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Experience (300 characters max)
As an organizer, budget and policy analyst I have a proven record of:
• Building partnerships that support neighborhood economic development
• Helping small businesses succeed
• Developing, drafting, & recommending policies adopted by King County & City of Seattle
• Building healthy communities
I’m a community organizer in southeast Seattle, a mom with 2 kids in Seattle Public Schools, a Seattle Human Rights Commissioner. My professional career has always been about supporting working families so they don’t have to struggle the way my family did. As a budget analyst for the City of New York I reviewed reimbursement rates for subsidized childcare to expand the program so more parents could afford childcare and go to work. As a legislative director for a Texas State House member (Democrat) I staffed the Appropriations and Public Health committees and helped pass Mental Health Insurance Parity – a bill my boss had been filing for 10 years. I’m trained as a planner and have spent the last 20 years working on affordable housing, anti-displacement strategies, community food security, and racial equity.
I want to see a Seattle that works for everyone. That means we invest in building healthy, safe, vibrant communities; that policymakers prioritize workers so our neighbors live lives of dignity. We want quality affordable childcare and public transportation so we can work. We need affordable housing and an end to displacement and gentrification so working families can thrive in their communities. We want equitable and quality education for our children. And we want our educators, bus drivers, grocery workers and all workers to have living wages and benefits to take care of their families.
I'm running to shift power away from the wealthy special interests that have taken over our city. The job of our city leaders is to listen to the people most impacted in our communities when making every decision. My priority will be to represent the needs and interests of those who have been marginalized.
Seattle’s Climate Action Plan set a goal of reducing carbon emissions from passenger vehicles by 7.5%/year. Over 2014-2016, emissions increased 0.4%/year. The targets won’t be met if we continue to invest in infrastructure that prioritizes cars and if we don’t move to a green electric grid. Bus-only lanes, bus priority signals, and transit-oriented pilot projects need to be a standard part of our Complete Streets toolkit.
We must also address energy consumption of existing buildings that are still powered by fossil fuels and/or in need of efficient upgrades, and ensure future buildings have a positive impact on the City’s emissions. I will fight and organize for laws requiring commercial buildings to cut GHG emissions by 50% in 10 years with a goal of moving to 100% green buildings by 2040. We also need to pass emission standards for new construction. I would ask for public hearings and include frontline climate workers in drafting our strategy for combating climate change.
Seattle is one of the fastest growing cities in the country. We anticipated population growth of 120k people over the next 20years; we had that in 2 years. We have to acknowledge that our roads, utilities, housing, and services have all been stretched by this unanticipated growth and start thinking seriously about how we’re going to pay for maintenance and improvements that will serve our communities into the future.
We are in this crisis in part because of decades of disinvestment both locally and federally in low-income housing. Punitive responses are not only a waste of resources, the Ninth Circuit has now ruled they are unconstitutional (an argument I've been making for years as a Human Rights Commissioner.) We need to do several things all at the same time - there is no silver bullet:
• Permanent supportive housing. A housing first strategy that moves people into stable situations THEN works on treatment, job training, mental health support
• Build more housing, change zoning to allow for more affordable options
• All of this will cost money. We have underinvested, the problem is growing, and we must find progressive revenue so that we don't pay the bill on the backs of low-income communities and communities of color through increased property and sales taxes.
Seattle should protect data from ICE officials. ICE uses data collected from local government databases to track and stalk immigrant communities. Preventing the collection of this data can help protect our immigrant communities and foster most trust in our communities. We should present a unified voice across jurisdictions that our local governments will protect immigrants and refugees. This includes creating data collection systems that protect privacy and training agency staff on the importance of what to collect, what not to collect and why.
Increasing funding for community organizations that are trusted advocates and funding to libraries which are safe spaces for communities to convene and learn their rights. It could also include creating or supporting local benefits programs that don’t rely on federal funding and educating communities about their ability to access programs
We have a district council system so I believe every council member should have a district office. My commitment is to have staff in the district providing constituent services. This would include intake of issues in our different neighborhoods, information and referral to services, and an opportunity for folks to learn about how the council works and what opportunities are for participating in the City’s processes.
Town where you live
Experience (300 characters max)
Mark served seven years of active duty in the US Air Force, served as an Intelligence Analyst with the 446 Airlift Wing, founded and served as President and Senior Consultant of Obsidian Security Group, Inc., a security consulting firm assessing threats and improvements of individuals and businesses
As a Crime Prevention Coordinator with Seattle Police Department, for 29 years, I've worked to address public safety and quality of life concerns for District 2. I’ve worked with Faith Communities and community organizations and businesses to reduce crime and victimization and to keep our workers safe on the job and in transit. As a retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel, I know how to manage people and projects in a multi-billion-dollar organization. I’ve been a small business owner; I know challenges of serving clients, making payroll, and keeping the doors open. I’m rooted in D2, from my involvement on the Board of YouthCare advocating for Homeless youth, to my role as Regional Director of WA State Crime Prevention Association. I understand how the City works and where it’s fallen short responding to concerns of D2. I know this District, its issues, challenges and opportunities. I have the experience and established relationships to act to achieve tangible results for the community.
My vision for Seattle is one where the city is safe, clean, welcoming, attractive, affordable, functioning and inclusive of all its residents. Together, we can enhance the quality of life for all our neighbors regardless of their income, housing, citizenship or identity status.
Lack of communication and collaboration between all parties. Communities around Seattle, especially in District 2, feel that their voices are not being heard by the Council. People have expressed that their concerns and their input are not considered. As a council member, I will use my established relationships and my roots in District 2 to consistently seek input, listen, and be attentive to those who take the time to come speak to us, and encourage previously ignored or unheard communities to voice their concerns. I’ve demonstrated the ability to work on a team of people who have a shared responsibility but differing visions of success. I will work in collaboration with community organizations, residents and my council colleagues to enact legislation to address my constituents’ concerns and move forward on the issues they raise.
When 70% of greenhouse gas emissions are generated in municipalities, it is our responsibility as city leaders to do what we can to reduce those emissions. Seattle should continue it move towards full electric and hybrid vehicles, incentivize the use of renewable clean energy sources, work to reduce the carbon footprint of existing government owned buildings and build green building requirements into construction of new buildings in both public and private development. Further, we must utilize our coalitions, and work with our partners at King County Metro and Sound Transit to provide more transportation options that are more accessible, meet the needs of our residents and provide reliable alternatives to single use occupancy vehicles.
Many of our residential areas lack sidewalks, forcing pedestrians into the roadway with vehicular traffic. Further, we need a rigorous vegetation maintenance schedule to ensure walkability (remove blocking vegetation from walkways), reduce blind spots so pedestrian and vehicular traffic lines of sight are not impeded, and ensure that light from existing street lights is not obscured by tree canopies. We further need to invest in basic road and sidewalk maintenance to improve drivability and walkability, especially for our elders and mobility-impaired neighbors.
The Council must immediately enhance services for homeless individuals. I will push to use funds for safe, accessible housing and immediate wrap-around services; increasing low-to-moderate barrier shelter capacity, engagement efforts, case management, mental health counseling, addiction treatment, health screening, education courses, career assistance. Many of these services exist, but are underfunded. We must increase housing stock to include permanent supportive housing and low-income, affordable, and workforce housing. A housing proposal lays out plans to build 4000 housing units in the next 1-2 years through land grants, increasing debt load capacity to fund construction, streamlining the permitting process- 12-18 months to 3-6 months. This is a starting point. We must also work to prevent homelessness, with rental and utility assistance, employment and transportation services. I will advocate for funding to increase visibility and awareness of services like financial assistance.
Enforcement of immigration laws is not in the purview of municipalities. It is our responsibility to care for and serve all or our residents, regardless of immigration or citizenship status.
Councilmembers routinely send out email and physical newsletters, and this should continue. In addition to members of the community coming to City Hall to offer public testimony and comment, councilmembers should routinely be present in the communities they represent, meeting people in their neighborhoods. I intend to regularly attend community council meetings and hold listening sessions in various parts of the community to hear directly from the all of the people I represent.