Civic leaders and members of the Asian Pacific Islander (API) community filled Nagomi Tea House on October 12 to hear local candidates’ appeals before the November 7 general election.
Mayoral candidates Cary Moon and Jenny Durkan presented their visions for the city and how they would tackle issues facing the API community.
They both emphasized the importance of affordable housing, particularly for seniors, and encouraging small business development.
Each also advocated for greater representation of the API community in city leadership.
“I want people around me as mayor who are going to reflect this city and these communities,” Durkan said.
Moon said there is an imbalance of power across Seattle and a need for greater representation across gender, class, and race, particularly for the API community.
“You’ve been locked out of power too long,” she said.
When given the opportunity to ask her opponent a question, Durkan asked Moon what she would do to find the killer of Donnie Chin, the beloved founder of the International District Emergency Center, who was shot and killed two years ago.
Moon said the police needed to listen to the community and make them feel heard, and to share more info on the investigation. She said she’d double down on outreach.
Moon also said there needed to be a unified police precinct, rather than the current situation, with two police precincts splitting the neighborhood, one covering Chinatown International District and the other covering Little Saigon.
Durkan said she’d push for a larger reward for information on Chin’s killer, and distribute flyers in multiple languages. And she’d expect police to review the investigation’s status and brief her within her first few weeks in office.
“This community lost a lot in public safety, and we have to make up that difference,” Durkan said.
The candidates challenged each other on who was better prepared to lead the city, with Durkan highlighting her experience with Seattle law enforcement issues, such as the consent decree she helped implement while she was U.S. Attorney for Western Washington, and Moon focusing on her urban planning experience.
While working on the Pioneer Square neighborhood plan, Moon said she realized that the Chinatown International District is “the most diverse, most precious, and most at-risk” of Seattle’s neighborhoods.
“If we get [the solutions] right here, we can get them right everywhere,” she said.
City Council Position 8
Jon Grant and Teresa Mosqueda are competing for city council Position 8, an at-large position representing the entire city rather than one district. The seat was vacated by Tim Burgess when he announced he was retiring (Burgess has since assumed the role of mayor after former mayor Ed Murray’s resigned following allegations of child sexual abuse).
Grant emphasized the need for bold policies to address inequality and Mosqueda pushed for community-led change led by people with lived experience of the issues, highlighting her own experience as a woman of color.
Grant wants to require developers to set aside 25 percent of new development as affordable. This is a large increase from the current Mandatory Housing Affordability plan, in which only seven percent of housing in the CID would be set aside as affordable.
“The city’s affordable housing plan is not affordable to this community,” Grant said.
Mosqueda spoke about her work with The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), and said she wanted to create a health plan for everyone, regardless of citizenship status, while also improving access to child care.
“It’s about how we address the inequity in education, in health outcomes, in opportunity in our community,” Mosqueda said.
City Council Position 9
Pat Murakami is challenging Lorena González for City Council Position 9, also an at-large position.
Murakami focused on housing affordability and public safety, while González highlighted her work for immigrants.
Seattle only has 60 percent as many police officers as a city its size should, González said.
She also said city policies need to change, such as how street improvements are funded, comparing the current process to The Hunger Games.
González said she wanted to double the legal defense fund for those facing deportation.
“I’m the proud daughter of immigrants,” she said.
Gonzalez said single-family housing was not the solution for housing affordability, while Murakami said “tearing down carbon-neutral homes that are well-built is not the answer.”
“Developers should serve us, we should not be serving developers,” Murakami said.
Candidates for three open Port of Seattle Commission seats highlighted their positions on economic growth, sustainability, and immigration, while focusing on the Port’s role in creating jobs and fueling the economy.
“Everyone in King County pays taxes into the port; everyone should share in port prosperity,” said Position 3 incumbent John Creighton.
He said a second regional airport is needed for cargo, and that federal restrictions on Port money needed to be changed by Congress in order to make it easier to invest in the surrounding community.
His opponent Ryan Calkins said the port can facilitate immigration, and he would like to make it a sanctuary port.
He said the region needs more high-speed rail, and to not be as reliant on short-haul flights. Referencing the Sound Transit light rail expansion, he said “that discussion needs to start a generation before.”
For Position 4, Ahmed Abdi is challenging incumbent Stephanie Bowman.
Abdi said he’s running because the Port has for a “long time neglected the people [who] live around airport’s values and needs.”
Position 1 candidate Preeti Shridhar was absent and represented by her campaign manager against opponent Peter Steinbrueck.
The general election is on November 7. Ballots will be mailed out by October 20.