skip to main content
Elections
caption: Candidates for Seattle city council in district 3, Kshama Sawant, left, and Egan Orion, right, debate on Thursday, September 26, 2019, at Town Hall Seattle.
Enlarge Icon
Candidates for Seattle city council in district 3, Kshama Sawant, left, and Egan Orion, right, debate on Thursday, September 26, 2019, at Town Hall Seattle.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

5 questions: City council candidates in central Seattle

What do you want candidates for city council to talk about as they campaign for votes?

That's what we asked Seattleites in a citywide survey. We received over 650 responses.

Analyzing the data, it was clear that homelessness, housing affordability, and roads and transit were the biggest concerns. Using these responses, we wrote up five questions for the candidates.

Below are the unedited answers from District 3, where socialist incumbent Kshama Sawant faces off with Egan Orion.

Kshama Sawant

Homelessness and visibility: How will you address the unsanctioned encampments on city streets, underneath highways, and other public spaces?

The only realistic solution to homelessness is to make housing available and affordable.

Without places for people to go, too often homeless people are simply moved from one street corner to the next. That is why we're in the process of building a powerful grassroots coalition for rent control and for a massive expansion of affordable social housing paid for by taxing big business and the super rich. This would include permanent supportive housing, as well.

Studies show that when the average rent in a metropolitan area increases by $100, homelessness increases by at least 15%, and given how rents have skyrocketed in recent years, the explosion of homelessness should be a surprise to no one.

I also support seriously investing in homeless services.

Tiny House Villages have proven to be the most effective humane and effective way to help homeless people get into housing. Their track record of transitioning people to permanent housing is one of the most successful.

They provide the safety and peace of mind of a personal space with a lock where you and your belongings can be safe. The sturdy wood construction of the tiny houses has heat and electricity. Most importantly the tiny house villages have case management, and a community, often self managed, where people have the support of case managers, and can combat the isolation and alienation of homelessness.

I have talked to countless people who have explained that tiny house villages have changed and often saved their lives. Frankly, I have never heard testimony like that from anything else.

Our People’s Budget 2019 movement is demanding the addition of 20 new tiny house villages in Seattle. I have also introduced legislation to increase the city’s tiny house village limit from 3 to 40.

I do not support the sweeps of homeless encampments euphemistically call the “navigation team.”

This expensive program provides no measurable services to homeless people, with a “move along” focus.

“Move along” doesn’t work, because there needs to be somewhere to move to. The sweeps are traumatic, inhumane, and ineffective.

So much so that REACH, the organization that the City contracts with to do outreach to homeless people to connect them with services, is refusing to participate in the sweeps.

They found that the sweeps were so harmful that it was damaging their ability to gain the trust of homeless people they were trying to connect with services. Seattle has conducted over 1,000 sweeps, and my office has spoken with dozens or even hundreds of impacted people.

We have never met anyone who has said that the sweeps helped them, and there has never been a reported instance of someone getting housing as a result of a sweep. I have in the past, and continue to advocate for the resources the City is wasting on sweeps be instead spent on increasing real services.

Homelessness and housing: What is your plan to find permanent homes for the homeless?

Seattle’s social services helps people get into housing every day, but every day more people become homeless as their rents increase unsustainably, and they are forced out of their homes.

By implementing universal rent control free or corporate loopholes, thousands will be able to stay in their homes and never need homeless services.

My office has put forward comprehensive rent control legislation, and our movement has gathered over 13,000 signatures, and endorsements from 25 labor and community organizations on a petition for rent control in Seattle.

There are also thousands of people who have already been priced out of their homes, face addiction or other mental health struggles, and need affordable and permanent supportive housing now.

And we've seen clearly that the for-profit construction market has not only not made rents affordable, it's the main culprit of skyrocketing rents. Because it builds to maximize profits for the corporate developers and the big banks.

That is why my office fully supported the movement to tax Amazon and the other largest businesses to raise the funds needed to seriously expand the public investment in building affordable housing, and I was one of only two votes against its repeal.

In the People's Budget movement for the past several years, we have proposed a ½ billion bond to fund affordable housing with reinstating the Amazon tax to pay for it.

Every candidate this year says they support a large investment in building affordable housing, but how will they pay for it if they are not willing to make big business and the super rich pay their fair share of taxes?

Poor and working class people cannot afford to pay any more, so if the political establishment is not willing to tax big business, promises about building affordable housing are empty rhetoric.

My opponent is being bankrolled - both through direct campaign donations and the corporate PAC money spending on him, which he applied and interviewed for and accepted - by the same corporations and wealthy people who viciously opposed the modest Amazon Tax last year.

They want a compliant City Council that will not have the temerity to attempt to tax big business, so that Seattle remains a corporate tax haven.

Homelessness and drugs/mental health: How do you plan on addressing drug use and mental health treatment options for the homeless population?

Like public housing, mental health care has had its funding slashed in the waves of austerity in the 1980, leading to a generation of human misery. These draconian cuts on the federal level happened at the same time that Regan cut taxes on big business and the super-rich.

Those issues are inextricably linked. I have advocated for restoring funding to social services like mental health care, which as mentioned above, can only be done by taxing big business and the super-rich.

I also strongly oppose the stigmatization and scapegoating of people with mental illness.

We need to organize in our communities to stand up to organizations like Speak Out Seattle, and individuals like Scott Lindsey, who speak of homeless people as if they are criminals, and claim we can somehow arrest and incarcerate our way out of the issues created by deep inequality, poverty, crisis in affordable housing, and underfunded social services and mental health resources.

Both Speak Out Seattle and Scott Lindsey have endorsed my opponent.

The struggle for mental health services, is closely linked to the struggles against oppression, poverty, and exploitation. The trauma of becoming homeless and living on the streets can have a lasting impact on people’s mental health, so fighting for rent control and other measures to prevent homelesseness in the first place is in of itself a mental health service. Mental healthcare knows no borders.

We need to fight for a world free of war, poverty, bigotry, and exploitation, so people can grow as humans and enjoy life. More immediately, I strongly support safe injection sites, also known as CHELs (community health engagement locations).

Addiction is real, and the opioid epidemic has deep systemic causes that need to be addressed. But studies have overwhelmingly proven that safe consumption sites reduce the harms of drug addiction, and increase the rates of people choosing to go into treatment.

Through my office and the people’s budget movement, we won funding for a CHEL in Seattle, that unfortunately was left unspent by Mayor Durkan.

Hopefully, she will agree to open one, now that the legal path has been cleared by a favorable court ruling around Philadelphia's CHEL.

Housing and growth: What is your plan to make Seattle more affordable and livable for low- to middle-income residents?

The housing affordability crisis goes far beyond the crisis of homelessness. Thousands more may not be homeless but struggle with rising property taxes, rising rents, and seeing their friends, family and communities priced out of the city.

From 2010-2018 the average rents increased 69% while inflation rate was only 20%. The rent control policy that my office has proposed would limit rent increases to no more than the rate of inflation.

Not only will that help keep housing affordable, it will also give renters the peace of mind that comes with knowing that you will not be priced out of your home in a year.

Renters can build a community with their neighbors, plant a garden, send their kids to school with the confidence that they will stay at that school. A massive expansion of social housing will also help keep rents reasonable for working class people.

Around the world there are places where public social housing is a significant portion of the housing in society, and where that happens, rents are far more affordable, and there is not the homeless crisis we see in Seattle. Seattle also has one of the most regressive tax systems in the Country.

We need to tax big businesses and Seattle’s super-rich - not working and middle class people - to fund transit, housing, social services and the other pressing needs.

But as we saw from the shameful Amazon Tax repeal, we cannot rely on establishment politicians, even well-intentioned ones, who under pressure will capitulated to big business.

Transit and traffic: Out of all the transportation options, which one is a priority for improvement?

We need an expansion of public transit using renewable energy, and it should be free. Ridership on public transportation has gone up in ways that reveal ordinary working people taking on the commitment to reduce their personal carbon footprint.

But in order to dramatically increase public transit usage and meet our climate targets, we need to make much more far reaching policy changes - we need to make bus and light rail service free and carry out a major expansion of routes and frequency to make mass transit a convenient and reliable alternative to car-based transit.

The only this can be funded is by taxing big business and the super rich. This November, voters statewide need to reject Tim Eyman's destructive ballot initiative 976.

Egan Orion

Homelessness and visibility: How will you address the unsanctioned encampments on city streets, underneath highways, and other public spaces?

We have a responsibility to compassionately get people off the street, but we need to have shelter or housing available for them first; otherwise we’re just sending them down the road to another street, park, or neighborhood.

It’s a band-aid remedy that doesn’t solve the core problem. Creating a revolving door of housing insecurity is shallow policy and often just causes more trauma and exacerbates the problem.

Our city leaders must approach the issue in a holistic way, centering the work on those experiencing homelessness, and reject any more funding for no-notice homeless encampment sweeps.

I am proud of my work to return outreach workers to neighborhoods across the city in order to connect unsheltered neighbors with services, but I had to go around my councilmember and opponent, Councilmember Sawant, to do so.

That was an important first step, but we need to prioritize the development of supportive shelters and housing communities where mental health care, substance use disorder treatment, and job training can be pursued by those trying to transition into permanent housing.

Homelessness and housing: What is your plan to find permanent homes for the homeless?

Those who are chronically homeless—about 2000 of our neighbors—are our most vulnerable residents.

We are already investing tax dollars to assist them but in temporary, and many times ineffective ways that contribute to their suffering and increases our long-term investment, rather than investing in the support they need.

Let’s work with King County to create a bond for $500 million and create supportive housing for all of our chronically homeless with wraparound services—including mental health and addiction recovery services—and provide the stability and support these residents need for a better future.

We can repay that bond with general fund dollars, offsetting what we are already paying to serve these residents. This focus on permanent supportive housing will result in less suffering and better long-term outcomes.

Next, let’s address one of the main drivers of homelessness—lack of affordable housing. We need more housing, and we need it now. Through upzoning, filling the “missing middle” with “light density” (ADUs, duplexes, multi-family buildings, etc.), and implementing needed reforms to take advantage of vacant spaces, we can bring down the cost of housing for all.

Once individuals have access to affordable housing, we need to ensure that they are able to stay in the housing they have through robust renter protections with legal and financial support to help bridge an emergency and fight eviction.

One financial emergency or rent increase can put renters living month-to-month at risk for eviction. To prevent eviction, I have a plan to create an emergency fund for renters to help them bridge a job los or family crisis and prevent eviction so that they’re not depressed in the wake of already traumatizing financial emergencies.

In addition to this, renters should have three month notice on any rent increases, and those increases should be no more than 7% a year plus inflation, similar to laws recently enacted in Oregon and California.

I will take a hard stance in support of rent stabilization and offer robust legal support so tenants are on an even playing field with landlords, especially in Seattle’s expensive and volatile housing market.

Homelessness and drugs/mental health: How do you plan on addressing drug use and mental health treatment options for the homeless population?

Mental health and substance use disorders are complex problems that must be addressed if we are to make meaningful progress getting neighbors into shelter.

This isn’t just an issue for those currently unsheltered, but complicated problems that we need to do a better job of addressing across our communities. Mental health and addiction are not problems that can be solved on a mass-scale; we need to address these issues on an individual level – one-to-one with those in need and social workers and service providers.

Our LEAD diversion programs are overburdened, and I support the renewal and expansion of diversion programs by investing in a strong psychological and social work system within our public domain will provide our community with individuals who possess the knowledge and the skills to interact and address individual mental health and addiction issues appropriately.

We also currently don’t have enough beds in addiction treatment facilities so it isn’t enough to connect social workers and outreach workers with neighbors in need if we don’t have the space to connect them with addiction and recovery services.

As mentioned before, I would bond with the county for 1,500 new supportive housing units with wraparound services—including mental health and addiction recovery services—to provide the stability and support our most vulnerable residents need for a better future.

This focus on permanent supportive housing will result in less suffering and better long-term outcomes.

Housing and growth: What is your plan to make Seattle more affordable and livable for low- to middle-income residents?

We have taken important steps to create more affordable housing, but if we don’t plan thoughtfully we will find ourselves in another housing crisis down the road.

Non-profit housing organizations like Plymouth Housing can create more housing by the city guaranteeing funds for maintaining current properties--which can cost hundreds of thousands per property. This doesn’t cost taxpayers more, it just leverages the city funds to enable our non-profit developers to do more.

For land sales like the recent Mercer Mega Block, we can’t just rely on getting affordable housing out of the deal. Rather, we should devote at least half of the proceeds to more affordable housing.

Finally, we can dedicate surplus and/or underutilized public lands towards the development of affordable housing.

Through granting these lands to non-profit developers or by dedicating the proceeds of the sale of said lands towards affordable housing construction or operations budgets for permanent supportive housing, we can make our city more livable and more affordable.

I will also ensure we are centering new housing near transit hubs which improves affordability, relieves congestion, and is an important step towards reducing our carbon emissions.

Transit and traffic: Out of all the transportation options, which one is a priority for improvement?

Light rail dramatically transformed transportation in District 3, but there is so much more we need to ensure that our bus system is affordable and reliable.

That is the most important thing we can do to improve accessibility across our city. Working with SDOT, I will prioritize street design that improves transit speed and capacity, including simple signal changes I’ve been advocating for at John & Broadway.

I will also push for connected rapid ride bus lanes, starting with the Madison Street BRT which is in development now between MLK Jr Way and 1st Avenue.

Faster transit and reduced congestion will benefit all road users and help everyone move around the city more efficiently.

By developing a public transit network that truly serves all our neighbors we can help quash congestion and parking zones issues prevalent across the city. I will also prioritize electrifying our city’s bus fleet by 2025 to reduce our carbon footprint and combat climate change.

The only realistic solution to homelessness is to make housing available and affordable.

Without places for people to go, too often homeless people are simply moved from one street corner to the next. That is why we're in the process of building a powerful grassroots coalition for rent control and for a massive expansion of affordable social housing paid for by taxing big business and the super rich. This would include permanent supportive housing, as well.

Studies show that when the average rent in a metropolitan area increases by $100, homelessness increases by at least 15%, and given how rents have skyrocketed in recent years, the explosion of homelessness should be a surprise to no one.

I also support seriously investing in homeless services.

Tiny House Villages have proven to be the most effective humane and effective way to help homeless people get into housing. Their track record of transitioning people to permanent housing is one of the most successful.

They provide the safety and peace of mind of a personal space with a lock where you and your belongings can be safe. The sturdy wood construction of the tiny houses has heat and electricity. Most importantly the tiny house villages have case management, and a community, often self managed, where people have the support of case managers, and can combat the isolation and alienation of homelessness.

I have talked to countless people who have explained that tiny house villages have changed and often saved their lives. Frankly, I have never heard testimony like that from anything else.

Our People’s Budget 2019 movement is demanding the addition of 20 new tiny house villages in Seattle. I have also introduced legislation to increase the city’s tiny house village limit from 3 to 40.

I do not support the sweeps of homeless encampments euphemistically call the “navigation team.”

This expensive program provides no measurable services to homeless people, with a “move along” focus.

“Move along” doesn’t work, because there needs to be somewhere to move to. The sweeps are traumatic, inhumane, and ineffective.

So much so that REACH, the organization that the City contracts with to do outreach to homeless people to connect them with services, is refusing to participate in the sweeps.

They found that the sweeps were so harmful that it was damaging their ability to gain the trust of homeless people they were trying to connect with services. Seattle has conducted over 1,000 sweeps, and my office has spoken with dozens or even hundreds of impacted people.

We have never met anyone who has said that the sweeps helped them, and there has never been a reported instance of someone getting housing as a result of a sweep. I have in the past, and continue to advocate for the resources the City is wasting on sweeps be instead spent on increasing real services.

Homelessness and housing: What is your plan to find permanent homes for the homeless?

Seattle’s social services helps people get into housing every day, but every day more people become homeless as their rents increase unsustainably, and they are forced out of their homes.

By implementing universal rent control free or corporate loopholes, thousands will be able to stay in their homes and never need homeless services.

My office has put forward comprehensive rent control legislation, and our movement has gathered over 13,000 signatures, and endorsements from 25 labor and community organizations on a petition for rent control in Seattle.

There are also thousands of people who have already been priced out of their homes, face addiction or other mental health struggles, and need affordable and permanent supportive housing now.

And we've seen clearly that the for-profit construction market has not only not made rents affordable, it's the main culprit of skyrocketing rents. Because it builds to maximize profits for the corporate developers and the big banks.

That is why my office fully supported the movement to tax Amazon and the other largest businesses to raise the funds needed to seriously expand the public investment in building affordable housing, and I was one of only two votes against its repeal.

In the People's Budget movement for the past several years, we have proposed a ½ billion bond to fund affordable housing with reinstating the Amazon tax to pay for it.

Every candidate this year says they support a large investment in building affordable housing, but how will they pay for it if they are not willing to make big business and the super rich pay their fair share of taxes?

Poor and working class people cannot afford to pay any more, so if the political establishment is not willing to tax big business, promises about building affordable housing are empty rhetoric.

My opponent is being bankrolled - both through direct campaign donations and the corporate PAC money spending on him, which he applied and interviewed for and accepted - by the same corporations and wealthy people who viciously opposed the modest Amazon Tax last year.

They want a compliant City Council that will not have the temerity to attempt to tax big business, so that Seattle remains a corporate tax haven.

Homelessness and drugs/mental health: How do you plan on addressing drug use and mental health treatment options for the homeless population?

Like public housing, mental health care has had its funding slashed in the waves of austerity in the 1980, leading to a generation of human misery. These draconian cuts on the federal level happened at the same time that Regan cut taxes on big business and the super-rich.

Those issues are inextricably linked. I have advocated for restoring funding to social services like mental health care, which as mentioned above, can only be done by taxing big business and the super-rich.

I also strongly oppose the stigmatization and scapegoating of people with mental illness.

We need to organize in our communities to stand up to organizations like Speak Out Seattle, and individuals like Scott Lindsey, who speak of homeless people as if they are criminals, and claim we can somehow arrest and incarcerate our way out of the issues created by deep inequality, poverty, crisis in affordable housing, and underfunded social services and mental health resources.

Both Speak Out Seattle and Scott Lindsey have endorsed my opponent.

The struggle for mental health services, is closely linked to the struggles against oppression, poverty, and exploitation. The trauma of becoming homeless and living on the streets can have a lasting impact on people’s mental health, so fighting for rent control and other measures to prevent homelesseness in the first place is in of itself a mental health service. Mental healthcare knows no borders.

We need to fight for a world free of war, poverty, bigotry, and exploitation, so people can grow as humans and enjoy life. More immediately, I strongly support safe injection sites, also known as CHELs (community health engagement locations).

Addiction is real, and the opioid epidemic has deep systemic causes that need to be addressed. But studies have overwhelmingly proven that safe consumption sites reduce the harms of drug addiction, and increase the rates of people choosing to go into treatment.

Through my office and the people’s budget movement, we won funding for a CHEL in Seattle, that unfortunately was left unspent by Mayor Durkan.

Hopefully, she will agree to open one, now that the legal path has been cleared by a favorable court ruling around Philadelphia's CHEL.

Housing and growth: What is your plan to make Seattle more affordable and livable for low- to middle-income residents?

The housing affordability crisis goes far beyond the crisis of homelessness. Thousands more may not be homeless but struggle with rising property taxes, rising rents, and seeing their friends, family and communities priced out of the city.

From 2010-2018 the average rents increased 69% while inflation rate was only 20%. The rent control policy that my office has proposed would limit rent increases to no more than the rate of inflation.

Not only will that help keep housing affordable, it will also give renters the peace of mind that comes with knowing that you will not be priced out of your home in a year.

Renters can build a community with their neighbors, plant a garden, send their kids to school with the confidence that they will stay at that school. A massive expansion of social housing will also help keep rents reasonable for working class people.

Around the world there are places where public social housing is a significant portion of the housing in society, and where that happens, rents are far more affordable, and there is not the homeless crisis we see in Seattle. Seattle also has one of the most regressive tax systems in the Country.

We need to tax big businesses and Seattle’s super-rich - not working and middle class people - to fund transit, housing, social services and the other pressing needs.

But as we saw from the shameful Amazon Tax repeal, we cannot rely on establishment politicians, even well-intentioned ones, who under pressure will capitulated to big business.

Transit and traffic: Out of all the transportation options, which one is a priority for improvement?

We need an expansion of public transit using renewable energy, and it should be free. Ridership on public transportation has gone up in ways that reveal ordinary working people taking on the commitment to reduce their personal carbon footprint.

But in order to dramatically increase public transit usage and meet our climate targets, we need to make much more far reaching policy changes - we need to make bus and light rail service free and carry out a major expansion of routes and frequency to make mass transit a convenient and reliable alternative to car-based transit.

The only this can be funded is by taxing big business and the super rich. This November, voters statewide need to reject Tim Eyman's destructive ballot initiative 976.

Egan Orion

Homelessness and visibility: How will you address the unsanctioned encampments on city streets, underneath highways, and other public spaces?

We have a responsibility to compassionately get people off the street, but we need to have shelter or housing available for them first; otherwise we’re just sending them down the road to another street, park, or neighborhood.

It’s a band-aid remedy that doesn’t solve the core problem. Creating a revolving door of housing insecurity is shallow policy and often just causes more trauma and exacerbates the problem.

Our city leaders must approach the issue in a holistic way, centering the work on those experiencing homelessness, and reject any more funding for no-notice homeless encampment sweeps.

I am proud of my work to return outreach workers to neighborhoods across the city in order to connect unsheltered neighbors with services, but I had to go around my councilmember and opponent, Councilmember Sawant, to do so.

That was an important first step, but we need to prioritize the development of supportive shelters and housing communities where mental health care, substance use disorder treatment, and job training can be pursued by those trying to transition into permanent housing.

Homelessness and housing: What is your plan to find permanent homes for the homeless?

Those who are chronically homeless—about 2000 of our neighbors—are our most vulnerable residents.

We are already investing tax dollars to assist them but in temporary, and many times ineffective ways that contribute to their suffering and increases our long-term investment, rather than investing in the support they need.

Let’s work with King County to create a bond for $500 million and create supportive housing for all of our chronically homeless with wraparound services—including mental health and addiction recovery services—and provide the stability and support these residents need for a better future.

We can repay that bond with general fund dollars, offsetting what we are already paying to serve these residents. This focus on permanent supportive housing will result in less suffering and better long-term outcomes.

Next, let’s address one of the main drivers of homelessness—lack of affordable housing. We need more housing, and we need it now. Through upzoning, filling the “missing middle” with “light density” (ADUs, duplexes, multi-family buildings, etc.), and implementing needed reforms to take advantage of vacant spaces, we can bring down the cost of housing for all.

Once individuals have access to affordable housing, we need to ensure that they are able to stay in the housing they have through robust renter protections with legal and financial support to help bridge an emergency and fight eviction.

One financial emergency or rent increase can put renters living month-to-month at risk for eviction. To prevent eviction, I have a plan to create an emergency fund for renters to help them bridge a job los or family crisis and prevent eviction so that they’re not depressed in the wake of already traumatizing financial emergencies.

In addition to this, renters should have three month notice on any rent increases, and those increases should be no more than 7% a year plus inflation, similar to laws recently enacted in Oregon and California.

I will take a hard stance in support of rent stabilization and offer robust legal support so tenants are on an even playing field with landlords, especially in Seattle’s expensive and volatile housing market.

Homelessness and drugs/mental health: How do you plan on addressing drug use and mental health treatment options for the homeless population?

Mental health and substance use disorders are complex problems that must be addressed if we are to make meaningful progress getting neighbors into shelter.

This isn’t just an issue for those currently unsheltered, but complicated problems that we need to do a better job of addressing across our communities. Mental health and addiction are not problems that can be solved on a mass-scale; we need to address these issues on an individual level – one-to-one with those in need and social workers and service providers.

Our LEAD diversion programs are overburdened, and I support the renewal and expansion of diversion programs by investing in a strong psychological and social work system within our public domain will provide our community with individuals who possess the knowledge and the skills to interact and address individual mental health and addiction issues appropriately.

We also currently don’t have enough beds in addiction treatment facilities so it isn’t enough to connect social workers and outreach workers with neighbors in need if we don’t have the space to connect them with addiction and recovery services.

As mentioned before, I would bond with the county for 1,500 new supportive housing units with wraparound services—including mental health and addiction recovery services—to provide the stability and support our most vulnerable residents need for a better future.

This focus on permanent supportive housing will result in less suffering and better long-term outcomes.

Housing and growth: What is your plan to make Seattle more affordable and livable for low- to middle-income residents?

We have taken important steps to create more affordable housing, but if we don’t plan thoughtfully we will find ourselves in another housing crisis down the road.

Non-profit housing organizations like Plymouth Housing can create more housing by the city guaranteeing funds for maintaining current properties--which can cost hundreds of thousands per property. This doesn’t cost taxpayers more, it just leverages the city funds to enable our non-profit developers to do more.

For land sales like the recent Mercer Mega Block, we can’t just rely on getting affordable housing out of the deal. Rather, we should devote at least half of the proceeds to more affordable housing.

Finally, we can dedicate surplus and/or underutilized public lands towards the development of affordable housing.

Through granting these lands to non-profit developers or by dedicating the proceeds of the sale of said lands towards affordable housing construction or operations budgets for permanent supportive housing, we can make our city more livable and more affordable.

I will also ensure we are centering new housing near transit hubs which improves affordability, relieves congestion, and is an important step towards reducing our carbon emissions.

Transit and traffic: Out of all the transportation options, which one is a priority for improvement?

Light rail dramatically transformed transportation in District 3, but there is so much more we need to ensure that our bus system is affordable and reliable.

That is the most important thing we can do to improve accessibility across our city. Working with SDOT, I will prioritize street design that improves transit speed and capacity, including simple signal changes I’ve been advocating for at John & Broadway.

I will also push for connected rapid ride bus lanes, starting with the Madison Street BRT which is in development now between MLK Jr Way and 1st Avenue.

Faster transit and reduced congestion will benefit all road users and help everyone move around the city more efficiently.

By developing a public transit network that truly serves all our neighbors we can help quash congestion and parking zones issues prevalent across the city. I will also prioritize electrifying our city’s bus fleet by 2025 to reduce our carbon footprint and combat climate change.