durkan advo­cat­ed for drug abuse to be treat­ed as a pub­lic health issue as opposed to a crim­i­nal issue, sup­port­ing injec­tion sites as a part of such a strategy.

Oliv­er not­ed that such sites save lives, while also not­ing that stig­ma around drug abuse must be mit­i­gat­ed through cul­tur­al edu­ca­tion regard­ing addiction.

Hasegawa said that in his view, the opi­oid epi­dem­ic has been fueled by increased access to pre­scrip­tions, but the city has not pro­vid­ed pub­lic detox cen­ters to off­set this impact.

QUESTION: What is your plan to pro­vide equi­table resources for diverse indi­vid­u­als with devel­op­men­tal disabilities?

ANSWERS: Oliv­er advo­cat­ed for giv­ing the dis­abil­i­ty com­mu­ni­ty an increased role in leg­is­la­tion while also increas­ing gov­ern­ment funds avail­able to those in the dis­abil­i­ty com­mu­ni­ty. Far­rell and McGinn echoed Oliv­er’s com­ments, offer­ing less detail. Moon argued that wealth and pow­er are con­cen­trat­ed in very few areas in the city, but also reit­er­at­ed Oliv­er’s sentiments.

Thanks for fol­low­ing along; we hope you enjoyed our live coverage!

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