Bob on the Issues
PUBLIC SAFETY: No more excuses.
Get Serious About Crime Reduction.
The first step to addressing public safety is to acknowledge crime’s impacts. Public safety is the City’s core responsibility. Unfortunately, the incumbent has ignored the reality on the ground – we have a problem with crime. Statistics do not capture the true level of property crime or capture the psychological and emotional impacts beyond the loss of property. Put simply, people are being harmed.
The plan forward is clear. We must fully fund and adequately staff the police department based on what the data indicates are needed staffing levels to address current rates of violent crime and property crime. When you call 9-1-1 for help, you deserve a fast and effective response.
Change City Council's approach to public safety.
Andrew Lewis and the Council’s pledge to defund SPD by 50% was unrealistic, irresponsible, and undercut the police department’s mission and ability to implement reform. We need a new approach, where the police department is one part of a larger public safety framework that includes mental health services and other unarmed responses. We can promote both public safety and public health.
More officers with more community connections.
I support allocating additional resources to training, recruitment, and community policing. We need to attract officers from throughout the city and region; demand greater accountability and transparency; and provide the vocational training (such as Crisis Response Training) needed to create a department capable of facing today's challenges. This includes creating additional non-police responders. Finally, I am a huge proponent of neighborhood “beat cops” who develop long lasting relationships with the communities they serve.
Lastly, we can and must invest in social support services that can treat the conditions that lead to crime. We cannot ignore the reality of crime in our city today. That means tackling root causes, too.
HOMELESSNESS: Effective wrap-around support for those in crisis.
Fix our broken public health system.
The status quo is not acceptable. I share your frustrations with the current Council for their apparent embrace of open drug use and drug dealing, from Downtown to the Dexter overpass on Aurora and elsewhere in our neighborhoods. That has included lethal fentanyl, which is claiming the lives of over 500 of our community members each year. We cannot solve our public safety issues without addressing behavioral health. I support Mayor Harrell’s approach, which will re-start enforcement against drug dealers and provide support for those willing to accept treatment.
But we can’t stop there. This is an “all hands on deck” situation, and our local and state governments are failing. Washington State ranks in the same bracket of per-capita mental health spending as Alabama and Mississippi. It’s no wonder that our largest city is struggling with these crises. We absolutely need more hospitals beds to provide care for those who need it, including addiction centers.
As your Councilmember, I’ll demand that all levels of government do their part to come up with effective options to for mental health and addiction treatment services. We can’t do this on our own, but we also can’t expect the state to do its part without strong local leadership.
Restore public spaces.
We can’t have permanent encampments on city parks, near schools, and on sidewalks. The Council has taken no steps to address this. Not only are encampments public safety threats – most significantly to our unhoused neighbors – but, by blocking sidewalks, we’re infringing on the rights of individuals with disabilities and hurting our neighborhood small businesses.
We’ve finally built up shelter capacity to offer a humane temporary housing solution for anyone willing to accept it. There is still so much more to be done to improve shelter and service access for our unhoused neighbors. However, it’s time to demand an end to the status quo of encampments.
Build more affordable housing.
Mental health and addiction treatment is only one part of the puzzle. We must also significantly increase the construction of affordable housing at all levels, across the city. Even with the boom in construction since 2006, we haven’t been able to keep up with the growing number of jobs that attracted new residents, and most of that construction hasn’t been affordable for the people living in Seattle now.
Implement performance measures.
Over a decade into this crisis, it’s ridiculous that City Council is not consistently measuring the performance of expensive programs. They aren’t only failing the taxpayers – they are also failing to protect the well-being of the vulnerable. We do not have the luxury of infinite resources to waste money, and it’s morally inexcusable that we’re continuing to leave people without needed support. I will focus City resources on what we know works – to change, and even save, lives.
OUR NEIGHBORHOODS: Stop neglecting them.
Restore Downtown - no excuses.
Downtown Seattle is incredibly important to our city. It’s our economic engine, providing both jobs and over half of the City’s General Fund. It’s also the source of so much of what makes Seattle an incredible town. We should be proud to bring friends and family to Pike Place Market, Seattle Center, or our new Waterfront Park. Despite representing Downtown, the incumbent has been part of Council’s inaction.
My plan for Downtown has several parts. First, I will make Downtown Seattle a better place to do business – especially for small businesses, who have suffered terribly in recent years. Unlike the incumbent, I will take an active role in recruiting and incentivizing new businesses, especially flagship stores and grocery stores. Second, we must make our Downtown streets pleasant places for residents and tourists. That starts with addressing street disorder and trash, but includes graffiti removal and adding arts spaces. Finally, I will invest in renewing our downtown parks and public spaces. Here too, the proof of the incumbent’s failure is clear as day. We must build on the recent renewal of the Metropolitan Improvement District to keep our downtown streets clean and vibrant.
Create and maintain our social infrastructure.
Seattle has so many amazing assets! From our educated and skilled workforce, to our natural resources, to our local and global businesses, we have more strengths than many peer cities. But we can do better to expand opportunity. I’ll work to deliver universal pre-k, expanding community colleges, and investing in vocational training.
Invest in all of our District.
District 7 may be the “Downtown District” – but all of District 7 deserves representation.
On the Board of Queen Anne Community Council, I have worked on issues affecting Queen Anne, Uptown, and Westlake. I bring deep familiarity with these neighborhoods and their block-by-block concerns.
I recognize the deep strategic importance of Interbay, both as a bastion of our traditional maritime industries, and as a growing residential community. As a “newly imagined” neighborhood, Interbay offers an opportunity for Seattle to grow smart, along with our workforce.
While redistricting removed much of Magnolia from District 7, the full neighborhood shares many unified concerns. I pledge to keep my door open to all Magnolians with neighborhood concerns.
While they may be part of “Greater Downtown,” neighborhoods like Belltown, Denny Triangle, and South Lake Union have unique employment bases, residential profiles, and street-level concerns. They have also seen some of the city’s most new residents. Right now, City Council is failing these neighborhoods and their growing populations. We can make Greater Downtown a place of safe, clean streets and parks … but it’s going to take a change in leadership.
It all comes down to one thing: Leadership that delivers.
Slowly, we’re seeing conditions in Seattle improve. Unfortunately, this has been because of the resilience of the city and its residents, not thanks to local leadership. Seattle deserves a City Council that’s a help, not a hinderance. My vision for Seattle is clear: Vibrant neighborhood business districts; clean, safe, and green parks; and a community where everyone feels they have the opportunity to succeed.
Our city needs action on the challenges we face. Even more, we need strong leadership at all levels. Seattle and our District 7 community can be safe and welcoming for its residents, workers, and visitors, regardless of race, sex, disability, age, sexual orientation, or gender identity. It starts with leadership that is responsive, accountable, and willing to make a change.
I ask for your vote.