The Moving All Seattle Sustainably Coalition held its forum for Seattle District 2 city council candidates on May 28, 2019. Rooted in Rights made the video. Go to their website if the above video doesn’t work on your platform. Rooted in Rights also provided a transcript for the forum.

Candidates attending included, from left to right:

This is not an open thread. You will have the opportunity to discuss the other races in future posts.

21 Replies to “Seattle District 2 MASS forum”

  1. Has Constantine indicated that he’d appoint any of these candidates to the Sound Transit board? That might influence “D2” STB readers.

    1. I’ve never heard Constantine weigh in on who would get appointed, if elected for the first time, nor even if re-elected. He makes the choices based on who has been elected, and rarely fails to re-appoint someone who is on the Board and got re-elected. Replacing Mike O’Brien with Rob Johnson is the only example I can recall of him not re-appointing someone available for re-appointment.

      I haven’t heard these candidates say much about Sound Transit.

      1. Wasn’t Johnson appointed to replace Conlin? O’Brien and Johnson overlapped on the board, as I recall.

    2. Constantine really shouldn’t be involved in these races. Stuff like what you describe just fans the flames to make the Sound Transit Board directly elected.

      For the record, I want Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez on the Sound Transit Board. Odd Debra Juarez was put on instead – she’s middling on Tsimerman, she’s not involved in rallies like Gonzalez and she’s up for reelection.

  2. I read the transcript and was rather disappointed that Link did not enter into the questions. Between the issues of pedestrians crossing MLK, train-car crashes shutting down Link service, initial planning for Graham Street, elevator/ escalator failures at Mt Baker and Beacon Hill, and lack of pedestrian paths and street lighting on paths to Link, there is plenty to talk about that goes neglected. With probably 30,000 trips a day on Link (15,000 boardings only) in District 2, it’s clearly more used than Route 7 (10,800 ridership) is — and deserves discussion.

    1. There is also a major issue about Link riders having better (safe and convenient) bus stops and pick-up/ drop-off (Via/ Lyft/ Uber) points. Unlike complex issues like displacement and removing lanes of a busy street, these are things which can do lots of good without penalizing others.

    2. From what I can tell, the council district includes every station from Stadium to Rainier Beach (inclusive). That is about 18,000 riders a day (from what I can tell). The 7 has about 10,000. If you add up other routes in the district, bus ridership clearly outnumbers train ridership in the district.

      I don’t think that is the only reason they are focused more on buses. The other reason is that for that district, there is the possibility of a lot of changes to the bus system. There really aren’t many issues involving Link for that district (from what I can tell — I can’t tell exactly what stations are there). But there are likely to be some very contentious issues involving buses in that area. That includes the 7, which will become a RapidRide bus. Like Roosevelt Rapid Ride, you have issues involving bikes and transit. If the 7 was a lot faster, it could carry a lot more people. Or it could receive minor improvements, and carry only a few more than today. Folks mentioned the 50, and the need for more east-west transit (i. e. more of a grid). Even for Link the biggest issue is likely to be bus to rail integration at Judkins Park (i. e. where the buses go after the train station is there) since the station plans are largely complete. I’m not saying there aren’t issues that are Link related, but the bus related issues are larger (for that district).

      Anyway, most of the questions seemed poor, and most of the candidates had little time to explain their response. This is often the case with these sorts of “debates”. You are better off reading policy papers made by each candidate (which are easy to find online).

      1. Ross, 18,000 Link boardings is not the same as daily riding trips. People ride back home too — boarding in places like Downtown Seattle or UW. While there are certainly some intra-District transit trips, most are going further. I stand by my 30k estimate.

        As a SE Seattle resident, I can tell you that most of my neighbors look to get to Link as the primary transit service. I can also tell you that while Link is really wonderful to have, there are easy improvements that could make it better. People like the debate sponsors here get excited bring all anti-car confrontational — but fail to consider that many issues are more mondaine but no less essential. Having a Council member that can pursue mundane and quickly implemented solutions can make a real difference in the residents’ lives rather than the complex and controversial issues presented in much of the debate. That’s the council person I want to vote for.

      2. Even if that is the case it doesn’t change the fact that obviously way more people take the bus than take Link in District 2.

  3. I thought the questions generally leaned too heavily to the bicycle and displacement activists rather than to transit riders. I don’t like seeing a larger group of people (transit riders) less important

  4. The camper parking lot question was way too simplistic and misleading. Sure, it’s appropriate to have designated lots. However, to pick lots far from frequent bus routes and commercial districts (so the users can walk to food, for example) in quiet residential areas makes no sense. Of course, this critical question of where was not apparently asked.

    1. Most of the forums have had a follow-up question of whether the candidates would support a lot for safe-parking-for-people-sleeping-in-their-cars in their own district. I haven’t seen any candidates say they would support such lots, but not in their own district. Say what you will about the questions as a whole, but putting these two back-to-back was very clever.

      Consider that it doesn’t need to be a dedicated lot. It can be a church parking lot, for example, with access to various needs inside the church building.

      Having dedicated surface parking lots next to any station, even for this purpose, is counterproductive from a ridership standpoint. But there are lots of buildings near stations that have empty parking lots overnight. Businesses are unlikely to allow such a use of their parking for free, so ask them how much they would charge for allowing such access every night. It might be a lot cheaper per capita than shelter beds.

      Thanks for taking an interest in more than just transit issues, like normal people do.

  5. I support Ari Hoffman for Seattle City Council both verbally and financially. Ari has the leadership skills to take on the tough challenges and [!!!]

    I am willing to look the other way on some of what Ari’s pushing because most of the time, there’s some hard truth to it. Also again, well you know… that troll who disrupts Sound Transit & King County Metro Board Meetings. I want folks who will stand up to him for all of us so when we make the trip to talk about an agenda item, we know we won’t be lobbed in the same category as that troll.

    With that, Ari Hoffman is the man if you want a cleaner environment free of land & air pollution and one searching for a genuine, just resolution to the homeless crisis. Ari has even traveled on his own dime to see what other jurisdictions can do. Ari Hoffman can communicate and his opponents – some of whom I’d campaign for getting on transit boards like Phyllis – just can’t keep up.

    One last thing, Ari is a boom box. We need some more of that around here.

    1. Mr. Hoffman had one or two good answers about how draconian the land use code is and how it contributes to the homelessness crises. I’ll give him that.

      He seems too single-issue to me. When asked what should be done about climate change, he went on one of his many tirades against the visible homeless. Granted, that isn’t as bad as a candidate in another forum who questioned whether climate change is real, but dismissing climate change as an important issue made me quite uninterested in him. I have a lot more policy disagreements with him than that, but we have no time left to have anyone on the council pulling in the wrong direction on the climate catastrophe, especially with Mayor Durkan already pulling in the wrong direction.

    2. He cares so much about air pollution his transportation policy is all about making it easier for him to roll coal in his big ol’ truck.

      I get it, you’re really into this dude, but you can’t just falsely project pro-transit, pro-environment positions onto him that he doesn’t actually hold just because you wish it to be so.

  6. I don’t see how city council candidates can resolve climate impacts, period.

    That’s more a Congressional & Presidential issue.

    The #1 issue has to be resolving homelessness. Period.

    1. Ah, the famous this-won’t-solve-the-problem-alone-so-why-do-it argument.

      But homelessness is also a worldwide problem. We can’t solve the world’s shelter deficit, so why bother doing our part here?

    2. Improving transit is improving climate impact, in the little way the city can do it. The council should at minimum do all low-hanging fruit: implement existing projects in a way that puts pedestrians first, transit and biking second, and cars last. This means good transit/BAT lanes, pedestrian-friendly signals. bike lanes not street parking, enforcement in bottleneck areas, etc. Making buses faster gets you more frequency for free.

      Homelessness is a failure to ensure the basic necessity of housing. Get serious about adding an adequate number of below-market units (150,000, not 2,000). Start with things that don’t cost a lot of money: streamline permitting, support nonprofit groups that have acquired land for it, identify surplus city property that can be converted to housing, don’t let zoning limits sap the potential, etc. The golf course issue deserves serious consideration: we can convert one or two courses or part of courses to housing+parks AND improve the remaining courses so they’re better for golf. Stand up to “not in my district” interests.

      This is an outline of what we can expect candidates to support if they want our vote.

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