Kruse challenges Seattle mayor’s plan: How is it going to be different?

Feb 22, 2023, 12:00 PM | Updated: 1:19 pm
In an aerial view, a homeless encampment, known informally as "Dope Slope" stands covered in garbage near downtown Seattle on March 12, 2022 in Seattle, Washington. The city government is currently working to remove such encampments from shared spaces throughout Seattle. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell’s second ‘State of the City’ address hit all the talking points as he and his team continue to combat the challenges the city has been marred with: Economic recovery, housing, police staffing, and high crime rates.

“It’s going to take bold thinking and hard work to make Seattle where everyone feels safe,” Harrell said in his address.

Kruse: Abandoned downtown ‘revealed the worst of the city’

“A lot of buzzwords,” Brandi Kruse said on KIRO Newsradio in response to Harrell’s speech earlier today. “I swear to God, they need to ban the word bold from any politician’s lexicon. I hate the word bold because it usually means expensive and unnecessary. He said bold a lot. But like I said, he was joking around a lot. And given the seriousness of things in Seattle, I mean, that’s just kind of his style. Awkward humor is sort of his thing.”

During his address, Harrell touched on his Downtown Activation Plan (DAP), discussing the immediate activation strategies within the plan to help make downtown safer and more welcoming. The proposal includes filling vacant storefronts, addressing fentanyl and synthetic drugs used in public, converting office space into more housing, and creating an “arts-entertainment-culture” district.

“Here’s my concern with DAP. I’ve been in Seattle long enough to see these activation plans come and go,” Kruse said. “I was in Seattle covering 91/2 Blocks, which was an effort to clean up the nine-and-a-half blocks in the immediate area downtown around Pike Place Market. It worked for a little bit, and then it just went back to how it was a year later. And I remember they activated Westlake Park, put a bunch of things in there that families could do, musicians, etc. And as I said, it worked for maybe six months, a year. And then it went back to how it was.”

Kruse cited business owners like Olga Sagan, who owns and operates Piroshsky, Piroshsky, an iconic Seattle restaurant with a location on Third and Pike that closed 10 months ago due to crime in the area. The restaurant has since reopened last month.

Seattle restaurant owner: ‘A significant difference’ in safety downtown

“My question for the mayor would be, how is it going to be different from the other efforts to revitalize downtown that have failed in the long term?” Kruse asked hypothetically on air. “It’s not enough to revitalize downtown for six months or a year, you have to make sure that it stays a vibrant place, as he says, for people to do business. And I really do think that starts with this year, when there are seven of nine council seats up for grabs, with voters electing pro-business council members and voting out anti-business council members.”

Lisa Herbold (District 1), Kshama Sawant (District 3), Alex Pedersen (District 4), and Debora Juarez (District 5) have announced they will not run for re-election while Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda announced she will run for the King County Council District 8 seat — and will vacate her city council spot if she wins.

Tammy Morales (District 2) and Andrew Lewis (District 7) are the only two who have announced they are running for re-election. Dan Strauss (District 6) has yet to announce his decision.

Councilmember Sara Nelson is not up for re-election until 2025.

“Remember what happens in Seattle, the success or failure of Seattle, even if you don’t live there, determines the economic vitality of our entire state,” Kruse said.

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Kruse challenges Seattle mayor’s plan: How is it going to be different?