How you helped shape our Seattle and King County voter guide

We’re sending your questions directly to candidates.

A person wearing a face mask places a ballot into a drop box

Meron Worku drops off her ballot on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, at Rainier Beach Community Center, in Seattle, Wash. (Jovelle Tamayo for Crosscut)

The voter guide you helped create is here. 

You and your fellow Crosscut readers supplied the questions we asked Seattle candidates for mayor and city council and their answers are in our new voter guide for Seattle and King County. Thank you for helping us build a “citizens agenda” for this election. Everyone on our team agreed that your questions got to the heart of the challenges Seattle faces right now: from homelessness, to police reform to the economy.

These aren’t easy questions, however, so that is probably why only some of the candidates have sent in their answers. Until Aug. 3, we’ll keep adding more of their responses to the voter guide at least weekly, as they come in. And I’ll keep reminding the candidates that you, the voters, need to hear from them in order to make up your minds.

Want to fill out your ballot with confidence? Check out Crosscut's Seattle and King County Voter Guide to read candidates' responses to our audience's questions, and more.

Here are the questions you asked the candidates: 

On homelessness:

  • Would you eliminate all camping on public property? If so, how?
  • Do you support sweeps even when housing and/or supportive services are unavailable? 
  • What is your plan to reduce the number of unhoused Seattleites? When do you anticipate accomplishing that? How will you pay for your plans? Whose taxes will go up?
  • Agree or disagree: Efforts by the city of Seattle and King County to combat homelessness are having too little effect on the problem, and there’s almost no accountability? How would you measure success?

On housing: 

  • Should the eviction ban continue?
  • Do small landlords need specific support from your administration? If so, what does that look like? 
  • How will you increase the supply of housing that costs less than 30% of renters’ income?
  • Do you support rent control? 
  • What letter grade would you give renters’ protections in Seattle and why? 

On police and public safety:

  • Seattleites have many different views on how to address policing and police violence — from defunding the Seattle Police Department partially or entirely to hiring more officers to address crime. Where do you fall on that spectrum, and how would you use your role to make changes?
  • How would you address the power the police union holds over reform and accountability processes?
  • How would you make police reform efforts more transparent to the public, or get the community more involved? 
  • Do you have alternative ideas for addressing mental health crises in Seattle? 

On taxes and the economy:

  • How can Washington and Seattle build a more progressive tax system to address income inequality without an income tax? How would you make ultra-wealthy individuals and corporations pay more of their share without driving them out of the city?
  • What can we do to help small businesses recover from the pandemic?
  • How will you balance the city budget while being transparent about how the money is spent?
  • Do you have a plan for increasing the amount of affordable housing without increasing property taxes for low- and middle-income families?
  • Would you support establishing or experimenting with a universal basic income? If so, what is your plan and where would the money come from?

On transportation and urban planning:

  • Would you support citywide upzoning to eliminate single-family zoning? 
  • What letter grade would you give Seattle’s urban tree canopy?
  • Some readers are concerned about congested roads and commute times, while others advocate building more bike lanes, public transportation and housing density.  Which group do you expect to vote for you and why? 
  • Where would you get new sources of infrastructure money? What projects would you prioritize?
  • How will you deal with the Magnolia, Ballard and West Seattle bridges?
  • Do you support free public transit? 

As we continue to build our “citizens agenda,” we’re going to keep asking for your help. Right now, we need your feedback on our voter guide, which you can send to us by filling out this short Google Form. I already know that it’s not pretty and it’s a little dense. (We’re working on that. Crosscut loves projects.) Tell us what else you need to know: links to debate videos, information about where to find a ballot drop box, questions you want us to ask certain candidates, etc.

Thank you. We’re listening.

This story was first published in Crosscut's Weekly newsletter. Want to hear more from journalists like Donna Gordon Blankinship? Sign up for the newsletter, below.

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