My questions are bold, Richard Conlin’s are as submitted.
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?
Because I-502 and the medical marijuana initiative have some conflicting provisions, we have been working to get legislation that will reconcile them. Senator Kohl-Welles is taking the lead on that, and we believe that the legislature will act early next year. In the meantime, it looks like Seattle will have a couple of dozen storefront licenses under I-502, and those are likely to be the major sources for marijuana. Collective garden storefronts are likely going to have to follow the 1000-foot rule, as the state seems to be emphasizing that in response to the federal government’s request for strict enforcement, but we won’t know until the legislature takes action on the reconciliation legislation.
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?
Thanks to great leadership from Dow Constantine and our hard work building relationships with King County and the suburban cities, we were successful in getting a very good agreement for a fair share of Metro service out of the last negotiations. Our critical goal was to replace the old 40-40-20 rule, which dedicated most new dollars to suburban service, with a more flexible rule based primarily on productivity of routes. I don’t think we need to fear not getting our fair share from Metro at this point, if we can get Metro funding legislation from the legislature. Our major challenge is getting a transportation package from the legislature, and we need to keep the urban-suburban coalition together and find a way to forge a compromise package with the more rational Republicans. A challenge, but it can be done, and our partnership with King County is strong.
The City should continue to push for more investments in public transportation, and the core strategy (in addition to partnership with Metro) should be to prepare possible routes for inclusion in the Sound Transit 3 package, which I am trying to get on the ballot in 2016. Our priorities should be serving Ballard and West Seattle from downtown more effectively and connecting the UDistrict with Ballard. On a regional level, we should be able to complete the light rail spine from Tacoma to Everett, and start filling in light rail routes on the East Side and in South County.
In the short term, our most immediate priority for Seattle is to get a light rail station in the Lynnwood Link DEIS at 130th Street, a decision that the Sound Transit Board will make in October or November. On the City land use side, we should focus on developing a transit oriented development plan for the East Link station at Rainier and I-90.
3) What should the waterfront look like after the Viaduct comes down? Will there be a streetcar or other transit?
The waterfront should be open, accessible, and lively. We must keep the salience of pedestrians at the heart of our planning, and emphasize that this means all pedestrians, which requires using universal design principles to guide decisions. I am disturbed by the width of the proposed roadway, and support looking for ways to reduce it, such as by eliminating one of the two planned access lanes for ferry traffic. Managing a traffic lane to provide additional access at peak times is a better alternative than constructing a second ferry access lane that will be a barrier for pedestrians and not needed at most times.
We must also ensure that the waterfront is activated and safe at all levels. I would like to see a variety of active recreation areas as well as diverse businesses and a design that employs CPTED principles to make this area attractive and accessible for all.
We will have transit along the waterfront, but at this point a bus system appears to be more cost effective than a streetcar. However, no final decision has been made, and will likely not be made for a year or two. A lot depends on whether a streetcar line is developed on First Avenue.
4) What should happen in the next 4 years to make sure that police reform both satisfies the Feds, and works for Seattle citizens?
Seattle has an effective police force that does a good job in protecting public safety. The vast majority of officers are competent and professional. However, there are members of the force who have engaged in practices that have infringed upon individual rights, exercised inappropriate uses of force, and caused severe consequences for members of the public. This is a failure of leadership. While I respect the managers of SPD as individuals, they have not been able to create a system that properly trains, supervises, and assists individuals in the force to carry out their responsibilities without creating these kinds of problems. I see this as a systems failure, that may have been compounded by individuals, but that can only solved by a combination of leadership, effective training, clear lines of supervision, and swift and effective corrective action when necessary.
We must have a strong, effective, and experienced Police Chief who will be able to take charge of the Department and work effectively with all members of the Department as well as City leadership and members of the public. This leader should have extensive management practice in a Department of comparable size and complexity and be ready to implement tools to bring together the strong record of effective policing that is typical of SPD performance with remedies that will create a system of accountability and oversight that will be fair, transparent, and effective in preventing further problems in the future.
We are moving towards resolving the issues in the DOJ report through adopting new procedures for training and operations that will guide police officers in the future. With implementation of these procedures by the right kind of leadership and organizational structure, we can restore the confidence of the public in the force, effectively protect public safety, and satisfy the DOJ.
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?
We have been analyzing the data in detail, and now have very good information about the City’s own work force. It turns out that in the City there is very little pay inequality within job classifications; the primary source of difference lies in the predominance of men in jobs that are higher paying (in fact there are slightly more job titles in which women are paid more than men than ones where men are paid more than women). We can solve this in two ways:
First, by reevaluating the pay scales to ensure that we are in fact appropriately valuing work that is predominantly done by women. For example, we should ask why truck drivers are paid a higher wage than child care workers. This pattern consistently undervalues work traditionally done by women, and reevaluating job descriptions will reduce much of the disparity.
Second, we should redouble our efforts to ensure that women are more fairly represented in positions that are high paying, such as management and technology jobs. We can do this partly by consciously seeking out women for these positions, but we must also support ways to increase the supply of women in these job categories by working with the educational system to attract women to scientific and technical careers, and by looking at ways to structure jobs to provide the kind of flexibility that women are more likely to seek than men (such as flexible schedules and other arrangements that make it easier to have and raise children).
We suspect that the pattern in the private sector is similar to that in the City, and as a City we should work with the private sector to make similar changes, and consider regulatory approaches where those are appropriate.