Seattle City Council District 1: Lisa Herbold and Phil Tavel

L-R, Seattle City Councilmember Lisa Herbold faces challenger Phil Tavel in November. (Photos courtesy campaigns)

Incumbent Seattle City Councilmember Lisa Herbold is running for re-election in District 1, which includes West Seattle, White Center and South Park. She is being challenged by Phil Tavel.

Lisa Herbold

Seattle’s lower- and middle-income residents and small businesses feel that they are being left behind or pushed out by the city’s growing economy. What three concrete actions will you take to address those concerns?

Addressing residential displacement has been a centerpiece of my work since first running in 2015. I ensured government analyzed the effects of development on communities, resulting in a displacement risk analysis in the 2015 Comprehensive Plan update and Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA).

We created the Equitable Development Initiative to fund community priorities in neighborhoods of high risk of displacement and low access to opportunity. In MHA, such urban villages received only the minimum zoning increase to avoid a land rush. With my leadership, we passed a $29 million Housing Bond, advocated for funds to purchase and preserve privately owned/naturally affordable housing at risk of redevelopment.

Preserving and advancing Legacy Businesses–I’ve sponsored funding to study displacement pressures on small businesses that contribute to the cultural fabric in our neighborhoods, and create jobs for communities historically left out. When the program launches this year, Legacy Businesses will receive technical assistance like marketing assistance, lease negotiations and capital expansion, and succession planning.

City Council helped small businesses accommodate the impact of public infrastructure projects, recently through the use of one-time CBDG funds for businesses on 23rd Avenue. In District 1, I’ve advocated for stabilization funds to relieve small businesses.

What is your stance on the city of Seattle’s “welcoming city” policies on residents’ immigrant statuses? Should any of these policies be changed, and how?

After 9/11, I worked to pass Seattle’s Don’t Ask law, prohibiting city departments, including SPD, from inquiring about city residents’ immigration status. After Trump’s election, I sponsored legislation “reaffirming Seattle’s values of inclusion, respect, and justice, and the City’s commitment toward actions to reinforce these values; and calling on President-elect Donald Trump to condemn recent attacks and hate speech that perpetuate religious persecution, racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and xenophobia.” I later supported: legislation in support of DACA, affirming Seattle as a welcoming city that will not cooperate or assist with any unconstitutional or illegal registration or surveillance programs or any other unconstitutional or illegal laws; funding legal representation for immigrants facing deportation because persons with legal representation are far more likely to win their cases; and supporting family unity and opposing Trump’s cruel separation of families at the border.

I led the Council in expanding Ready to Work into District 1 to support English learners with intensive centralized and neighborhood-based support.

I will enhance these strategies by ensuring policies and programs aren’t driving away immigrants and refugees, especially for accessing our housing and homelessness, food security, and health care.

Reports of hate crimes have been on the rise in Seattle. How will you make sure people of all backgrounds feel safe from perpetrators of hate crimes and also feel safe reporting the crimes?

After a horrific assault on Capitol Hill, I asked the City Auditor to review hate crimes in Seattle. I am currently sponsoring legislation that enhances the City Attorney’s ability to prosecute misdemeanor hate crimes and requiring an annual assessment of where hate crimes are concentrated to strengthen prevention efforts. After hearing from community members concerned about reinforcing inequities in our criminal legal system, I’ve committed to find ways for the City to support community based-organizations as a reporting mechanism between community and law enforcement.

What letter grade would you give the city on reforming race and ethnicity-based bias in law enforcement and why did you give that grade? What would you do differently, if anything?

Seattle Police Department is under consent decree to reform excessive use of force and biased policing, and, recently, Judge Robart declared that the City was out of compliance with reforms. To me this suggests that our reform efforts are at a C+ for still needing change the status quo, as the consent decree requires.

I think that we must do better to balance the rights of police officers as a workforce in an extremely high stress environment with the necessity to root out biased, racist policing. I think this means increasing greater representation on the police force, especially women and people of color, by creating programs to recruit and channel people into the field, addressing barriers to recruiting and retaining a diverse police force, while addressing workforce issues like pay and staffing.

What is your track record on addressing the needs of immigrants and communities of color in your district?

I’ve addressed the needs of immigrants and communities of color by passing policies to:

  • Stabilize and grow small businesses through the Legacy Business program to ensure that businesses owned by people of color, and people from immigrant backgrounds, can benefit from the wealth in our city;
  • Provide new funding for the Ready to Work program and to fill cuts in the New Citizens’ Program for High Point and residents served by Neighborhood House;
  • Expand programs that create housing stability and promote efforts to increase greater generational wealth through homeownership, like my efforts to pass anti-displacement legislation;
  • Ensure that public dollars to capital investment efforts are made available for WMBE contracts, and promote and expand our Priority Hire program goals to increase greater representation of people of color on worksites and apprenticeship opportunities;
  • Reform our eviction system per recommendations laid out in the “Losing Home” report which lays out strategies to mitigate the disproportionality that we see in homelessness;
  • Sponsor Hate Crimes legislation to ensure that people of color, immigrants, and other people targeted by white supremacy are safe and feel welcome in all neighborhoods in Seattle;
  • and Fund and work in partnership with Seattle Office for Civil Rights to carry out its work to investigate and enforce Civil Rights violations, and implement the Race and Social Justice Initiative.

Lisa Herbold’s website: http://district1forherbold.org/

Phil Tavel

Seattle’s lower- and middle-income residents and small businesses feel that they are being left behind or pushed out by the city’s growing economy. What three concrete actions will you take to address those concerns?

I am honored to be supported by District 1 residents and over 100 small businesses. I have been a renter my entire life. I have worked with the Housing Justice Project at the Regional Justice Center in Kent and still have contacts there today. I will:

1. Work to ensure lower and middle-income populations are included in discussions which impact their lives. Move City Hall from a one-way communication model to listening to all voices, especially those impacted the most by actions proposed by City Council;

2. Work with colleagues, the Executive, city departments, nonprofits and developers to ensure Seattle further prioritizes affordable housing for all. I support protections for tenants and will work to ensure residents in D1 and across the City are protected by the laws in place. Earlier interventions with renters experiencing financial hardships must be prioritized. Access to publicly subsidized attorneys along with new programs linking people to pro-bono services should be reviewed and leveraged;

3. Engage with small businesses as if they are the backbone of the economy, promote policies to remove barriers for new businesses in Seattle and streamline business processes with the City. I will work with the Office of Economic Development to identify methods to improve access to funding, with an emphasis on women and minority owners. I will work with local BIA’s, Chambers and other organizations to strengthen marketing opportunities.

What is your stance on the city of Seattle’s “welcoming city” policies on residents’ immigrant statuses? Should any of these policies be changed, and how?

I strongly support Seattle’s position as a welcoming and sanctuary city and the restriction of the assistance of the Seattle Police Department with ICE raids. Under the current US Government administration, ICE raids are designed to promote and escalate a fear-based society with the goal of being a deterrent to entering the US, at virtually any cost to families and children.

I will work to build on current immigrant and refugee programs by inviting community leaders to the table to discuss issues and solutions. I will also work with the Seattle Police Department to identify methods to expand Community Policing and other trust building outreach efforts. Adding more multi-lingual services to Court systems and holding more outreach sessions should be a priority where Judges and Court Staff are on hand to engage with communities to provide information on immigration law and what it means to live in a sanctuary city. Increasing documentation on relevant websites in multiple languages and publicizing through other methods is a critical step.

It is not enough to create policies; we must also ensure those policies are effective and provide immigrants and refugees with a path to thrive in Seattle. I will work with the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs and supportive coalitions to further identify methods to improve how the City engages with impacted communities, including police protection and the protection of civil rights.

Reports of hate crimes have been on the rise in Seattle. How will you make sure people of all backgrounds feel safe from perpetrators of hate crimes and also feel safe reporting the crimes?

Reports of hate and bias crimes must be swiftly addressed by the criminal justice system. There is no specific hate crime law in Seattle other than malicious harassment and the City’s analysis of recent pending legislation to address this issue identified the potential of disproportionately impacting people of color. The rise in hate and bias crimes being reported is an indicator that law enforcement is prioritizing this category of crime; however, more tools are still needed to improve internal evaluation methods.

I will promote policies to strengthen and expand business partnerships in the SPD Safe Place program, raise awareness of hate crimes and encourage the reporting of these crimes. I will work to support additional outreach and engagement tools for use in the Seattle Police Department’s Bias Crime unit.

My background as a public defender and knowledge of the criminal justice system will be beneficial in these discussions. I will also work with the City and Prosecuting Attorney’s offices along with law enforcement agencies and community organizations.

We must not only protect people being targeted, but legislation must also be a deterrent for offenders. It’s important for every justice system professional to be more aware of the rise in these crimes. I support cross training to promote consistency and best practice standards across the criminal justice system prosecutors.

What letter grade would you give the city on reforming race and ethnicity-based bias in law enforcement and why did you give that grade? What would you do differently, if anything?

C. Seattle is in the final stages of implementing the consent decree with the Department of Justice from 2012 and was ruled in compliance just over a year ago. However, the City was ruled partially out of compliance in May of this year over the City’s contract with the Police Union. The most recent internal report released in May of this year by the Seattle Police Department analyzing Racial Disparity in police data shared several conclusions, including: “Although stopped and frisked at higher rates, firearms are found 1/3 less frequently in frisks of minorities…” and “Additionally, minorities have weapons
pointed at them by police far more frequently (30%) than white detainees.”
The report indicates more monitoring is still needed.

City leadership has been inconsistent and confusing in communications and messaging about SPD. Morale is at record lows and recruitment efforts have fallen short. I will work with fellow colleagues to improve how Council operates with the Department. I will also work with colleagues and the Executive to ensure we fortify training efforts for SPD to further address and reduce bias in the Department. I will promote and support the review and amendment of policies which adversely impact or cause racially biased actions.

What is your track record on addressing the needs of immigrants and communities of color in your district?

As an attorney I have provided pro-bono services to immigrants and communities of color in my District and throughout Seattle. I have been a strong advocate for the City to provide translators and other tools for communities where English is a second language and have supported local organizations through fundraising efforts to raise awareness of the needs in D1 and across the City.

I have been a strong advocate for the City’s use of the Racial Equity Toolkit and improving outreach to ensure communities of color, immigrants, refugees and low-income populations have a stronger voice.

I have provided assistance on zoning and permit issues for local businesses and have made myself available to over 40 restaurant owners to provide pro bono assistance regarding immigration issues in their establishments.

I serve on the Southwest Precinct Advisory Council which partners with SPD on methods to improve outreach and engagement with immigrants and communities of color via their Community Policing Teams and Crime Prevention Coordinators. My background as a public defender has also provided me with insights into the needs of immigrants and communities of color. I support the need for criminal justice reform and building trust between the Police department and all communities.

I will continue to be a strong advocate for immigrants and communities of color in D1 and across the City.

Phil Tavel’s website: https://www.philtavelforseattle.com/

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