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Saul Spady working to unite Seattleites for better future

(Matt Pitman/MyNorthwest)

Fresh off the heels of the booming anti-head tax campaign, which ended with the Seattle City Council revoking its controversial employee tax on businesses, Saul Spady, grandson of Dick’s Drive-In founder Dick Spady, is continuing in his mission for political change in Seattle.

This time, however, it will be in a slightly different light.

“I don’t want to be the No Head Tax guy,” Spady told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson.

That’s why he changed the name of the “No Head Tax” Facebook page to “21st Century Seattle” — to reflect a group that is inclusive of both sides of the aisle and focused on working toward common goals together.

RELATED: Saul Spady and the petition to repeal Seattle’s head tax

“What I’d like to do is to create a place for a moderate, fiscally responsible Democrat, who’s also progressive, to have a voice to put forward innovative, 21st-century solutions for our region that can take us through this crisis and help make Seattle what it should be — that shining emerald of a city,” Spady said.

Spady compared the divisiveness and dissatisfaction in Seattle politics to the political situation of the nation as a whole, noting that the Seattle City Council’s approval ratings are comparable to President Trump’s.

“It comes from a similar place of lack of listening,” Spady said. “And we really need people who listen.”

The question that Spady wants every Seattle resident to ask himself or herself is, “Is my councilmember available to me to walk in and talk about an issue in my neighborhood?”

“I don’t believe our council members are in that place,” Spady said. “I think many of them care about their communities, but they’re not opening their doors.”

Spady lives in Councilmember Kshama Sawant’s district and said that it has been “almost impossible” to get a meeting with her.

In an ideal scenario, Spady envisions a place where a politician, a high-power CEO like Jeff Bezos, a single mom, and a union president can sit down and have a productive discussion about solutions to Seattle’s problems.

“What they’re going to align alongside is a core set of pillars that I think we should all carry forward in our region,” Spady said.

As stated on 21st Century Seattle’s Facebook page, these pillars include the following:

1) A 21st century region/city is safe for both residents and tourists.

2) A 21st century region has a fiscally responsible government that is transparent and accountable to results.

3) A 21st century region encourages leadership that is diverse in both background and thought.

4) A 21st century region puts forward innovative, common sense, and proactive solutions to regional problems.

5) A 21st century region provides a pathway to stability for those without a home using first-time employment, training, and educational growth.

6) A 21st century region has equitable housing and diverse transportation options that integrate technology and encourage public/private partnerships, including simplified and fast zoning laws that incentivize creative solutions, and private development investment for homelessness and affordable housing for individuals and families.

7) A 21st century region provides immediate and free health services for mental illness and addiction.

Spady is adamant that the phrase “pathway out of homelessness,” as seen in pillar #5, be used to discuss homelessness solutions, because this implies that homeless people, with the help of the city, will seek ways to stop living on the streets.

“Right now, I think in the City of Seattle, we’re creating an environment where you’re allowed to camp on the street and be there for as long as you want,” he said. “And instead, I think we need to create an environment where we’re here to encourage and give you a hand up and out of this situation.”

Spady’s plan includes providing homeless addicts with six-month rehab, transportation back to Seattle, a $15/hour job in town, and — provided that the person can stay sober and hold down the job — a subsidized apartment along with job training so that the person can get into a trade and work toward financial independence.

“We have an incredible opportunity in the City of Seattle and in King County,” Spady said, pointing to the amount of money that local government collects through taxes. “We need to look to our leadership to really take those good solutions and put the dollars toward what’s working.”

Spady encourages anyone with opinions on 21st Century Seattle’s pillars to contact him and start a productive conversation.

“I’m looking for people who want to have discussions on these pillars,” he said. “You may not agree with me on every one, but I promise you, as a private citizen, my door is always open. I am looking to meet with people and find solutions.”

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