GEE AND URSULA

Seattle council candidate Sara Nelson outlines plan for homelessness, policing

Oct 18, 2021, 3:37 PM | Updated: Oct 19, 2021, 11:26 am
Sara Nelson...
(courtesy Sara Nelson for City Council)
(courtesy Sara Nelson for City Council)

In the wake of the economic and social damages the pandemic has wrought on Seattle, the city has heightened its scrutiny of its leaders and in them projects its vision for the future.

With a matter of weeks before November’s elections, and ballots already in the mail, several elections have become flash points for ideological differences on policing, housing, and other key issues.

One such election is for Seattle City Council Position 9. The seat was left open with M. Lorena Gonzalez’s decision to run for mayor. Its two challengers, Nikkita Oliver and Sara Nelson, represent disparate wings of the electorate. That disparity is evidenced best in their positions on up-zoning, policing, and strategies to address homelessness.

What perhaps best encapsulates a candidate’s vision for addressing homelessness in Seattle is how they view “Compassion Seattle,” a now failed ballot measure that would have placed a legal requirement on the city to conduct forced removal of homeless encampments on public land.

Compassion Seattle appeal denied, homeless amendment will not appear on ballot

“I would have voted for it,” Sara Nelson said in an interview with KIRO Radio’s Gee and Ursula Show.

“Here’s why: First of all, it was a plan written on paper. But more important than that, it contained an element that is missing from our response so far. And that is Seattle funding of mental health and substance abuse treatment. That’s a huge issue,” she said. “We should be offering that, contracting with service providers because this is a driver of homelessness.”

“I believe that we need to clear encampments,” she added. “Some people call it sweeps, I call it help.”

Perhaps the other best indicator for a city council candidate’s political leanings is their perspective on defunding the police.

Narratives for pair of Seattle council races paint dramatically different pictures

When asked about her position on the political movement, Nelson confirmed that she opposes any such action. She is, instead, a proponent of improving recruitment within communities of color.

“We need [to] reform the police, definitely,” Nelson continued. “But defunding at a time of skyrocketing gun violence and rising crime across the city is the wrong idea. My opponent wants to abolish the police. I believe that we can reform the police in a manner that keeps people safe and holds officers accountable for misconduct.”

“We [need to] recruit officers from Black and brown communities. This will go far in building trust between law enforcement and the community,” she said. “It will overcome language barriers and establish more of what we call a community policing model.”

“Then, when we have enough officers, we need to bring our staffing levels back up, make sure we bring back the community policing teams and expand the crisis response teams which provide a combination of uniformed officers and social workers to respond to people in crisis,” she added.

The interview continued with a discussion of up-zoning, and how Seattle should change municipal codes to allow for the construction of more housing to accommodate for its population influx. Recent actions by the city council indicate that they are in favor of removing “single family” labels from zoning regulations, which, in theory, would lay the groundwork for more affordable housing.

Nelson’s campaign sees the up-zoning issue as one already addressed when the city allowed for expanded use of its residential lots. She is reluctant to continue to push for more, higher volume housing capacity.

“My position is that we already transformed single family zones when we allowed for up to three units per lot with the accessory dwelling unit legislation,” Nelson said.

“I believe that we need to be very careful when we’re talking about land use changes because I don’t think we should have a one size fits all,” she added. “We need to be concerned about individual neighborhoods.”

Listen to the Gee and Ursula Show weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

Gee and Ursula Show

Gee and Ursula

Bruce Harrell inaugural address...
Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin Show

Seattle Mayor Harrell looks to form third public safety department for unarmed responders

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell wants to supplement the city's police and fire departments with a third public safety department.
4 days ago
grocery...
Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin Show

Gee & Ursula: Report shows most Kroger grocery workers struggle to afford food

A new report shows that more than two-thirds of Kroger grocery workers are struggling to afford food, housing, or other basic needs.
5 days ago
amanda knox...
MyNorthwest Staff

Gee interviews Amanda Knox on new podcast

On “Leaving a Legacy,” Gee interviews Amanda Knox -- an author, activist, and journalist who was wrongly convicted in the murder her roommate.
6 days ago
kent police...
Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin Show

Gee & Ursula: Apology for handling of Kent police officer who posted Nazi emblem fixes little

The Kent mayor and police chief apologized for the separation delay of an officer alleged to have displayed a Nazi emblem, only after public outcry.
7 days ago
COVID vaccine...
Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin Show

Likely that Washington schools will eventually require students to get COVID vaccine

Could the COVID vaccine join the list of requirements for children to attend school in Washington? State Superintendent Chris Reykdal believes it will.
9 days ago
outdoor lunch, kirkland...
Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin Show

State superintendent: Kirkland school’s outdoor lunch rule ‘not the best choice’

Parents at Lakeview Elementary expressed outrage after finding out that the school would be mandating outdoor lunch in cold temperatures.
10 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]
...

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]
...

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
...
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
...

Delayed-Onset PTSD: Signs and Symptoms

Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers SPONSORED — You’re probably familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. Often abbreviated as PTSD, this condition is diagnosed when a person experiences a set of symptoms for at least a month after a traumatic event. However, for some people, these issues take longer to develop. This results in a diagnosis of delayed-onset PTSD […]
...

Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7. Free unbiased help is here!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
Seattle council candidate Sara Nelson outlines plan for homelessness, policing