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Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate provides the Northwest Progressive Institute's uplifting perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Monday, July 17th, 2017

LIVE from Seattle: Impact Hub hosts televised 2017 Emerald City mayoral debate

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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