• Seattle city attorney candidates debate homelessness, contributions

    By: Essex Porter


    SEATTLE - Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes and challenger Scott Lindsay debated before the King County Bar Association on Thursday.

    Holmes is seeking a third term as Seattle city attorney.

    “What the city attorney does is to ensure that the first response no longer be a criminal justice response when you are talking about a public health problem such as addiction, such as poverty, such as mental health,” Holmes said.

    The Seattle City Attorney's Office is on the front lines of the homelessness crisis.

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    Lindsay was senior adviser on homelessness policy for former Seattle Mayor Ed Murray.

    “Right now, we've got a streets-to-jail cycle that is circling people in and out of the system without breaking that cycle," Lindsay said. "We need to really introduce public health interventions into the criminal justice system."

    Campaign money is an issue in the race. Lindsay noted that some of Holmes' donors also have lucrative legal contracts with the city attorney's office. Those contracts exceeded $7 million this year.

    "When you have a fundraiser at a law firm on a Wednesday, and you give that law firm a $25,000 contract on a Friday, that certainly raises those questions, absolutely," Lindsay said.

    When asked if there is a connection between campaign contributions and law firms that get contracts, Holmes responded, “Absolutely not. My office is run independently of my campaign.”

    Holmes points out that both candidates are accepting contributions from lawyers who might get contracts with the city attorney’s office. Lindsay said if he is elected, he will stop.

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