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Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Thanks Linda & Darlene!

Posted by on September 13 at 16:20 PM

Linda Averill is running as a Freedom Socialist for Seattle City Council Position 4 (Jan Drago is the incumbent). Darlene Madenwald is running for Seattle City Council Position 2 (Richard Conlin is the incumbent).

Averill and Madenwald are the only candidates, so far, who have responded to the audience questions from our Sept. 7 Candidate Forum, which we posted here a few days ago.

Linda and Darlene’s answers are below. Linda’s answers are first.

LINDA AVERILL: Why are you running as a socialist?
Disasters like New Orleans show that "market forces" are not capable of addressing human needs. We need a different economic model that puts human life first, not profits, and wars for profits. As a socialist I will work with others to build a movement that can win such a transformation. Let's not keep allowing disasters like New Orleans, or the more subtle, quiet everyday disasters like homelessness, illiteracy, unemployment, etc. Now is the time for Seattle voters to put a socialist -- a Radical Woman -- on the City Council.

POSITION 4 CANDIDATES (DRAGO RACE): Would you support a requirement for SPU trucks to be powered by propane? These trucks are a major source of carcinogenic diesel smoke in our residential neighborhoods.
Sure would. Thanks for raising that one. I couldn't agree with you more. And maybe our Mayor will actually live up to his grand proclamation about curbing greenhouse gases on this one.

A QUESTION FOR ALL THE CANDIDATES: The mayor has proposed impact fees for parks. What do you think of this? What should the fees be or how should they be assessed? Are impact fees practical for anything else?

I am opposed to impact fees for our parks. We pay taxes to fund our parks. We should not have to pay additional "fees." Rather it is crucial that our parks remain open and free for all to use. Developers should pay fees in full proportion to the profits they make from city decisions such as raising height limits. Cruise ships should pay fees in full proportion to clean up the environmental damage they incur from dumping in our Sound. There are many fees the City Council and Mayor should be collecting from corporations/industry/developers as a means to more accurately assess them for the burden they put on our infrastructure and environment. The above two examples are the tip of the iceberg.  


A QUESTION FOR ALL THE CANDIDATES: In no more than one sentence, please describe your position on gay marriage.
I fully support gay marriage, and see it as a simple matter of equality.

A QUESTION FOR ALL THE CANDIDATES: Biotech is touted for bringing jobs to Seattle; will it do anything to reduce unemployment?
I doubt it. Biotech may even raise unemployment levels because this is a volatile industry with a few high-paying jobs, many low-paying support jobs, and companies that go belly up if their often subsidized research does not pan out. Our tax dollars should not be going to subsidize industries like Biotech. Rather, the biotech industry should be nationalized. And tax dollars currently going to subsidize the research of for-profit private biotech companies would be better spent supporting living-wage public works jobs to improve our parks, schools, recreation programs for youth, etc. This would put money in the pockets of minimum wage workers, create a better educated workforce, and put more money directly and immediately into circulation, which would benefit small business.

A QUESTION FOR ALL THE CANDIDATES: Question to those who changed positions on the monorail: How do you expect anyone to see you as anything other than opportunistic and full of shit?
That's a good question whoever asked it, and you probably already know the answer. I've opposed the monorail from the get-go, but not because I'm opposed to monorail on principle. It was hijacked from the beginning by people who are privatizers, developers, bondholders, and other operators who saw the potential for a cash cow. My union, Amalgamated Transit Union, tried to get it on a right track back in early 2004, but the arrogant unaccountable board ignored our testimony to keep the monorail as a publicly-operated and maintained system. If by some miracle we actually get a monorail, we should insist it be publicly operated and paid for with tax dollars from corporate profits. It should also be affordable and accessible to all.

A QUESTION FOR ALL THE CANDIDATES: It looks like "Husky Greg" Nickels will be our mayor for 4 more years. How will you work with-or against him-during your term on the Council?
If he continues to champion the interests of wealthy developers and billionaires like Paul Allen, I'll oppose him. I'll have an open door policy at city hall and use it to help mobilize community opposition to their policies. If, by some miracle, Nickels should start to put human needs first, tax Vulcan, and ensure social services are fully funded, I will work with him to achieve these worthy measures.

A QUESTION FOR ALL THE CANDIDATES: What will you do to get more people out of cars and onto their feet or bikes?
People will get out of their cars when transit is faster, cheaper, and more convenient than a car. I advocate for free or very affordable mass public transit. That means much more mass transit - light rail, monorail, bus. And more bike paths. We need "ride free" days, and all this will take more tax dollars, which should come from corporations like Starbucks, Nordstrom, Stevedoring Services of America, Microsoft, etc.

A QUESTION FOR ALL THE CANDIDATES: When do you think the Alaskan Way Viaduct should be closed?
Well before it tumbles during a major earthquake.

A QUESTION FOR ALL THE CANDIDATES: In order to reduce traffic, are you willing to require each employer to, where possible, assign employees to the work site closest to their homes?
That is an intriguing idea, but requiring employers to subsidize transit passes as a means to get their employees out of cars would do more. Some employers already do, but many do not and larger ones should be required to do so.

A QUESTION FOR ALL THE CANDIDATES: Do you support continued funding/partnership of the Vera project?
Yes.

A QUESTION FOR ALL THE CANDIDATES: What will you do to ensure that the mayor doesn't subsidize the Sonic's remodel of the Key Arena?
I'm against such subsidies. The Freedom Socialist Party has a long history of opposing such corporate and millionaire freeloading. Obviously, you don't think we should be subsidizing them either. Since we are in the majority, we need to bring our weight to bear on the issue. It will help to have council members in office who belong to political parties who oppose such subsidies. The record shows that the Democratic Party supports such subsidies.

A QUESTION FOR ALL THE CANDIDATES: Should we accommodate commuters who work in Seattle, but live in the suburbs or should we not?
We should accomodate them. Many are lower-wage workers who can't afford to live in Seattle anymore. Better, however, would be to raise the minimum wage and enact rent control so they can live in Seattle.

A QUESTION FOR ALL THE CANDIDATES: Are there any REFORMS you would bring to the City Council itself as an institution?
Yes. I would institute an open door policy. I would push for evening, well-publicized meetings so that working people could attend. What would you like to see?

A QUESTION FOR ALL THE CANDIDATES: What is your plan to create affordable and desirable housing for families in downtown Seattle?
Higher fees on developers to pay for expanded public housing in the downtown area. Preserve Yesler Terrace (which is essentially in the downtown area); Organize for rent control, and eliminate subsidies or laws that encourage developers to tear down lower-income apartments and replace them with expensive condos (as happened at South Lake Union). These would be some initial steps. 

A QUESTION FOR ALL THE CANDIDATES: The city's comprehensive plan, in keeping with the Growth Management Act, seeks to encourage growth in established urban centers. One of the keys to increasing density in urban centers is attracting families who would otherwise locate in the suburbs. What can city government do to attract more families to our urban centers?
Vancouver, which charges developer fees to build parks, schools, etc., and which regulates developers, provides a good example for us to build on. I understand many of Vancouver's provisions may be "illegal" in our "market-driven" system. It is clear our "market-driven" system is failing and we need to change the laws.

A QUESTION FOR ALL THE CANDIDATES: Seattle has had the same problems for many years and nothing seems to have improved (i.e. transportation, affordable housing, etc.). Why should we expect anything to change?
You should not expect anything to change as long as Democrats and Republicans stay in office. (See the last question about why I'm running as a Freedom Socialist. 

A QUESTION FOR ALL THE CANDIDATES: What is your position on the Viaduct replacement/tunnel/ diverting traffic downtown?
I don't think the city has a real plan. We should extend free bus service as one means of reducing the amount of cars coming into downtown. We should close Third Avenue to all cars and treat it as a transit-only road. This will help.

A QUESTION FOR ALL THE CANDIDATES: Do you volunteer for any local organizations? If so, who and why?
Yes, I volunteer for the Freedom Socialist Party. I volunteer for Radical Women. I volunteer for Amalgamated Transit Union 587 as a delegate to the King County Labor Council. FSP and RW in particular have long histories of organizing successfully around the issues I believe in, including for abortion and gay rights, racial justice and equality, affirmative action, against war and for defending the civil liberties and civil rights of immigrants. The labor movement historically has won crucial gains for society, such as the eight-hour work day, social security, the weekend. I think we will see it rise in strength again as "market-driven" forces (capitalism) leave more and more people without healthcare, housing, pensions, etc.

A QUESTION FOR ALL THE CANDIDATES: Some say that with the strong mayors office, the City Council has been fractured and unprepared to counter his control agenda. Please give your thoughts on how best to deal with the mayor's office and what you've done to build consensus and react effectively.
The City Council has not stood up to the Mayor because the majority does not really oppose his agenda, which is to serve the interests of large corporations, wealthy developers, and billionaires. We need less consensus and more voice from the residents of Seattle who are currently being ignored -- lower-income and fixed-income residents.

A QUESTION FOR ALL THE CANDIDATES: Foreign Policy: Name Premier of British Columbia.
You got me.

A QUESTION FOR ALL THE CANDIDATES: How would you critique the government's response to Katrina? How would you respond to Katrina as a city council person?
I hope you will look at the Freedom Socialist Party's statement on Katrina. It is posted on my website, socialism.com. It is entitled "Capitalism's collateral damage: To be poor, black and dying in New Orleans."

A QUESTION FOR ALL THE CANDIDATES: Given the overwhelming support for the monorail just last fall, who here is willing to work productively with the Seattle Monorail Authority to make sure the public gets what it voted for and those votes are respected?
I'm opposed to the Seattle Monorail Authority. I've called for shutting it down because it is undemocratic, unaccountable and wasting our tax dollars. Moreover, board members keep leaving, like rats jumping from a sinking ship after they've eaten all the cake.

A QUESTION FOR ALL THE CANDIDATES:What will you do to restore affirmative action in Seattle?
I will organize to reinstate it, working with communities of color and women's organizations, and all the other groups who agree I-200 is a failure. Radical Women, with whom I work, helped to get some of the first women into the non-traditional trades and we supported Black Construction workers getting into the trades as well. It took a movement to win affirmative action. That is what we need to build to get it back.
We also need to insist the Democratic-controlled state government repeal I-200. The facts are in. We need affirmative action to combat discrimination and inequity.

A QUESTION FOR ALL THE CANDIDATES: How much money have you collected so far for your campaign?
About $16,000.

A QUESTION FOR ALL THE CANDIDATES: When will you synchronize the streetlights?
You mean the signal lights?

A QUESTION FOR ALL THE CANDIDATES: How can citizens be assured that city government takes police oversight and police accountability seriously?
An elected civilian review board over police, with subpoena and investigatory powers is crucial. It must be independent from the Mayor's office and city hall.

A QUESTION FOR ALL THE CANDIDATES: Say the one most positive thing and the one most negative thing about the monorail project that you can think of?
Positive: It has shown how much people in this city want and support more transit.
Negative: The board's failures hopefully will not make people cynical or hopeless about the prospect of actually having a transit system that is mass, public, affordable and rapid.

A QUESTION FOR ALL THE CANDIDATES: For those of you who don't support the monorail, what alternatives do you propose to make sure West Seattle is NOT cut off after the viaduct comes down?
The State transit board had a worthy suggestion about hooking up the West Seattle bridge with the E-3 busway, or other major transit corridor. The city also needs to partner with Metro to provide more park and ride lots at the West Seattle end, with buses coming every couple of minutes to deliver people into downtown.

AND FROM OUR INTERN: "Sin Taxes", such as those on cigarettes, provide funding to the general fund, water quality, drug enforcement, health services, and salmon recovery programs, in the order of $20.25 in taxes per carton. If the smoking ban passes, it is certain that both cigarette and liquor sales (from people who won't want to patron bars anymore) will plummet. With Seattle's purse strings so tight, how do you plan to compensate the tax money that products with such "Sin Taxes" provide to the city?
Excellent question. I'm opposed to the smoking ban and sin taxes, which are regressive in nature and disproportionately impact poorer people. We should raise money by eliminating subsidies to sports stadiums, billionaires, and insisting Olympia close all the tax loopholes they have handed out over the last years, worth billions of dollars. This is for starters.



******

Thanks for the opportunity to attend the candidate debate forum. Please find below my answers to the questions from the audience.

Darlene


A QUESTION FOR ALL THE CANDIDATES: The mayor has proposed impact fees for parks. What do you think of this? What should the fees be or how should they be assessed? Are impact fees practical for anything else? A: Impact fees can be practical funding sources for any number of city services and amenities, such as parks. But, before assessing them, a cost-benefit analysis should be made to make sure that the public is well served by those fees.

A QUESTION FOR ALL THE CANDIDATES: In no more than one sentence, please describe your position on gay marriage. A: I absolutely support gay marriage.

A QUESTION FOR ALL THE CANDIDATES: Biotech is touted for brining jobs to Seattle; will it do anything to reduce unemployment? A: Biotech will bring jobs, but I don't believe it will bring as many jobs as the industry says it will. I have heard people who, are in that industry, actually have their own doubts about the job numbers being touted.

A QUESTION FOR ALL THE CANDIDATES: Question to those who changed positions on the monorail: How do you expect anyone to see you as anything other than opportunistic and full of shit?

A QUESTION FOR ALL THE CANDIDATES: It looks like "Husky Greg" Nickels will be our mayor for 4 more years. How will you work with-or against him-during your term on the Council? A: I will work with him when it is in the best interests of the citizens of Seattle, but if I need to stand up to him to make sure that the voice of the citizens be more fully heard, then I will stand up.

A QUESTION FOR ALL THE CANDIDATES: What will you do to get more people out of cars and onto their feet or bikes? A: I know one of my top priorities would be to get the necessary funding to get more sidewalks built in Seattle. We tell people to walk more for their health and to get cars off of our city streets, but 1/3 of our city doesn't even have sidewalks, so how can people walk safely if they do get out of their cars?

A QUESTION FOR ALL THE CANDIDATES: When do you think the Alaskan Way Viaduct should be closed? A: The sooner the Alaskan Way Viaduct is replaced with another viaduct, the better--better for public safety and better for the economy in the long run.

A QUESTION FOR ALL THE CANDIDATES: In order to reduce traffic, are you willing to require each employer to, where possible, assign employees to the work site closest to their homes? A: I wouldn't want to "require" employers to do that. But, there could be an incentive/awards program to encourage it.

A QUESTION FOR ALL THE CANDIDATES: Do you support continued funding/partnership of the Vera project? A: Yes.

A QUESTION FOR ALL THE CANDIDATES: What will you do to ensure that the mayor doesn't subsidize the Sonic's remodel of the Key Arena? A: I would vote against his proposal.

A QUESTION FOR ALL THE CANDIDATES: Should we accommodate commuters who work in Seattle, but live in the suburbs or should we not? A: The commuters have a right to live and work where they wish. Many of them live outside Seattle because we don't have enough affordable housing.

A QUESTION FOR ALL THE CANDIDATES: Are there any REFORMS you would bring to the City Council itself as an institution? A: Yes, I would make the funding of public health a top priority. Right now, the City of Seattle takes a back seat to King County on critical public health issues.

A QUESTION FOR ALL THE CANDIDATES: What is your plan to create affordable and desirable housing for families in downtown Seattle? A: The first thing I would do is to hold a "child-compatible" houising summit to bring developers and citizens together to find out how we can all work together more effectively to create more affordable and desireable housing for families in downtown Seattle.

A QUESTION FOR ALL THE CANDIDATES: The city's comprehensive plan, in keeping with the Growth Management Act, seeks to encourage growth in established urban centers. One of the keys to increasing density in urban centers is attracting families who would otherwise locate in the suburbs. What can city government do to attract more families to our urban centers? A: City government should hold a "child-compatible" houising summit to bring developers and citizens together to find out how we can all work together more effectively to create more affordable and desireable housing for families in downtown Seattle.

A QUESTION FOR ALL THE CANDIDATES: Seattle has had the same problems for many years and nothing seems to have improved (i.e. transportation, affordable housing, etc.). Why should we expect anything to change? A: Things need to change now and in order for that to happen, we need new voices on the City Council. I would be that new voice.

A QUESTION FOR ALL THE CANDIDATES: What is your position on the Viaduct replacement/tunnel/ diverting traffic downtown? A: I support the rebuilding of the Viaduct--and sooner than later.

A QUESTION FOR ALL THE CANDIDATES: Do you volunteer for any local organizations? If so, who and why? A: I have a long, long history of volunteering. Democracy and a civil society requires that people take part in their community. I was a volunteer President of the Washington Environmental Council & the founding President of 1000 Friends of Washington. I was the volunteer Chair of the Washington State Maritime Commission. Presently, I am the volunteer President of the American Lung Association of Washington. I am also presently a volunteer founding Board Member of the Center for Women and Democracy. 

A QUESTION FOR ALL THE CANDIDATES: Some say that with the strong mayors office, the City Council has been fractured and unprepared to counter his control agenda. Please give your thoughts on how best to deal with the mayor's office and what you've done to build consensus and react effectively. A: I have a long track record as a citizen activist of bringing people together to build consensus and bring about effective results. As President of the Washington Environmental Council, I often brought people together to address growth management, model-toxic control issues, air pollution regulations, as well as working to get good environmental laws in place.

A QUESTION FOR ALL THE CANDIDATES: Foreign Policy: Name Premier of British Columbia. A: Premier Gordon Campbell.

A QUESTION FOR ALL THE CANDIDATES: How would you critique the government's response to Katrina? How would you respond to Katrina as a city council person? A: Sadly failed response. As a nurse, I know the value of planning for disasters and putting those plans through yearly drills. As Chair of the Washington State Maritime Commission, I was in charge of overseeing the Commission's yearly oil-spill drill. On the City Council, I would push hard to educate the citizens of the city on what plans the city does have in place and insist that the plan be put through a yearly drill--and not just a table-top drill.

A QUESTION FOR ALL THE CANDIDATES: Given the overwhelming support for the monorail just last fall, who here is willing to work productively with the Seattle Monorail Authority to make sure the public gets what it voted for and those votes are respected? A: The Seattle Monorail Authority, by their inability or unwillingness to be fully transparent before the citizens, must hold its self fully accountable for the financial failure of it's plan.

A QUESTION FOR ALL THE CANDIDATES:What will you do to restore affirmative action in Seattle? A: Affirmative action should be the critically important "overlay" on all decisions made by the City Council.


A QUESTION FOR ALL THE CANDIDATES: How much money have you collected so far for your campaign? A: $ 70,000.

A QUESTION FOR ALL THE CANDIDATES: When will you synchronize the streetlights? A: It would be one of my top "get traffic moving" priorities.

A QUESTION FOR ALL THE CANDIDATES: How can citizens be assured that city government takes police oversight and police accountability seriously? A: By giving more enforecement authority to the police oversight and accountability committee.

A QUESTION FOR ALL THE CANDIDATES: Say the one most positive thing and the one most negative thing about the monorail project that you can think of? A: A nice idea, very poorly implemented.

A QUESTION FOR ALL THE CANDIDATES: For those of you who don't support the monorail, what alternatives do you propose to make sure West Seattle is NOT cut off after the viaduct comes down? A: My son and his family live in West Seattle, so I don't want to see them cut off, so we need to rethink how to keep that from happening--like only building the West Seattle segment of the monorail. Think also about bus-rapid transit or building a streetcar from West Seattle to downtown.

AND FROM OUR INTERN: "Sin Taxes", such as those on cigarettes, provide funding to the general fund, water quality, drug enforcement, health services, and salmon recovery programs, in the order of $20.25 in taxes per carton. If the smoking ban passes, it is certain that both cigarette and liquor sales (from people who won't want to patron bars anymore) will plummet. With Seattle's purse strings so tight, how do you plan to compensate the tax money that products with such "Sin Taxes" provide to the city? A: The point of the smoking ban (I-901) is to protect kids and workers from second hand smoke in public places. When the ban passes, those people who do smoke and drink will no doubt continue to do so, just not in public places. I doubt very much if the sales of cigarettes and liquor sales will plummet--they haven't in the 8 other states that have passed similar smoking bans.