Monday, October 15, 2018

2018 Endorsement Questionnaire: Ted Cooke

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Ted Cooke and family. (Courtesy of campaign)

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 selected candidates running for US Congress, Washington State Legislature, and King County Prosecuting Attorney. We are publishing the questionnaires in full, concluding with our official general election endorsements in mid-October.

The following questionnaire was submitted by Ted Cooke running for Legislative District 47B (which includes parts of Auburn, Covington, and Kent) on the Republican ticket. Cooke’s opponent, Pat Sullivan (D-Covington), did not submit a questionnaire.

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Rapid Fire

Do you consider yourself an urbanist?

No.

Do you support an income tax?

No.

Short Answer

How do we keep Sound Transit 3 (ST3) timelines on track given that the Trump administration is slow-walking or eliminating grants for transit projects and construction costs are skyrocketing?

I think ST3 should be put on hold indefinitely and a fraction of the amount spent on new roads and highways. ST3 was sold to voters under false premises. Voters were told the average adult would pay only $14 per month. That number assumes a total of around 12.5 million adults in the state all paying every month for 25 years. But there are only 7.4 million people total in the State. So the real cost would be $26 per month for every individual in the state–from a newborn in Okanogan to an elder on the Makah Reservation. [Editor’s note: Sound Transit taxes and fees only apply in the Sound Transit Taxing District which includes neither Okanogan or the Makah Reservation. The district includes the urbanized portion of King County, the southeast corner of Snohomish County, and urbanized Pierce County.]

Stretched along I-5 the 62 miles would not reach from the center of Olympia to North Seattle. If we want to do light rail we should re-purpose the many mile of existing railroad grade around the I-5 corridor which has had rails removed and been turned into biking and walking trails. It would cost pennies on the dollar to put back tracks, and several times more people would gain an hour or two per day riding the rail which they could use for exercise–and family, and hobbies–elsewhere.

Walking King County’s Twenty Year Budget Tight Rope

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King County Council chambers. (King County)

“A Broken System” Limits Funding For General Fund, Transit, Housing, and More…

On September 24th, King County Executive Dow Constantine put forth the proposed King County budget for 2019/2020. Lacking the hype that accompanied Mayor Durkan’s first City of Seattle budget, the County’s budget received little media attention and quickly slipped out of the news cycle in the face of other headlines.

However, as an $11.6 billion investment covering more than 60 lines of business, the County budget deserves to be closely scrutinized for how it shapes our region’s transit, health and human services, natural resources, public safety, and justice systems. Its effects are both deeply-felt and far-reaching for the County’s 2.2 million residents.

Unfortunately, the proposed budget also remains a casualty to what the County calls in its Executive Summary a “broken funding system.” The ramifications of revenue shortfalls have already had longstanding consequences on the region and will continue to do so until a more sustainable funding system is achieved.

Two Decades of Chronic Revenue Shortfalls 

King County has struggled to maintain services in the face of population growth and inflation. Since 2010, King County’s population has increased from 1.9 million residents to over 2.2 million residents, an increase of 13%. Despite a strong economy, County revenues have not been able to keep up because of revenue collection limitations dating back nearly two decades.

2018 Endorsement Questionnaire: Nicole Macri

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Nicole Macri (Courtesy of campaign)

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 selected candidates running for US Congress, Washington State Legislature, and King County Prosecuting Attorney. We are publishing the questionnaires in full, concluding with our official general election endorsements in mid-October.

The following questionnaire was submitted by Nicole Macri running for Legislative District 43A. Macri also submitted a questionnaire in 2016,  garnered our endorsement, and won the seat. Macri’s opponent this time around, John Peoples, did not submit a questionnaire.

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Rapid Fire

Do you consider yourself an urbanist?

Yes.

Do you support an income tax?

Yes.

Short Answer

How do we keep Sound Transit 3 (ST3) timelines on track given that the Trump administration is slow-walking or eliminating grants for transit projects and construction costs are skyrocketing?

Most importantly, the legislature must protect current Sound Transit funding. As with any use of the public’s funds, Sound Transit’s staff and board must closely monitor and manage its revenues and expenses in real time. If trade-offs are required, they must prioritize the timely creation of light rail infrastructure. Sound Transit should keep the legislature informed of unanticipated shortfalls which significantly delay projects, so we can better work together on potential solutions.

Does the NHL Need to Be at Northgate’s Front Door?

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Rendered Aerial Perspective. It's like the mall is still there! (From NHL Seattle)

At a press conference earlier this week, the CEO of National Hockey League (NHL) Seattle announced Seattle’s new NHL team will be siting their offices and practice facility at Northgate Mall surface parking lot, as the first phase of the mall’s redevelopment. Many have hailed this as a victory for the city and a benefit for the Northgate area. The 180,000 square foot facility will have three ice rinks, a main one with space for 1,000 spectators and two smaller ones with with 400 person capacity. The complex will also include the team headquarters and cost its private investors an estimated $70 million all told.

The Seattle Times article quoted the Tod Leiweke, CEO of NHL Seattle as saying “There is simply not another site like this.’’ And I agree, though for different reasons than him.

Besides being the site of an aging mall that is a dinosaur of the auto-age, the proposed location is immediately within the walkshed of the Northgate light rail station that is slated to open in 2021. Approved by the region’s taxpayers as part of Sound Transit 2 (ST2), the Northgate Link extension will add stations at the U District, Roosevelt and Northgate. Additional extensions will continue extending the line North to Lynnwood (2024) and Everett (2036). The Northgate Link extension is being built at a cost of $1.9 billion taxpayer dollars, or over $600 million per station. It is one of the largest investments in public transit the region has ever made. This all begs the question, is a NHL practice complex the best use of precious space near light rail?

2018 Endorsement Questionnaire: Dan Satterberg

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Dan Satterberg (Courtesy of Satterberg campaign)

As part of our endorsement process at The Urbanist, we ask candidates to complete a standard questionnaire to better understand and evaluate their positions. We then share this information with our readers to help inform their own voting decisions, supplementing the endorsements we’ll publish next week.

The following endorsement questionnaire was submitted by Dan Satterberg, running for King County Prosecuting Attorney, a post he’s held for 11 years without facing an electoral challenger. Though the office has been nonpartisan since a 2016 ballot initiative, Satterberg announced in 2018 he was switching his party registration to Democrat, breaking from a lifelong Republican affiliation.

Satterberg’s opponent, public defender Daron Morris, also submitted a questionnaire, but he suspended his campaign for medical reasons in September.

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Do you consider yourself an urbanist? What defines your urbanism?

Cities were originally conceived for the protection and prosperity of the people. I still believe that is why we live in urban environments. I consider myself an urbanist, working for the safety of this community and for fair and just outcomes. A fundamental role of the Prosecuting Attorney is to protect and welcome all our neighbors regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, wealth, or immigration status. My office has built community partnerships to develop alternatives to the courtroom that are addressing racial disproportionality, promoting mental health, offering help to people addicted to drugs, and supporting veterans. I have publicly championed the importance of prosecuting attorneys looking at immigration consequences when making filing and disposition decisions. In an early case under the current federal administration where a young DACA recipient faced the realistic prospect of being stripped of DACA protections and removed from the country after a high blood alcohol content DUI, I not only ensured she received an immigration-safe disposition, but spoke about the importance of doing so in national press.

What is your position on I-940 De-escalate Washington (a ballot initiative that makes it easier to hold police officers accountable for use of deadly force) and why?

I take police misconduct extraordinarily seriously, and my office has prosecuted instances of police violence and misconduct. I support I-940 and the need to remove “malice” as an element to be proven in order to hold police officers accountable. I am proud that, through the Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, I was able to play a role in working to rectify Washington’s longstanding outlier statute on deadly force, which has made it virtually impossible to prosecute officers who unreasonably and unlawfully used deadly force. I spoke out about this last year.

2018 Endorsement Questionnaire: Daron Morris

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Daron Morris (Courtesy of Morris campaign)

As part of our endorsement process at The Urbanist, we ask candidates to complete a standard questionnaire to better understand and evaluate their positions. We then share this information with our readers to help inform their own voting decisions, supplementing our endorsements, which we’ll publish next week.

The following endorsement questionnaire was submitted by Daron Morris, who was running for King County Prosecuting Attorney until he announced he was suspending his campaign due to “medical reasons” on September 21st. Even with Morris no longer an active candidate, we decided to run the questionnaire he submitted because it offers another perspective on the office and some critiques of his opponent that may still be informative for voters. His name will still appear on King County ballots.

Morris’ opponent, incumbent Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg, also submitted a questionnaire, and we will publish that later today.

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Do you consider yourself an urbanist? What defines your urbanism?

Yes. I believe that urbanism promotes housing equity and better access to civic life and engagement for all people. I see urbanism as a necessary aspect of housing affordability and housing equity.

What is your position on I-940 De-escalate Washington (a ballot initiative that makes it easier to hold police officers accountable for use of deadly force) and why?

I fully support I-940. I signed the petition last year. My campaign is centered on issues of police accountability and on communities affected by police violence. Current law protects police officers who commit unjustifiable homicides so long as they acted “without malice and in good faith.” I-940 removes the malice clause and better defines the good faith standard. I-940 is also essential to state-wide de-escalation training and independent investigation of police deadly force.

Top Urbanist Action: Back the I-1631 Carbon Pollution Fee (Rally Tonight)

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Courtesy of I-1631

We have an enormous opportunity.  Washington state could do something really meaningful to address climate change by passing a ballot initiative pricing carbon. I-1631 has united a broad coalition around a carbon pollution fee that then funds the green economy.

Tonight supporters are gathering at Optimism Brewing in Capitol Hill from 5:30 to 7:00pm to discuss the campaign and how we can help push it over the finish line. The Sierra Club, Seattle Transit Riders Union, Seattle Subway, Transportation Choices Coalition, and The Urbanist sponsored the event–and SPOILER ALERT: The Urbanist Election Board voted to endorse I-1631 because let’s not torch the planets, guys.

“Washington’s clean air, clean energy, carbon-neutral future is up to us. This groundbreaking initiative will put our state in the forefront of the fight against climate change and for environmental justice,” the event invite states. “Come learn how you can be part of the action!”

Taking on Big Oil

You’ve probably seen the advertisements urging you to vote no on I-1631 paid for by the petroleum industry. In fact, the fossil fuel industry has poured $20 million (and counting) into defeating I-1631.

We’re not going to be able to out-raise the most profitable industry in the history of the planet and they’re not going to willingly stop doing what made them filthy rich. The petroleum industry has staked claims to oil and gas reserves amounting to at least five times what we can burn without cooking the planet (exceeding a 2 degree Celsius increase which means a -high probability of melting ice caps and drowning coastal cities around the globe.) That’s why we need a powerful grassroots movement to counteract that dirty money.

Bike Master Plan Gets Torched with Proposed South Downtown Connection

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GE DIGITAL CAMERA

When the Seattle City Council passed a non-binding resolution that laid out achievable yet fairly ambitious timelines for completing large gaps in our network of safe cycling routes through the center city, one key projects listed was a link between downtown and Southeast Seattle. The council resolution states:

The City of Seattle commits to establishing an “all ages and abilities” connection to serve all ages, languages, ethnicities, gender, race and abilities from the intersection of South Main Street and the 2nd Avenue Extension to Dearborn Avenue S by no later than December 31, 2019. In advancing this connection, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is requested to complete outreach and approved conceptual design by no later than May 31, 2019.

South Dearborn Street is a direct flat route between the north end of the Rainier Valley and Chinatown-International District. By the end of this year, if everything remains on schedule, it will see protected bike lanes installed all the way between 5th Ave S and Rainier Avenue. SDOT is even installing a traffic diverter at Rainier Avenue to help people on bikes continue east of Rainier without a bike lane.

Connecting the 2nd Avenue bike corridor next year with the Dearborn Street bike lanes would create a safe route to and from downtown for the entire southeast quadrant of our city for the first time ever. Pushing for equity in our bike network was one of the primary motivators for the city council passing the bike network resolution.