Calls to de-fund the police were irresponsible. Even though the actual budget reduction for police was only 13%, the result was still devastating. Seattle has lost more than 400 officers through retirements or being hired by other cities. Morale has dropped and Seattle is less safe. Property, violent, and hate crimes are up. Police response times for 911 calls are much longer.
C’mon Seattle, we can do better! We deserve safe and secure neighborhoods. Seattle needs more police officers. There needs to be a clear message – highly trained police officers who know how to defuse highly contentious situations and keep everyone safe are wholeheartedly welcome in Seattle.
I fully recognize that some systemic issues have plagued law enforcement for too long. I am committed to reimagining public safety to address systemic issues to serve all our residents better. A police department that holds its officers accountable, is more transparent, has proper oversight, and keeps us safe, is what Seattle needs.
Finally, I support funding programs that address the root causes of crime, such as mental health and addiction treatment services.
A United States Senator recently checked himself into Walter Reed Hospital for a mental health condition. Some people in Seattle who have health insurance can do the same. However, too many people in Seattle do not have the same access to mental health and addiction treatment.
C’Mon Seattle, we can do better! Mental health problems lead to homelessness, drug use, vandalism, crime, and many other problems. It is not a local Seattle problem. It is a national problem. I will work with other local elected officials to urge our state and federal elected officials to make sure everyone has the same mental health care available to a United States Senator. I believe preventive measures cost only a tiny fraction of the cost to society and communities if they remain untreated.
Leaving homeless people on the streets and in parks is immoral, even if it is their lifestyle choice. I am especially heartbroken when children are homeless. C’Mon Seattle, we can do better!
On November 2, 2015, elected officials in King County declared a housing emergency. That was over seven years ago. We need new thinking and ideas if we really are serious about solving the homeless crisis. We cannot wait another seven years!
Preventing people from becoming homeless is the most cost-effective way to tackle this problem. This is true because once someone becomes homeless, the solutions become two to twenty times more expensive for taxpayers. Homeless prevention should be a key strategy in our City’s efforts to address homelessness.
And if people become homeless, Seattle should follow the lead of other big cities like New York and have laws guaranteeing everyone the right to shelter.
Some landlords have doubled rents in the Seattle area in the past few years. This is unacceptable. Reasonable limits on rent increases tied to cost increases incurred by landlords are necessary. On March 14, 2023, PBS’s Frontline reported when the Federal Reserve kept interest rates at practically zero for so long private equity companies borrowed money with very little risk and purchased houses and apartment buildings. Now renters in Seattle are suffering because of the Fed’s past policies.
C’Mon Seattle, we can do better! We also need to look at the unintended consequences of rental laws passed in Seattle. We have seen too many local mom-and-pop rental owners become fed up with Seattle and sell their properties to out-of-state private equity companies.
Private equity companies have no connection to Seattle jack up the rents to satisfy their investors. We need policies to discourage private equity landlords from buying housing in Seattle.
Seattle needs policies to encourage more local mom-and-pop rental owners who are wonderful landlords and treat their tenants fairly from selling their properties. We also need policies that create more local ownership of rental properties who will welcome tenants as neighbors and treat them fairly.
Income inequity in Seattle is one of the reasons for the housing crisis. State and local governments must do more to create incentives, such as property tax breaks that reduce rents for low and middle-class people so they can afford to rent in Seattle.
Recently an elected official proudly announced that 20% of the units in a new housing project in Seattle would be affordable. C’Mon Seattle, we can do better! To resolve our housing crisis, many more than 20% of the new units must be affordable!
In March of this year, the Washington State Department of Commerce said that King County needs to build 17,000 new homes every year for the next 20 years to keep up with demand. The Department also said that half the homes must be affordable for a single person making $45,300 annually. As a member of the Seattle City Council, I will fight to make sure the City does its part to meet this housing demand.
We need to make it easier to build new housing in Seattle. Bureaucratic delays, red tape, overly restrictive zoning, and a complex web of regulations and permit requirements only increase the cost of housing. Meanwhile, outdated construction codes incentivize builders to maximize their profits in large single-family homes. The result is that builders do not meet the demands and needs of first-time home buyers. Let’s create an efficient, sensible, and cost-effective permitting process, so the City of Seattle is not making a big problem even worse.
Too many local businesses were hard hit by the pandemic, and unauthorized loitering, vandalism and theft or robbery have compounded the problems. Many storefronts remain empty or covered with fiberboard. C’Mon Seattle, we can do better! The City must devise policies that help small businesses thrive, such as sponsoring performers, art exhibits, and other events to attract foot traffic. Additionally, the City should remove panhandlers, drug users, and homeless individuals from retail areas to regain the trust of business owners and reduce their insurance premiums.
People addicted to drugs lead to homelessness, crime, vandalism, and other problems for our communities.
C’Mon Seattle, we can do better! I support legislation like SB 5467 , that prioritizes treatment and holds people accountable for failing to complete treatment successfully. Under this bill, a person could be charged if they possess illegal drugs. If they successfully complete drug treatment, the charges would be dismissed; otherwise, they would be jailed for at least 45 days. Funding treatment programs and providing incentives to complete treatment is the most cost-effective solution for public drug use.
The Seattle Times recently reported that the City of Seattle spends $118 million dollars on services for homeless people. This compares to the combined $7 million contributed by 39 other cities in King County.
C’Mon Seattle, we can do better! It is not fair that the City of Seattle is providing 94% of the funding for homeless services in the county. Homelessness is a regional problem. I will work to make sure other cities in King County pay their fair share.