In Seattle City Council District 2, Bruce Harrell, who has been council president, will step down and did not run for re-election. Tammy Morales, who challenged Bruce Harrell in 2015, and Mark Solomon are vying to represent South Seattle, which includes Rainier Beach, Beacon Hill, SoDo and parts of the Chinatown-International District.
Seattle’s lower- and middle-income residents and small businesses feel that they are being left behind or pushed out by the city’s growing economy. What three concrete actions will you take to address those concerns?
– As our economy has boomed, wealth that is created by workers has increasingly been concentrated in fewer hands. I will prioritize finding progressive revenue through taxes like pat ratio tax (taxing corporations who have the CEO to worker pay ratio of more than 100:1), Local Estate Tax, and revisiting an Employee Hours Tax. We have to find a way to fund our city equitably and stop the extraction of wealth from the poorest to the richest because of our upside-down tax system.
– I have worked with community-led groups like Got Green and Puget Sound Sage for comprehensive plans to fight displacement. If elected, I will fight against the razing down of existing affordable units. If a building is being up-zoned, I will support the residents’ right to return. Additionally, I support residential and commercial rent control to reign in our out of control rents and using the funds raised from MHA in communities that are at the highest risk of displacement.
– Our neighborhoods are not for sale. I will propose the creation of a community land trust so we have a say in how our neighborhoods grow. I will also push for building more permanently affordable housing and not just selling public lands to the highest bidder.
What is your stance on the city of Seattle’s “welcoming city” policies on residents’ immigrant statuses? Should any of these policies be changed, and how?
I am proud of Seattle’s sanctuary city status, but the recent rise in hate crimes show that our fight against white supremacy must be both institutional and inter-personal. In addition to laws that prevent local law enforcement officials from cooperating with ICE, we will have to address white supremacy in our communities with a restorative justice lens. I think the city should also partner with and fund programs that inform immigrant families of their rights and train teachers on how to keep their students safe in event of an ICE raid.
Reports of hate crimes have been on the rise in Seattle. How will you make sure people of all backgrounds feel safe from perpetrators of hate crimes and also feel safe reporting the crimes?
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. I will also propose investing in creating more awareness about our hate crimes hotline that was set up by the Office of Civil Rights.
What letter grade would you give the city on reforming race and ethnicity-based bias in law enforcement and why did you give that grade? What would you do differently, if anything?
D. Seattle Police Department’s own report stated that black and brown folks are stopped and frisked more often even though white people carry guns at a higher rate. I believe the first steps towards improvement are acknowledgement of our failings and taking proactive steps to rebuild trust between SPD and communities of color. I think we need to increase the amount of required racial bias training for officers and provide whistle-blower protection for good officers to report racism and bias policing. We also need to have accountability measures to hold SPD accountable to the communities they serve.
What is your track record on addressing the needs of immigrants and communities of color in your district?
I have been a string supporter of DACA, and for comprehensive immigration reform. I marched with our Muslim brothers and sisters against the Muslim ban. I also advocated for a fair police contract with accountability measures and opposed the change in zoning for the Youth Jail. If elected, I will use the power of my office to turn my advocacy into action and elevate community voices that have been ignored for decades.
Tammy Morales’ website: https://www.votefortammy.com/
Mark Solomon did not respond to our questionnaire.
Mark Solomon’s website: https://marksolomon.org/