Mayoral candidate Jenny Durkan offers solutions on homelessness, traffic

By: Essex Porter

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Mayoral candidate Jenny Durkan is best known as the former U.S. attorney for Western Washington. She's never held elective office, but she's been in and around Washington politics all her life.

Asked about her approach to the problem of homelessness, she says, “We have to be compassionate, but we have to be smart.”

Durkan believes the new navigation teams that help homeless people with social services are showing promise. So she wants to create a new team focused on people living in cars and RVs.

“…because they may be the exact population that we can move through to the more rapid housing alternatives. And because it's such a significant population that will help.”

Durkan's a Seattle native who graduated from University of Washington Law School.

And she's one of the running bottles in a famous Rainier Beer commercial from the '70s.

Asked about traffic problems, she responded, “It's not just traffic, it's everything from the potholes, which have gone too long and not tended, to making sure the lights are timed so people can get through.”

One thing she'd do is create more four-way crosswalks like the one at Pike Place market.

“…let all pedestrians cross every which way and then stop all pedestrians, and you have more free turning."

She supports the Seattle high earners income tax, but says the money should be used to give a tax cut to lower-income residents so the tax is revenue neutral.

And she's skeptical of the soda tax that the City Council passed out of committee ton Wednesday.

“I'm not sure that it is going to have the health consequences it wants. It could have unintended consequences on small businesses.”

Asked if Seattle is overtaxed, Durkan said, “I don't hear anyone regretting that they voted for the things they care about -- transit, schools and parks. But what they do want to know is those tax dollars are being used wisely. And that's the job of the mayor to make sure that happens, and if I'm the mayor, that's what I will do.”

 

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