The Seattle Globalist asks the Seattle Mayoral Candidates: James Norton

James Norton (Courtesy photo)

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?

As a currently employed Seattle Police officer our biggest issue is that there are simply not enough officers in patrol. I would make hiring more qualified officers the departments number one priority. We would make recruiting and interviewing officers first and foremost as everything else I believe is a result from this.

I believe that our upper management has lost touch with patrol officers and I believe that needs to change. There is an expectation of the officers that is often unrealistic from the upper management. Officers don’t feel supported and many of the departments policies are often not explained well. Officers need to get answers when they have questions so they can better perform their daily work.

Police community relations have got to evolve and become better period. I think that both sides feel as though they are not respected or listened to. Some of our local city officials also lack understanding before speaking to the public making things worse. Both sides need to listen and try and move forward with solutions instead of accusations and blaming. This ties directly into having enough officers so that officers can be a part of the neighborhoods they patrol and not necessarily some specialty unit. Communities would feel like the officers were part of their community. I can’t emphasize how important this is.

What should Seattle’s strategy be in addressing housing affordability?

We have become a big city quickly. We have to put in place some sort of rent control/management. Our city officials have to understand that many people in the service industry downtown and surrounding areas are having to move outside the city in order to afford housing. The children of the people who can afford housing now are not going to be able to find housing when they grow up. Our housing costs are being set in large part by the tech industry who I believe has an average of 2-4 years in the city before moving on or out of the city. we need to take into account the people who are going to be in our city and the people who have made our city into account as well.

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.

I don’t think there is. I think upzoning is a slippery slope. This is especially true when you take in the fact that developers can opt out of the restrictions/penalties by paying off the city. The city states it would take the money and reinvest in rent controlled housing but then you are subject to who exactly qualifies for this housing that isn’t even built yet. Our city need to stop being only mindful of the people who can afford upzoning and the people who would most likely qualify for the low income housing as a result. The real issue is the people in the middle who need the housing that’s in place to be affordable. This also changes these communities drastically. The people who currently lives and have lived I these ares for a long time might be forced out through rising property taxes and their higher rents.

Most of the people in these communities are not even being consulted as the city makes decisions to move forward with projects that affect the current neighborhoods.
I would make it so the communities, local businesses and people’s concerned were listened to and taken into consideration before moving forward with any type of change.

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?

As stated above. I have been a part of both the Central District and International District communities either as someone who lived there or in the case of the ID as someone who works there.

I have been contacted by specific long time residents and business owners who feel they have lost their voice in the decision making process that directly effects them. I believe this is true. There needs to be more understanding and listening with empathy done by the city officials. There needs to be meetings with community leaders in the planning stages of any project. Find a way to make these proposals beneficial and inclusive to communities they effect.

Explain to the communities that their concerned are important.

Ask the community leaders to present their resolution to a current proposal and not just say no they don’t want it. Our city is going to continue to grow we have to,learn to include these communities in the process or they will leave our city void of the unique and diverse neighborhoods.

How should Seattle address “gentrification?” How do you define that concept?

I know what the definition is but I think there is also something more to it. As a white male who used to have a very low income I often found myself living in ethnic communities. Echo Park in Los Angeles, I worked on the edge of South Central District, Potrero Hill in SF and the Central District here in Seattle. I lived or worked I all these areas as a white male where I was a minority almost always. During he time I lived in these areas I started to watch white middle class families buy up inexpensive houses in poorer condition and fix them up. This raised property values. Soon I would see local business get pushed out due to a more generic store/larger business moving in. Then the area was now ” hip” enough that young single white people wanted to live in these areas.

Now rent was climbing as demand went up.

I think you understand where I am headed with this.

Gentrification is a term that should be referred to as where a majority white population moved into a minority community and changes the economic landscape making it difficult for the current community to remain intact and still have a voice.

I am not sure how to address this as I don’t believe there is malice or purpose for the white people moving into the community except that they want to make things “better” I think in doing so they have to realize and take into consideration the impact they have.

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?

I need more information in this subject as I can see both sides of the idea. There appears to be an increasing number of crimes involving juveniles in our city. I am concerned as these juveniles are part of the future so the sooner we address this issue the better. I am leery of spending money on new facilities before I know exactly why the proponents say we need a new facility. Why exactly would a new facility help the juveniles would be detained there. As I said I need more information. We often build new facilities like this not for the people inside but for the opinions of the people outside.

More information: www.norton4seattle.org

Candidates

Gary E. Brose | Casey Carlisle | Tiniell Cato | Jenny Durkan | Jessyn Farrell | Thom Gunn | Greg Hamilton | Michael Harris | Bob Hasegawa | Lewis A. Jones | Dave Kane | Harley Lever | Mary J. Martin | Mike McGinn | Cary Moon | James W. Norton, Jr.Larry Oberto | Nikkita Oliver | Jason Roberts | Alex Tsimerman | Keith J. Whiteman

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