Community members ask the candidates

The Mayoral candidates and City Council candidates came together last night for a community forum, held in the Ballard High School auditorium. Put on by the Ballard and Magnolia/Queen Anne District Councils, community members were invited to ask the candidates questions about their policies and future plans. Moderated by Seattle Channel’s C.R. Douglas, the forum was comprised of questions submitted beforehand by the community, audience queries and a series of “lightening rounds,” where candidates held up one of three cards: “Yes,” “No,” and “Waffle” (Literally. The card showed a picture of waffles).

First up were the eight City Council candidates. Beginning promptly at 6:30 p.m., each candidate was given one minute to summarize why they wanted the position. Some topics of particular interest included the Viaduct construction, the proposed tunnel, and whether or not these projects should come before or after critical and much-needed maintenance of other citywide infrastructure, such as the Magnolia Bridge.

The candidates also discussed a recent statistic stating that violent crime in Seattle went up 22 percent in the first six months of the year, debating over how the city should expand it’s law enforcement programs – if and how the numbers should be increased, if the city should revamp the way it utilizing its officers, and whether money should be taken from other programs to fund an increase in law enforcement.

The candidates also discussed the proposed Mercer Street Corridor, budget prioritizing, public transportation and district representation. In the lightening rounds, all favored expanding the park ranger program in the city, and Mayor Nickels’ gun ban in Seattle owned properties such as parks, city run buildings and the Seattle Center. They all agreed that developers should be required to provide public open space, and that foot and bike patrols should be expanded in neighborhood business districts. None of them believes that human services should be cut in order to balance the budget.


Next up were mayoral candidates Joe Mallahan and Mike McGinn, who took that stage for the second half of the forum, demonstrating, along with Douglas, that they could have a little fun amidst a serious discussion. During one of the the lightening rounds, McGinn held up the back-side of his waffle card, to show a blank white page. After a few moments, Douglas poked a bit of fun at the candidate, asking him what the blank page meant, to which McGinn responded “I don’t know what it means. I think we have to look at it. Some questions actually require answers.” Rather than moving on to the next lightening question, on several occasions each candidate began to explain their reasoning to the room, at which point Douglas had to intercede jokingly, “No talking,” and “Soon we’ll have questions that actually allow answers.”

This showed an eagerness on the part of the candidates, who expanded on key issues like the transportation, education, jobs, citywide environmentalism, low income housing and crime (to name just a few) when the floor was opened up to community questions. And, of course, one of the biggest topics was the Viaduct, its optioned plans, and other proposals to better public transportation and ease congestion. This also happened to be where the two candidates disagreed the most. Mallahan is in support of the expansion of current highway systems and the Viaduct tunnel plans, while McGinn is against the tunnel, saying it’s too expensive, instead opting for the development of a comprehensive network of strong mass transit systems, including the expansion of Light Rail across the 520 bridge.

Both candidates concluded with strong words against the others’ transportation position.

“He’s not thinking about people,” Mallahan said of McGinn’s stance on the proposed Viaduct tunnel, and his plans for the future of public transport. “His vision is impractical, and it’s the worst thing we could do in this economy.”

McGinn emphasized the need for a new system. “We haven’t learned from 50 years of experience from highways,” he said. “High capacity transit is where the future is.” Though, he emphasized that his work would be reflective of the peoples’ opinions. “I think we should listen to the people, and if elected as mayor my goal is to work with the people just like I’ve been working for the last 20 years, to try to create the kind of communities we both know and love.”

A video of the candidate forum will be available in its entirety on Seattle Channel’s website.

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ballardrocksnow
Guest
ballardrocksnow

Could. Could it be? Are we actually, finally, moving forward with the tunnel? Surely someone is trying to stop this..this progress. Please tell me someone is trying to stop this action for no good reason while simultaneously making the citizenry skateboard everywhere (or some other useless body-odor inducing means of transportation). The Seattle I know wouldn't let something like this be done without another study or vote of sometype. Can somebody please set us back 8 years. It needs to happen quick -something *gasp* is about to be done! OH THE HUMANITY!

elaineinballard
Guest
elaineinballard

There was a lightning round question on extension of the Burke-Gilman trail. McGinn held up 'Yes' and Mallahan held up 'No.' I heard that the lobbyist for Salmon Bay Sand and Gravel has maxed out on his donation to Mallahan. Go figure.

Bark more, Wag Less
Guest
Bark more, Wag Less

Apparently under McGinn I'll have to take the bus to Seatac for business trips so I can save the planet…either that or he'll fund magic unicorns.

ballardgiant
Guest
ballardgiant

The lobbyist for SBS&G? Right!

joshmahar
Guest
joshmahar

(Caveat, this is second-hand knowledge) Surprise of the night:
Mallahan said that he did NOT support the expansion of the Burke-Gilman (presumably through Ballard).

I know this guy loves his car but come on! Give the bikers something. We have been fighting legal challenges for years to make this happen, shouldn't he respect the decision and help this move forward?

Fauxnothing
Guest
Fauxnothing

Maybe Mallahan's hands are tied now that he's accepting funding from SBS&G?

My biggest question is how Mallahan can support the tunnel without the slightest plan for how Seattle is supposed to pay its share? McGinn is far more realistic. As far as the federal portion goes, that's like giving a pauper an expensive house when there's no money to buy groceries or pay the utility bills. So what if there's federal money if it comes with stupid strings attached.

Larry
Guest
Larry

This is getting tricky. I want the tunnel and the missing link built. Hmmmm. What to do.

I am pretty sure our next mayor will be put in a strangle hold by the city council anyway. Anyone else feeling screwed by this craptastic election?

Fauxnothing
Guest
Fauxnothing

and your point is?

blite
Guest
blite

I agree, the options are tricky. I disagree with the tunnel because of the cost primarily and secondly because it doesn't serve Ballard, but think the surface street option that McGinn proposes is ridiculous. So do I vote for McGinn to stop the tunnel boondoggle but have no replacement viaduct, or vote for Mallahan hoping he can manage the tunnel better so less cost overruns? The choices are hard but I'm still happy Nickels isn't one of them.

Michael Snyder
Guest
Michael Snyder

Suzie Burke maxed out her donation to Mallahan, and has held a fundraiser for him too.

She has singlehandedly stalled the Bicycle Master Plan on Stone Way using her influence over our current mayor (who she donated to as well) and nearly illegally closed the Burke Gillman Trail in Fremont for a full year before cyclists pushed the city to review their easement agreement with her.

AnnabelleMarie
Guest
AnnabelleMarie

Just to clarify, Mallahan has zero, zip, zilch control over cost overruns; so he couldn't put his magical “effective management” skills to work on this one.

Also, don't assume that Mallahan's is a good manager just because he says so. He's never managed more than 30 people (he's a glorified upper level manager), has no examples to point to of his success (couldn't name one in a recent debate, not one) as a manager and is running one of the worst and least cost-effective campaigns in the history of our city.

ballardrocksnow
Guest
ballardrocksnow

Lol. “just to clarify”, how many employees do you think McGinn has managed. Few people have managed over 10 employees.

Erica
Guest

Similar to Mallahan's sudden change of heart about the Mercer restructuring. It's a pet project of Vulcan, and their favorite candidate is out of the picture now (thank goodness for that though). I wrote a little bit about it on my website, see link to the Mercer Mess article.

Bark more, Wag Less
Guest
Bark more, Wag Less

99 needs a decent n/s replacement, not a friggin' boulevard with lights, parks and 30 pedestrian crossings.

joshmahar
Guest
joshmahar

Actually you'll have a fast, reliable, comfortable Light Rail to take, which you already helped to fund, so you might as well use. You'll also be able to safely and legally use your cell phone on the trip over, so you might even be able to save some time.

elaineinballard
Guest
elaineinballard

Last I checked, “management experience” was a central part of Mallahan's campaign. If he doesn't really have any, then what's left to run on?

xaphaeod
Guest
xaphaeod

Ha ha ha ha, oh, that's rich!

Have you ever actually flown out of Seatac, there Josh?

Right – you're off on a business trip – or a vacation, for that matter. You're going to walk 6 blocks in the rain, wait for the bus, squeeze on that bus (2 transfers), get on that wonderful light rail, and ride that to Seatac – all while dragging your suitcases. Time from home to the airport: 2 hours. Riiiiiiight, sounds like a great way to start a trip! Good luck with that.

Personally, I'd put my money on the magic unicorns before I'd expect more than a handful of loonies to use the light rail to get top the airport (certainly from this part of town).

The “light rail to the airport” demonstration project is exactly that: a demonstration. It's for show, not practical (just like the SLUT). It was built so Nickels and Simms could point to it in their quest for re-election and say “see? I fixed the transportation problems…now let's get to work wrecking state highway 99!”

Bark more, Wag Less
Guest
Bark more, Wag Less

Light rail in Ballard? What have you been smokin' , it ain't no where need Ballard. Or do you think I should take a bus downtown, then hop on the train to Seatac? THanks for the laugh….

I can legally use my phone now when I drive in 25 mins to Seatac, thanks, just need the bluetooth plugged in.

katemartin
Guest
katemartin

Mike has neither the temperament, personal habits, nor the aptitude of mayoral material. I know because I worked with him for 10 years in the Greenwood Community.

My .02

ballardrocksnow
Guest
ballardrocksnow

I've heard rumors of his totalitarian ways with numerous groups, yet no specific instances were mentioned. Could you share an example or point to an article somewhere?

JulianDavies
Guest

Handsfree may be legal, but it's still unsafe – you'll be 4 times more likely to cause a crash.

I realize you're getting important work done and your time is very valuable to you, but if you choose to operate heavy machinery on your way to the airport, do us all a favor and pay some attention.

From the excellent NYT series “Driven to Distraction” (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/technology/s
“Extensive research shows the dangers of distracted driving. Studies say that drivers using phones are four times as likely to cause a crash as other drivers, and the likelihood that they will crash is equal to that of someone with a .08 percent blood alcohol level, the point at which drivers are generally considered intoxicated. Research also shows that hands-free devices do not eliminate the risks, and may worsen them by suggesting that the behavior is safe.”

As for Nickels and Simms wrecking highway 99, I think it was actually the earthquake that left us with an array of unattractive options. I'd just rather not spend 4+ billion dollars shaving 10-20 minutes off your airport run.

Michael Snyder
Guest
Michael Snyder

Why would anyone in their right mind actually drive to the airport? You have to pay for parking and deal with all of that mess!

Even when I had a car, I always used the bus or Shuttle Express because they are so much more convenient than driving.

Fauxnothing
Guest
Fauxnothing

Most of us don't know much at all about Mike McGinn. Speaking for myself, I would greatly appreciate some insight into the man. If you worked with him for 10 years, you would indeed know him well. You've said this much, are you willing to say more? Please?

Bark more, Wag Less
Guest
Bark more, Wag Less

“shaving 10-20 minutes off your airport run.”

Ahhh, the arrogance of the Greens. Add up all those 20 minutes for 100,000 cars a day and how much lost productivity and CO2 are we talking?

Bark more, Wag Less
Guest
Bark more, Wag Less

Driving is a breeze, straight into the lot, park and walk into the terminal. For longer trips, I take a cab.

Shuttle Express? Sorry, but I don't want to wake up 4 hrs before a flight, spend 1hr driving around picking up people, and then arrive 2 hrs before my flight leaves. Did it once, never again. I'd rather pay an extra $20 and save 2 hrs of my time; my time is worth more than $10 an hour. Shuttle Express is useless with a family, $140 for a family of 4! Cab is $50-60 which a business traveler can expense.

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