Candidate Answers: Tom Rasmussen

1) Crime is down in the city, but we’ve seen some horrible incidents with the police in recent years. How do we ensure public safety and not have those sorts of things happen in the future?

I believe that if the Seattle Police Department follows the recommendations of the City Council Public Safety Committee, real progress can be made to ensure public safety and public trust. Here are some of the key recommendations:

    a. Establish a county-wide consistent approach to officer-involved deaths to avoid conflicts of interest;
    b. Strengthen civilian oversight and increase public understanding and trust by implementing the recommendations of the civilian observer to the Firearms Review Board;
    c. Review and enhance hiring standards and training as recommended by the Office of Professional Accountability Civilian Auditor including de-escalation training for all patrol officers with special emphasis on misdemeanor and other low-level encounters;
    d. Monthly Office of Professional Accountability reports should summarize findings of misconduct; the nature of the discipline and changes to policy or procedure that have resulted from a complaint so that the public can see the actions taken by the department;
    e. Expedite resolution of cases where there is a referral for possible criminal filing by referring the case file to both the King County Prosecutor and the City Attorney for review and recommendations;
    f. Allow supervisors to use In-Car Video for instructional purposes;
    g. Require mandatory and timely drug and alcohol testing of all officers involved in the use of deadly force regardless of whether a death has occurred and in all use of force incidents that result in the hospitalization or hospital treatment of a person;

2) Now that the Viaduct is coming down, what should the waterfront look like?

I would like the public places to be as beautiful and open and accessible and free from commercialization as possible. The waterfront should include great landscaping with many opportunities to gain access to the water and to view Elliot Bay and the Olympic Mountains. I would like the newly developed portions of the waterfront to be connected with and to extended to the walking and biking trails of Myrtle Edwards Park to the north and similar trails to the south.

3) As the great recession drags on, the city budget is still hurt. What do we need to cut, what do we need to keep, and do we need to raise more money via taxation?

We “need to cut” funding in areas where the City will not experience harm to public safety or deterioration to our infrastructure. I believe that all City Departments should be directed to find cuts and savings through efficiencies in operations and by reducing administrative and overhead costs. I would request department directors to engage their City employees and the public to identify where savings can occur and where budget reductions are possible with the least reduction in public services and with the least harm to our public facilities.

What we must ensure that we support is public safety: police and fire services; infrastructure maintenance and repair of our transportation system; our parks and other public facilities to avoid costly deterioration; public health and human service programs that are essential to the lives of the most vulnerable including the poor, children, seniors and people with disabilities.

I have proposed an increase in the vehicle license fee in order to help meet the maintenance and repair needs of our transportation system as well as to help improve its operations. This measure if approved by the voters would improve transit service; and would increase funding for repair of our roads and would fund bike and pedestrian safety improvements.

4) With its budget shrunk at least until the end of the recession what should Seattle parks look like?

Given the reduction in revenue the City will be cutting services. Of course I would like our parks to look beautiful and to be well maintained. But with reduction in staff that will be challenging. My preference and priorities are to minimize reductions to maintenance and repair staff and seek cuts in other areas of the Parks Department budget.

5) What is the Seattle’s role in education and public transportation given how important they are to the city, but that other agencies are tasked with them?

A strong and successful public school system and a good public transportation system both are fundamentally important to a thriving, healthy and successful City.

The role of the City in education is to support education both indirectly and directly. The indirect support can range from safe sidewalks and routes to schools to sharing of athletic fields and community centers. Direct support can and is provided through the City sponsored Family and Education Levy, which is up for renewal. The programs and services funded by the levy are designed to support, strengthen and ensure the success of students in the Seattle Public Schools. Other direct support should include support for arts and cultural programs that are affordable
and accessible to students.

Public transportation is funded, planned and provided for at the regional level with significant authority for planning and funding authorized by the state of Washington. The City’s role is to be an active and effective participant at all levels in public transportation advocacy and organizations.

Seattle City officials should be leading strong advocates for public transportation and for public transportation funding and expansion. Seattle officials must build strong relations throughout the region and the state to be able to be successful in creating and receiving support for public transportation.


  1. 1

    Michael spews:

    I would like the newly developed portions of the waterfront to be connected with and to extended to the walking and biking trails of Myrtle Edwards Park to the north and similar trails to the south.


    Maybe better routes from Elliot Bay to the I-90 bike trail? I haven’t cycled in that area much, but that thought popped into my head while reading this.

    Sounds like good, sold, basic governance to me.

    I’d be careful about some of those cuts to parks though. For example: if you cut day programs for developmentally disabled adults, programs that care for DD adults will have to add staff and in the case of DD adults that live with family some of those families might have to cut the hours they work and stay home with the DD adult. Some times cuts cost you more in the long run.

  2. 3

    Breadbaker spews:

    We’ve had across the board cuts in city departments under four straight mayors. Rasmussen has been on the City Council for awhile now; he should know which departments still have fat to cut and which ones don’t. It’s a total abdication of responsibility to expect that across the board cuts can still occur in some departments.