Mayoral candidate Nikkita Oliver believes solving problems means changing the system

By: Essex Porter

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For Nikkita Oliver, making Seattle more affordable is about more than the price of housing.

“If we don't address transportation equity, if we don't address educational equity what we're going to do is put ourselves in a cycle where every certain amount of years we're going to have a housing crisis,” she said.

Oliver would use a tax on speculators and community land bank to expand the supply of low income housing.

She is a lawyer who's a caseworker for young people trying to leave the criminal justice system behind. She says she's running for mayor from a unique perspective.

“You cannot teach someone what it means to be a renter who every 12 months your rent goes up and you have to move. You cannot teach someone what it is to live as a black, queer, mixed woman in our society and have to consistently prove yourself even though you've already achieved equal merit to so many of your peers,” she said, describing herself.

Oliver's wouldn't sweep the homeless camps. She says she's slept in offices when she couldn't afford an apartment.

“We disrupt the little bit of stability they've been able to create and often times set them months back from getting sheltered.”

Asked about the current outbreak of shooting in Seattle, Oliver believes lasting public safety requires systemic change.

“It's really about eliminating this idea that you have to over-police a community to create safety. We know that over-policing actually does not create safe environments, it creates more tense environments.”

When it comes to transportation, Oliver puts a priority on buses and rail, especially to working class neighborhoods. And she believes that will help car drivers, too.

“If we can get more people on the public transportation we can make driving easier and more effective for those Seattleites who live out in the farthest areas of Seattle and decrease those drive times.

 

When it comes to a basketball arena, she prefers Key Arena, if the transportation problems can be worked out.


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