We need to hit 50 in 10, meaning we must set an achievable goal of a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions in the next 10 years. Many important actions that can minimize the impacts of climate change are regional actions – developing climate focused policy on transportation, energy generation, housing affordability and homelessness.
Climate change is not an “environmental” issue – it must be the basis of every policy decision we make:
- Carbon Notes: Similar to fiscal notes, Carbon Notes will be attached to City programs and budgets and will measure the carbon impact of every policy decision the City Council makes.
- Transportation: The number one source of emissions must be significantly decreased by making our city easy to get around by foot, bike or public transit and reducing traffic – with dedicated transit lanes and a reliable, frequent, and increasingly electrified fleet.
- Equity & Justice: Communities of color, as well as immigrant, native, refugee, and low-income communities have been, and will be, impacted by climate change and environmental issues more severely and at higher rates. It is time that we prioritize these communities when addressing issues and creating solutions. Cathy has an extensive history of incorporating an equity lens in her work.
The city, as well as the planet, are in a climate emergency, shown by the wildfire smoke that clogged our lungs last August. It is time that the City of Seattle recognize that fact and put the funds and political capital towards addressing climate change as the crisis that it is, working to achieve the goals of the Mayor’s Seattle Climate Action Plan. But we must do more – read my full Seattle Climate Action Plan here.
Homelessness is a crisis in Seattle. There hasn’t been nearly enough done to address this issue – it is time that we take bold, compassionate action to house our homeless and get every person in Seattle the help they deserve:
- Prevent displacement: To stem the flow of more residents on the street, we must keep people in their homes by extending eviction notices from 3 to 14 days and notices of building closure to 180 days.
- Support for the homeless:
- I will fully fund Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) so everyone who qualifies receives the mental health and substance abuse support they need.
- We must provide World Health Organization refugee standards for refugees: potable water, sanitation stations, toilets, sharps containers, food, medical care, and waste containers in sufficient numbers.
- Build, build, build: I will work to build housing for 5,000 chronically homeless people in permanent supportive housing by 2024
Homelessness is an issue affecting our entire region. We can learn from other west coast cities, but we must organize our partners across the county to come together and tackle this problem head on, before our goodwill and compassion run out.
Affordable housing is the foundation of a diverse, socially just, sustainable community. When we are able to spend less than 30% of our income to live in our community of choice, it positively impacts every aspect of our life. Right now, working people – from nurses to teachers to baristas to firefighters – cannot afford to live in the city they work in and love. We need housing of all types for all kinds of Seattleites, built through the following ideas:
- Streamline permitting: The Seattle Department of Construction & Inspections must be fully staffed and well-trained to avoid foreclosure, better represent renters, and promote models to grow our city sustainably.
- Build, build, build (near transit): I will work to provide 20,000 new workforce housing units, located near transit corridors when possible, distributed across all Seattle districts.
- Allow Micro-housing: If residents want to live in small units, they should be able to – something not allowed by current construction codes.
Where we live impacts the community as a whole. It is how we form caring, progressive, engaged places. When people of a variety of backgrounds, income levels and professions live side-by-side, we are more compassionate about the variety of life experiences that shape our neighbors.
Public transportation is the most effective, efficient, and climate-friendly way to move people around a city. Today, our public transit is crowded and undependable, making us late for school, work, and appointments. We will only choose public transit when it is frequent, convenient and reliable, which can be achieved through:
- Bus-only corridors: Dedicated lanes must be prevalent along north-south and east-west axes in the region but they must be built in consultation with local communities in order to get buy-in. We also need to complete the expansion of RapidRide.
- Cheap, 24-hour access: Right now, transit does not run 24 hours a day. 24-hour transit will make it safer for shift workers to commute, for travelers to get to and from late flights at SeaTac, and take transit instead of driving home from bars. Orca cards must be free for people under 18, and subsidized for low-income people.
- Safe Routes to Transit: Even when we want to take transit instead of driving, it is hard to get from home to a bus stop, or between transit stations. We need to think of our transit as a system, with walkable transit stops within a mile of every home in Seattle and safe and easy connections between transit.
An efficient, reliable, and cheap transit system that serves all of Seattle is critical to make this city work.
Strong, local communities encourage people to continue living and moving here, leading to the booming business hub Seattle is today. By prioritizing housing, transit, and commercial infrastructure, we will create nodes of dense, connected, walkable neighborhoods that will improve our economy, our health, and our climate:
- Create Resiliency Hubs: services and shops located within walking distance of transit stations for easy access in dense neighborhoods
- Expand Home Zones: make residential streets safer by retrofitting and slowing speeds on them, eliminating the need for sidewalks and saving taxpayer money
- Develop Safe Streets: invest in street infrastructure to make our neighborhoods and school routes walkable and safe for our most vulnerable – the elderly, disabled, and children
* Community Policing: Many issues with policing in Seattle stem from the lack of integration of officers within the communities they are policing. The Seattle Community Police Commission plays a vital role in oversight and reform, and must have the full support and trust of City Council, our neighborhoods and the police force. *
By prioritizing neighborhoods, we prioritize people. Healthy neighborhoods are ones that people love to live in, walk around, and participate in. By designing our neighborhoods with community input, we engage residents in the development of their future homes.