Seattle City Councilmember Debora Juarez is the incumbent for District 5, which covers North Seattle, including Lake City, Northgate and parts of Greenwood. Ann Davison Sattler is challenging Juarez.
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 very concerned for our neighbors who are feeling priced out. I’ve taken concrete actions to help address these concerns regarding transit-oriented development, affordable childcare, and adding affordable housing.
As our city grows, we need to concentrate on transit-oriented development, especially mixed-income and multi-family housing to prevent displacement. Historically, housing and transit policies were designed to create pockets of poverty and led to racist zoning. We can undo these historical wrongs and prevent displacement with good TOD.
High-quality, accessible and affordable childcare ought to be required infrastructure like schools, roads, and other institutions. Childcare is exceedingly expensive and difficult to find near home and work. I have coined the term “transit-oriented childcare” and I am collaborating with private businesses to add a childcare facility to Northgate before light rail arrives.
Lastly, we need to increase our affordable housing stock. I was proud to vote for Mandatory Housing Affordability in order to increase density in Seattle and require investments in affordable housing from the private companies and developers who benefit from our growing economy. MHA was a first step to creating more density and affordable housing; I look forward to expanding it. We can also expand our public/private partnerships to build more affordable housing, similar to LIHI’s Tony Lee House and the Compass Broadview.
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 am very supportive of our welcoming city policy. District 5 is highly diverse with more than 80 languages are spoken in the area and we have a large immigrant population, especially around Lake City and Little Brook. I recognize that this population is vulnerable and needs to be protected.
The federal government has failed for years to come up with a plan for comprehensive immigration reform, yet there are many things we can do locally to increase access to economic and educational opportunity for our newest neighbors and make our communities more welcoming and inclusive. It is our duty to protect our neighbors from the harsh and racist crackdown by ICE and other federal agencies and prevent their displacement. I support the efforts that are being made locally and nationally to right this shameful history we are living. Additionally, I voted to provide $1 million for an immigrant legal rights fund and upheld Seattle’s status as a welcoming city.
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?
It’s terrible that in 2019 people of color, the LGBTQ community, women, and our Jewish and Muslim neighbors are facing more hate and violence. The FBI has reported an increase in bias crimes at the same time as racism and nationalism are on the rise across the country since the election of Donald Trump. The City Council is currently crafting legislation to combat the spike in bias crimes. I want to make sure that this legislation is done correctly and all affected voices are at the table. I have also supported the efforts to implement the recommendations of the Seattle LGBT Task Force to address the rise in hate crimes on Capitol Hill targeting LGBTQ neighbors.
I am also addressing the crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG.) Seattle has the highest number of MMIWG in the county, as identified by a report from the Urban Indian Health Institute. On September 9th, 2019, the Seattle City Council passed my legislation to remedy this epidemic and address the gaps in our data collection. No other city in America has taken this step. The legislation will require the Seattle Police to change their data collection methods, improve relationships between the Native community and law enforcement, and we are going to hire a full-time Native American liaison to the police. While we still need more changes, I am hopeful that these changes will lead to us finding some of these women and girls and ultimately bringing them home.
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?
It is up to the voters and residents of Seattle to assign a letter grade to the City’s actions on police reform. Our track record has been poor and led our city to be under a Consent Decree. Under the leadership of Mayor Durkan and Chief Carmen Best, we are improving every day. As a former public defender and King County Superior Court Judge, I know we can do better.
I recognize there is a multi-generational lack of trust and rapport between marginalized communities (especially for LGBT folks, people of color, and Native Americans) and law enforcement.
I voted to add 12 Community Service Officers who will be a bridge between SPD and communities of color. Additionally, Mayor Durkan recently announced she is expanding the CSO program in the 2020 budget, as well as adding more funding for training.
I have taken many actions on police reform, including voting for a new policy on bias-free policing, approving a new police contract that contained accountability measures, hiring an Inspector General for Public Safety, helping to create the Office of Police Accountability, and solidifying civilian oversight with the Community Police Commission.
Restorative justice, access, and equity in the Justice System is fundamental and enshrined on our basic constitutional rights. I hope to continue this work to listen to the needs of the community and find real solutions to biased policing.
What is your track record on addressing the needs of immigrants and communities of color in your district?
My obligation is to ensure that we are assisting the most vulnerable and historically disenfranchised. I have led on these issues in District 5, which many people do not realize is highly diverse. I listen to my community and then deliver on their needs. District 5 previously did not have representation on the city council and often missed out on funding for important priorities. I have fought to change that.
I have secured $18 million to build a new Lake City Community Center that will serve children, elders, and immigrants. The new building will have a full-size commercial kitchen to accommodate meals for seniors and cooking classes for kids. This was a direct request from the community and I listened.
I was able to deliver funding in a previous budget for Sound Generations to run a program for free lunches for East African elders, since there is not a senior center or cultural center for them in my district.
I secured nearly $200,000 in funding for Mother Nation, a local non-profit that supports Native Women experiencing homelessness and domestic violence. Native Americans make up less than 1% of our total population, but 10% of the homeless population.
I got the money to establish Literacy Source’s “Ready to Work” program in Lake City, in order to help immigrants learn English and successfully obtain jobs through training and placement services.
I am proud of what we have done and look forward to doing more in a second term.
Debora Juarez’ website: https://deborajuarez.com/
Ann Davison Sattler
Ann Davison Sattler did not respond to our questionnaire.
Ann Davison Sattler’s website: https://neighborsforann.com/