My questions in bold, Nick Licata’s after that:
1) Now that I-502 has passed, what should the purchase of marijuana look like within city limits? Will medical marijuana collective garden storefronts in Seattle have to abide by the 1000-foot rule established by I-502?
The State Liquor Control Board has allocated 21 retail licenses for recreational marijuana in Seattle, legalized by I-502, which I strongly supported. The stores will likely open during spring of 2014. More stores could open if demand is high enough.
I believe the state legislature needs to act to place medical marijuana within a clearer legal framework than its current “grey” status, a result of the partial Governor’s veto in 2011. The needs of medical patients must be met, and I’m not convinced the recreational market will meet that need. I’d like to see a medical license with clearer restrictions, and a reduced number of dispensaries. In any case, the US Attorney has stated that the current lack of regulations isn’t viable, and given the illegal status of marijuana at the US federal level, that is a caution we should heed.
I am co-sponsoring legislation that would require dispensaries or to be within commercial or industrial zones—more or less the same as retail stores for other legal products. It’s likely there will be a lot less dispensaries; the state could attempt to incorporate medical marijuana into the 502 system, though I’d prefer a separate, smaller regulated medical system.
2) With Metro’s ability to fund itself at the whim of the legislature, what should the city’s role be in public transportation? How should the City Council both make sure we get our fair share, and that the system serves the entire region well?
Ensuring our bus service is vital. The bus system is the best way to serve every neighborhood and business district; it should be our first public transportation priority. Should the state not grant King County authority to maintain funding for current service, the City may need to use its existing Transportation Benefit District authority to maintain service in Seattle via a ballot measure. Such a measure should be short-term only, for one or two years, and clearly state that once King County is able to collect funding via state authority, the City funding should stop. All neighborhoods and business district should have a good level of bus service before we consider building more streetcars. Light rail should be pursued within the regional context.
3) What should the waterfront look like after the Viaduct comes down? Will there be a streetcar or other transit?
A post-Viaduct waterfront should live up to the tag line planners currently employ, “A Waterfront for All,” in three crucial ways. First, it should provide free and easy access to Puget Sound in the form of beaches, open space and structures that directly abut the water. Second, it should offer a wide variety of free activities, such as music concerts, community festivals and other public gatherings that can attract a diverse audience of residents in addition to tourists. And last, it should contain surprises, such as artistically designed wayfinders at intersections, writers’ parks along the water that allow for reading, writing and contemplation, and integrated public art that amplifies the emotional, cultural and historic aspects of the waterfront.
I supported studying streetcars on the waterfront. The study is complete, and the estimated cost to place a streetcar on the waterfront is between $35 and $55 million. The decision to place a streetcar on the waterfront will have to take place within the overall spending plan for the waterfront.
4) What should happen in the next 4 years to make sure that police reform both satisfies the Feds, and works for Seattle citizens?
I support the City of Seattle’s policing reform objectives as follows:
- Prompt implementation of reform;
- Alignment of the monitoring plan with the scope of the Settlement Agreement;
- Certainty that the monitoring plan follows the specific commitments of the Settlement Agreement; and
- Ensuring that taxpayer dollars are spent to best further the speedy implementation of the Settlement Agreement.
We will best and most timely realize these objectives if we seek to uphold the spirit and the law of the Department of Justice’s Settlement Agreement and Memorandum of Understanding. They find that ongoing community input is a necessary and critical component of achieving and maintaining effective and constitutional policing.
The Community Police Commission is established to provide an independent forum for dialogue and widespread input on the reform efforts required by the Agreement/Memorandum. It is responsible to “leverage the ideas, talent, experience and expertise of the people of Seattle to support the City in ensuring that police services are delivered to the people of Seattle in a manner that:
- 1. Fully complies with the Constitution of the United States;
2. Effectively ensures public and officer safety; and
3. Promotes public confidence in SPD and its officers.”
The CPC should seek to strengthen the 3-legged table of our civilian policing oversight body. Each the civilian director, the civilian auditor, and the civilian oversight body have critical roles that make Seattle’s system – structurally – sound.
SPD rank and file will have to formulate new policy and cultivate a new policing culture. The City Council may have to pass new laws. The recommendations of the CPC will be a useful guide informed by their collective law enforcement expertise and community experience.
An emerging policy deliberation of significant reform potential relates to the Seattle Police Department’s proposed new Use of Force policies.
5) A recent study found Seattle is the worst of the 50 largest US metro areas in terms of pay equality for women. Why do you think that’s the case, and what is the city’s role in closing that gap?
An April report from the National Partnership for Women and Families (NWPF) ranked Seattle as having the widest gender wage gap among the nation’s 50 largest metropolitan areas.
On average in Seattle, a woman who holds a full-time job is paid $44,535 per year while a man who holds a full-time job is paid $60,881 per year. Women in the Seattle area are paid 73 cents for every dollar paid to men. Nationally, it’s women 77 cents for every dollar paid to men.
This means, for Seattle women, if the wage gap were eliminated for working Seattle area metro women would have enough money for approximately:
- 118 more weeks of food (2.3 years’ worth);
- Eight more months of mortgage and utilities payments; or
- 16 more months of rent.
The City of Seattle also has gender disparities in the payment of wages to its employees. Men employed by the City of Seattle make approximately 9.5% more than women on average.
I support the efforts of the Gender Equity in Pay Task Force to:
- Review City’s data to best understand opportunities and challenges, including a focus on departments with the largest differentials.
- Develop recruitment/retention strategies to increase employment of women.
- Develop strategies to increase City contracting and purchasing with WBEs.
- Develop policy that modifies existing procedures to address the bias that creates gender-based inequities.
- Develop tools and resources for individual women that help to address gender-based pay gaps.