I’m running for City Council to bring accountability and practical thinking to City Hall. I’m committed to increasing housing access for people of all ages and incomes, making it easier for people to get to and through the City, providing all of Seattle’s children the opportunity to reach their full potential, and setting Seattle up for long term success. Having worked on many of Seattle’s most complex housing and transportation projects, I bring practical real-world experience to Council.

Every resident of Seattle and District 7 deserves…

 

A Place to Live.

A City is its people. Rising housing costs are gutting Seattle of the very diversity that makes it special.

As a Councilmember, I will

george_familypics_2018-100.jpg

The city’s role is to do everything in its power to address our housing affordability and homelessness crisis. In terms of where I would spend my energy, leadership, and resources to have the greatest impact, I would focus on the area in which I am strongest: I am the only candidate who truly understands the complexities and process that goes into building affordable housing. I have spent my career successfully working on large affordable housing and transportation projects, and I want to use my expertise in this area to scale up Seattle’s efforts to build more affordable housing, more efficiently.

  • Work toward more housing at all income levels, particularly middle-income housing targeted at young adults, families with children, and seniors in all neighborhoods.

  • Better leverage the property around our transit stations. After housing, transportation costs are the second largest expense for most families. Mixed income housing that is connected to high quality public transit can significantly reduce a family’s expenses if it lets them live car-free.

  • Work toward smarter zoning reforms that both respond to neighborhood concerns and actually produce middle income housing.

  • Build permanent and supportive housing with wrap around services for those suffering from mental health and drug addiction. People need to be moved off the streets and into care.

  • Prevent homelessness before it starts by expanding programs aimed at keeping people in their homes. It is more cost effective to keep people out of homelessness than to pull them out of it. Programs include the Landlord Liaison program, debt counseling, transportation and utility assistance, legal and job support services, and short-term rental assistance.

  • Work with King County to create robust release plans for inmates transitioning out of King County’s Correctional Facility downtown. Releasing people onto Seattle’s streets with inadequate support adds to Seattle’s homeless crisis.

  • Break the cycle of homelessness by creating targeted “support network programs” aimed at two groups, which combined make up almost 85% of Seattle’s homeless youth:

    • Foster children who have aged out of care make up 40% of homeless youth. We need to advance housing, job, and emotional support programs for foster children.

    • Children leaving youth detention make up an additional 44% of homeless youth. We must increase programs that divert and support children from youth detention.

  • Expand the Multi-Family Tax Exemption (MFTE) Program by extending the term from 12 to 24 years, expanding its geographic reach, and by including existing buildings in the program.

  • Exempt affordable housing from sales taxes and permitting fees.

  • Fix the broken permitting process that unnecessarily drives up the cost of housing.

  • Streamline the public property disposition process. Work with the Office of Housing and others to adjust funding and RFP/RFQ requirements to incentivize more cost effective housing types like subsidized SROs for single occupant households.

  • Create a strong land acquisition loans program to take advantage of in-the-moment land banking opportunities for affordable housing.

Work with the State to enact requirements that all cities in the region be responsible for solving the housing affordability crisis. Seattle can lead, but other cities must follow. All cities and counties in the Region must plan for and fund their fair share of the region's extremely low income housing and services targeted at the hardest to serve populations. This fair-share funding requirement should be based on total population, not the homeless population for each city. Similar to the structure to enforce the Growth Management Act of the 1990s, sanctions can be imposed on cities and counties that do not comply.

 

A Bright Future

There is a direct connection between the opportunities we provide our children and the success of our City now and in the future.

george_familypics_2018-55.jpg

I served on both the “Seattle Public Schools Facilities Master Task Force” and the “Capacity Task Force “for the last School Levy, and saw the severity of overcrowding and underfunding in our public schools. I have also spent the last seven years working to bring more public school capacity to District 7 and co-founded the non-profit Parents for a Better Downtown Seattle.

There is also a shortage of daycare space for working families in Seattle.  As a parent with young children in District 7, I’ve been personally affected by the challenge of daycare facilities daycare waitlists that are over a year long.  There are a number of steps we could take to encourage more daycare capacity.

As your Council Member, the following are a few of the steps I would put forward to resolve these issues.

Daycare

  • We need to expand our supply of daycare centers.  Let’s alleviate unnecessary regulatory barriers and restructure the day care licensing process. Create a public low/no interest revolving loan fund for existing daycare facilities to enable them to meet the additional building requirements needed to expand from half-day to full-day care.

  • We need to find creative ways to get more use out of our limited public spaces.  Meeting outdoor space requirements is both difficult and costly in urban areas. I would propose a plan to build urban playgrounds (and/or possibly use existing playgrounds) that are open to the public on evenings and weekends, but are available to daycares during weekday business hours.

  • We need creative solutions to bring lower-cost daycare to Seattle.  Support the expansion of alternative, low cost daycares like “Tiny Trees” which partner with public parks to create class space.

K-12 Public Schools

  • We need a District 7 high school.  I would work in partnership with Seattle Public Schools to bring to bring a comprehensive high school to District 7.

  • We need a downtown elementary or K-8 school in District 7.  Work in partnership with Seattle Public schools to create downtown elementary school to serve the growing downtown school age population. This is not only important for Downtown families, but would also relieve overcrowding in surrounding elementary schools.

Apprenticeships/Trade Schools

  • We need more routes to alternative education paths. From carpentry to tech, many of Seattle's high paying industries face a severe lack of skilled labor.  I would partner labor and business groups to expand apprenticeship programs and ensure Seattle students are prepared to get these family wage jobs.

Community Centers

  • Both the Queen Anne and Magnolia Community Centers need serious renovation, upgrades, and possibly replacement, and the adequate budget for necessary services and maintenance. These are two of the most heavily used community centers in Seattle.  Both have long wait lists for daycare and need more room for daycare/childcare.

  • We need more community centers.  Downtown is made up of many of Seattle’s fastest growing neighborhoods. The only community center serving downtown was not designed to meet the needs of the community and was recently shut down.  Downtown desperately needs a well designed community center, and I will push to make that happen.

 

A Way to Get Around.

george_familypics_2018-96.jpg

Whether driving, riding transit, walking, biking or moving freight, we all need safe, reliable, and affordable ways to get around.

I am the only person in this race with experience working on transportation projects. Over my career I have worked on major public transportation projects across the northwest and am currently working on a Light Rail System and three Bus Rapid Transit projects. I have also been professionally involved in every major Transit Oriented Development built and planned by Sound Transit and King County Metro over the last decade. I know how to get major infrastructure projects funded and how to leverage them to best serve District 7.

As a Councilmember, I will

  • Work tirelessly to relieve congestion and better leverage our transit investments.  

    • Work with Sound Transit to expedite light rail service through District 7

    • Focus on increasing the frequency and reach of high quality bus service.

    • Create more circulator bus routes to connect people in Queen Anne and Magnolia to high-capacity bus and light rail service.

  • Focus on the basics, like potholes and failing bridges.

    • I’m in favor of a one-for-one replacement of the Magnolia Bridge, and am the only candidate that has worked on complex projects in Interbay. I understand the unique financial, physical, and regulatory challenges projects face in Interbay. I also have deep experience making complex infrastructure projects happen.

    • There are a number of streets in our district that suffer from deferred maintenance. I will work with SDOT to make road maintenance throughout the City a priority.

  • Advocate for more sidewalks, curb-cuts, crosswalks, and other pedestrian improvements across the city.

    • Focus pedestrian safety investments within school walk zones.

    • Consider the unique needs of seniors, families with strollers, and people with disabilities when building new infrastructure.

  • Better integrate housing and transportation planning.

    • Create plans, policies, and regulations supportive of transit oriented development within a five-minute walk of high capacity transit service. 

    • Improve pedestrian access within the five-minute walk of high capacity transit service to increase ridership.

  • To be efficient and fair transportation system must serve diverse demands. I will ensure that our diverse transportation modes are better coordinated to:

    • Reduce environmental impacts and carbon footprint.

    • Improve land use efficiency, health, and economic vitality.

    • Improve people’s transportation choices and their ability to access jobs, shopping, and services efficiently, safely, reliably, and affordably.