The Seattle Globalist asked all the Seattle Mayoral Candidates six questions that are important to the city’s communities of color and immigrant communities. Get all the submitted answers here.
What would be the top three priorities of the Seattle Police Department during your administration?
Police need to focus on violent criminals and thieves. Responding to calls, like, “I can see someone using drugs!” is not only a waste of time, it prevents police from responding to more pressing issues: theft and violence. The Seattle Police Department (SPD) seems to be vilified about as much as developers and “the rich,” which is one of the reasons the SPD has a high attrition rate. Having the SPD focus on theft and violence will be a win- win: respect for police will increase, and Seattle will be safer. I would also like to talk with the SPD to get their perspective. So many of these questionnaires have basically asked, “How would you run the SPD?” Answer: the mayor doesn’t run the SPD. The mayor needs to have a collaborative relationship with the chief of police, and together, we can better address one of the most basic functions of government – public safety.
What should Seattle’s strategy be in addressing housing affordability?
City Hall should have no role “in addressing housing affordability,” but currently, by way of its delusional policies, City Hall is degrading affordability. “Affordable housing” is a lie; diffusing the costs of housing doesn’t make housing more affordable. Affordable housing mandates only serve to make housing more expensive. When City Hall illegally orders developers to provide below-market rents, do you think developers will just eat that cost? No, they will raise the rents on the remaining, vast majority of units. This is why no one is paying market rates and why most are paying above-market rates. Seattle is the fastest-growing large city in the country, so the only way to make housing more affordable is to build more housing. City Hall needs to let builders build, so that new and existing residents have a place to live. Loosening building codes and land-use restrictions will increase affordability better than any counterproductive, “market intervention” plan hatched by City Hall.
Is there a way for Seattle to balance upzoning and retaining affordability for existing residents and businesses, particularly in the University, Central and Chinatown/International districts? Please describe your approach.
This question is based on the fallacy that developers are pushing out existing residents. It is City Hall that is pushing out existing residents. Because of zoning restrictions, developers develop land only where City Hall allows them to develop land. City Hall chooses which neighborhoods are worthy of economic development, so when it upzones one neighborhood, it disadvantages those that aren’t upzoned. City Hall needs to upzone the entire city, or better yet, get rid of zoning altogether. This will ensure that property rights are respected, everyone has the opportunity for economic development – instead of just the City’s cronies, economic development will happen where it is most needed, and affordability will be more easily retained. I also want to combine this plan with a complete property-tax transformation. If we tax only the land, instead of what is on it, denser (greener) growth will be incentivized; we’ll have more downtowns, instead of just one, and traffic congestion will be alleviated. This century-old idea, currently implemented to an extent in Pittsburgh, will also make housing for those with shared walls cheaper. I am aware that this is not an overnight fix, but with government, nothing is; any candidate who tells you otherwise is playing you for a fool.
Discuss three specific strategies for increasing the participation of immigrant communities/communities of color in the planning of initiatives such as the proposed Navigation Center and large-scale marches that affect neighborhoods?
It is not the role of government to single out individuals, groups, organizations, or businesses; its role is the opposite – ensure a level playing field for all.
How should Seattle address “gentrification?” How do you define that concept?
There are two types of gentrification: one that naturally occurs and one that is government-induced. Unfortunately, we’re seeing much more of the latter. Gentrification is simply the realization of demand. If an area offers more jobs than it once did, that area will likely gentrify. If an area offers more leisure activities than it once did, that area will likely gentrify. Desirable places in which to live experience gentrification, and there’s nothing the government can or should do about it; however, when government takes on the impossible feat of controlling growth – as City Hall has done – gentrification can be harmful. As I discussed in my 3rd answer, City Hall picks which neighborhoods should gentrify, and that delusional policy produces the negative effects unjustifiably associated with developers, “the rich,” and businesses.
When one group is favored, others are disadvantaged – and vice versa – so I will give preferential treatment to no one.
What should the city of Seattle’s stance be — if any — on handling juvenile justice and the proposed replacement of the King County Juvenile Detention Center?
As I discussed in my 1st answer, public safety is one of only four functions – along with water, electricity, and roads – with which City Hall should concern itself. People who are stealing and/or harming others need to be stopped, regardless of their age. I’d rather not build a juvenile detention center, but if minors are committing acts of violence or stealing, they need to be sent to a place where they can no longer harm society. Any other type of offense committed by minors and adults alike should not warrant incarceration. If we put in jail only those who steal and/or harm others, we won’t need to build more jails, whether those prisons are for minors or adults.
More information: www.caseyforseattle.com
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