Candidate Survey Results: Questions 8 & 9; Gentrification & Safe-Consumption Facilities

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These are the responses to questions 8 and 9 of our candidate survey.

Question 8: Soaring rents are forcing people of color out of their historic communities in neighborhoods like the Central District and South Seattle. How do you plan to address the needs of communities being displaced by gentrification?

Mayor

Mike McGinn, Mayor

Seattle’s housing shortage is having some of the worst impact on low-income and minority communities. There are substantial unmet needs for housing affordable to individuals and families earning incomes from 100% AMI all the way down to below 30% AMI. I believe we need a combination of tools to address the costs of housing and to reduce displacement. Affordable housing is one tool. We also need to increase the amount of housing, in order to reduce price competition and stop market-rate housing from becoming more expensive.

Neighborhoods across Seattle should include a range of housing types and price points. By allowing Missing Middle housing to be built in neighborhoods, we can provide housing supply for families that is lower-cost, and provide supplemental income to offset rising property taxes that threaten to price out lower-income homeowners. It is critical that these types of efforts occur citywide to reduce the pressure on neighborhoods undergoing gentrification.

We also need to support financial empowerment in communities of color. During my term as Mayor we increased minority contracting and implement local hiring for seawall construction, which led to first in the nation local-hire legislation. As discussed above, minimum wage, paid sick leave, family and medical leave, secure scheduling and gender pay equity can help protect low income individuals and families facing financial stress and high rents. We also need to use the resources of the city to ensure minority-owned small businesses can open, grow and succeed in neighborhoods like the Central District, Southeast Seattle, Beacon Hill, Chinatown/ID, Little Saigon and South Park.

We also launched Pathways to Careers to provide job training, and Career Bridge to help individuals returning from prison to the community.

Nikkita Oliver, Mayor

Nikkita and the Peoples Party will proactively work to ensure that Seattle’s most economically vulnerable citizens of all colors have a newfound ability and heightened sense of agency to remain in their city. Nikkita and The People’s Party will do so by making sure that affordable housing moves in lockstep with development. It is the goal of Nikkita and the Peoples Party to have a healthy relationship with developers. In light of this, Nikkita and the Peoples Party will hold big businesses and developers accountable and require they pay their fair share for the strain that development puts on longtime Seattleites. This will require more than setting aside a token 3% of multimillion dollar developments for so called “affordable” housing. Every single Seattleite should have a right to raise their children within a stable environment, to not have family homes uprooted, and an ability to envision a level of stability in the midst of rental price fluctuations. These amenities should not be luxuries only reserved for the wealthy. Nikkita and the Peoples Party will ensure there is housing for all Seattlelites.

Aggressively Counteract Displacement of Marginalized Populations Position: In Seattle communities of color and other vulnerable populations are in jeopardy. The black community, the Native community, the Latinx community, the Asian Pacific Islander Community and Seniors are all in danger of becoming artifacts that no longer exist within Seattle. Neighborhoods like the Central District, an historically black neighborhood, are becoming museums displaced residents can barely visit let alone live.

(For the purposes of this section, the Peoples Party will utilize the definition of “marginalized populations” contained within the “Seattle 2035: Growth and Equity” Public Review Draft from May of 2015. “Seattle 2035” speaks directly to the “minimizing” and “mitigating” of displacement of marginalized populations. Marginalized populations are defined as “low-­income people, people of color, and English language learners.”)

Action Agenda: We must specifically counteract displacement of these historic communities We can do this by 1) substantially reducing or freezing property taxes to protect long­time residents; 2) protecting senior homeowners; 3) dramatically increase funding for existing senior home repair programs; and 4) create a stabilization voucher for long­time residents of low­income communities.

Jason Roberts, Mayor

I was priced out of my rental in the CD not long ago. Large developers are responsible for the bulk and speed of Seattle’s “gentrification”. Some of the larger groups are notably from outside the US.  I support a temporary moratorium on large scale development, such as the wholesale purchasing of houses for resale. At least there needs to be prohibitive taxes in place to prevent whole neighborhoods from being ripped away from communities that built them! In addition to whole sale house “flipping”, traditional low income housing must be preserved and expanded. The Yesler Terrace development makes efforts in this direction, though I would prefer more low income housing, with the remainder affordable to the average worker.

Casey Carlisle, Mayor

The City’s actions are what is forcing people of color out of their historic communities. Soaring property taxes are the biggest cause of the soaring rents. Since regressive sales and property taxes affect people of color disproportionately, wouldn’t we better diversity by lowering those taxes? Zoning is also to blame for this problem. Whether you call it “inclusionary zoning” or “exclusionary zoning,” it’s zoning, and it has the effect of exacerbating gentrification. It also, often, increases the cost of housing, reduces the availability of mixed-use buildings, causes sprawl, and increases reliance on personal transportation. Why does the mayor or the city council get to designate which neighborhoods will be upzoned (or which neighborhoods will host homeless encampments)? Zoning decisions should be determined by the residents of the affected areas.

Keith Whiteman, Mayor

One thing I am interested in exploring is a rent cap on new development around future
light rail stations. The light rail was touted as a way of expanding transportation options to often underserved communities. In reality, due to the way that light rail stations are chosen, built (incredibly slowly) and developed it has just turned into a land grab around the area prior to finished construction of the stations. This immediately prices and pushes out the communities which have lived in that area being replaced with new builds, large apartments and skyrocketing rents and mortgages. With this cap around light rail stations new builds would be restricted to a corresponding rent which had existed in the area in the past. While inflation and general growth will of course be expected, the idea of the cap in rent for new builds will both keep the areas affordable and allow the existing communities to thrive as was intended by the building of a light rail station.

As a fan and student of history I would also love to enact strict historical guidelines for communities that being pushed out due to gentrification. Historical buildings and communities are often something that is only missed once gone, but a government with perspective and awareness should stop them from going extinct in the first place.

Harley Lever, Mayor 

Lever’s position is indeterminate.

Mary Juanita Martin, Mayor

Martin’s position is indeterminate.

Cary Moon, Mayor

Compact and inclusive growth are essential objectives. We need to use extra care with the Central District and historically redlined neighborhoods so we can best ensure new development is available to and supportive of existing communities. The dynamics of our spiraling housing costs are pushing lower income working families and people of color out of Seattle altogether, and we must prepare specific, targeted solutions to ensure the new housing we are building is available for and affordable to people who live and work here. To ensure equitable growth, the City must work with community residents and local business to establish clear goals for new development, craft community development agreements to ensure new housing and new commercial spaces are affordable and available to community members, and enforce them. It is essential that community members are at the table helping shape their own destiny with the full backing of the City.

Alex Tsimerman, Mayor

Tsimerman’s position is indeterminate.

David Ishii, Mayor

Ishii’s position is indeterminate.

Bob Hasegawa, Mayor

Hasegawa is a strident supporter of public housing.

Jenny Durkan, Mayor

Durkan’s position is indeterminate, apart from lauding Mayor Ed Murray’s HALA program.

Jessyn Farrell, Mayor

Farrell has said she supports Mayor Murray’s housing affordability plans.

Michael Harris, Mayor

Harris’ position is indeterminate.


City Council

Jon Grant, Pos. 8

The City of Seattle really did the community a disservice through the mayor’s grand bargain proposal with developers. We had an opportunity to put a requirement for new housing to have higher levels of affordability. Instead, the city worked out a deal where developers could build housing with as little as 2% of that building as affordable. I put forward a proposal saying all new development needs to have at least 25% of it set aside for working class and low-income people. The city needs to adopt a 1 for 1 replacement program, where every time a unit is lost, itʼs put on the developer to replace the affordable housing that is demolished. If we donʼt do that, weʼre going to see a net loss of affordable housing, concentration of poverty, and aggravated residential segregation.

If you look at the mayor’s proposal, heʼs proposed through the grand bargain to create 6000 units of affordable housing over the next ten years. If you look at the past ten years, weʼve lost 6000 units of affordable housing through demolition. Itʼs not a net gain; weʼre not even treading water. Until we have a much more bold proposal that will greatly expand the provision for affordable housing, it will continue to tear down the existing affordable housing stock, which will result in gentrification and communities of color being displaced. We are seeing that right now in the Central District as the African American population is reaching historic lows. If we donʼt have a robust proposal putting higher demands on corporations and developers, weʼre going to perpetuate that cycle.

In addition to higher affordability requirements and 1:1 replacement, I also support city investment in community led development projects like the Liberty Bank development and the Black Dot/Forterra collaboration (both at the 23rd and Union intersection). It is crucial that as communities experience development, that community organizations and community members are integral parts of that development. We can use development as an opportunity to invest in community groups and local small businesses in communities of color, rather than seeing development lead to displacement like it is currently.

Sheley Secrest, Pos. 8

I currently serve on the Black Community Impact Alliance and was pleased to help our partners secure the purchase of the YK building. This spring, it will open its doors to 130 young adults making less than $19,000 annually. According to the Office of Civil Rights, 60% of those receiving section 8 housing vouchers were discriminated against due to race, sexuality, national origin, religion, and criminal history. This is unacceptable. I will work to address rental housing discrimination, provide wider access to rental assistance and increase enforcement of Seattle fair housing ordinances.

One option I would like to explore is a “ban-the-box” style proposal similar to what we see today on job applications. This would prohibit landlords from asking a prospective tenant about criminal history until they make it past the first phase in the housing application process and then, only if the crime has anything to do with the likelihood of safety or housing should the tenant be restricted.

Charlene Strong, Pos. 8

I would like to see how we could work with renters and property owners to find stabilization and affordability for families. The 15-person tenants commission that is being established, made up of renters exclusively and will report to the council about rental issues in our city.  I would have liked to see the commission include property owners to have a balance of voices in order to work together to find ways to address the housing issues people face in this city. My concern is the unintended consequences of not having property owners on the commission that could lead to increases in rent and possibly shrink our cities rental inventory due to burdensome restrictions imposed on property owners who may choose to sell their properties.

Sara Nelson, Pos. 8

Unfortunately, as Seattle continues to grow, the affordability and housing crisis is hitting certain areas of the city more than others. This constant growth inequitably impacts certain communities and make those same communities more vulnerable to displacement as a result. HALA includes several recommendations that address this but they are yet to be fully developed with respect to process or funding. This should be a priority so that the intentions of our efforts are realized.

Hisam Goueli, Pos. 8

Goueli’s position is indeterminate.

Mac McGregor, Pos. 8

McGregor believes in helping minority-owned small businesses by reducing fees, and in increasing “activity” in poor areas by supporting local business generally.  He believes in increasing the number of affordable units through the proposed legislation to increase the number of backyard cottages and mother-in-law units.

Teresa Mosqueda, Pos. 8

Seattle is a growing city, with more than 1000 people moving here a week. I want Seattle to be a welcoming city that is open to new residents – including low wage workers, people of color and immigrants seeking jobs – and inclusive of our existing communities protects against further gentrification and displacement that our communities have experience.  

People are going to continue to come to our city, with rising inequality and climate change around our country, people are going to migrate to prosperous cities like Seattle because of our beauty and perceived opportunity. We have to move forward to create options for people to afford to live in this city where they work, and do so in a way that brings communities at risk of gentrification and displacement to the table. We must also work proactively to combat the legacy of redlining and gentrification – by bringing those affected to the table, making sure that women and minority owned businesses are supported when there is transition in their community. We also must proactively address displacement and gentrification that has pushed many in our communities out of the city and away from services and their neighborhoods.

Healthy, thriving communities rely on locating housing hear community, transportation hubs, and cultural centers. We need smart transitions, but we can’t shut off the valve of growth in our city. We need more affordable and high quality options for people in our city. We can have genuine community engagement with those who want to see growth in our community be inclusive of all and a place where we can afford to live where we work.

Rudy Pantoja, Pos. 8

Pantoja’s position is indeterminate.

Ian Affleck-Asch, Pos. 9

Until they own the land in question, there is nothing that can be done other than regulating and stabilizing rent prices for all. See my response to question 7.

Lorena González, Pos. 9

González’s position is indeterminate.

David Preston, Pos. 9

Preston’s position is indeterminate.

Marguerite Richard, Pos. 9

Richard’s position is indeterminate.

Eric Smiley, Pos. 9

Smiley’s position is indeterminate.

Pat Murakami, Pos. 9

Murakami’s position is indeterminate.

Amanda Carter, Pos. 9

Carter’s position is indeterminate.

Question 9: Seattle plans to open a safe-consumption site, implementing a harm-reduction strategy for drug users. Do you support this initiative? If so, how will you handle possible objections from neighborhood associations and other groups opposed to having safe-consumption sites in their “backyards”?

Mayor

Mike McGinn, Mayor

Yes. I believe safe consumption sites are part of a spectrum of services. Those range from early prevention (such as education and resources for disposal of unused prescription medications) to services for those living with substance dependencies (such as safe consumption, treatment on demand, and overdose prevention). In the case of opioid dependence, the full spectrum of services that we need is described well in the recommendations of the King County Heroin and Prescription Opioid Addiction Task Force.

It is natural for neighbors to have conflicting feelings about consumption sites being opened near their homes and businesses. The city’s plans for these facilities should not come as a surprise to neighbors. Pushing forward without getting communities on board will not work. Instead, we need to engage communities early so that their input can inform the process. This will also help prevent projects from falling behind schedule because of opposition after the fact. Seattle has many generous and reasonable neighbors who will understand the benefits of bringing drug consumption off our streets and parks, and into safe and supervised spaces. Neighbors also have valid concerns that should be heard and taken seriously.

Nikkita Oliver, Mayor

Yes, we support safe consumption sites and harm­-reduction strategies generally (needle exchange programs, etc). We recognize that empirically morality policing does not reduce possible harms for a community and providing services will reduce possible harms. Safe consumption sites are obviously not enough—when we talk about addictions, whether alcohol or drug, we have an obligation to talk about services and reducing the underlying cause for the need of harm reduction. Yet we absolutely support harm reduction strategies.
Those neighborhood associations and other groups who might oppose these harm reduction strategies absolutely have a valid reason and standing to voice their opinion. As a candidate who represents all communities, I will listen to those communities and find out if they have solutions that are better than the ones that we currently use. I will not simply discount their proposed solutions because they conflict with my ideology—ultimately we are interested in the best solutions. As such, if those organizations propose something compelling, good. If not, we will explain why it is our policy and the evidence that this is a best practice. In either event—agree or disagree—I will be receptive to new ideas and transparent.

Jason Roberts, Mayor

I completely disagree with this. That money should be redirected to rehabilitation. Drug addiction is not a crime, addicts should not be incarcerated; however, they should not be enabled to perpetuate their addictions! I lost my mother and brother to heroin and opiates, I know better than most, the perils involved in drug use. In the spirit of a “safe place”, I would suggest a heroin rehab facility that doesn’t ask questions. A place that doesn’t require copious amounts of paperwork or hoops to jump through. Where the basic process of detox can take place, then further treatment arranged by a knowledgeable staff of professionals.

Casey Carlisle, Mayor

I am in favor of treating drug addiction as an illness instead of a crime, but who will pay for this initiative? I understand the objections from neighborhood associations and other groups because this is what the City is currently broadcasting to the world: “Come here, and we’ll not only give you a place to live, but we’ll also give you a place to consume illicit substances.” At what cost to society? How is it just to force all to pay for an initiative that all don’t support? We cannot simultaneously reduce the homeless population and aid & abet drug addicts. I understand that not all homeless people are drug addicts, but what seems to not be understood is that for a contingent of the homeless population, homelessness is a choice. We’re unable to help those who wish to be homeless, and for those who are not only in need of help, but want it, nonprofits and individual outreach will always be more effective than a governmental program which forces all to “help.”

Keith Whiteman, Mayor

I do not believe in NIMBY, nor will I listen to that as a valid excuse, no matter how veiled it is, as any sort of argument against something of this nature. As a citizen of the City of Seattle, it is all our backyard. We are all responsible for keeping the grass green for all those who live in our city and not just our own front yard.

I do support safe injection sites. It is a complicated manner and takes a great effort to properly run an injection site. From experiences and conversations I have had with people who work at safe consumptions sites in Vancouver, BC it is challenging to maintain (as anyone who has spent an extended period of time on E. Hastings will attest), but is worth it for all of the community.

Harley Lever, Mayor 

Lever supports safe-consumption sites, suggesting that rehab programs could be better funded.

Mary Juanita Martin, Mayor

Martin’s position is indeterminate.

Cary Moon, Mayor

Yes, I support this initiative. Supervised safe consumption sites are an important part of a comprehensive solution to addressing the opioid epidemic. Studies of this model in other cities show that they can be effective in reducing overdose deaths, infections, and help connect folks to services. Drug addiction has become a serious issue in our region and we must take steps to address it. Once we have developed a shared vision for action we can work to address concerns from local residents, provide opportunities to hear feedback and suggestions, but we must move forward to curb this growing epidemic.

Alex Tsimerman, Mayor

Tsimerman’s position is indeterminate.

David Ishii, Mayor

Ishii’s position is indeterminate.

Bob Hasegawa, Mayor

Hasegawa’s position is indeterminate.

Jenny Durkan, Mayor

Durkan’s position is indeterminate.

Jessyn Farrell, Mayor

Farrell’s position is indeterminate.

Michael Harris, Mayor

Harris supports safe consumption sites.


City Council

Jon Grant, Pos. 8

I support safe consumption sites in Seattle. It’s something we should have been doing decades ago. When other cities that have adopted these programs they have shown you can dramatically reduce the number of opioid-related deaths and you can reduce the number overdoses. When they do occur, there’s actually someone on the scene who can provide medical attention to that person, resuscitate them and save their life. I think that’s what this is about. It is also demonstrated that rates of HIV infection and diseases dramatically drop.

Right now it’s a pilot project in the city but I think when we talk about this in conjunction with our homelessness crisis, I think we need to provide these resources to encampment dwellers too. People who are also trying to kick a habit could use access to the medical resources at these facilities that they otherwise wouldn’t have access to. I would like to see the city rapidly expand it and integrate it to our homeless prevention strategy as well.It’s important that when we talk about public health and public safety that we are thinking about how these issues impact everyone in our community. While I recognize that some people may feel concerned seeing needles in their neighborhood, I would make the case that safe consumption sites will actively address those concerns. Bringing folks struggling with addiction inside, into a safer environment, improves public health and public safety for them and for others.

Sheley Secrest, Pos. 8

I am always open to reducing harm on those who use narcotics, but not all drug use is created equal. We want to bring people out of the shadows and provide real support for those who are suffering and using illegal drugs to treat their pain. That has to be in a different category from those who use recreationally.

Charlene Strong, Pos. 8

I would like to see how we will fund and how the site will be determined.

Sara Nelson, Pos. 8

I support opening a safe consumption site. It is not that far off where my values go, as I tend to agree with harm-reduction public policy in general. If there are objections from neighborhood groups and associations, we must help to address their concerns. The sites must be adequately staffed and in locations away from schools, parks, and areas where children may be present. But in general, I’d rather have people safe than dying.

Hisam Goueli, Pos. 8

Goueli’s position is indeterminate.

Mac McGregor, Pos. 8

McGregor supports “tightly managed” safe-consumption sites, believing they will end up costing the city less and ultimately being more successful for those in need.

Teresa Mosqueda, Pos. 8

I support safe-consumption sites. This is a smart and proven public health response to a public health crisis. It’s good for our population’s health as well as the health of the individual. Overdoses don’t happen in safe injection sites. Once an individual is in a safe site, then we can focus on prevention, detox and treatment. Because not everyone is going to use two of the safe ejection sites, we must also continue to invest in outreach and education programs, needle/syringe exchange programs, overdose prevention education, and access to naloxone to reverse potentially lethal opioid overdose.

We also must hold big Pharma accountable who pushed their opioids in the first place, ignored pill mills in our community, and has led to more people becoming addicted. I will work with those opposed to combat misperceptions – that this will serve as regional magnets for drug users when evidence suggests that individuals will visit a site only if it is located within walking distance of their neighborhood. They have been shown to reduce crime and the spread of communicable diseases. It’s a smart public health policy and we should move forward with the pilot sites.

Rudy Pantoja, Pos. 8

Pantoja’s position is indeterminate.

Ian Affleck-Asch, Pos. 9

I absolutely do. In our effort to drive the more dangerous narcotics from our city, we must offer safe locations to drug-users to protect them -as citizens- from their chemical dependency causing dangerous infections or overdose. I do not believe that use of “illegal” drugs should be criminalized, but that their sale and production must be stopped, and something safer and more regulated put into place, similar to our reformed legal marijuana. Any objections to saving lives will be met with derision and education.

Lorena González, Pos. 9

González supported the current site.

David Preston, Pos. 9

Preston does not support safe-consumption sites. He shared this post on his Facebook page, approvingly.

Marguerite Richard, Pos. 9

Richard’s position is indeterminate.

Eric Smiley, Pos. 9

Smiley’s position is indeterminate.

Pat Murakami, Pos. 9

Murakami, with the South Seattle Crime Prevention Council, offers an extensive list for concerned citizens to identify “suspicious activity.”

Amanda Carter, Pos. 9

Carter’s position is indeterminate.