I have developed a unique plan I call “The Dignity Project” to end the neglect of those experiencing homelessness who are currently sheltering in makeshift tents, street-parked RVs, in public parks and wooded areas. This plan is based on a successful model that creates safe places for temporary shelter with service providers on-site, amenities to meet basic human needs, virtual support teams and job placement for sustainable earned income. The “Dignity Communities” will be places of compassion with clear expectations of those being cared for, to ensure that needs are met and progress towards recovery is made. The involvement of the Seattle community will be key in providing support for our neighbors as they transition into permanent housing. All elements of this project will bring about dignity, stability, opportunity and redemption for those who are displaced, as we continue our efforts to develop affordable housing options. With this approach, the city will be able to clean the streets, dispose of trash and debris, remove graffiti, and enforce our local ordinances prohibiting camping on the streets in tents and RVs.
Businesses in Seattle are facing significant challenges due to COVID-19, a slowed economy and policies that make it hard to do business in the city. Small businesses are struggling to survive because of a decrease in customers, property damage and vandalism. Some large businesses are choosing to move out of the city amid targeted business taxes, an increase in crime and verbal attacks from some of our political leaders. The city must move swiftly to revitalize our neighborhood business districts, stop the exodus of businesses and the elimination of jobs. Every business in Seattle is important to our economy and we must create a business environment where all can thrive in the city. To help Seattle’s economy rebound I am going to act quickly and intentionally with realistic plans aimed to bolster our local business’ ability to survive and continue to operate successfully in the city. I will take action to restore the vitality of our downtown core, making it safer for residents, employees, shoppers and tourist to frequent businesses, stores and attractions. I’ll bring together downtown commercial property owners with county and city officials to create an incentive program to refill the commercial retail spaces that have been vacated. I will also create a rapid response program through a partnership with neighborhood chambers and business associations to quickly assess and meet the needs of small businesses in their business districts. To enable the long-term success of our local businesses, I will create a locally supported economic stimulus package where we can offer substantial financial assistance through private/public partnerships.
The most important responsibility of our local government is to keep the public safe and protected. To do this we rely on our public safety service delivery system, consisting of the police department, fire department, first responders and human services providers. For this system to function properly each agency must be adequately funded, staffed and supported. I will commit to keep every Seattleite safe and protected by maintaining a fully funded public safety service delivery system. I will implement checks and balances to ensure that all public safety personnel are living up to their pledge to protect and serve. I will hold individuals directly accountable for conduct not aligned to principles of service as they work to keep our residents safe. In partnership with agency leaders and their top commanders, we will be more interactive with our residents, building community trust as we develop public safety strategies and programs together. These actions are designed to address the immediate issues we face with public safety, but we also need to think long-term. I will focus on creating a pipeline of candidates to replenish our dwindling workforce of first responders. I will create a Public Safety Youth Academy to train young people from our local community to carry the torch as the next generation of those who will keep Seattle residents safe and embody the spirit of community service.
Seattle has a storied legacy as a place of innovation, creativity and leadership. From our thriving technology sector, to our famed coffee culture, aviation, sports and music, Seattle’s achievements have made it a leading city in the country, and more recently, in the world. But nothing is forever. And if we want to maintain that leadership role, we need to continue to support and invest in our local film, music and entertainment scene. Additionally, I will make restoration of our infrastructure a priority, as I believe no leading city can have bridges and roads which are unreliable and in a state of disrepair. And as we face the aftermath and lasting effects of the pandemic, including the rise of telecommuting, these efforts will all help to ensure that Seattle remains a top destination for both tourists and residents for generations to come.