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Your questions for the mayoral candidates

Posted by Geeky Swedes on October 12th, 2009

The Seattle Times and KING 5 are hosting a mayoral debate later this month, and they’ve asked us to provide questions for the candidates. Since My Ballard is neighborhood-powered, we’d like to pick a couple questions that you submit. They’re taping the questions tomorrow (Tuesday) at 11 a.m., so post ‘em quick in comments below. The debate will air on October 21st.

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35 reader comments so far ↓

  • 1 Desomniac // Oct 13, 2009 at 2:06 am

    “Do you feel the growing number of condos is right for our city and what do you plan to do to protect our single family residence neighborhoods?”

  • 2 elaineinballard // Oct 13, 2009 at 2:15 am

    “Do you support the lawsuit against the City of Seattle and the Cascade Bicycle Club regarding the Missing Link of the Burke-Gilman Trail, now that it is the only remaining gap in a safe walking and bicycling facility from Golden Gardens to Redmond? Hundreds of bicyclists continue to be injured.”

  • 3 imjonah // Oct 13, 2009 at 2:34 am

    Which of the primary mayoral duties do you consider the most important and why?

  • 4 Jessica Kingsbury Lucas // Oct 13, 2009 at 2:34 am

    How high on their priority list is keeping the libraries open?

  • 5 Jessica Kingsbury Lucas // Oct 13, 2009 at 2:36 am

    Sorry, I should have been more specific: Keeping all of the Seattle Public Libraries open at least 6 days a week to provide services to the public?

  • 6 Cheri // Oct 13, 2009 at 2:41 am

    Who will you choose as your deputy mayor and what relevant experience would they bring to the job?

  • 7 Theravadist // Oct 13, 2009 at 2:47 am

    “Which of the primary mayoral duties do you consider the most important and why?”

    Bicycles and condos, didn't you know?

  • 8 KB_Soberdog // Oct 13, 2009 at 3:20 am

    My question isn't Ballard specific but it's close enough to Ballard and close to my heart. I want to know the candidate's opinions on the animal shelter situation, what they plan to do to keep it going, and how they each feel in general about animal welfare..?

  • 9 super_v // Oct 13, 2009 at 3:21 am

    I recommend that you read the Neighborhood Plan for Crown Hill/Ballard.

    It is a GOAL of the city to increase density (read: condos/multi-family) in the Ballard Urban Hub and the Crown Hill Hub. And outside of the HUB's the goal is to have a “community with housing types that range from single family to moderate density multi-family.”

    So, a better question, might be, “The city's neighborhood plan outlines a goal of 'moderate density multi-family' housing in the Crown Hill/Ballard community. How do you define 'moderate' density and what percentage of housing should be single family, town house, condo, etc.?

  • 10 super_v // Oct 13, 2009 at 3:32 am

    Here are a few questions:

    1) Metro and the City of Seattle have pushed hard for reduced carbon footprint, especially with reduction of car trip use. Now with metro ridership at an all time high–especially in Ballard, routes are considering being cut. With the budget shortfall, what are your solutions to meet the demand for bus service and broaden it and continue to reduce single-car trips?

    2) The B&O tax is based on gross, not net, income. What types of incentives or changes do you propose to make starting a business in the City of Seattle more friendly?

    3) What role, if any, do you see the City or Mayor's office in the Seattle Public Schools?

  • 11 SPG // Oct 13, 2009 at 4:42 am

    What do you plan to do about the quality of life and nuisance crimes like car prowls and grafiti that's becoming rampant?

    Do you believe that the size of the Seattle Police force is adequate to meet the needs of this city?

  • 12 Dave // Oct 13, 2009 at 5:12 am

    “2) The B&O tax is based on gross, not net, income. What types of incentives or changes do you propose to make starting a business in the City of Seattle more friendly?”

    I'm a fan of taxing businesses on Gross Income instead of Net Income. Individuals don't get taxed on Net Income, we get taxed on Gross (ok, with the exception of specific limited deductions). If Businesses are going to be taxed on Net Income, then I want to be as well. That would mean I can deduct my rent, car payments, dining & groceries, insurance payments, etc. from my income taxes. Why should businesses be able to do that and not individuals?

    If one of the mayoral candidates is going to change the tax code to taxing businesses on net income, then he is going to lose my vote.

  • 13 Dave // Oct 13, 2009 at 5:12 am

    High population density is nice, but there is a strong correlation between high population density and high crime. What are your plans as mayor to keep crime low as density increases as planned in Seattle's Comprehensive Plan?

  • 14 Ballardwatch // Oct 13, 2009 at 5:14 am

    Maybe you should move to a place with a low population density, like Afghanistan.

  • 15 fancynancy // Oct 13, 2009 at 5:34 am

    I am new to Ballard but not the Seattle area. I voted against the present mayor so change is needed.
    List 3 of the most important changes you will start on as mayor of this great city.

  • 16 SPG // Oct 13, 2009 at 6:17 am

    Because if company X buys $1000 dollars of widgets and sells them to Y for $1005 they get taxed on the $1005 even though they only made $5.

  • 17 liz // Oct 13, 2009 at 6:31 am

    What steps would you take to increase the transparency and accessibility of the mayor's office to the citizens and communities of Seattle?

  • 18 CT // Oct 13, 2009 at 7:19 am

    When the viaduct comes down and the proposed park goes onto the waterfront, how do you plan to keep it from being a homeless, drug infested, city park like the others that are in downtown that cannot be controlled? Do you foresee that this will be too big of a liability and that it would be better to sell it off to developers and have them take the responsibility of providing park space? Where will tourists park that want to come to the waterfront if you take away all of the parking from underneath the viaduct? With the tunnel that is going in only being two lanes, what do you propose to do for the traffic backups we will have since this will be outdated before it is even finished? Are you for changing the tunnel to make it a larger tunnel or for fixing or building a new viaduct?

    I keep hearing that both are going to get tougher on crime and drugs but the city of Seattle does not prosecute felonies. How do you propose to get tough on crime when it is the counties job to prosecute felonies?

    To McGinn, you want to put fiber optics throughout the city but it is already everywhere. The only place there is not fiber optics is between a house/building and the street. Are you planning to tear up each persons yard and/or sidewalk to give everyone fiber optics? Currently everything is going to MAN (Metropolitan Area Networks). Wouldn't this be a waste of money since by the time you would complete covering the city in fiber optics it would be outdated?

    Will either of you use a chauffer to drive you to work each day?

    For McGinn, how do you propose to take over the Seattle school district when this is a state office? Are you willing to give up state funding if you take over the district and eliminate the state? Do you feel that the mayor has so much extra time that this is something that you could actually make a difference in. You say that our graduation rate is low but are you actually willing to address the problems of dropouts, which tend to have more to do with drugs, gangs, bad parenting, instead of just bad schools and teachers?

  • 19 ballardgiant // Oct 13, 2009 at 9:26 am

    Do you find SHARE to be a solution to anything?
    How can we help those homeless that WANT to get back on their feet or those with mental illness?
    Do you think the light rail is worth its price?
    Is the solution to the budget shortfall mostly to collect more revenue, to cut services or to increase efficiency?

  • 20 Black_Sheep // Oct 13, 2009 at 1:26 pm

    I second that, KB.

  • 21 Black_Sheep // Oct 13, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    Second that, too.

  • 22 Theravadist // Oct 13, 2009 at 2:06 pm

    How do you plan on balancing the city budgets WITHOUT raising our taxes?

  • 23 Dave // Oct 13, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    That example is unreasonable, no company will ever stay in business if they are just a retail outlet marking things up an average 0.5%. Company X will go out of business, and we shouldn't try to keep them in business.

    A more reasonable example would be Company X buys 1000 widgets directly from the manufacturer for $1000 per widget (total cost $1,000,000). Sells them at retail for $2,000/widget. Makes a Gross Profit of $1,000,000. (Gross Profit = Total Revenue – Cost of Goods sold, BTW, which is what we are talking about being taxed on, not total revenue as you state in your example).

    I'm proposing that the company continue to get taxed on that $1,000,000. Your proposing taxing on net income, which in my example would mean that company X could they could pay $1,000,000 in salaries to their 10 employees ($50,000 to 9 employees, and $550,000 to the owner/manager of course). Thus they would have $0 in net income ($1 mil Gross Profit – $1 in operating expenses (1.e. salaries) = $0 net income) and get out of paying any B&O taxes to the city. That just isn't fair to the rest of us.

  • 24 Michael Snyder // Oct 13, 2009 at 3:19 pm

    What is your vision for improving bicycling in Seattle? Where do you feel that there are problems and what do you think are the high priorities for improvement?

  • 25 blite // Oct 13, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    Would you support an ordinance to prohibit people from sleeping in their campers/cars on city streets?

  • 26 Robert // Oct 13, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    Regardless of your position on the waterfront tunnel, what is your plan for maintaining a vehicular traffic connection between northwest Seattle and points south of downtown, without further overloading the existing east-west corridors between Ballard-Crown Hill and I-5?

  • 27 SPG // Oct 13, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    You'd be surprised at how some businesses operate. I'm not retail, and I do in fact sell quite a bit to other companies at less than 10% markup and in some cases no markup at all. This isn't the main focus of my business, but it is a part that I have to do in order to keep my clients happy and be able to keep them paying me for the other services I provide. The city then taxes me on the total receipts, not the receipts less cost of goods sold. The tax percentage for wholesaling is tiny (.00215), so the tax doesn't impact me very much and I really don't have a problem with it , but I can see how it could be different for a larger operation doing something similar to what I do. I don't even know why I'm debating this, but I thought I'd weigh in to try and clear it up.

  • 28 SPG // Oct 13, 2009 at 5:00 pm

    Maybe you should realize that this post was a request for questions?

  • 29 connieflateboe // Oct 13, 2009 at 5:20 pm

    Question to candidate Mallahan: how do you plan to pay for the tunnel?

  • 30 Ernie_98107 // Oct 13, 2009 at 5:38 pm

    That's a really good question KB, because I bet it will get a blank stare from both candidates.

  • 31 NoraBell // Oct 13, 2009 at 5:40 pm

    I'd bet you're right. Unfortunately.

  • 32 Dave // Oct 13, 2009 at 7:00 pm

    Thanks for the insight SPG. I was assuming that the B&O tax hit gross income just cause super_v said so. However, it sounds like you know what your talking about better than either of us. The fact that the tax rate is so low and doesn't impact you much is more evidence in my mind that we don't need to make it more friendly for businesses, but that's just my opinion.

  • 33 KB_Soberdog // Oct 13, 2009 at 10:19 pm

    I hope they will at least have thought about it, but you are probably
    right,
    they most likely don't think it's too important

  • 34 cgbutler // Oct 13, 2009 at 10:21 pm

    The nonprofit community in Seattle is an economic force and provider of many jobs. Nonprofits also provide many of the services that would fall through the cracks as government cuts spending. Yet, they are not invited to the table when policy is made. Do you have any plans to increase the involvement of nonprofits in creating a plan for this city?

  • 35 Andrew // Oct 15, 2009 at 5:55 am

    Where is your evidence for your claim about density correlating with high crime? New York has lower crime than Los Angeles; Boston has lower crime than Detroit. Seattle and Portland have similar levels of crime even though Seattle is significantly denser.

    And that ignores overseas. Cities like Tokyo and Hong Kong are some of the most dense in the world and they have extremely low crime rates.

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