Sally Bagshaw and David Bloom, running for Seattle City Council Post 4, present voters with differences in views and approaches to governing Seattle.
Bagshaw, a lawyer, draws from her experience as Chief of the Civil Division for the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office under Norm Maleng. She has been active in social causes, earning in 2004 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. Bloom, a pastor as well as a committed advocate for the poor, was co-founder of the Downtown Emergency Service Center and Common Ground, chaired the Convention Center Coalition (working to save affordable housing), founded the Interfaith Task Force on Homelessness and currently sits on the Boards of Real Change and the Seattle Displacement Coalition.
While both candidates support passage of the Housing Levy, Bloom asks for a fundamental shift in priorities. For him, the priority is using resources to create a more equitable balance between the disadvantaged and the advantaged. While Bagshaw includes the homeless in a list of important needs, she responds to Bloom's call for 5,000 new low-income homes by replying that, while sensitive to the issue, now is not the time to fund it. Bloom calls for a higher percentage of low-income units from developers in exchange for zoning allowances of taller buildings.
Bagshaw is a proponent of replacing the Alaskan Way Viaduct with a tunnel, citing the need to move freight from the ports, build a green and pedestrian-friendly waterfront, keep businesses open during construction and create jobs. Bloom does not support the tunnel, weighing its expense against the need for spending on social problems and neighborhood infrastructure; he wavers between a rebuild of the viaduct or a retrofit. Both see a need to plan regionally to solve transportation concerns.
Both candidates have a respect for the role that business plays in a vibrant economy. Bagshaw emphasizes jobs as a number one concern, seeing Seattle as becoming a leader in green technology, and is more supportive of business interests. Bagshaw supports the repeal of the $25 per person Employee Head Tax, which pays for public transit, whereas Bloom would vote to retain it. Bagshaw supports the Mercer Street makeover; Bloom does not. Bloom would push for a higher percentage of low-income housing units from developers; he also proposes a living wage, stating that the minimum wage no longer allows people to live close to jobs.
In criminal justice, both candidates favor diversionary programs for nonviolent offenders such as education and drug treatment rather than jail time. They cite a number of programs that have worked, and are working, for youth and adults. Neither supports the proposal for a new jail. As to the proposed ban on panhandling, Bloom sees it aimed in part at the homeless, and notes that there are already ordinances against aggressive behavior. Bagshaw would support the ban, at least in some locales such as the vicinity of ATM machines.
Finally, Bagshaw states that the councilmember whose views are closest to hers is Tim Burgess, while Bloom states that his own views are closest to Nick Licata's. The styles of the candidates are quite dissimilar--Bagshaw: articulate, dynamic, ready with an answer; Bloom: steady and persistent, coming back repeatedly to core values.