The five Seattle City Council candidate forums will focus on mobility, housing affordability, and the climate crisis.
The election is fast approaching. Signs are appearing, candidates are jockeying for money and endorsements, and our city is pondering its identity. It seems we are at an inflection point and which path we choose could hinge on this election. Who wins these seven council races will determine how we deal with the problems of housing cost, homelessness, transportation, and climate change.
Ahead of the August primary election, the Move All Seattle Sustainably (MASS) Coalition is organizing a series of forums in five of the seven Seattle City Council districts. (Details at the bottom.) It’s a great chance to hear the candidates define and defend their positions.
Tale of Two Seattles
People seem to be living in different realities. In one, Seattle is dying and can only be saved by turning back the clock, turning to brutal crackdowns, and turning our back on racial equity efforts. In another reality, we’re going through a painful rebirth with a promise of a brighter future on the other side.
To people who think Seattle is dying, we are Free-attle. Homelessness and the crime they associate with it are caused by people moving here to take advantage of us and the solution is to criminalize poverty and chase people away. They think that businesses is being driven away by a profligate Seattle City Council that is wasting our money on bike lanes and social services. Led by the likes of Brier Dudley, this crowd holds sacred single-family zoning and home ownership as the one true path for the “middle” class. The kind of socialism they love is car-based: free unbridled access to all roads and abundant free parking. They think this is the election to wipe out Seattle’s progressive majority.
In another reality, we have problems, but they are largely from our success and the need for a vision to solve them. The thousands of our neighbors sleep on the street each night are a result of rising rents due to the growth of our tech economy–and investing some of that great wealth could ensure that all are housed. The vision involves welcoming new people throughout our city (even in single-family zones) while building more affordable housing so those who are here are not pushed out. In this reality, climate change is real and demands action to re-envision our city and prioritize pedestrians, people biking, transit, and our Vision Zero goal of zero traffic deaths by 2030.
And into this ideological maelstrom comes some 50-odd candidates for seven city council seats, four of which have no incumbent. Each one with a mix of ideas on how to take our city into the future (or try to drag us back to a mythological past). And how to decide?
Seattle City Council Candidate Forums
To help you decide, MASS members–the Transit Riders Union, Sierra Club, Cascade Bicycle Club, Seattle Subway, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, 350 Seattle, Disability Rights Washington, Rooted in Rights, and The Urbanist–as well as the Housing Development Consortium have sponsored five forums each covering a Seattle City Council race. The other two races not included (District 1 and 5) may get their shot during the general election, when each race is whittled down to the top two.
The date and locations of the debate are as follows:
District 2 (Chinatown/International District, Little Saigon, SoDo, Beacon Hill, Georgetown, Mount Baker, Columbia City, NewHolly, Othello, Seward Park, and Rainier Beach): 6pm to 7:30pm Tuesday May 28th at the New Holly Gathering Hall (7054 32nd Ave S)
District 3 (Capitol Hill, Central Area, First Hill, Little Saigon, and parts of South Lake Union, Mount Baker, Montlake and Yesler Terrace): 6pm to 7:30pm Thursday May 23 at the Washington State Labor Council (321 16th Ave S)
District 4 (Eastlake, parts of Fremont, parts of Maple Leaf, Ravenna Bryant, Roosevelt, University District, Wallingford, and parts of Wedgwood): 5:30pm to 7:30pm Thursday May 30 at the Cascade Bicycle Club (7787 62nd Ave NE)
District 7 (including Pioneer Square, Downtown, part of First Hill, Belltown, Denny Triangle, South Lake Union, Uptown, Queen Anne, Interbay, and Magnolia): 6pm to 8pm Wednesday May 29 at SEIU 775, (215 Columbia St)
Don’t know which district is yours? Find it here.
Seattle Times reporter Heidi Groover is moderating the first week of forums and Erica C. Barnett of The C is for Crank is moderating the second week. Barnett hosted the Growing Seattle forum in 2017, which was very illuminating on where mayoral candidate stood on the issues.