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Why I'm Running

I want Seattle to be the city that people who don't live here already think it is--socially progressive and compassionate.

A decade ago, when the city council had a vacancy, I was one of the nearly one hundred applicants that made their case to be considered. I’ve grown a lot in this past decade--gained a doctorate, professional experience, and a couple of smart daughters… But, what has not changed at all in this time were the problems our city faces and my belief in the solutions necessary to fix them. Back in 2005 I made my pitch for affordable housing and better transit--today, I am making the same case.

Housing – the Problem
In 2006, my wife Beverly and I bought our modest home in Delridge. We moved to Delridge because we had gotten to know the neighborhood, loved the idea of living next to Longfellow Creek, and loved being in West Seattle and so close to downtown. And, because we could afford it. We were lucky.

Unfortunately, many of the friends I first made when I moved to Seattle in 1997 have not been so lucky. They have moved elsewhere because of how expensive it is to rent a home. When those who stayed in Seattle started thinking about coupling and settling down, many more left town to go places where they could afford to buy a home.

A friend of mine is a single mother living in Highland Park. The home she rents was sold and now she is being forced out. While she watches the neighborhood where she lives turning to new, more expensive homes, she is struggling to find a place for her, her son, and their pets. Suddenly their lives are unstable and their future is in jeopardy. As she put it to me:

“I think they just want us all to move further south and take the light rail in to serve the upper classes but live on the margins in unsafe areas."

We need to connect low-wage jobs with affordable housing--they are not in the same place. Today, it seems our de facto solution for affordable housing is to have people live in Kent, Renton, Tukwila, and Tacoma and commute to our city. Sadly, this approach simply forces the people who can least afford to spend their time and money on travelling to travel the longest distances.

When I went to the University of Washington to get my PhD, I studied our urban centers. They are wonderful places--different, vibrant, exciting, with a lot of potential. And, if EVERYONE had the potential to live in them and use a good transit system that serves them we would ALL be better off. There would be fewer people on the roads and we would have more well-rounded communities.

Late one evening when I was three years old, my grandmother came in to say goodbye to me. She needed to catch the last bus home. For many years after, she reminded me that I responded by saying that she didn’t need to leave, she could simply take a taxi later. I've been thinking about transportation ever since then.

In our modern world we have Uber and other solutions in addition to taxis. But in Seattle we still don't have an efficient, world class transit system. We also do not have a complete bicycle network. We have not made sure that there are safe ways for all kids to walk to school. And, so many of these problems could be fixed with low-cost solutions.

I want Seattle to be a place where we can all live and get around easily. I don’t want any more of my friends and neighbors to leave because it is too difficult for them to stay here.

We need to decide what we want Seattle to be when it grows up. I want Seattle to be the city that people who don't live here already think it is--socially progressive and compassionate. The time is now.

In the media:

Fighting Traffic, Dreaming Of Light Rail Outside Seattle

Exhaust, Diesel Fumes Foul Schools