OUR VISION FOR SEATTLE

campaign principles

The Seattle we are building will have a home for every person. We will reverse the historical effects of redlining and racial disparities in education funding, life expectancy, and wealth. I will propose an education committee comprised of educators, councilmembers, school board members, and community leaders. This committee will address discipline disparities and the school-to-prison pipeline and actively respond to the needs of our diverse district. I will push for meaningful investment to expand and fully fund before and after-school childcare and health services in public schools.

Our neighborhoods belong to us, and they aren’t for sale. As a city councilmember, I will vigorously oppose the sale of our community’s land to the highest bidder and will expand the creation of community land trusts. District 2 needs more childcare options, permanently affordable housing, and more parks (without displacement).

Private banks serve private interests. If we are serious about creating a future with shared prosperity, we need a public bank in Seattle to keep local dollars invested in local priorities – like closing the massive racial wealth gap in our city and treating the root causes of homelessness. I will fight to fix our upside-down tax code with progressive taxation to fund the needs of our growing city because relying on property and sales tax to fund everything just doesn’t work for our poor neighbors.

We are facing an existential climate threat and we will have to rise to meet this challenge. I will work with frontline communities to implement the recently-passed Green New Deal resolution. This is an ambitious, broad-scope effort that includes 100% public utilities, free and expanded public transit, and green union-wage jobs right here in District 2. The market has not proposed any solutions. We must build a regenerative economy that leaves nobody behind, and proactively protects the people of our city from a destabilizing climate.

     Repairing the harm

EQUITABLE FUTURE FOR OUR KIDS

Seattle has seen an explosion of growth, bringing in a lot of folks who want to make Seattle their home. However, the growth was not managed equitably. Wealth has been concentrated in certain neighborhoods, while schools, childcare, and other services in lower income neighborhoods are not funded. Inequities in education outcomes, preschool enrollment and quality childcare keep poor students and students of color from realizing their full potential and add to racial disparities in outcomes. I will work to bridge the investment gap in the south end and Chinatown/ International District while making sure working families continue to live in their communities.

Black students are suspended at four times the rate of white students in our public schools. The disparity in discipline starts as early as preschool. Black kids are not seen as kids and dehumanized from a very young age. We will expand the Black Lives Matter in Schools program to make it year round. We will develop a plan with BLM at Schools to train teachers on anti-racist disciplinary practices, decolonize public school curriculums, and put an end to suspensions and expulsions which keep students away from learning.

Schools must be safe and welcoming spaces for all our students irrespective of their gender identity, sexual orientation, housing situation, or immigration status. We will work with the school board to implement strong anti-bullying guidelines, provide free tampons and pads in school restrooms, expand staff training to protect queer and trans students, and train teachers on how to protect their immigrant students from ICE.

Seattle public schools have the biggest outcome gap between black and white students in WA state. Pouring more money into a system that does not distribute resources equitably will only widen the gap. Our current system of funding public schools is failing and leaving our kids in a cycle of poverty. I will work with the state for a need based funding of schools focused on repairing historical harms. 

To attract experienced teachers, we need to offer them competitive salaries. We must fully fund all our schools so teachers don’t have to spend their salaries on school supplies. We will stand with our teachers unions in their constitutional right to collectively bargain for fair contracts.

When parents are struggling to pay for school lunches, punishing and shaming students causes increased stress to families. We will fight to eliminate school lunch and invest in universally free public school lunches.

Most of Seattle public schools have in-school childcare, but they are not available to all students because of capacity and cost barriers. We will invest in universal in-school childcare programs, and partner with Parks and Recreation for outdoor before and after-school recreational and community service programs. We will also invest in affordable round the clock public childcare for parents with irregular work schedules. There is no market solution for affordable, quality, for-profit childcare that meets the diverse needs of working families and pays a living wage to childcare workers. We must invest in public solutions and create good paying union jobs in our communities.

Seattle’s public preschool program is a great first step in providing a public preschool option for our families. We will expand the preschool program to all families, and invest in students with special needs. 

Democratizing Wealth, Power, and Resources

HOUSING FOR ALL

The housing crisis is the greatest challenge that our city faces. Obtaining homeownership or even sufficient and safe rental housing has become a daunting challenge for many in our city – especially in neighborhoods at high risk for displacement. Seattle has a responsibility to protect its renters, to stem displacement of our communities and their support structures, and end the homelessness of people.

Right to return and affirmative marketing so folks can return when their building gets renovated or replaced. This is a form of a community preference policy that directs nonprofit housing providers to prioritize the applications of those who were displaced from the community.

Support and zone for increased development of backyard or garage apartments and small apartment buildings (~20 units) in capable neighborhoods so there are more kinds of units available, including units targeted for lower income people. This also includes ‘missing middle’ housing, such as triplexes and duplexes, which provide an affordable option for middle class home ownership.

That includes community ownership, EDI investments, and strategic landbanking around future growth areas. The Rainier Beach Action Coalition developed such a proposal and is actively working on getting it implemented. 

Provide resources and education on their responsibilities and the rights of tenants. Landlords who try to do the right thing only have RHA as a resource. They need an information resource that offers a progressive alternative.

Provide the Seattle Dept. of Construction and Inspections with increased funding and review their inspection procedures to make sure inspections are thorough. SDCI should work with stakeholders to develop guidelines and a more effective enforcement framework to protect renters from retaliation. 

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Create a rent-smart online portal that allows prospective tenants to conduct a tenant protection check of properties. The portal would provide background history on complaints, evictions, and average rent increases on record for those who own rental property.

This would be an official city portal that complies with privacy laws, particularly concerning data sharing with major property management firms or other third parties.

The easiest and most cost-conscious way of preventing further homelessness is by providing assicant at the point of housing insecurity. Prevent homelessness by reducing evictions – provide flexible, shallow subsidies to families at risk of homelessness 

Reform the intake process to relax the rules for shelters and allow pets, families, and support low-barrier entry. This should be coupled with investment in real-time data to streamline intake and eliminate duplicative questions; share data in a coordinated, dynamic way across the system to determine service eligibility and availability and connect people directly to resources faster.

A housing-first approach is one that recognizes the need for stability before ramping someone up on services or rehabilitation. For those who are chronically homeless, offer housing first to stabilize their situations, then pair it with robust supportive services such as in-building healthcare, counseling, and more to help rebuild their lives.

Increase funding for permanent supportive housing and the services provided, especially supportive physical and behavioral health services and increase funding for services offered to people living outside – trash pick-up at encampments, bathrooms.

                 Planning for the seventh generation

SEATTLE GREEN NEW DEAL

We are in the middle of a climate crisis, and our solutions must respond to the scale and urgency of the crisis to prevent resource wars and climate displacement. Because of existing race hierarchies and white supremacy, the effects of climate change disproportionately affect low income families and communities of color. Environmental and racial justice are inextricably linked. This is why I wholeheartedly support a Seattle Green New Deal with a just transition and co-creation with low income families and communities of color.

With the destruction of vast swathes of the Amazon rainforest (earth’s lungs), the time we have to transition to 100% green energy has been reduced. Despite having the evidence that climate change is real and is caused by our reliance on fossil fuels, we have seen no interest from private utility companies in shifting to green energy production. Considering the short timeline and the need for a transition that doesn’t put the cost of the transition on low income consumers, we need to democratize our energy futures. This is why I support publicly-owned utilities,as modeled by the city of Tacoma.

We need to rapidly transition to 100% green energy production. I will propose putting an end to building any new fossil fuel infrastructure in Seattle, including gas hookups to new construction. Heating, cooling, and powering buildings accounted for more than one-third of Seattle’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2016. We will work with the state and county to invest in equitable strategies to increase building energy efficiencies while making sure that low income families and renters are not bearing the cost of transition.

Climate change will not only impact crops, but also meat production, watersheds, fisheries, and other fundamental aspects of our food supply. A lot of the harm done to our planet is irreversible and we will have to develop local food production networks to ensure democratic control over food sources. I will propose investment in community food production and partner with other supporters of Green New Deal on the council to explore potential locations on public property where urban agriculture and gardening may be possible.

Road transportation made up about 62 percent of Seattle’s core emissions in 2016. We have to invest in green transit and transportation infrastructure, but it must start by making public transit free, reliable, and widely accessible. I will work to expand transportation options including connected infrastructure for biking, walking and rolling to provide viable alternatives to driving.

A lot of neighborhoods in District 2 are at high risk of displacement a problem that will be exacerbated by transitioning to green infrastructure if we do not put in place strong anti-displacement strategies. I will work with frontline community organizations to implement a comprehensive anti-displacement plan including, rent control and job training assistance so existing residents can benefit from housing stock weatherization, green jobs, and other infrastructural improvements.

A transition away from an extractive economy to a green regenerative economy offers opportunities to create green jobs. With a Seattle Green New Deal, we will create union jobs in manufacturing, construction, and maintenance right here in our communities. 

As the global climate warms, Seattle faces potential risks associated with increased frequency, timing, and severity of extreme weather events. We will invest in community led climate preparedness and emergency management. I will also push for requiring climate impact planning in all infrastructure projects during project design, construction, and long-term maintenance. Additionally, I will introduce legislation that invests in protection and restoration of natural ecosystems which provide vital barriers against extreme weather events.

I will propose the creation of a public bank to invest in neighborhoods that were labeled “risky” during redlining. Such investments may include, but are not limited to, cultural institutions, infrastructure, housing, job training, transit, and education. We will  work with regional and state partners to fully fund the Duwamish River cleanup ( a designated super-fund site due to excessive pollution) and improve community health against pollution in the south end.

      Repairing the harm

ADDRESSING COMMUNITY SAFETY

Communities cannot thrive or enjoy good health unless they are safe. Violence and fear of violence increase the risk of poor health outcomes and also undermine the community supports and conditions that would otherwise promote health and wellbeing. For too long, community safety was understood and approached largely as a criminal justice issue, without attention to the underlying causes of violence. Data show us that the safest communities are not the ones with the most police, but those with most resources. We will invest in District 2 and make our communities safe for everyone.

 

The circumstances that give rise to violence are also made worse by violence, feeding a cycle of poor community health. I will work with community-led groups like Choose 180, which has up to 87% non-recidivism rate, to fund violence intervention and felony diversion. 

 

 

 

Despite having no gun stores in District 2, guns are easily accessible. Seattle recently passed some rigorous gun storage laws. We should also pass a gun tracing policy to help identify where guns come from and assist responsible gun owners in retrieving lost guns. While these laws will help combat the black market for stolen guns, the issue of gun violence goes deeper than that. To reduce violence, we should acknowledge the public health issue and support a community-based approach to reducing gun homicides and suicides at the local levels. I will also support state and federal efforts to ban assault weapons and expand background checks.

 

 

 

Structural drivers of violence set the stage for unsafe communities. A lack of local jobs is a risk factor for violence, and violence, in turn, is used as an excuse to not invest in our communities, making jobs even scarcer. In the absence of grassroots momentum toward solutions, violence continues unchecked. I will not only address the symptoms of inequality but also address the causes. I will work with partners at the port, in labor unions, and in community-based non-profits to create good-paying jobs for young people in our communities. This includes trade apprenticeship programs, lobbying for expanded lifestyle and skills curriculum (metal shop, woodworking, computer programming) in our public schools, and cracking down on unpaid internships that offer no skills training. 

 

I have always been proud of the diversity and love in our neighborhoods. Even though we don’t have control over federal immigration policy, we can take steps to live up to our status as a sanctuary city. ICE and other immigration agencies take advantage of immigrants not knowing their rights. We will invest in community workshops in District 2 to provide information in the languages that our communities need. In addition, I will partner with civil rights organizations, like the ACLU, to create programs that keep our immigrant neighbors safe.

White supremacy is not a new problem. Every few years it rears its ugly head. We must not only address the daily acts of violence and terror committed by groups like Patriot Prayer, but we must also unite the working class in our fight against the corporate power brokers that seek to divide us. I will work with CAIR – WA and other advocacy groups in Seattle to propose anti-hate crime legislation and use principles of restorative justice to heal our communities.

 

There are currently approximately 120 Safe consumption sites operating in 12 countries around the world. Over 100 evidence-based, peer-reviewed studies have consistently proven the positive impacts of supervised consumption services including

  • Increasing entry into drug treatment. 
  • Reducing the frequencies of overdose
  • Reducing public injection and public disorder
  • Saving costs due to a reduction in disease, overdose deaths, and the need for emergency medical services

 

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Safe consumption sites are an effective harm reduction strategy.

While we acknowledge that our police don’t have an easy job, we must call out instances of police brutality that only serve to erode the public’s trust in law enforcement. People of color fear for their lives if they call 911. That is the reality of the relationship between some communities and our police department. I will work with my colleagues on the council and the Community Police Commission (CPC) to give the CPC the tools it needs to effectively advocate for our communities.

            Democratizing wealth, power, and resources

FINDING PROGRESSIVE REVENUE

Seattle has one of the most regressive tax structures in the country. A Seattle family bringing in $25,000 a year faces a tax rate four times higher than a family making a quarter-million dollars a year. This means that because of segregated neighborhoods, a family in Rainier Beach pays a tax rate four times higher than a family in Laurelhurst. Our tax structure has created an unjust system that doesn’t serve all of us.

We have a lot of work to do in Seattle. We need to build affordable housing, invest in our public schools, support community economic development, fix our sidewalks, and transition to green energy. Working families can not continue to foot the bill. We have to reprogram our broken tax system so that it serves all of us. We can create a more equitable way to finance public services. Our immediate priorities for which we need progressive revenue are:

  • Housing crisis – building affordable housing units, including permanently supportive housing units, to get our houseless neighbors into stable housing and helping them get back on their feet
  • Seattle Green New Deal – investing in our master bike plan, expanding public transit and weatherizing old residential units
  • Affordable Childcare – investing in affordable childcare for working parents
  • Property and sales tax relief – moving away from regressive tax measures that disproportionately impact lower-income families

 

This measure would levy a local progressive tax inheritance of the estates over $2.193 million in Seattle. This would add to the state’s estate tax, impacting only those on the very top and raising much-needed revenue to fund our infrastructure and services in the city.

 

 

This would be a local progressive Real Estate Excise Tax (REET). For example, if you sell a piece of property worth $1 million or more, the city could charge an extra 0.25% excise tax on top of whatever the state’s REET.

 

Raise $150 million a year from a modest tax per employee on the largest corporations that are succeeding and growing in our region and fueling displacement, with exemptions for micro-businesses and small businesses with under 20 employees. This revenue combined with the existing revenue for housing will fully fund the need for permanent supportive housing production for chronically homeless individuals and double the production of other affordable housing.

 

 

 

This would create an excise tax on employers for every employee who gets paid, say, over $400,000 a year. The tax would raise revenue from extremely profitable corporations that can afford to invest in our city.

 

 

 

In 2016, Portland imposed a tax on employers where the CEO-to-worker pay ratio exceeds 100-to-1. I will work with my colleagues on the council and the Seattle City Attorney’s Office to look at implementing a similar tax in Seattle.

 

 

This measure would create a tax on Seattleites who are fortunate enough to be buying their second homes to fund services for those who are struggling to keep a roof over their heads.

 Support community efforts to pass and fund a progressive, inclusive Working Families Tax Credit at the state level for low- and moderate-income families inclusive of ITIN filers, family caregivers, and low-income college and vocational students

                      Repairing the harm

RESTORATIVE JUSTICE

Restorative justice brings a different perspective on the criminal justice system. Instead of just asking what punishment someone deserves for a crime, it also asks what relief the victims deserve and what steps are necessary to heal the community. When done most effectively, it is a community-based approach to accountability, safety, and healing, and has a track record of being much more effective than punitive incarceration. For example, Choose 180, Community Passageways, Creative Justice and Credible Messenger a community-based restorative justice program, has a 97% success rate. If the goal is to make our communities safe for all of us, it’s time to invest in restorative justice.

For the last 40 years, we have treated prisons as the catch-all for all problems. That needs to change. We know restorative justice works in decreasing recidivism. By investing in restorative justice, we save on the costs of incarceration. 

The Seattle City Attorney’s Office has had great success with Choose 180 (diversion program for 18-24 year-olds accused of lower-level crimes) and VITAL (program that provides treatment, healthcare, and life skills development for folks with mental health or substance abuse condition). We can make our communities safer for all of us by expanding restorative justice programs like  Community Passageways, Creative Justice and Credible Messenger. Currently, the VITAL program is capped at 60 people and it helps people get the resources they need to get back on their feet.

Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion is empowered to divert individuals who are engaged in prostitution and crimes of poverty from the criminal justice system and connect them with intensive case managers who can crisis response. I will work to expand it city-wide.

The criminalization of black and brown young people starts in the schools. Instead of using suspensions and shaming students, I will work with the school board to empower schools to implement a restorative justice program as piloted by Garfield High School. Replace law enforcement officers with Restorative Justice Coordinators at every School.

In 2016, Portland imposed a tax on employers where the CEO-to-worker pay ratio exceeds 100-to-1. I will work with my colleagues on the council and the Seattle City Attorney’s Office to look at implementing a similar tax in Seattle.

Youth detention worsens the problem of school to prison pipeline. Instead of detaining young people, I will work with the County Council to invest in community-based restorative justice programs that don’t institutionalize black and brown youth.

Empower groups like Civil Survival to do the important work of informing formerly incarcerated folks of their right to vote and helping them exercise it.

Work with the county and the state to reduce the amount of time people spend on probation. Our current probation system increases recidivism. We will instead invest in resources for folks to help them with re-entry. We will also work to end cash bail, which disproportionately affects people of color.

          Democratizing wealth, power and resources

BUILDING COMMUNITY WEALTH

Traditional economic development tends to be about attracting industry to a community. Jobs may be drawn into a community, but then leave without warning. Often, attracting jobs means degrading community assets through pollution, low-wage jobs, or the loss of tax income through excessive tax breaks. Building community wealth is, instead, about using under-utilized local assets to make a community more vibrant. It’s about developing assets in such a way that the wealth stays in communities. Our goal is to focus on democratizing wealth and resources to create resilient local economies. We want to ensure that young and old, artists, care-givers, and working-class families share in the city’s prosperity too.

Neighbors in District 2 continue to face displacement and underinvestment in our communities. Strategically, we should be laser focused for the next 5 years on stopping displacement, finding the pathway for workforce development for underemployed folks, including our young people, and supporting community ownership of assets. We must build the capacity of neighborhoods to drive the kind of change they want and ensure that communities of color can benefit from changes without being displaced. This will create equitable and more resilient communities.

The Equitable Development Initiative is a fund for communities at high risk of displacement. It provides these communities the capital to buy properties that serve their housing and commercial project needs. EDI was created by communities of color, for communities of color. We must commit to fully funding it to allow for the real strategic impact to happen.

Enable commercial tenants to build ownership in the company that owns the building and land they occupy. Local examples include Equinox Studios, an art and fabrication space in Georgetown where each dollar of commercial rent allows the tenant to a share in the holding company.

Establish a Community Development Authority that can acquire and improve commercial properties, and transfer them to neighborhood land trusts. This will secure their use in perpetuity for permanently affordable housing or small business options.

Advance a Municipal Broadband Strategy to give everyone access to affordable, high speed internet. With 90,000 people in the city lacking basic internet access, we must address this digital divide that inhibits our youth from accessing jobs and the economy of the present and future.

Create a public bank to align our City’s banking practices with our values and support the long-term prosperity of Seattleites.

  • Connect to union apprenticeships to offer a pathway to family wage jobs with benefits in construction trades, maritime, film production and other sectors.
  • Support District 2 Seattle Public Schools with Families and Education Levy funds to allow for restorative justice coordinators and for coaches for post-secondary training on college application processes.
  • Locate a college campus in South Seattle to create jobs and train the local workforce in high demand skills.

Focus City agencies on creating resilience for small businesses at risk of displacement, including the Dept of Economic Development, Office of City Planning and Community Development, and Department of Neighborhoods.  Expand programs like Only in Seattle and concentrate funds on low-income and communities of color. 

  • Explore tax rebates for micro-businesses that serve unique cultural needs in our neighborhoods.
  • Use land use policy and City incentives to ensure there is affordable commercial and retail space for small businesses.
  • Require zero financial impact to small business for City projects and budget for mitigation funds to support business impacted by City projects.

                    Democratizing wealth, power and resources

EFFECTIVE GOVERNANCE

Local government has a direct and daily impact on our lives. How we navigate our neighborhoods, get to work and school, and access the goods and services we need are all affected by decisions our local leaders make. Our quality of life is shaped by their ability to implement a strong vision for our city, then set policy and govern with integrity. I’m committed to governing with the vision of a just and equitable Seattle in mind so that we all have good lives and good livelihoods. I also know that a strong working relationship among councilmembers and between the council and the mayor is key to effectively leading our public institutions.

For the Council to be most effective, we must collaborate on behalf of the people of Seattle. We may bring different perspectives and styles to our work, but by showing one another respect and openness we can move through hard conversations to serve our all of our neighbors well. I am committed to building effective, frank working relationships with my colleagues and the Mayor. I am running for Council to fight for change and that means building the support and collaboration needed to get things done.

 

Implementing a vision requires strategic long-term goals and the willingness to allocate resources to achieve them. Seattle has led the nation in passing resolutions that reflect our commitment to human rights and to race and social justice. Our City budget needs to also reflect that commitment with sufficient funding for services that protect our most vulnerable and tools that end the displacement happening in our neighborhoods.

 

 

The Democracy Voucher Program was created with several goals in mind, one of which was to fight corporate money that is corrupting our politics. While Democracy Vouchers have helped progressive candidates run competitive campaigns, large corporations and their PACs have spent close to a million dollars. I support Councilmember Gonzalez’s proposal to limit contribution amounts by individuals to PACs. Additionally, I would also look at ways to limit PAC and Super PAC spending by working with state representatives. My eventual goal would be to work with activists and organizations like Represent Us to move to 100% publicly funded elections at every level of government.

Throughout the campaign, I have introduced proposals for a Seattle that works for all of us – plans to combat climate change, for restorative justice, equitable future for our kids and raising revenue for the city more equitably. If elected, I will hold myself accountable to these goals by hosting regular town halls and meetings with community-led organizations that are fighting for racial, economic, and environmental justice.