Q1. What are you hearing from voters as the most important issue facing Seattle? In your view of that issue, what is working and what would you do differently?
The constituents of District 6 have clearly communicated that their top priority is addressing Seattle's homelessness crisis in an effective way. I’ll begin by establishing a baseline of shelter and facilities for our unhoused neighbors, in addition to providing access to basic human necessities such as restrooms and security so we can finally gauge the true scope of our homelessness crisis. We must simultaneously address our deficient rental market and reduce the barriers to affordable homeownership through adjusting regulations, including increased density in our urban centers. Lastly, I will look at the results of our new “Health One” pilot program and take the steps necessary to create a first responder division focused on providing medical assistance and more to residents in distress.
Q2. Please provide your perspective on how the current city council conducts its business with the public. How would you conduct yourself as a council member?
The current city council struggles to communicate with the public effectively. Firstly, I recognize that as an elected official, I would be a servant of the people. As such, it would be my duty to communicate my agenda fully and clearly so all Seattlites can understand the goals we will achieve. Further, as a servant leader, it is crucial to show respect and deference to our fellow Seattlites. While we can't hope to satisfy the expectations of our entire constituency, Seattle City Council members should strive to be respectful and civil in their treatment of others.
Q3. In your view is the current City Council mostly on the right track in addressing Seattle’s problems.? If yes, what do you like about the current Council’s approach? If no, what would you do differently?
It is my view that the current City Council is not on the right track to address Seattle's problems. In addition to putting practical steps into action addressing the challenges related to our homeless population, I believe there is a distinct lack of accountability in city hall. From departmental inefficiency to project overruns, Seattle's populace has lost faith in the city government's ability to manage challenges effectively. I would aim to ensure that future projects are established with a proper scope, timeline, and budget in mind. Further, I am calling for and would begin the work of authorizing an external audit of the city.
Q4. Please comment on the city’s approach to unsanctioned encampments. Would you change anything about the current policy?
Continual sweeps of unsanctioned encampments are damaging for a multitude of reasons. These sweeps hurt the efforts we make and relationships we hope to build between the city and our most vulnerable populations. Further, these sweeps have proven ineffective and costly when it comes to effectively addressing the challenges at hand. My first goal would be to establish a baseline of shelter and facilities for every resident of Seattle. By creating several sanctioned and regulated encampments, we can begin rebuilding the communities and support the individuals struggling most within our city. Aside from creating areas for our homeless population to reside in a semi-permanent manner, these actions would allow us to understand the true scope of challenges facing homeless individuals and the community as a whole, as opposed to the primarily anecdotal King County Point in Time count. Once we have an actual accounting of the challenges facing these populations, we can begin the vital work of building out the services needed, such as drug addiction and mental health treatments.
Q5. A recent study found a that a group of offenders with dozens of arrests, who regularly cycle through the courts and back onto the streets account for a significant amount of the property and violent crime in downtown and the neighborhood business districts. How should city government respond to these findings?
As a city council member, I would work closely with and put pressure on the City Attorney's office to address our issues with criminality in a more effective manner. While we should aim to divert individuals from cycles of criminality whenever possible, there comes the point when individuals must be held accountable for serious crimes. Our residents need assurance that the city government will take care when it comes to addressing crimes that damage individuals and businesses.
Q6. Seattle is one of the fastest growing cities with small businesses as the backbone of our local economy. However, as the city grows the cost of doing business has also increased. As a council member what is something you would do to help businesses survive and prosper in Seattle?
A thriving business community relies on the stimulus provided by small businesses. As Seattle grows, we should create economic development districts to promote business growth. My platform also focuses on loosening zoning restrictions to allow more small businesses, as well as a focus on making real improvements to Seattle's infrastructure. All of these actions would, directly and indirectly, foster small business growth.
Q7. As the city has grown so has the cost of housing making Seattle unaffordable for many people in the workforce. What strategies do you support to increase the supply of affordable housing in Seattle?
My primary aims to increase the supply of affordable housing in Seattle are multifold. First, we should continue to loosen zoning regulations, allowing the building of additional housing stock by creating higher density in our urban villages. Secondly, I would work to repeal ordinances outlawing micro-dwellings. Sanctioning congregate housing is a vital step in providing affordable housing in an increasingly dense city. Lastly, my capstone housing policy would be to establish a series of high-density housing co-operatives built by the city and owned by our residents.
Q8. Being on the City Council is a challenging job. Please describe your specific experience or skills that qualifies you to serve as the representative of your district.
I have faced a multitude of challenges throughout my life that have prepared me to be an effective Councilmember. My experience as a Sergeant in the Washington Army National Guard has prepared me to work with diverse populations, work effectively within large bureaucratic systems, as well as to inspire my dedication to serving those around me continuously. I have worked as a project manager, focusing on ensuring large projects are achieved with proper scope, timeline, and budget. Lastly, my experiences surviving cancer have created incredible resolve to make truly effective change in the lives of those around me, work that I intend to continue in my role as a city council member. It would be my honor to serve you, and the other residents of Seattle as a city council member.