BY EXAMINER STAFF
On Aug. 30 and 31, KBCS 91.3 FM sponsored a community media candidates forum with Seattle City Council candidates in Position 2, 4 and 8 at MOHAI. The panelists included Colors Northwest, Real Change, The Seattle Weekly and the International Examiner. This article summarizes the forum on Aug. 30 for Position 4 candidates, the race with the most number of contenders. The complete two-day forum will be shown on SCANTV (www.scantv.org) and archived on www.KBCS.fm.
The debate among candidates for Seattle City Council Position 4 heated up on Aug. 30 as the four candidates tackled tough city issues in two-minute responses and 30-second rebuttals.
Linda Averill, a self-described feminist and labor rights activist, pushed her campaign that had a socialist agenda at its foundation. Averill said that she would add fresh ideas as a socialist and provide a voice for moderate to low-income workers.
Averill recognized that the Asian Pacific Islander community was a broad and diverse community. As a former resident of Judkins Park area, Averill says she visits the International District and named House of Hong as a favorite restaurant. As a bus driver for route #7 and 44, Averill says she has had many opportunities to talk to passengers living or working in the International District.
In order to increase awareness of city issues and decisions that impact the ID and minority communities, Averill focused on having broad outreach and making city council hearings accessible to ID residents, such as holding them in the evenings or at convenient locations, as well as providing ample notice of the hearings.
Angel Bolanos discussed his frustration with mainstream media for ignoring the fact that there were more than two candidates for Position 4. Bolanos called for respecting the neighborhood planning process and says he will involve the people impacted by the plans.
In discussion over the increase of police needed in underserved neighborhoods, Bolanos emphasized the importance of training police and hiring good cops who are aware of ethnic differences. Born in Ecuador and living in Columbia City, Bolanos asked his opponents how they can say that they feel close to minorities. Bolanos talked of his experience being discriminated against by police. He said everybody should be represented in the police department.
Bolanos said he’s “the person with ideas and vision,” and was concerned about the difficulty of making a living in Seattle. He called for a holistic plan in addressing living wage issues, housing and employment. Bolanos said that incumbent Jan Drago had “done almost nothing in 12 years” except for creating dog runs in the park.
Casey Corr reiterated his statement that there has been a lack of action in Drago’s 12 years in office. Corr’s platform includes solving traffic problems, creating jobs and economic opportunity, getting more police to patrol neighborhoods, and ending the crisis in schools.
When asked about the most significant issues facing the International District, Corr responded that the history of Seattle is told through the ID. He described the district as a “fragile entity” and listed three priorities for the district. The first is the “fundamental need” for more police; the second was housing and looking at undeveloped space; and the third was transit, including the streetcar traveling up Jackson Street.
In reference to the Fire Station 10 issue where people of the International District felt that they were not consulted about the possibility of the hygiene center located in the ID, Corr said that there was inadequate outreach to the neighborhoods, which included the challenge of overcoming language barriers. He said that the lack of outreach and communication was a pattern throughout the city, and that the city’s stance was that “now the decision has been made – live with it.”
City Councilmember Drago’s rebuttal to Corr was that she is a public official that does not spin issues or lie. In the case with Fire Station 10, Drago said, “I told the community the truth.”
When asked how often Drago frequented the International District, Drago said she lives in Pioneer Square and that the International District and Pioneer Square “are my two neighborhoods.” She said she visits the ID several times a week and walks to work. She named Uwajimaya as a business she shops at and listed many favorite restaurants in the ID.
In district projects, Drago said she was supportive of IDVS2, the ID Library, the community center and housing projects.