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City Council District 8: Teresa Mosqueda & Kenneth Wilson


Question #1:

While the city of Seattle continues to grow, more and more communities become at risk for displacement and gentrification. If elected, what programs and policies would you pursue to preserve existing communities while encouraging the continued growth that the city of Seattle needs to address our affordable housing crisis? Additionally, how would you make sure that existing and future affordable housing resources are being used in an equitable way? 

Answer (TM):

To specifically address displacement, I have not only fought and won more funding for housing, I included Community Preference and Affirmative Marketing requirements in our housing policies to allow more affordable housing options especially for communities at highest risk of displacement. Many low-income communities, communities of color, and our elders in Seattle are at risk of displacement. Many in our community who were affected by historic red-lining policies are now at risk again due to being priced-out of the community and pressured-out because of the lure of selling. That is why I championed and passed the Racial Equity Toolkit to evaluate current zoning policies and see impact on communities of color and lower wage workers – report coming in June 2020 that will show our current zoning policy is leading to displacement for far too many residents and small business owners of color, who are getting priced out and pushed out of Seattle. As your City Councilmember, I will continue to work with community, small business owners, and community-minded, small developers to mitigate displacement. It’s not just about creating more housing options—it’s about creating vibrant communities through affordable housing options, near transit hubs, with accessible and affordable spaces for artists, small businesses, early learning centers, and community spaces. Solutions could include: 

Expand investments in community land trusts, affordable co-housing projects, affordable housing co-ops to create more home ownership and rental options. 

Allow accessory dwelling units (ADUs) to be sold to create more options for families to live in the city and have first time home ownership options and support long-time homeowners, especially from BIPOC communities access financial support to build on their properties without going into debt. 

Bond against our voter-approved housing levy dollars to fund more affordable development projects. 

Expedite Equitable Development Invest (EDI) grants in community for infrastructure and cultural anchors that promote development done right that complement new housing options. 

Expand upon the Community Preference, Affirmative Marketing and the Notice of Intent to Sell (like right of first refusal) policies that I passed in my first term.

Answer (KW):

[Answer not yet submitted.]

 


Question #2:

Many of today’s housing policies from zoning to permitting have roots in racial discrimination and the long running effects of those policies continue to disproportionally harm black people and people of color. If elected, you will have an opportunity to address some of this through the 2024 Comprehensive plan update. With that in mind, how would you apply a racial equity lens to the update and what specifically would you like to see that reflects that approach?

Answer (TM):

Financial empowerment for our communities that were largely displaced from Seattle’s racist housing history and zoning will be the first step in undoing a racist legacy in this city. Having economic stability stems from having a place to call home. The policy I think hits at the intersection of housing rights and accessibility- rezoning our city’s land to allow for more housing. Currently, over three quarters of our city’s land is zoned for single family homes. This prevents dense, multi-unit, multi-family housing options that allow for more families, elders, workers and small business owners from being able to live in Seattle. This exclusionary zoning is rooted in redlining and racist policies that – to this day – exclude people from being able to afford to live in the city and have kept some neighborhoods 89% white. The average cost of a home in Seattle is now over $800,000, and the lack of affordable housing is pushing people to live further and further away from the city. We can and must build more housing in the city. 

Some priorities that help address the racial wealth gap that should be included in the Comprehensive Plan: Ending the apartment ban, passing Residential Zoning name change and policies to spread growth across the city. Creating a more inclusive, less English centric and less exclusionary language/process. Anti-displacement strategies coupled with zoning changes, like investments in homeownership for communities that have been pushed out, supporting longtime homeowners at risk of displacement build density on their properties for multigenerational housing, climate resilience strategies for frontline communities. 

This will build on some of the policies I have already passed: Secured $20 million per year toward the Equitable Development Initiative for communities at most at risk of displacement. Passed Racial Equity Toolkit to evaluate current zoning policies. Prioritized community-driven housing-related projects that are culturally relevant and historically rooted. Included Community Preference and Affirmative Marketing requirements in our housing policies so that those most at risk of displacement and gentrification are first to get affordable housing units in the area.

Answer (KW):

[Answer not yet submitted.]

 


Question #3:

Zoning reform is necessary but not sufficient to addressing our housing needs. If elected, would you be willing to push for zoning reform, what (if any) specific reforms would you like to see, and what will you do to see those reforms (if any) implemented?

Answer (TM):

Currently, over three quarters of our city’s land is zoned for single family homes. Without dense, multi-unit dwellings, our city becomes unwalkable and unbikeable as the reliance for cars increases and our building efficiency standards. The average cost of a home in Seattle is now over $800,000, and the lack of affordable housing is pushing people to live further and further away from the city. When people get pushed out – then housing in the outskirts of Seattle just sprawls and takes over forest and wetlands– which has a devastating environmental impact. We can and must build more housing in the city, while also expanding our tree canopy and green space. We can do both. That is the policy that I will specifically work on that promotes housing, worker stability and environmental justice: rezoning single family zones to residential zones.

Answer (KW):

[Answer not yet submitted.]

 


Question #4:

Affordable housing is more than just homeless shelters, permanent supportive housing, and low-cost rentals. Affordable housing also includes affordable homeownership opportunities. How do you see affordable homeownership fitting into the overall housing spectrum and what (if anything) should the city do to support it?

Answer (TM):

Affordable homeownership is essential for the city right now as housing prices have skyrocketed and more people are forced to rent without being able to purchase a home. This disappearance of housing is a result of exclusionary zoning that has dangerously exacerbated the housing crisis. I will fight to eliminate the exclusionary Single Family Zoning only policy in 75% of our residential land and rename it Residential Zoning to be more inclusive of multifamily structures that can allow for more affordable ownership and rental options. I also fought for advancing tenants’ rights to keeping people housed and safe, especially during the pandemic where billions in back rent is owed nationwide. On Council, I voted to pass the right to all tenants for free legal representation when facing evictions and I will continue to fight for renters to have adequate representation when facing eviction proceedings beyond this public health crisis. Housing is an inalienable right and I will fight to lower the barriers to gain access to housing and keep that access. I was the only renter on Council when I won in 2017. I am now a townhome owner in Delridge. I want more folks to have rental options and first time home ownership options in every neighborhood across our city. The specific policies I would use to advance and protect tenants’ rights would be an expansion of the work we’ve already done in my first term.

Answer (KW):

[Answer not yet submitted.]

 


Question #5:

The Seattle Housing Levy is up for renewal in 2023. Will you push to renew that levy and are there any changes that you would like to see to how the levy operates?

Answer (TM):

Proof of my dedication to affordable housing, I Chair the Housing Committee and have passed bills and budget priorities to build more housing options and affordable homes throughout Seattle, and am proud of the important progress we have made to improve affordability across Seattle, and know that there is much more to do in terms of funding and zoning changes to build the 418,000 new affordable units our region needs. Seattle voters agree on the need for affordable housing — their overwhelming support of the Housing Levy is proof of that. As your council member, I want to make sure that levy dollars are used as promised to the voters. I also support bonding against revenue sources to enhance the impact of the levy to fund more affordable development in this moment when people need housing.

Answer (KW):

[Answer not yet submitted.]

 


Question #6:

Would you be supportive of identifying new financial resources, beyond the Seattle Housing Levy, for affordable housing production and what would those resources be? 

Answer (TM):

Yes! The Jumpstart Progressive Revenue Tax that we passed this year is exactly that- a new financial resource to fund affordable housing, address income inequality, house our unsheltered neighbors, and invest in Green New Deal priorities. JumpStart has secured an additional roughly $135 million per year for affordable housing, shelters, homeownership opportunities and more to address the housing and homelessness declared states of emergency by building more housing, preventing displacement, improving access to services, and protecting public land for public good. This alone is not enough. We need on the scale of around 400,000 new affordable units in our region to address the housing crisis. I support progressive revenue streams like Jumpstart, and expanding capital gains, CEO ratio tax, and a graduated income tax as long as the lowest income doesn’t get harmed (must include tax rebate for lower income families and individuals). We need to build more housing of all types, especially low income and Permanent Supportive Housing, as well as build strategies to mitigate and address displacement at the same time.

Answer (KW):

[Answer not yet submitted.]

 


Question #7:

There have been growing concerns that Design Review is creating general delays, unpredictability, and added costs for housing in the city, which is sorely needed. In effect, these patterns can choke off housing supply and increase rents. Do you have any plans to improve, reform, or eliminate Design Review in Seattle? If so, how and when?

Answer (TM):

COVID has only exacerbated the housing crisis where residents live unsheltered in our Seattle streets. This is a crisis for our community members without a home and a crisis for our entire population that requires immediate and dignified solutions. During a housing crisis, it is crucial the council prioritizes affordable housing development so we can build without delay to address the immediate needs of Seattle residents. It is important to consider how building developments will impact open space, the environment, and surrounding businesses and residences; however we can ensure the quality of a building while also building more housing faster. My goal is to eliminate additional costs which could slow down the building process and create unnecessary delays. Currently, Design Review acts as a hindrance in creating safe, equitable Seattle neighborhoods for all. That’s why I support narrowing the scope of Design Review to increase efficiency and lower costs while still preserving some of its productive aspects.

Answer (KW):

[Answer not yet submitted.]

 


Question #8:

As a regional hub that continues to grow, Seattle attracts a wide range of people; families, couples, roommates, and individuals. Different housing types can better meet the needs of each of these groups. Small apartments have proven to be an ecologically sustainable and effective way for private developers to build new units at affordable prices. Current city policy heavily restricts the development of congregate housing, which is the most affordable housing option for individuals and couples. Both the HALA report and the AMIHAC report have urged removal of these restrictions. Do you have any plans to act on these recommendations? And if so, what will you do?

Answer (TM):

Yes, I will be working on legislation to start the process to repeal the apartment bans by converting the current SFZ to Residential Zoning. The right balance to start would be to have Residential Zoning across the city in the over ¾ of land that is currently SFZ. Seattle’s current zoning codes prevent dense, multi-unit, multi-family housing options that allow for more families, elders, workers and small business owners from being able to live in Seattle. This exclusionary zoning is rooted in redlining and racist policies that – to this day – exclude people from being able to afford to live in the city. The average cost of a home in Seattle is now over $800,000, and the lack of affordable housing is pushing people to live further and further away from the city, and it’s also pushing people into the street. This is a public health issue, a gender and racial justice issue, and a policy that supports workers and small businesses. I sponsored the Racial Equity Toolkit to ask for the data and analysis to prove that the current SFZ policy is harming working families of color, it’s counter to our inclusive Seattle commitments, and it is displacing elders, workers, artists and students. That report has yet again been delayed – and it is expected in the summer of 2021. I hope this will be a launching point for the Residential Zoning legislation that will then lead into the Comprehensive Plan update policy changes in 2023/2024.

Answer (KW):

[Answer not yet submitted.]

 


Question #9:

Similarly, production of family-sized housing (defined as rental apartments, condos, and houses of 2 or more bedrooms) has fallen precipitously in recent years, contributing to rapidly escalating costs for such housing. Do you have any plans to encourage development of family-sized housing? If so, what will you do?

Answer (TM):

As mentioned above, I will be working to remove the exclusionary single family zoning codes in place to allow for more family sized housing. The diversity of Seattle’s community must be reflected in its options for housing, and we need more affordable options for families. My priority to encourage family-sized housing is to end the current SFZ that is preventing the development of more affordable options within the city. Families should not have to move out of the city to find a bigger space, so we must build more options for them.

Answer (KW):

[Answer not yet submitted.]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


2021 Seattle General Elections: City Council (District 8), Questionnaire on Housing

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