Kate’s Mailbox

Kate’s Mailbox features weekly email exchanges with voters.

Vote for Kate Martin for City Council District 6

Wednesday April 10, 2019
Email inquiry from Brian Duncan

From: Brian Duncan
Sent: Wednesday, April 10, 2019 11:54 AM
To: Kate Martin <katemartin@putkateonthecouncil.org>
Subject: Re: this is fixable

Ms. Martin,

I’m undecided on this contest at this time. 

What do you think of this proposed 36th Dems Resolution? Will you speak for or against at the meeting?

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1UqTWFV268XXxcHVUmW08ZFXO_6ob5_qC78SQDci0N4E/edit?link_id=1&can_id=6e78ba36794b1b537d710ca1548a43f4&source=email-april-meeting-notice-elections-and-constitutional-law-discussion&email_referrer=email_524889&email_subject=april-meeting-notice-elections-and-constitutional-law-discussion

Best,
Brian Duncan
PCO, 36th Dems

*

From: Kate Martin <katemartin@putkateonthecouncil.org>
Sent: Wednesday, April 10, 2019 1:42 PM
To: ‘Brian Duncan’
Subject: RE: this is fixable

Hi Brian.

Thanks for the message.

I am a non-partisan candidate running for a non-partisan position on the Seattle City Council in District 6. I’ve always voted Democrat.

When I ran for school board in 2011, I was introduced to the partisan Legislative Districts, which most voters don’t know much about. I became a member of the 36th District Dems. I joined the Metropolitan Democratic Club and later served on their board and as Treasurer. In 2016, I decided things were too polarized and that I’m not really partisan.

I don’t see how solutions can emerge from compartmentalizing into tribes of this nature. I stopped paying my dues to the 36th Dems and the Metropolitan Democratic Club. Those tents are way too small and there’s too little debate. A shortage of diversity of ideas ironically prevails in these groups that otherwise spend a lot of time talking about diversity.

This proposed resolution regarding the KOMO “Seattle is Dying” video reinforces to me that there’s no place for me in the 36th Dems. Is the video perfect? No, it’s too long, a bit dramatic, and it needed more focus on “bright spots” where solutions are working. Does it warrant a resolution of this nature? In my opinion, no.

Less than 1/2 of 1% of voters in District 6 belong to the group. Few have any idea what goes on there. I noticed quite a few processes when I was a member that were not actually “democratic”. At this point, I’m a “small d democrat” and I’m okay with that.

What do you think of Evan’s resolution?

Kind regards,

Kate

***

Friday, April 5, 2019
email inquiry from Camille Miller

From: Camiller
Sent: Friday, April 5, 2019 4:08 PM
To: katemartin@putkateonthecouncil.org
Subject: Seattle City Council Questions

Hi there,

I am a Seattle resident and I would like to know what your opinion is on the current property tax level in Seattle. Do you agree with the property tax rate?

Thanks,

Camille Miller

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From: Kate Martin <katemartin@putkateonthecouncil.org>
Sent: Friday, April 5, 2019 5:39 PM
To: ‘Camiller’
Subject: RE: Seattle City Council Questions

Hi Camille.

Thanks for the message.

I could go on and on about taxes and what we do or don’t get in return for them, but I’d rather hear what you have to say. If you could give me a quick summary of what you think and why, then I can keep the conversation going.

Generally, I might be okay with the level of taxes we’re paying if we were really getting what we need out of it.

We have vast amounts of money going toward a public education system that is very out of step with reality and inadequately connected to families and communities. Only 50% of the kids even learn to read, write and do math. More pathways are needed for youth and adults so they can successfully blaze the trail to their futures or recalibrate their adult lives at any point.

There’s way too many barriers to education and re-education as well as job training and re-training and too small an emphasis on social-emotional development early on so that kids can get ready to learn equipped with the behavior skills needed to deal with their teachers, classmates, family, and more.  Too big an emphasis on grade-level rather than letting people move at a pace that makes sense for them, whether sped up or slowed down.  

I want to spend money on Success Coordinators for families and kids so they can craft  their own development plans to self-actualize their own lives at any point and so we can help turn people’s lives around when things go south no matter how young or old they are.

Kids need vouchers to go do activities and enrich their lives without financial barriers.

I’d like to redirect some Families and Education levy money to these pursuits.  

We have public safety and health crises in every direction with no strategic solutions even being discussed. I only hear how we need more money. I do think we are going to need more money for all that, but they have no plan currently. I’m a planner. I want a plan based on reality, not ideologies. We need to turn this epidemic off upstream and meanwhile figure out who everyone is, what their obstacles are and triage them to a menu of supportive housing options suitable for their needs and well-coordinated with the neighborhoods and districts.  

Everyone rides Uber because the transit system doesn’t adequately serve our intra-district needs. I don’t hear an adequate response from the transit folks on that phenomenon except they want to tax them.  I think that transit needs to be a choice that a person in the free world can make (a Jarrett Walker quote).

I want a police precinct (co-housed with recovery portals and other social worker supports) in every council district. The precincts south of the ship canal have one per 100,000 residents – one in each council district. We have one for 300,000 people – one for 3 council districts.

I want anyone who works or lives in Seattle to have access to the city’s self-insured healthcare pool at cost. We’d have Cadillac coverage for cheaper than “bronze level” prices. And our whole bodies including our brains, eyes, teeth and everything else would be covered.  

I think owner-occupied properties should probably be taxed at a lower rate. We need to encourage more ownership across all income brackets perhaps including more co-ops where people can affordably own shares in the house or building they live in.

Like I said, I could go on about what we’re getting for our money, but I’d love to know what you think? Always happy to meet for coffee or a beer as well.

Thanks for the conversation.

Kind regards,

Kate

***

Wednesday, March 27, 2019
email inquiry from Todd Sanchez

Original Message—–
From: Todd Sanchez <todd.sanchez@gmail.com>
Sent: Wednesday, March 27, 2019 5:29 PM
To: katemartin@putkateonthecouncil.org
Subject: I’d like to contribute

but I’m unsure of your position on the “missing link” of the Burke Gilman Trail.

My feeling is that it should parallel the railroad tracks as originally intended.

Could you please clarify your feelings about that particular issue for me?

Thanks and good luck, I’m with you on everything else!

But I have to say that certain waterfront businesses have been obstructive and selfish in their resistance to having their free use of public property taken back! I do not accept that completing the trail along the tracks will impact their, or any other waterfront business’s future or impact safety negatively.

Todd Sanchez

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—–Original Message—–
From: Kate Martin <katemartin@putkateonthecouncil.org>
Sent: Wednesday, March 27, 2019 6:36 PM
To: ‘Todd Sanchez’ <todd.sanchez@gmail.com>
Subject: RE: I’d like to contribute

Hi Todd.

Thank you for your message.

I’ve reached out to bike advocates at least 5 times in the last few months to help me form my position, but no one ever gets back to me.

I’m a planner and a designer. I’ve been creating win-wins my entire career. I just want a briefing on the various proposals put forth so far so I can understand all the arguments and have a chance to incubate that.

If you’re that person or you know who that is, great. I’d appreciate the introductions. It’s been a disappointment so far.

I worked on the Pedestrian Master Plan and followed the Bike Master Plan. I also worked on Greenways with Cathy Tuttle and others.

I’m not a bike rider, but I’m not a skateboarder either and I worked 10 years on that movement in Seattle.

I want to make sure we accommodate the needs of the industrial and maritime businesses. Seattle is starting to shrug off that important habitat, but I’m not with that. Again, I’ve made a career of win-wins, and to me, this is no different.

I want a chance to fully understand it.

Thanks for any help you can lend.

Kind regards,

Kate

*

Kate,

I guess that explains what I perceived as your reticence in taking a position!

Thanks for sharing your very thorough reasoning for holding off for a while.

The “missing link” brouhaha is a minefield. Very entrenched and vocal folks on both sides, even some splinter sides!

Politically I’ve got to think the safest way is to promise to “listen” and seek “consensus” on the plan “that best serves the public.” Then make a typical “behind closed doors deal” after you’re elected. Anything else and you’re risking the enmity of half the electorate.

I’ll share my thoughts below. Lengthy, ignore if you wish. I know your time is valuable.

I’m just an old retired man. An ex merchant mariner. But I’ve lived in Ballard since the early ‘70s and raised a family here.

It must’ve been 15 years ago or so that my wife got the bicycling bug and decided to commute to work from our home up Sunset Hill off 32nd to Group Health on Capitol Hill. I was a little concerned, she was then pretty much a novice biker and I worried about her riding in traffic. It was either the first day she rode, or shortly after that I had some errands downtown and decided to follow her in the car. Turning right off Market on to Shilshole Ave. NW she was hugging the side of the road and concentrating on pedaling hard. I guess to try to keep up with the traffic. About 30 feet past the corner a box van passed her and I swear his passenger side mirror missed her by inches. It was at that moment that I started wondering why there was a gap in the Burke Gilman trail.

I started looking around, reading news articles, asking the blind guy at the Little City Hall. I attended meetings, talked to the Ballard Chamber of Commerce, talked to that old girl that worked at the Ballard News Tribune, talked to friends. And was surprised by what I learned.

What I took away was that three waterfront businesses, I’m sure you know the ones I’m talking about, were effectively blocking the completion of the trail. For their own selfish reasons. Mostly to be able to continue using public property for their own purposes. One guy in particular I felt was doing it as an ego trip as well, out of pure mean spiritness it seemed.I sat behind him and his attorney at a sort of town hall up at Whitman. They had “salted” the audience with his employees who obviously had scripted questions and comments. The owner and his attorney were chatting with each other seemingly very pleased with the orchestrated performance.

That caused me to look further into the history of the Ballard Terminal Railroad. If you’re not familiar with how that went down let’s just say it’s interesting. And thought provoking.

By this time I’d become more sure that the best solution to the “missing link” was to follow the original plan along the railroad right of way.

First was human nature. If folks are going to bike that way, they’re going to take the easiest route. Like water finding its way. Bikers are not going to wend their way thru Ballard. They’re going to take the fastest, most direct way. And the safest way to accommodate that is a separated bikeway. Now that isn’t possible everywhere in Seattle, but here, along a traffic dense, dangerous route we have that opportunity.

By this time I’d heard all the objections. To me the most fatuous one was the “safety” issue raised by the waterfront businesses. One in particular. They were concerned about the cross traffic, that one of their drivers might accidentally kill someone.

So I did some more reading, asking around. This is maybe 10 years ago now. What I read was that statistics showed that having a designated bike path with marked crossings was safer than random mixed traffic sharing the main roadway. If I remember correctly there had been a survey of businesses along the Burke Gilman trail from Fremont towards Ballard asking their experiences and opinion. And the owner of Pioneer Sand and Gravel, a business with similar large trucks, said his drivers much preferred the trail, they knew where the bikes and pedestrians were and there was an intersection. Much more rational and predictable behavior than before. And, I think, that sentiment was pretty much shared by all the other businesses.

I also did some reading about bike paths in the Netherlands and Belgium. Where they are much more common and more heavily used. I remember particularly a study done about a bike path along a canal. The area along the canal was industrialized, at least commercialized, so there was commercial traffic coming and going. The canal was still lightly used but it’s towpath no longer served its original purpose. So the municipality had formed a separate bike path on that right of way. The question was how did that interact with the commercial traffic. And the answer was much the same. Rationalizing, channeling, the bicycle traffic in it’s own “roadway” made life safer and easier for everyone.

Now looking ahead for the Shilshole Ave NW waterfront area there’s still another reason that building the “missing link” as planned makes sense. At some point in time the old Yankee Diner site is going to be developed. I don’t think it will be ‘light industrial.” I think that ship sailed when we lost all that property to the Fred Meyer development. Of which the which, surprise, surprise, the Ballard Terminal Railroad played a key part. As I said it has an “interesting” history.

What I think will, should, happen is that Silver Cloud will renew its option on the property, I’m not sure why they let it expire, and build a much needed hotel there. If not Silver Cloud, a similar boutique chain. It’s a natural location with the public pier next door. A bike trail in front would be perfect for tourists and guests of folks living here in Ballard. I think you can visualize that.

And, finally, this is more along the lines of gossip, I met a guy who claimed to know the owner of the sand and gravel operation. He said that sooner, if not later, he was going to sell out. That the sand and gravel business was just a “place holder” for the property until it’s “highest and best use” was for more residential or restaurants and the like.”Mixed use” gentrification as is taking place along the downtown Seattle waterfront. As I say, that’s gossip, but it makes sense. And I think it also makes sense for the city to look ahead as well and build a vital and lastingly useful addition to our transportation network and our leisure options.

Thanks again, and good luck navigating the “minefield!”

Todd

***

Tuesday, March 19, 2019
email inquiry from District 4 resident, Laurel Andrews

Hello, I am writing about a problem with new bike lanes on N.E. 65th St. Because of these bike lanes it is very difficult for a Taxi to pick me up which is the only way I can get to and from work at Seattle Public Utilities Due to my disability.

I bought a condo at 1026 N. E. 65th St. in 2006. At first I rode a bus to the Seattle municipal Tower and when that did not work for me anymore I took a taxi. I have weak legs and ankles due to a disability.

Now, there is a bike lane in front of my building with posts so that cars cannot pull in to pick me up.  Often the taxi stops in the middle of the lane to pick me up, causing cars to wait behind us.

I have contacted the Seattle department of transportation numerous times and basically they did nothing. They would tell me about other load/unload zones. However, I cannot stand to wait for a taxi. I bought the unit in my building because it had a bench.  And some taxis drive right by because they don’t see my building address in time to figure out how to stop and let me get in. Because of one-way streets it takes quite a while for them to go around the block and get back to me.

This is all for bike lanes which are not used much. And SDOT  refuse to allow something like a load unload zone. Yet, downtown in the new bus lane going north on fifth they are allowing both bikes and buses to go in that lane. It just does not make sense to me. 

I used to feel very enthusiastic about the city and about the city Council. No more. I hope you can do a better job.

I would love to talk with you further about this issue. There were also problems with their public information process which basically made it impossible for me to participate and to find out what they might be considering for my street.

Thank you for listening,

*

Thank you, Laurel, for your message.

You hit some real high notes for me and I appreciate that.

I worked directly on the Pedestrian Master Plan and also participated as a citizen in the Bicycle Master Plan.

I’m certainly not willing to sacrifice our neighborhood main streets to a 3% or 4% transportation mode, no matter what it is, and we don’t at all need to do that.

There are win-wins. I often mention as a theme of my campaign that we seem to have a sharing problem in various areas. This is one. 😊

I think we can reduce the speeds on a bunch of the main streets and around the parks to make a “sharrow” kind of sharing of the right of way very possible without ditching accessible parking and loading altogether. People live entire life cycles, if they’re lucky. Some need vehicular access and that only makes sense. Plus, reduced speeds are much healthier. The slower the better.

The future of our main streets could hopefully be “sharrows” on steroids. Think Pike Place Market. Peaceful, accessible, and multimodal without killing the businesses.  I think incrementally moving toward shared rights of way punishes no one and moves us forward tremendously.

Please share your further thoughts with me. I truly appreciate the opportunity to discuss this issue.  

Kind regards,

Kate

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