New Evergreen High School part of a Highline district bond measure headed for your November ballot

June 23rd, 2022 Tracy Posted in Election, Highline School District, White Center news No Comments »

(Highline Public Schools photo – from left, board members Joe Van, Angelica Alvarez, Azeb Hagos. Aaron Garcia

Highline School Board members hope you’ll support a bond measure they’ve sent to the November ballot, to pay for projects including a new Evergreen High School. Here’s the announcement:

The Highline School Board voted unanimously to place the next school bond on November 8 election ballots as recommended by the volunteer-led Capital Facilities Advisory Committee (CFAC).

The construction bond would pay to rebuild two high schools and a middle school plus fund critical capital needs and improvement projects across the district.

Voters must approve a capital construction bond by 60 percent for the funding measure to pass. If approved, here is the estimated timeline:

Rebuild Evergreen High School — open in fall 2025
Rebuild Tyee High School — open in fall 2025
Rebuild Pacific Middle School — open in fall 2027

Three new schools built with funding from the previous 2016 bond were completed on time and under budget, continuing Highline’s 20-year track record of on-time, on-budget construction.

The district decided to run a bond now for these reasons:

Previous school bonds replaced aging schools for students in Des Moines and Burien. The 2022 bond would replace aging schools in SeaTac and White Center so students across our district have safe and modern places to learn.

The designs for new schools at Evergreen, Tyee and Pacific were funded by the 2016 bond.

This funding measure would not raise the current tax rate due to expiring taxes.

The 2016 bond projects were completed $10 million under budget—this savings is being applied to the costs of the 2022 projects, decreasing the cost to taxpayers.

Approval of this bond would trigger $34 million in additional funding. The funds would come from the Federal Aviation Administration and the Port of Seattle for noise mitigation, and from the state School Construction Assistance Program.

Capped Bond Amount
The bond would raise $518,397,000. The district can only collect that amount and not more. If property values go up more than projected, the tax percentage rate goes down per $1,000 of value.

Critical Capital Improvements Fund Included in Bond
The $17 million fund for critical capital needs and improvements in the November 2022 bond includes roofing, painting, emergency repairs and other improvements districtwide like replacing the Sylvester Middle School dirt field with synthetic turf.

More details and answers to questions are available on Highline’s 2022 Bond website: highlineschools.org/bond.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

VIDEO: King County Executive comes to White Center to announce land-conservation ballot measure

May 19th, 2022 Tracy Posted in Election, Environment, King County, White Center news 1 Comment »

(Also published on partner site West Seattle Blog)

(WSB/WCN photo)

$1.81 a month to raise more money to save the “last, best” green spaces from disappearing.

That’s what King County Executive Dow Constantine is proposing charging property owners in a ballot measure he announced at White Center Heights Park.

The cost, Constantine says, is what the owner of a “median-priced” home in King County would pay if voters approve the measure, which he is asking the County Council to place on the November general-election ballot.

Even at that, he says, it’s not an entirely new tax – he says it would bring back what property owners used to pay for the half-century-old Conservation Futures Program. The announcement explains:

Land conservation in King County – and 13 other counties – is largely funded by the Conservation Futures program that the state created 50 years ago. A series of actions by the state has dramatically reduced the amount of revenue that the program can generate for counties. Voters have the option to restore the local program to its original rate of 6.25 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value from its current rate of 3.12 cents. That would cost the owner of a median-value home about $21.75 more per year.

Constantine was joined at the park – setting of other media events for environmental programs – by De’Sean Quinn, the Tukwila City Councilmember who co-chairs the Land Conservation Advisory Committee, as well as Open Space Equity Cabinet co-chair Michelle Benetua, Trust for Public Land’s Northwest director David Patton, and King County Councilmember Rod Dembowski. Here’s our video of what they said:

The money raised by this would, according to the announcement, “accelerate the Land Conservation Initiative, a regional partnership of communities, cities, farmers, businesses, and environmental leaders to protect 65,000 acres of the highest conservation-value open space.” Constantine launched the initiative three years ago. The land it’s saved includes a five-acre site in North Highline. That’s one of the sites intended to bring public green space closer to more people; Constantine said that 20 percent of the people in King County don’t live close to any. It’s about equitable access, climate change, wildlife protection, and more, he said while making the case. Quinn lauded him for the “political will” to push for this “to meet the urgency of now.”

WHAT’S NEXT: Dembowski, who chairs the Transportation, Economy, and Environment Committee, will sponsor the proposal. Councilmembers have until late July to approve sending it to the November ballot. Meantime, the Land Conservation Initiative continues working on potential sites to protect – not only via buying them; sometimes other tools are used, such as conservation easements, or the purchase of development rights, to take the pressure off property owners. Constantine said they can’t comment on what’s in negotiations or under consideration, for obvious reasons.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

ELECTION 2021: First-night results

November 2nd, 2021 Tracy Posted in Election, White Center news Comments Off on ELECTION 2021: First-night results

checkbox.jpgFrom the election-night results count, a few races of particular note:

KING COUNTY EXECUTIVE
Dow Constantine – 169,087 – 57.3%
Joe Nguyen – 122,573 – 41.5%

HIGHLINE PUBLIC SCHOOLS PROP. 1
Yes – 8,946 – 60.1%
No – 5,933 – 39.8%

These are just the first results – next round, tomorrow afternoon.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

ELECTION 2021: Hours left to vote!

November 2nd, 2021 Tracy Posted in Election, White Center news Comments Off on ELECTION 2021: Hours left to vote!

8 pm is your absolute last moment to turn in your ballot for the general election – and that’s only if you’re taking it to a King County Elections dropbox – White Center has one at the library, 1409 SW 107th; if you are intent on using the US Postal Service, hurry – the ballot has to be postmarked today. The two major decisions for White Center-area voters are King County Executive and the Highline Public Schools levy. First results will be out around 8:15 tonight.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

THURSDAY: North Highline Unincorporated Area Council hosts town hall with King County Executive candidates

October 2nd, 2021 Tracy Posted in Election, North Highline UAC, White Center news 5 Comments »

Voting in the general election is now less than two weeks away – ballots will be sent on October 13th. For this area, the King County Executive race tops the ballot, and the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council will host both candidates online Thursday night:

UPDATED: Since that image isn’t clickable, here’s the viewing info:

us02web.zoom.us/j/81026514238?pwd=QVp2NURRcGJCMlYxRE5JUUFyNzBqQT09

Meeting ID: 810 2651 4238
Passcode: 980226

For direct link to Zoom meeting go to: nhuac.org
Join by Phone:
+1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma) Meeting ID: 810 2651 4238
Passcode: 980226

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

ELECTION 2020: Fire & school districts’ ballot measures approved

November 3rd, 2020 Tracy Posted in Election, White Center news 1 Comment »

Local voters answered the call for local districts asking for funding help. In tonight’s first-and-only election-results release from King County, the North Highline Fire District “benefit charge” was approved overwhelmingly, 85 percent yes, 15 percent no. And a big win for the Highline Public Schools tech levy – 74 percent yes, 26 percent no. The other local ballot measure we’re watching closely, King County Charter Amendment 5, is passing with 57 percent approval, so that means the KC Sheriff will go back to being an appointed job, after current elected Sheriff Mitzi Johanknecht‘s term runs out.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

ELECTION DAY: Time’s running out to drop off your ballot

November 3rd, 2020 Tracy Posted in Election, White Center news Comments Off on ELECTION DAY: Time’s running out to drop off your ballot

Procrastinating on voting? You have until 8 pm to get your ballot in, if you use a King County Elections drop box. KCE staff is standing by at the boxes in these final hours, including the White Center Library (1409 SW 107th) and the Boulevard Park Library (12015 Roseberg Ave. S.). Don’t use the USPS mail unless you’re sure it’s going to be postmarked today (some Post Offices are open until 6 and you can ask that it be hand-canceled). King County’s one-and-only first-night results report is expected around 8:15 pm; we’ll break out the local ballot measures of note, including the North Highline Fire District benefit charge, the Highline Public Schools tech levy, and the King County charter amendments related to the Sheriff’s Office.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

VOTING: White Center drop-box update, with 1 week to go, and ballot-measure reminders

October 27th, 2020 Tracy Posted in Election, White Center news Comments Off on VOTING: White Center drop-box update, with 1 week to go, and ballot-measure reminders

That’s the King County Elections drop box outside White Center Library (1409 SW 107th), where you can take your ballot any time, day or night, until 8 pm next Tuesday (November 3rd). As of first thing this morning, 7,049 ballots had been turned in there. In another measure of local turnout – this one, counting ballots received via both drop boxes and USPS mail – almost half the North Highline Fire District‘s 11,258 registered voters have turned theirs in so far – 5,367. Mentioning the NHFD is relevant since its “benefit charge” is one of the issues on the ballot. Also of note, the Highline Public Schools technology levy, and King County charter amendments including whether to revert the Sheriff’s job to an appointed, rather than elected, position.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

VOTING: Sounders FC VOTE Tour kicks off with White Center stop Tuesday

October 26th, 2020 Tracy Posted in Election, White Center news Comments Off on VOTING: Sounders FC VOTE Tour kicks off with White Center stop Tuesday

From Sounders FC:

Tomorrow, Tuesday, October 27, from 8:30-9:30 a.m. PT, former Sounder Brad Evans is visiting the White Center Starbucks Community Store to kick off the Sounders FC VOTE Tour presented by Starbucks. Those stopping by the event can enjoy free coffee samples courtesy of Starbucks while Evans hands out up to 100 high-quality RAVE Foundation soccer balls for youth and takes socially distant selfies with fans. Please note face masks are required.

The Sounders FC VOTE Tour is a three-day event taking place this week to encourage voter turnout and celebrate voting early. Evans is visiting 12 ballot box locations identified by King County Elections as having historically lower turnout in King County. At each location, Evans will distribute “VOTED” stickers and offer the opportunity for fans to take socially distant selfies.

As you likely know, Starbucks is at 16th SW/SW 100th.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

ELECTION 2020: Appointed sheriff? And 6 other questions to decide in November

July 24th, 2020 Tracy Posted in Election, King County, King County Sheriff's Office, White Center news 1 Comment »

Should the King County Sheriff go back to being appointed rather than elected? That’s one of the proposed charter amendments going to voters this November, as announced:

With the approval of three more measures on Tuesday, the King County will now send seven county charter amendments to the November ballot for a public vote to approve or reject them. The Charter Review Commission recommended 11 amendments in its final report last year, though it wasn’t expected that all the amendments would be considered by voters in the same year.

The following amendments will now appear on the November ballot:

=Specify that inquests should be performed for deaths in the county’s jails and provide the family of the deceased with legal representation during the inquest process.
=Include subpoena power for the King County Office of Law Enforcement Oversight to aid in its investigations.
-Make the King County Sheriff an appointed rather than elected position.
-Remove the Charter impediment to the sale of county-owned property below market value for affordable housing purposes, in accordance with recent amendments to state law.
-Update the Charter to change references to “citizen” to “resident” or “public” depending on the circumstances. This change would address several references in the Charter to the concept of citizenship being necessary to access certain aspects of county government.
-Prohibit discrimination in county employment and contracting based on someone’s status as a family caregiver, military status, or status as a veteran who was honorably discharged or discharged solely as a result of sexual orientation or gender identity.

“I am pleased to give the voters the opportunity to decide on these amendments to the way our county is governed,” said Council Chair Claudia Balducci.

The seventh amendment set for a vote in the fall was not a recommendation of the Charter Review Commission, but instead was a council-proposed amendment. This amendment would allow the Council to establish the duties of the Sheriff’s Office. Those duties are currently set by the charter.

The sheriff was appointed until voters decided in 1996 to change that.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

ELECTION RESULTS: North Highline notes

November 6th, 2019 Tracy Posted in Election, Politics, White Center news Comments Off on ELECTION RESULTS: North Highline notes

The second round of results from the general election are out. Here are local races of note:

HIGHLINE SCHOOL BOARD, DISTRICT 1
Aaron Garcia – 7,440 – 52.13 %
Tracy Castro-Gill – 6,697 – 46.92 %

HIGHLINE SCHOOL BOARD, DISTRICT 5
Fa’izah Bradford – 7,631 – 51.21 %
Jeanette Burrage – 7,216 – 48.43 %

North Highline Fire Commissioner Julie Hiatt won re-election without opposition.

See all results from around King County here; for the statewide ballot measures, go here.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

ELECTION DAY 2019: Time to vote if you haven’t already!

November 5th, 2019 Tracy Posted in Election, White Center news Comments Off on ELECTION DAY 2019: Time to vote if you haven’t already!

Election Day is here. Besides the statewide ballot measures, you have local races to decide too:

King County Council District 8
Highline School Board District 1
Highline School Board District 5
Port of Seattle Commission Position 2
Port of Seattle Commission Position 5

And there’s one countywide ballot measure, the Medic One levy.

If you’re using the White Center Library ballot dropbox, get there by 8 pm. (Or any other King County Elections dropbox.) If you’re putting your ballot in the postal mail, do it earlier, because you need to b sure it’s postmarked today.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

ELECTION 2019: Highline School Board race set

August 13th, 2019 Tracy Posted in Election, White Center news Comments Off on ELECTION 2019: Highline School Board race set

With just a few ballots left to count, the Highline School Board race that was almost a three-way tie on Election Night has settled into a clear result: It’ll be Tracy Castro-Gill vs. Aaron Garcia for the District 1 position. Today’s results bring it to:

Tracy Castro-Gill – 6,726 – 34.22%
Aaron Garcia – 6,703 – 34.11%
Michael T. Lewis – 6,124 – 31.16%

The results will be certified next week.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

ELECTION RESULTS: After 2 counts, 1 local race is too close to call

August 8th, 2019 Tracy Posted in Election, White Center news Comments Off on ELECTION RESULTS: After 2 counts, 1 local race is too close to call

Two rounds of election results are in now – and one local race is too close to call. It’s Highline School Board District 1, which includes White Center. Any two of the three candidates could end up advancing to the general election. Here are the latest numbers:

Tracy Castro-Gill – 5,039 – 34.44%
Aaron Garcia – 4,765 – 32.57%
Michael T. Lewis – 4,728 – 32.31 %

Next update, Thursday afternoon.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

ELECTION DAY! Vote by 8 pm

August 6th, 2019 Tracy Posted in Election, White Center news Comments Off on ELECTION DAY! Vote by 8 pm

Just a quick reminder that this is it – you have 3 1/2 more hours to get your ballot in. New this year, you can even register at the last minute, if you do it in person at one of the county’s four accessible-voting centers (where you then can immediately vote). You’ll be voting on King County Council, Highline School Board, and Seattle Port Commission seats, plus the countywide parks/open space levy. Safest way to be sure your vote will be counted is to take it to a King County Elections dropbox – the map and list are here (including the one at the White Center Library). The dropoff deadline is 8 pm. You also have accessible voting options including four centers where you can vote until 8 pm – and that’ where you can register up until the 8 pm deadline too.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

North Highline FD commissioner Dominic Barrera running for Port of Seattle Commission

April 23rd, 2019 Tracy Posted in Election, Politics, White Center news Comments Off on North Highline FD commissioner Dominic Barrera running for Port of Seattle Commission

North Highline Fire District commissioner Dominic Barrera, also a former NH Unincorporated Area Council board member, says he’s running for the countywide Port of Seattle Commission seat that Courtney Gregoire is leaving. Two other candidates have registered campaigns but he is the first to send an announcement:

South King County may soon have representation on the Seattle Port Commission again, as Fire Commissioner, airport union leader, and environmental advocate, Dominic Barrera announced his intention to run for the open position being vacated by Courtney Gregoire.

Barrera has served as an elected Fire Commissioner for the North Highline Fire District since 2015, where he represents about 10,000 constituents in the communities of White Center and Boulevard Park. There, he was the driving force behind station improvements that increased workplace safety, helped craft an innovative joint-operation plan with a neighboring district to improve service and increase efficiency, and has twice amended and passed state legislation to protect low-income tax payers in his district.

“I’ve worked to balance budgets and restore the District’s economic stability without compromising the well-being of our employees or the communities we serve,” Barrera said. “I bring unparalleled experience, not only leading a public agency, but also working on the frontlines of a major Port facility, fighting for worker protections, and advocating for our environment. The Port of Seattle needs this kind of strong, well-balanced leadership in this critical time of growth.”

Barrera’s father, born in Tokyo to Mexican and Japanese parents, was an aircraft mechanic at Sea-Tac. Barrera himself has worked for Alaska Airlines for seven years, both in airport operations and accounting. Throughout his tenure, he has been a proud member of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) Local 2202 and currently serves as a union shop steward to his peers at Sea-Tac.

Barrera was part of a successful grassroots campaign in 2015 to save the Myers Parcels, an environmentally critical wetland that feeds into the Duwamish River, from industrial development. He was later selected to lead PlantAmnesty, an environmental nonprofit that works to protect Seattle’s greenspace, as their Executive Director.

He and his fiancé, Andrea, live in the Highline-area, directly under Sea-Tac’s northern flight path and within earshot of seaport operations.

“I would bring a voice for people living in the areas most impacted by Port activities,” Barrera said. “I know firsthand how crucial it is for the Port of Seattle to be a good neighbor.”

The other two candidates who have registered Position 2 campaigns with the Public Disclosure Commission so far are Ali Scego and Preeti Shridhar, but we haven’t yet received an announcement from either. Position 5 is also up for election this year; so far incumbent Fred Felleman is the only registered candidate. The formal filing period is in mid-May; the primary election is August 6th.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

THURSDAY: County Executive Dow Constantine to make parks-levy announcement at Steve Cox Memorial Park

February 19th, 2019 Tracy Posted in Election, King County, Parks, Politics, White Center news 2 Comments »

FIRST REPORT, TUESDAY: Forwarded by a community advocate who received this invitation:

Join King County Executive Dow Constantine for a special announcement!

Join Executive Constantine and Parks partners when the executive unveils his vision to fund King County’s parks and trails with a renewed levy when the existing one expires this December.

Join us!
Thurs, Feb 21, 2019
Steve Cox Memorial Park
1321 SW 102nd St
Ceremony begins at 10 a.m.

Show your love for King County’s most treasured places and learn about new ones that would be made possible through the Executive’s proposal.

Ceremony is expected to last 30 minutes, and we’ll have hot chocolate and coffee to keep you warm!

We sent an inquiry to the executive’s office this morning, asking for more information, but have yet to receive a reply. Here’s some backstory on the levy that expires at the end of this year, which voters approved by a wide margin back in August 2013.

ADDED WEDNESDAY: We received a media advisory about the event today. Watch for coverage tomorrow.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

ELECTION 2019: Water-district merger passing

February 12th, 2019 Tracy Posted in Election, Utilities, White Center news 4 Comments »

Back in December, we covered the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council getting briefed unofficially on the proposal for Water District 45 to merge into Water District 20. The measure was on today’s ballot. In the first round of results published tonight, it’s passing overwhelmingly – though the number of votes is small:

Yes 211 (86%)
No 35 (14%)

Here’s a map of soon-to-go-out-of-existence District 45.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

ELECTION: White Center-born Joe Nguyen leading 34th District State Senate race

November 6th, 2018 Tracy Posted in Election, Politics, White Center news Comments Off on ELECTION: White Center-born Joe Nguyen leading 34th District State Senate race

When tonight’s vote count was announced, Joe Nguyen was far in front for 34th District State Senator, and he almost couldn’t believe it:

Here’s the first round of results in the race:

Joe Nguyen – 27,440 – 57.4%
Shannon Braddock – 20,373 – 42.6%

Nguyen was in White Center tonight with his supporters, at Drunky’s Two Shoes BBQ, when the results went public.

He is the son of Vietnamese refugees, born in White Center, raised in Burien, now living in West Seattle. Assuming his lead holds as the remaining votes are counted in the weeks ahead, he will become the first person of color to represent the 34th District in Olympia, and the state’s first Vietnamese-American legislator. He also is a manager at Microsoft, father of two, and husband of a Highline Public Schools teacher.

Next vote count is expected Wednesday afternoon.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

VIDEO: North Highline Unincorporated Area Council hosts 34th District State Senate candidates’ forum

October 7th, 2018 Tracy Posted in Election, North Highline UAC, White Center news 4 Comments »

(White Center Now/West Seattle Blog video)

Voting for the general election starts in less than 2 weeks. The most hotly contested race on local ballots is for 34th District State Senator, with Joe Nguyen and Shannon Braddock emerging from an 11-candidate primary. The latest major appearance by both was at this past Thursday night’s North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting; we recorded it on video and you can watch the unedited hour-and-a-half-long forum above. We’ve also noted key points in text below – not full transcriptions, just excerpted points, but perhaps of interest if you don’t have time to watch the video or go see one of their upcoming appearances (listed below):

INTRODUCTIONS: Each got 5 introductory minutes. Braddock was born in Texas but her family moved to Bellingham when she was a toddler and she was there through college; after living in some other places, she moved to West Seattle 19 years ago. She’s a mom of three, 11-year-old daughter, 14-year-old son, 19-year-old son.

In the context of mentioning the day her younger son came home talking about an active-shooter drill, she mentioned that she’s for Initiative 1639 and even if it doesn’t pass, she said she would sponsor bills to be sure “each part of it” move forward. She also recapped her work history for County Executive Dow Constantine and County Councilmember Joe McDermott.

Nguyen talked about growing up in White Center – born in what’s now Seola Gardens but was then Park Lake – the son of refugees from Vietnam. He said they struggled in those early years but the community gave to his family, including building a ramp for his dad after a crash left him a quadriplegic. His family lived in Burien for a while and now Nguyen lives in West Seattle, a dad of two kids, 1 and 3. He talked about his career in technology strategy and job-training resources.

First question: NHUAC president Liz Giba showed data about the public-health discrepancies in the area, and North Highline residents having a life expectancy as low as 76 years old, six years below the lowest life expectancy for someone in West Seattle and asked the candidates if they believed it was an accident.

Nguyen said no, it is reality, and he experienced it growing up. “Certain parts” of the area need more attention.

Braddock also said no, it’s not an accident, and talked about the county using an “equity lens” that she believes the state needs to use as well.

Nguyen said more community representation in the decisionmaking process is important, especially with regards to cultural competence.

Second question, from NHUAC vice president Barbara Dobkin, was about low-income housing and whether it’s OK that more is being built in North Highline because land is cheap.

Braddock said no but also spoke about the challenge of displacement and how her campaigning brought her to many doorsteps where people said they would have to move. She also said that affordable-housing needs should be considered community by community, rather than one size fits all.

Nguyen said that land’s value needs to be considered as more than a price, but also what that land means to the community. He also espoused a holistic look at affordable housing – are services available? And he mentioned the importance of tax reform as seniors and others deal with rising property taxes.

Dobkin followed up by asking their opinions about the siting of affordable housing. Nguyen said it should be “all over the place.” Braddock said she supports “inclusionary zoning” as well as the Block Project, which seeks to site tiny houses in people’s yards as a “community-inclusive way to provide housing for homeless” people.

Next question dealt with gang violence, and recent Burien murders related to it. Is it related to poverty and a lack of opportunities? Yes, said Braddock, and the community needs to work closely with young people to fix that. Giving youth the option to learn about trades can help. “We can’t let up – we start to do this work … and then we take our foot off the pedal and we think the problem is solved,” Braddock said. Nguyen mentioned recently being at a Burien City Council meeting and noted that more money was being invested in policing than in youths’ futures. “We need to make sure we’re putting the emphasis on prevention,” he said.

Then a frequent NHUAC discussion topic, the state-allowed concentration of marijuana stores in North Highline and the robberies that have happened at most of those stores. “Concentrating in one area is not appropriate,” Nguyen said. He suggested the problem was again a lack of representation and an absence of leaders “pushing back.” Braddock said that while marijuana is legal because of an initiative, it was “clumsily” implemented. Both agreed that the allocation of tax revenues needs to be revisited to focus on communities’ needs.

Next, homelessness and how to help unsheltered people. Braddock noted that the crisis “has been building for many, many years” and told an anecdote about someone sleeping in her carport a decade ago while visiting his mother at a nearby care center. She said she supports 24/7 shelters – “navigation center” type shelters – and looking at “more surplus lands” for affordable housing/shelters. She says WSDOT is exempt from surplus-land review and would like to see that change. She also mentioned funding generated by a state document-recording fee and “protecting” that; Nguyen noted that it’s not generating what it used to and said it should be brought back to its former level. He also suggested tax incentives/credits for property owners who need it to fix up their property – provided they keep a certain level of affordability for tenants.

If they were elected, what would they do the rest of the time (given that legislator is a part-time job)? Braddock said she couldn’t keep her current job as it’s too demanding so she’d have to get something else. Nguyen said he’d be able to keep his job because his employer Microsoft had a paid-time-off program that would cover his legislative time.

An attendee question next: Candidates talk about supporting small business but don’t follow through, so does either candidate have small-business experience and what would they do to support such businesses? Nguyen said his family had run a billiard hall in White Center at one point and he saw firsthand the taxes that small business have to deal with; he said he’d like to abolish B&O taxes for small- and medium-sized businesses. He also observed that other costs, including health care, can be onerous for small-business owners too. And he spoke of supporting a friend who was setting up a business and needed help with other important things such as setting up a website. Braddock said that her family had some small businesses including a restaurant that lasted about a year, and she saw “the energy and the work” that went into running businesses. She suggested that the 34th District could have for example a “small business advisory committee” surfacing issues to her.

Another attendee question involved the difficulty of families being able to afford participating in sports and other programs. Braddock voiced support for helping with that and ensuring that families know about grants that are available. Nguyen mentioned his past involvement as a youth served by the local Boys and Girls Club and said he agreed that more funding was needed for youth programs.

Next attendee question: The Public Works Trust Fund, loans from the state to local agencies for local projects, and concerns about those loans’ availability. Nguyen said he’s not familiar with it but promised that he would fight for local needs. Braddock talked about coalition-building to evangelize support for that sort of need.

And another: A relatively new North Highline resident talked about property-tax breaks for seniors and wanting the eligibility level to expand. Braddock said that was another example of why tax reform is so important. She also said greater awareness is needed for already-available tax breaks. Nguyen also said a more-equitable tax structure – including a capital-gains tax – is important.

Asked about campaign contributions, Braddock defended accepting $750 from Coca-Cola and said she is not supporting the anti-tax Initiative 1634 that soda companies are funding. She said she can’t afford to self-finance her campaign. Nguyen said he can’t either but doesn’t take “corporate PAC money.”

Another question was from an attendee who said that anecdotally she’s noticing more teenage pregnancy and wondered about public-health services’ availabilities. Both candidates agreed the situation should be examined.

Next person asked about rent control. Braddock said “traditional” rent control didn’t seem to have worked but she would support lifting the ban so that local governments could explore “opportunities for innovation” in keeping rents down. Nguyen said he’s “for rent control” and supports strengthening tenants’ rights.

An attendee asked about the Washington Hospitality Association and its opposition to the $15 minimum wage. Nguyen said he “took a meeting” with the organization but was not looking for their money or endorsement. Both said they support the $15 minimum wage.

Next: Their positions on North Highline annexation – when, who, how to get there? Nguyen said residents should decide ‘where they go and how that looks.’ He said he personally favors Seattle but acknowledges it could lead to faster gentrification and displacement. “My family still lives here and they’re going to have a hard time staying here if prices go up any (further).” Braddock also said it’s up to the community and the county needs to do the best it can with the services it provides. She also noted that Seattle is the only city potentially pursuing annexation right now.

Asked about veterans’ issues, both mentioned veterans in their families and said it’s vital to ensure veterans can get the care they need.

An attendee who said she had worked in sexual-violence prevention asked what the candidates would do in that area. Braddock mentioned her proposal for consent education becoming part of health education in schools. Nguyen said he agreed and also wanted to strengthen laws and procedures related to assaults.

WHAT’S NEXT: Upcoming forums announced for both candidates include:
-Tuesday (October 9), Admiral Neighborhood Association (6:30 pm, Sanctuary at Admiral, 42nd/Lander)
-October 17th, Delridge Neighborhoods District Council (7 pm, location TBA)
-October 18th, West Seattle Chamber of Commerce (6:30 pm, DAV Hall, 4857 Delridge Way SW)

VOTING: November 6th is Election Day – get your ballot into a drop box by 8 pm or get it to the US Postal Service (remember, stamps no longer needed!) in plenty of time to ensure it’s postmarked by that date.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button