There are lots of necessary policy choices we can make that will relieve some of our housing shortfalls: lift most zoning restrictions, get rid of the design review process for all affordable housing projects, and cut the red tape currently choking out the conversion of empty commercial spaces into residential places.
Far too many properties are sitting empty while our neighbors struggle to afford rising rents and the dream of homeownership continues to escape a majority of Seattleites. We need a vacancy tax to make sure property owners are incentivized to either help house folks or help the housing market! There has also been a dramatic increase in short-term rentals as the wealthy buy up homes as investment properties further constricting the supply of available housing. We need to dramatically increase the tax on these properties - currently at 9%, to 50% to put an end to this trend! This tax revenue will support affordable housing projects.
Encampments are not just unsightly, they're fundamentally unsafe and they become bastions of criminal behavior. We need to construct non-congregate alternatives with wrap-around services and help stop the suffering.
We need to do a better job of actually enforcing the law. Poverty may be a predictor for a number of crimes but it is rarely a predeterminer. I've spent my entire legal career, the last 12 years, working as a public defender. I care about the poor, but that does not mean I think it's ok to steal a neighbor's car, or their bicycle, or anything else. Property crime is still crime, and we deserve a city that is trying to prevent and even prosecute crime.
There are lots of alternatives to incarceration that can better serve the community and whenever those options are available and appropriate we should pursue them. Sometimes that means community service. It could mean a commitment to engaging in substance use or behavioral health treatment programs. Whatever punishment follows we always need to keep an eye towards the future to ensure people passing through the system are given paths to recovery/redemption and not simply setup to recidivate.
There is a tremendous problem right now with the relationship between SPD and the community it exists to protect, the lack of trust is demoralizing for officers and distressing for the community.
You never know when a mental health crisis is going to strike. Our in-patient beds provide a critical opportunity for people suffering from acute mental health episodes to receive treatment in safe and (mostly) therapeutic environments as opposed to our jails which too often house people that should be receiving mental healthcare not incarceration.
I will work to see that HB1724 is signed into law so that we can remove some of the unnecessary barriers that are making WA state inhospitable to MH care providers who want to move here from out of state.
Living with a mood disorder I know firsthand the devastating effects of society's stigma surrounding mental illness. We need to make Washington a leader in the country by fostering healthy dialogue about mental health and actively working to end the stigma to make sure people are not afraid to seek help and that we can as a community better care for one another.
I will always prioritize pedestrian safety over vehicular convenience. Pot holes are not just hazards for our cars but they can be death traps for our cyclists.
Pedestrianization is a fantastic opportunity to simultaneously revitalize our businesses, improve our air quality, enhance our communities' aesthetics, and encourage people to be more active!
E-Bikes and scooters are here to stay, but with a vast majority of riders being without helmets, we need to ensure that we are making every reasonable effort to maintain safe opportunities for pedestrian travel.
This city is made up of a rich landscape with a plethora of natural and man-made wonder. From the countless iconic statues to our many parks to our homes and businesses too, far too much of our city has been marked by a small but prolific group of vandals. I'm the only person running in District 3 who is committed to tackling the torrent of tags tarnishing our beautiful city.
The nuisance laws here in Seattle already create an onus on businesses to clear graffiti off their property within 10 days (48 hours if the tag includes hate speech or obvious gang content), but the City doesn't do nearly enough to help business owners defray the costs associated with these repairs.
As if it wasn't bad enough that spray paint is the tagger's weapon of choice, the cans are also terrible for our environment! One way we can discourage tagging is by placing a tax on the cans themselves. We would make sure the money from the tax would go exclusively to helping tackle the graffiti problem in the city.
An income tax could go a long way towards resolving this problem, but unfortunately that's not a possibility. What's the next best thing? The jumpstart tax. I propose a 50% increase, from: 0.7% - 2.4% to 1.05% - 3.6%.
Should a $10 t-shirt face the same effective tax rate as a $500 shirt? What if goods under $50 didn't have a sales tax at all? A modest increase on the sales tax on the very expensive indulgences of the wealthy could more than make up for the difference. Adopting a policy like this would immediately eliminate the most regressive nature of our tax system.
The State already has a litter tax, though it is a paltry "15-one thousandths of one-percent." Let's levy our own litter tax on those goods that are most likely to end up in our gutters, parks, streets and our waterways and use the proceeds to fund jobs to help us clean up our city.