An Equitable & Livable Seattle
A healthy community is where residents feel safe, empowered, and have the resources and infrastructure for self determination and protection from harm. This includes being safe and healthy in our communities, especially for Black, Indigenous and other People of Color communities. To invest in our community’s health and safety, we must work to expand the capacity of community solutions that move us away from past harmful policing and a reliance on the criminal legal system. This includes deep investment in upstream restorative community-health oriented solutions. As we move away from our reliance on the criminal legal system to address issues that are a public health crisis we must decriminalize poverty, homelessness and addiction. We have made some important improvements, but there is much more to be done.
A livable, safe and equitable Seattle means we must invest in the health and stability for Seattleites of all ages, abilities, races and genders. This includes the health and safety of our elders who, due to the isolating effects of COVID, are more likely to experience depression or neglect and need access to care, companionship and healthy meals. This includes the health and safety of kiddos, elders, pedestrians, bicyclists, and folks with disabilities, who far too often have their lives and limbs jeopardized by unsafe roads or inaccessible transit. We have made some important strides toward reimagining public safety, reducing reliance on the criminal legal system, rethinking the prioritization of cars over people, but we must continue to do more by:
Redirecting all mental health calls away from 911 armed officer responses, and to the health-focused firefighter response teams, including Health One, and community led solutions.
Investing in upstreams solutions that help reduce the likelihood that people will encounter armed offices by funding more mental health support, rapid housing options, addiction treatment options, and equitable work opportunities.
Streamlining the process to report signs of danger for young people, teachers, and caregivers, as we also strengthen gun responsibility laws locally.
Supporting seniors through care and meal programs, prevention from displacement and isolation by building multi-generational housing, community centers and investing in more nutrition and social programming.
Following through on Vision Zero priorities, finishing the bike master plan, supporting rapid bus ride routes, building a connected Seattle through expanded light rail, making the safe streets program permanent to allow for street vacations and more car-free roads around Seattle.
Expediting the Move Seattle Levy investments in busses, sidewalks, bikes, greenways to show the headline projects that voters supported are actually being implemented.
Prioritize bike lanes in our street-scape instead of prioritizing center turn lanes and multi-lane roads that increase speed and harm to cyclists and pedestrians.
Learn more about my plans to build more equitable and livable Seattle for all:
In the wake of the killing of George Floyd, Seattle, like cities across the country, rose up and demanded better from our publicly-funded safety response. We had to face our long history of investing in systems that have brought harm and trauma to Queer, Trans, BIPOC, and low income communities. The uprising realigned what our north star is. Community safety should not be defined by punitive systems, instead it should be about taking a holistic approach and addressing the root causes of why our residents end up in the criminal legal system in the first place. We know that state sanctioned violence against marginalized communities has gone on for far too long and we cannot continue with business as usual – people’s lives depend on it. Creating progressive policy that pursues healing from the trauma that many in marginalized communities hold, means centering their voices and ensuring they are not only at the table, but defining what the table is in the first place. This is particularly important for our BIPOC, low-wage, and immigrant community members who often don’t feel safe calling 911 and with whom we must rebuild trust in order to generate community safety. Over the next four years, we will continue to invest in alternatives to punitive systems and instead in community health and safety by:
- Scoping our armed police force response to matters that require police attention and not to situations that should have a social worker or case manager;
- Investing in mental health support, rapid housing options, and equitable work opportunities that lessen the chance an individual will encounter police or the legal system by creating additional stability.
- Redirecting funds to programs that decriminalize poverty, homelessness and addiction, and invest in policies that promote healing through community-oriented policing solutions.
- Redirecting mental health calls away from 911 armed officer responses, and to the health-focused firefighter response teams, including Health One, and community led solutions for calls that may pose a risk of self-harm or danger to others based on behavioral indicators.
- Advancing more multidisciplinary co-responder crisis teams that include mental health professionals, social workers, and crisis counselors.
With a background in public health, I understand the importance of gun responsibility for our communities, public safety and our population’s health. We have the opportunity to prevent gun violence, gun deaths, and suicides with local regulation. Using a holistic approach, by including communities and survivors most impacted by gun violence in policy solutions, we can address this growing problem. As your Seattle City Councilmember, I will champion efforts to increase awareness, restore local control, improve the collection of gun data and enhance gun responsibility laws. We can also streamline the process for young people, teachers, and caregivers to report signs of danger from a fellow student or co-worker who exhibits signs of violence, as we also strengthen gun responsibility laws locally.
- Support pilot programs, such as gunshot echo tracking, to help isolate and address hot-spots of gun violence and better train law enforcement and neighborhood leaders to reduce the factors that too often lead to tragedy.
- Continue to invest in youth gun-violence prevention strategies that public health and safety experts have identified lessen the chance youth will ever pick up a gun in the first place.
- Streamline the process for young people, teachers, and caregivers to report signs of danger from a fellow student or co-worker who exhibits signs of violence, as we also strengthen gun responsibility laws locally.
COVID has left many of our elders in Seattle without the supportive services and safety net for social interaction, healthy food, and resources to prevent abuse and neglect. Our seniors far too often face the reality of rising property taxes and fees that stretch those who are on a fixed income to the limits. Our elders have worked their entire lives, so we should ensure that now every senior has access to food security, housing options, supportive services, intergenerational housing and programming options. And for seniors as well as all who need access to safe corridors, I will continue to invest in infrastructure to create safe sidewalks, walking paths, greenways and parks. I will work with our communities to provide more senior housing options, food assistance and social programs, senior centers for more access to services and multi-generational programming. I will work to reverse the consequences of isolation and stress that COVID has made worse so seniors can continue to be such an important part of our city as we open back up.
- Advance Seattle’s Age Friendly Initiative to promote infrastructure improvements and community & health services so our seniors and families can get around.
- Complement federal programs with city resources to enhance the meals for seniors and supportive housing options.
- Develop safe, affordable, accessible, and interactive places for seniors to retire “in-place” in Seattle with the long-term support services they need.
- Invest in clean and accessible public spaces, parks, greenways, non-scheduled playfield times, and community pools/center activities—equitably throughout Seattle.
Time spent in traffic jeopardizes our health, and our ability to move freight and support our businesses. Our region has incredible investments in the form of Sound Transit’s Move Seattle levy, but the recession has impacted these revenue streams and we must look for additional ways to do more to ensure we create real and immediate transportation solutions. In response to COVID, Seattle’s Stay Healthy Blocks has created open spaces for people to walk, roll, and play in calm neighborhood streets while remaining socially distanced. While enjoyed by many, the program is currently inequitable, signs are removed, and car-free zones too often ignored. But there is opportunity – we can create safe and healthy spaces by allowing these spaces to remain Stay Healthy Blocks for all to enjoy. As your City Councilmember, I will push to make these temporary programs permanent. I will push to expedite infrastructure projects to better connect our city so we have safe streets, bikeable and walkable communities, and public transportation solutions. I will work toward a goal where everyone who doesn’t have a car has equitable access to transit, accessibility and mobility options. Transit and safe streets are critical to achieve a safe, livable, and green Seattle.
- Complete the cycling infrastructure master plan to connect our communities, workplaces, and commerce.
- Support Transit Oriented Development for housing and businesses to create more walkable, livable communities.
- Build more sidewalks to promote safe routes to schools and safe walkways for those using strollers, walkers or wheelchairs.
- Improve our roads by slowing traffic in residential areas, filling potholes and fixing unsafe surfaces.
- Expand the bus pass program for essential workers needing to get to workplaces and stay connected to community.
- Maintain Stay Healthy Blocks, provide the necessary equipment to street permit holders to close the blocks, and assist residents to maintain and start Stay Healthy Blocks, especially in areas without adequate open space.
- Work with our County and city to create accurate real-time information about transit options to know exactly when the busses are coming, and respect people’s time, as One Bus Away is often inaccurate.
Healthcare is a human right, and that is why I have led efforts to increase access to this basic need for all members of our community. No one should be denied care when they need it and your healthcare status should not be tied to your job. The already inequitable health status within our communities of color and low-wage workers, has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic resulting in growing disparities in access to care, coverage, and treatment, especially for Black and Brown folks. As your Councilmember citywide, I will continue to fight against the attacks on women’s reproductive justice and comprehensive care for our LGBTQ community. Recognizing opioid crisis and suicide levels are now at worse levels than pre-pandemic, I will fight to secure more funding for behavioral health needs especially as the pandemic has only worsen and compounded stress and substance abuse in our community. Our seniors who call Seattle their home must also be sufficiently supported with their health care, that is why I have worked to advance Seattle’s Age Friendly Initiative and develop safe, affordable, accessible, and interactive places for seniors to retire “in-place” in Seattle. Lastly, as our climate continues to change, improving our environmental health through protecting people from smoke and heat will be critical for summers to come. While we certainly have made some progress in health care reform, I believe there is still much to be done to support the physical and mental health of all in our community.
I am proud of the work we have done so far to expand healthcare and protect our community, and I will build on these efforts in my next term with your support:
- Served on the Public Health Seattle/King County Board of Health and Chaired the Health Committee
- Helped lead the passage of Initiative 1433 to provide paid sick and safe leave for all workers in our state
- Served as the Consumer Advocate on the Health Benefit Exchange Board that oversaw the Affordable Care Act implementation
- Staunch and vocal advocate for Medicare for All
- Led the coalition that fought for the implementation of Apple Health for Kids to ensure every child in WA is covered by health insurance
- Sponsored and led the passage of the Hotel Workers Bill of Rights that, among other protections, guarantees high quality healthcare and protections for hotel workers
- Expanded sick leave to Ap-Based Drivers, like Lyft and Uber, to make sure that these essential workers who have their car as their workplace also had access to paid sick and safe leave, during the pandemic and beyond