Sally Bagshaw, a 31-year Seattle-area resident, is the former Chief of the Civil Division for the King County Prosecuting Attorney's office, providing legal advice to leading county officials. Over the last 10 years, she helped establish a clinic at the YWCA's Opportunity Place, where she and other lawyers provided free legal counseling to homeless women. In 2004, she received both the King County Bar Association's Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year award and the State Bar Association's annual award for lawyers in public service in 2004. She retired from the office at the end of 2007.
Bagshaw emphasizes transportation and transit issues, having served as senior legal council for Metro and the King County Department of Transportation. Specifically, Basghaw says that she is satisfied with the current plan to build a bored tunnel to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct, noting that "This solution will keep freight and people moving, connect arterials, fund additional transit, improve connections to the Port, preserve more open public space."
Regarding homelessness, Bagshaw plans to coordinate resources with organizations including Plymouth Housing Group, Wellspring Family Services, the United Way, and other organizations with city and county public resources to serve more homeless people than the current Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness is accomplishing. She acknowledges this is a "bad time to ask people to pay more taxes, but would support increasing taxes specifically to provide adequate food, shelter, and health care for children and adults in need." Bagshaw has been a strong proponent of the establishment and survival of Tent City homeless encampments in Seattle, including Nickelsville, and helped draft the original ordinance allowing for Tent Cities to camp in various King County locations for up to 90 days. "I have visited Tent Cities many times and always appreciate the respect the residents show each other, and how grateful they are to have a safe place to be," she says.
Bagshaw would add funding to the Clean Dreams program, part of the Youth Violence Prevention Initiative, coordinate funding for apprenticeship programs with Seattle Public Schools and local labor organizations, keep late night community centers open and coordinate with neighborhood groups. She does not support the bag tax initiative. "I applaud the objective," she said.
"Unfortunately people are feeling stretched to the max financially, and I prefer to have a one-year moratorium on the 20-cent fee."
"The community needs to make clear where they want public funds to go: large-scale projects or helping those in need," says David Bloom. Bloom has been extremely active in city politics, particularly on issues related to homelessness and low-income housing, for 30 years.
Among other initiatives, Bloom co-founded the Downtown Emergency Service Center, Common Ground, and chaired the Convention Center Coalition. He also founded the Interfaith Task Force on Homelessness. He believes strongly that the city needs long-term, stable, and reliable health and human service funding, and says it can be done without raising taxes. "We can do this by placing it at the top of our City's priorities along with public safety," he says. "We can find efficiencies in the city budget by reducing our top-heavy management system, reducing the use of consultants, including the Mayor's several hundred "strategic advisors," and even possibly performing a zero-based budgeting exercise."
Interestingly, while opposing tax increases for health and human services, Bloom does support the 20- cent bag tax initiative, because, he says, "we must continue to reduce the amount of pollution that we generate". Bloom supports the Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness, but identifies certain inadequacies he intends to address in his campaign. "If we spent just half of the $200 million that was proposed for a new jail," he says, "we could build an additional 1,800 units of low-income housing. And if we passed an inclusionary zoning ordinance, as cities such as Boston, Denver, and San Francisco have done, we could increase low-income housing production over the course of the Ten Year Plan by [approximately] 2,000 units."
Bloom opposes the deep bore tunnel proposal to repair the Alaskan Way for its exorbitant costs, and says he would favor "either a retrofit of the Viaduct, if it can be demonstrated to be safe, or a rebuild." He supports the mayor's youth violence initiative, but maintains that "It must not come at the expense of existing community-based programs that have been demonstrated to work, such as Curb, Youth 180, and Clean Dreams." He anticipates increasing funding to combat issues such as youth violence by "redirecting city investment from big downtown projects into the needs of our neighborhoods, our families, and our children."
Dorsol Plants, one of the youngest candidates running for City Council, and a former U.S. Army Cavalry scout, got his start in Seattle as a volunteer for a local Domestic Violence prevention and victims' services program. He has been an active participant in neighborhood politics in West Seattle since moving to the state. Now the Chair of the Highland Park Action Committee, Plant's campaign emphasizes tackling homelessness in the city, curbing youth violence, and improving inter-government communication, particularly in the realm of health and human services.
Regarding the Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness, he acknowledges it is a good first step, but that the city needs to rearrange the funding that is already in place to the emergency and transitional programs and then re-assess how much more funding is needed to achieve the Plan's goals. He hopes that by expanding emergency and transitional shelters, homeless encampments like Nickelsville will be "no longer necessary" but supports finding Nickelsville a place to stay for as long as is needed.
As a potential site, he proposes revisiting the 34 pieces of public land proposed for the new Municipal Jail, an initiative which he vehemently opposes. If the City were to take steps that cut down on the criminalization of homelessness and expanded the successful Drug Court program, we can significantly lower the number of people we are incarcerating, he explained. "I believe we could search that list of 34 to find a suitable site [for Nickelsville]," Plants adds.
Plants says he would like to see the creation of a website, similar to Craigslist, where shelter workers could communicate with each other about what they need and what they have that others might need.
Plants not only supports the Youth Violence Prevention initiative, but pledged to expand it to cover areas in Lake City and the Central District. He supports Referendum No.1, the bag tax, noting his concern for its effects on working poor families has been addressed by the Referendum campaign's commitment to distributing free bags in food banks and shelters.
Thomas Tobin, a life-long Seattle resident with experience as a Marine Corps officer and a business owner, calls himself "the loud voice that listens."
"I'm running for the people. A regular Joe. I'm not a lawyer. I'm a veteran. I've been here all my life," Tobin said in a recent interview. While he offers few specifics in his platform, he repeatedly emphasized increased government accountability and combating existing internal strife within city government to increase the efficiency of services. Tobin explained that he will hold off on giving specific solutions to issues until he is in office and has all the information. In regards to raising taxes to save local health and human services, he says he would need more information before doing so. When asked, he said he would also have to "look more into" the Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness before stating his opinion on whether or not it is meeting its trajectory goals.
He would like to see a permanent home for Nickelsville, but does not have an idea of where it should be placed. Additionally, Tobin rejects the construction of the bored tunnel to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct, noting that it is too expensive of an undertaking. "Dig and lid makes the most sense," he says. Tobin generally supports the Youth Violence Prevention initiative, but added that he would make sure there is a direct communication line between neighborhood networks and the SPD in order to make the initiative effective at reducing youth violence. Regarding the bag tax, he would not support passing the referendum this year. "The price is too high," says Tobin.
Brian Carver, candidate for city council position four, would draw on his experience working with youth to solve Seattle's problems. He has worked at both the high school and college level with YES! (Youth Empowerment Seminar, or Yoga, Empowerment and Service depending on the level). These programs, of the International Association for Human Values, use yoga, leadership training, and service learning to help students deal with emotions and stress. Carver feels that teaching values that cut across race, religion, or creed -- what he describes as human values -- can help eliminate youth violence in Seattle, which is a priority of his campaign. He supports the Youth Violence Prevention Initiative because he says "the programs that are being funded are actually working."
His experience coordinating volunteers and working with volunteer run programs like YES! also inform his thinking in addressing homelessness in the city. Carver would like to see additional shelters with various social services for homeless people, rather than a permanent home for Nickelsville. He proposes providing the services with volunteer labor as a way to engage the community and save funds given the current budget issues.
"Whole administrations can be run with volunteers if they're committed," he says.
If need be, though, Carver would be willing to support raising taxes to preserve local health and human services, although he would prefer this to come from a state income tax.
Carver, who holds both masters degrees in business and engineering from the University of Washington, does not support the bored tunnel option to replace the Alaskan Way viaduct. Instead, he says, simply repairing the parts at risk would be the least expensive option, and the money saved could go toward improving public transit.