Marty Kaplan, owner and head of a downtown architecture firm and member of the Seattle Planning Commission, says he's running because "I'm best suited at building economic strength and have a strong commitment to neighborhoods. Unless we have the revenue and tax base, we'll continue to struggle. We are missing tremendous opportunities to grow our economic engine."
Kaplan wants to find a fair and dedicated revenue stream for human services. He will pursue some of the county taxing authority currently used for stadium financing, including taxes on hotels, rental cars, and restaurants, "to protect critical services without imposing property, sales, or other regressive taxes."
When asked if he supports a permanent home for Nickelsville on public land, Kaplan says yes, but he understands there are clear legal restrictions on the use of public land. He says he's committed to securing the shelter space and housing options needed in Seattle.
Kaplan is convinced the deep bore tunnel is the best solution for bypassing city streets and that it will enhance opportunities for economic growth, improve the waterfront, and bring new transit, bike and pedestrian choices to the city.
He thinks that the last four years of the Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness have seen some successes, but notes that homelessness has already increased by 2 percent this year. He says the State Housing Trust Fund has been cut in half and it's time to get back on track.
Kaplan supports the Youth Violence Prevention Initiative but says the community needs to do more. According to Kaplan, there are two Seattles, one where communities feel the city serves them well, and the other where communities feel they are left behind and not provided for equally. He thinks more time and resources need to be invested to bring communities together and contain neighborhood violence and gang activity.
Kaplan will vote yes on Referendum 1, imposing a 20-cent fee on disposable shopping bags, and says the fee will help people change their behavior.
Incumbent Nick Licata is campaigning for his fourth term on the City Council, after 12 years and two re-elections, both of which he won handily. He's running, he states, because "Seattle needs a strong advocate for social issues on the Council. If I lost, Seattle wouldn't be a city I would want to live in." He believes that current policies are ignoring a good portion of the Seattle population, including the poor.
Licata says that any tax to save local health and human services should be progressive so that those with the most money pay more. Asked if he supports a permanent home for Nickelsville on public land, he says that finding an open space with environmental and public safety protection is an option. A longer-term fix is to use public money to purchase and renovate cheap apartment buildings which could be run by third-party nonprofits.
Licata is not satisfied with the consensus of a deep bored tunnel, but recognizes that it's a political reality. "What is most important," says Licata, "is that the city's General Fund" -- which pays for basic services -- "not be affected. If the construction cost exceeds expected costs so that our City budget is affected... I would move [that] the City reevaluate and consider a less expensive alternative." Regarding the Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness, he says Seattle needs to pass the Housing Levy first, and then commit to retaining existing low-income housing in the private market. He supports new, progressive forms of taxation to accomplish these goals.
Licata supports the mayor's Youth Violence Prevention Initiative, and says there are three community coordinators in Central, SW and SE Seattle who need to be held accountable to a consortium of community groups that can provide them guidance and assistance, including resources for citizens to mentor to troubled youth. Licata says there needs to be adequate resources for housing and substance abuse, and it's unclear there will be either.
He supports Referendum 1, which places a 20 cent tax on plastic bags, and sponsored and passed legislation to assist low-income residents with the potential financial impact.
Jesse Israel, Marketing and Enterprise Manager for King County Parks, is running because she's impatient that more things aren't getting done. "It's process for the sake of process," she says. "We need new ideas, energy and attitude on the council. Nick Licata is slowing down at a time when things need speeding up."
Israel doesn't support raising taxes to save local health and human services, because raising an already regressive sales tax in tough economic times "just isn't palatable." She says she'll look for ways to keep services strong using existing resources, and by partnering with community-based health and human services organizations.
When asked if she supports a permanent home for Nickelsville on public land, Israel says the City and County should work closely with the non-profit community to find a temporary location. Any long-term solution should include passing the Housing Levy and providing more transitional and permanent low-income housing.
Israel sees the deep bore tunnel as the best long-term solution to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct, and says protecting jobs and the economy are critical to the city's long-term success. She's also concerned that transit improvements are weighted toward suburban cities, leaving bus service wanting. She will work to overturn legislation requiring Seattle property owners to pay for any cost overruns.
Israel doesn't think the Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness is on track to meet its goals by 2014, and instead of funding a new jail, she'd pass the Housing Levy, decriminalize homelessness, and fund mental health, substance abuse and diversion programs.
Israel supports the Youth Violence Prevention Initiative but says that over the years, the City Council has eroded such programs. She cites the highly successful efforts by Council members Cheryl Chow and Martha Choe in the 1990s to significantly reduce gang violence, and calls for a more coordinated effort between families, community groups and schools.
Israel says yes to Referendum 1 imposing a 20 cent fee on disposable shopping bags. She was previously against it because of the burden on small businesses, but changed her mind when she discovered the American Chemistry Council put $1 million into the campaign.