Thanks to a districting initiative from 2013, both city council at-large positions are up again this year after 2-year terms, with the winners getting full four-year terms. The district positions are in the middle of four-year terms, and all come up at once again in 2019. Some voters will not see a competitive city election on the ballot again until 2021.
The open-seat race for Position 8 on the Seattle City Council has drawn several talented candidates. In this wide field, Teresa Mosqueda stands out as uniquely prepared to deal with the details around getting more housing, and more affordable housing, built.
Mosqueda is known as a union leader and lobbyist, so it was a refreshing surprise to see her push back against ideological and cynical anti-development calls to require 25% mandatory “affordable housing” set-asides in new developments. She knows where to find the balance. She will neither give away too much to neighborhood associations that have been historically adversarial toward renters (of which she happens to be one), nor to developers. This skill set is what is desperately needed on the council right now, while the City tackles the ever-worsening housing crisis brought on by draconian land use regulations.
While Mosqueda supports the recommendations of the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA) advisory committee, she wants to go further, and allow ADUs and DADUs in single-family-zoned neighborhoods.
On transportation, Mosqueda supports more connected sidewalks, more protected bike lanes, using the city’s bonding authority to speed up light rail planning and construction, and getting more cars off the road. She correctly views this as a public health issue. Her emphasis on the public health aspects of transportation and land use is a wonderful way to transcend purely economic trade-offs regarding, for example, the cost of driving.
An honorable mention goes to He accurately articulates the tradeoff between developer mandates and new construction. Understanding this tension is the key to making good policy going forward. At the forum, his initial statement on transportation read like a summary of Human Transit. He is not a joke candidate, having raised $30,000. However, our sense is Mosqueda is better positioned in this competitive primary, and somewhat more likely to be effective on the Council.
Lorena González is running for re-election to Position 9. While she has several opponents on the ballot, she has little real competition. González waltzed into office by backing HALA while her previous opponent attacked HALA on NIMBY grounds that the electorate apparently found distasteful. Traces of that debate may still flare up this time around, but hopefully we can move forward. González has moved forward, approving long-awaited upzones around light rail stations, with more to come. Throwing her off the council in favor of a neighborhood activist would put these desperately-needed upzones in jeopardy.
And, oh yeah, she supports promoting alternatives to the automobile, including sidewalks, bikes, and ST3.
The STB Editorial Board currently consists of Martin H. Duke, Dan Ryan, and Brent White.