As part of our endorsement process at The Urbanist, we ask candidates to complete a standard questionnaire to better understand and evaluate their positions on housing, land use, transportation, and other important issues. We then share this information with our readers to help inform their own voting decisions.
This year we are considering 19 candidates running for Seattle City Council positions 8 and 9, Seattle Mayor, and Port of Seattle Commission positions 1 and 4. We are publishing the questionnaires in full this week and next week, concluding with our official primary election endorsements in mid-July.
The following questionnaire was submitted by Hisam Goueli, running for Seattle City Council Position 8.
Do you consider yourself an urbanist? Why/Why not?
Yes, I consider myself an urbanist. It is important that we increase housing options in the city, serve residents with ample transportation options, build out open spaces and parks, and increase local access to culture and the arts.
Do you support the King County Center and Family Justice Center as designed?
What do you envision as a solution for the current North Precinct building?
While the North Precinct may be at capacity and in need of replacement or expansion, I am supportive of the City’s move last year to put the project on hold in order to come back with a more reasonable cost estimate. Police buildings should fit in with the surrounding neighborhood, and we should recognize the influence law enforcement infrastructure has on surrounding communities.
Are there reforms that you would make to the street vacation process to ensure that adequate public benefits are provided to city residents from vacated rights-of-way?
I am in favor of the work Councilmember O’Brien is spearheading to revamp the way street vacations are granted in exchange for public benefits. Ideally a street vacation process would be efficient and encourage development, paired with a robust public benefit requirement to ensure that development is incorporating public open space and other amenities into the surrounding neighborhood.
What changes do you think are needed for the city’s current policy on unauthorized homeless camp removal?
Outreach teams are a good start to helping people find shelter. Building these trusting relationships can help homeless individuals regain faith in a system that has previously marginalized them. Every time someone is moved abruptly from their encampment they run the risk of losing their access to services. I support helping homeless individuals identify a medical home that provides accountability and responsibility to them. I think that we should be looking at surplus properties in Seattle, using prefabricated homes which have a low carbon footprint and creating livability and community in these new neighborhoods.
In our current homelessness state of emergency, what actions can we take right away to address this issue?
We must use our bonding capacity to build housing now, as we have too little supply to house our homeless population. The City can also work with private partners to find innovative solutions, such as container homes or a Landlord Liaison program. We must also implement the Pathways Home initiative that prioritizes a coordinated data system and a competitive award for homelessness services.
What would be your strategy with the remaining Mandatory Housing Affordability rezones? Would you push for higher/lower affordability or density levels?
Ideally, we would be able to increase density and provide increased affordability. Density drives transportation use. I think that if forced to choose, increased density addresses the need for improved transportation and providing additional resources to support these communities which would not necessarily be obtained by changing affordability.
Would you support efforts to raise additional revenue in Seattle directed towards speeding up construction of ST3 projects? If so, what revenue source would you target?
I worry that Seattle voters are facing levy fatigue, so I would be apprehensive to push for an additional levy for ST3. If the City was able to pass and uphold a high-earners income tax, this would be a great potential source of additional income.
What are your preferred strategies for increasing multi-modal transportation (e.g., walking, biking, public transit) in Seattle?
I support building out the city’s bike lane network so that it is as complete as possible. We must also work to bring sidewalks to neighborhoods where infrastructure is lacking, and ensure that corridors are safe where bikes, cars, pedestrians, and transit co-exist. This means having designated, protected bike lanes, and barriers between pedestrians and cars/buses. I also support developing a more seamless transportation network where people can switch from one mode to another and make it efficiently around the city.
Seattle’s Vision Zero plan aims to eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries by 2030. What policies do you support to work towards this goal?
I support the 2016 legislation that lowered the default arterial and residential speed limits to 25 and 20 miles per hour. I support continuing to fund Safe Routes to School projects with school zone camera funds. I support SDOT’s practice of regularly monitoring safety on busy corridors, and rechanneling streets when necessary to create a safer experience for all travelers.
Do you support permitting triplexes, rowhomes, townhomes and cottages, in single-family zoned areas across the city?
Do you support adding a local income tax in Seattle?
Do you support adding a head tax in Seattle?
Do you support adding a congestion fee in Seattle?
Do you support the creation of a Seattle municipal bank?
Do you support the creation of a municipal broadband service in Seattle?
Do you support inclusion of the Community Package associated with Washington State Convention Center Addition’s street and alleyway vacation public benefits?
Photo courtesy of Hisam Goueli campaign.
The Urbanist was founded in 2014 to examine and influence urban policies. We believe cities provide unique opportunities for addressing many of the most challenging social, environmental, and economic problems. We serve as a resource for promoting urbanism, increasing political participation, and improving the places we live. The Elections Committee consists of community volunteers and staff members of The Urbanist and is a standing body representing the political values of our organization.