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Fiery exchanges mark District 5 debate between Juarez and Davison Sattler

caption: Seattle City Councilmember Debora Juarez and challenger Ann Davison Sattler at the Seattle CityClub's District 5 debate in Greenwood on Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019.
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Seattle City Councilmember Debora Juarez and challenger Ann Davison Sattler at the Seattle CityClub's District 5 debate in Greenwood on Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019.
KUOW photo/Gil Aegerter

Two debates in Seattle City Council races, two very different tones.

The candidates in districts 5 and 6 faced off in the Seattle CityClub's debates over the weekend.

In the District 5 event, tension was apparent from the beginning, with challenger Ann Davison Sattler repeatedly attacking incumbent Debora Juarez’s record in representing North Seattle. The District 6 was more cordial.

KUOW reporter Amy Radil and Morning Edition host Angela King moderated those debates.

District 5 debate

Amy Radil: One question from the public was how the City Council will address the cycle of sweeping unsanctioned homeless encampments only to have them reappear across the street. Debora Juarez said Mayor Jenny Durkan’s budget coming out today (Monday) has more funding related to outreach in the encampments.

“In that budget what we're looking at is more nurses more cheap more for the navigation team more police officers more public safety treaty safety officers and of course we're going to be expanding for more affordable units,” Juarez said.

Amy Radil: And Juarez and Sadler both said they support creation of a new countywide agency to oversee services for homeless people. Sattler said it should have happened much sooner and that Seattle's response so far has been ineffective. [00:01:21][11.1]

“We have allowed people to just exist on the streets moving them from one place to the other without providing actual care like we would for Red Cross natural disaster,” Davison Sattler said. “And I do think we should provide that.”

Angela King: So Amy, what kinds of revenue sources are the candidates proposing, if any, to address this situation?

Radil: Debora Juarez said the big picture for her is the focus on building more housing units. She didn't identify specific tax proposals but she said she's open to progressive taxes and she would want to seek voter approval for any new tax measures.

“I think you all want to hear me say we're going to tax Amazon. I'm not going to say that,” she said. “But what I will say is we do need to look at the tech industry and then pay their fair share.”

Radil: Sattler seemed more focused on the emergency response more case working focus and she said that she doesn't think Seattle needs any new taxes to respond adequately.”

“We have a large budget for our population,” Sattler said. “We have a lot of money coming in and what we don't have is good stewardship of those tax dollars.”

Radil: Both candidates said they are open to the new proposed tax on rides with companies like Uber and Lyft. Mayor Durkan wants to use that tax to fund the downtown streetcar line and more affordable housing. So Angela, you moderated the District 6 debate between Dan Strauss and Heidi Wills – that’s the district covering Phinney Ridge Ballard and Fremont. How did this issue play there?

caption: Heidi Wills and Dan Strauss hold agree on a topic during the lightning round of Saturday's CityClub debate for Seattle City Council District 6.
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Heidi Wills and Dan Strauss hold agree on a topic during the lightning round of Saturday's CityClub debate for Seattle City Council District 6.
KUOW photo/Gil Aegerter

District 6 debate

King: Dan Strauss, who is a policy adviser for outgoing Councilmember Sally Bagshaw, also liked that ride-share tax.

“The Lyft and Uber tax is a great way that we can generate just as much if not more dollars than the head tax would have generated,” Strauss said. “And what this does is it creates worker protections make sure the drivers are receiving the minimum wage that have already been that we've already passed here in the city and we've gotten dollars to fund transportation projects and build housing.”

King: As for Heidi Wills, who's looking to make a comeback after serving one term on the City Council 20 years ago, she brought up a different idea when it came to funding ideas for addressing homelessness.

“We know that we need to engage regional partners and the state to address these questions and we need a regional tax package, but people don't have an appetite for that until they see a plan and they know how those dollars will be best utilized,” Wills said.

King: And I should note that candidate Wills did not specify what kind of tax package she would put on the table.

Radil: Unlike in District 5, District 6 is definitely going to be a change election. They've got two new candidates or at least one completely new candidate looking to fill Councilmember Mike O'Brien’s seat.

King: That’s right -- Dan Strauss the newcomer versus Heidi Wills, who lost her re-election bid in 2003 after getting tied up in the so-called stripper gate controversy. I don't know if you remember that but she accepted campaign contributions from donors associated with Frank Colacurcio Jr., the owner of Rick’s strip club in Lake City, and then voted for a zoning change that the Colacurcios wanted. She did address that issue during the debate.

“So I didn't know who the Colacurcio family was nor their relationship to Gov. Al Rossellini, because this was all pre-Google. This was 16 years ago. So I've learned to ask better questions since then.”

King: Dan Strauss didn't have to address that issue specifically he did talk about campaign contributions.

“There are people who have tried to influence me and I have returned the first two weeks of this campaign … two donations, Democracy Vouchers at that because I don't need to have people's money when I've got a grassroots campaign.”

King: And you know Amy the two candidates agreed on a lot like upzoning, and building more protected bike lanes. They did differ though on safe injection sites. Wills is against them, Strauss supports them.

Radil: District 5 also was split on that concept. Juarez supports the idea but Davison Sattler doesn't.

The SeattleCityClub is hosting debates in all seven City Council districts. The next is Thursday in District 3. You can sign up here.

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