JASON RANTZ

Seattle-based TV producer Michael Harris joins mayoral race

May 8, 2017, 7:50 PM | Updated: 11:26 pm

Seattle-based TV producer Michael Harris is stepping into the mayoral race.

Michael Harris, who has regularly contributed to several television networks, declared his candidacy for Seattle mayor on KIRO Radio’s Jason and Burns Show Monday evening.

RELATED: Seattle mayoral candidates 

“Every time we have a race like this we have question about ‘what’s the big special interest behind the candidates?'” Harris told Jason and Burns. “I do have a special interest behind me and that’s homelessness. I’ve seen it. We’ve all seen it. It’s just been sort of this Band-Aid approach from this last administration into the prior administration and we are not getting any closer. We started out with a crisis, and now we have an epidemic.”

Harris says he would engage police officers on the front lines of the homelessness issue to help get a hold of the problem, and he is in favor of ideas such as safe injection sites. But he would not have a homelessness czar.

“I would say for the last four years with Ed it’s been primarily a lot of optics,” Harris said. “I kind of chuckled when he came out with the homelessness czar. The whole idea of bringing in someone and paying them $140,000 a year to do the thinking that the mayor should be doing. We do have a czar, and that czar is our mayor.”

Michael Harris and other issues

Harris also says he, unlike several of his opponents, is opposed to new taxes.

“I’m coming in here, which is kind of bold, being a no-new-taxes candidate,” he said. “We can’t just throw a bunch of money at this problem and make it will go away. It does require money, but we don’t need to tax.  We don’t need to raise the sales tax, we don’t need an income tax in Seattle which is a joke … you’re just going to push some of the wealthy people to just out of Seattle.”

A statement from Harris’ campaign notes that “in this robust economy we can address the challenges facing our city by being smarter, more engaged, and more efficient. We need to do better with what we have.”

Harris says Seattle needs to do more to be a leader on the issue of climate change. If elected, the city will join other cities and pledge to be powered entirely with clean energy sources by 2035.

“If Atlanta can do it, so can Seattle,” the Michael Harris campaign statement says.

Harris supports providing equitable resources to all schools in Seattle. He says he will work tirelessly to get children the state-mandated funds they are due. However, he does not support a soda tax, such as what current Mayor Ed Murray proposed.

Harris calls the homeless crisis an “epidemic.” Though he says the problem has been addressed with “good intentions,” but it has mostly been lip service. Harris believes there’s no reason to spend money on things such as a homeless czar — the mayor should be that czar. The latest candidate does believe in affordable housing and the idea of working with developers to create more. He also says income inequality needs to be further addressed and he supports raising the minimum wage.

Harris supports body cameras for all police and says the city has to be committed to community policing.

As for the city’s transportation problem, he says, that while access to public transportation is needed, as well as other alternatives, “we have to be realistic.”

“Americans and Seattleites use their cars and we must acknowledge that face in our transportation planning. We must fix potholes and do so in a timely manner. Our geography is constrained and our transportation infrastructure is already over-burdened,” the statement says.

“Bicycle lanes are great, but so are electric cars.”

Also announcing on Monday, Senator Bob Hasegawa will run for mayor, according to KIRO 7.  Hasegawa lives in the 11th District, which stretches over Seattle’s Georgetown, SODO, and Beacon Hill neighborhoods – down to Tukwila and then east covering parts of Renton.

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