- The B-Town (Burien) Blog - http://b-townblog.com -

King County Council District 8 Candidates Exchange Views at B-Town Blog Forum

[1]
By Ralph Nichols

The three candidates for King County Council from District 8, which includes Burien and White Center, faced off in a forum sponsored by BTB Tuesday evening (Aug 2).

Next up for Joe McDermott, the current councilman from District 8, Diana Toledo and Goodspaceguy is the Aug. 16 primary election.

It is an all mail-in election. Ballots have been mailed to registered voters, and must be postmarked no later than Aug. 16.

McDermott, a former state senator, was elected last fall to fill the remaining year of the unexpired term of former King County Councilman Dow Constantine.

Constantine resigned as councilman when he became King County Executive in last 2009. Toledo and McDermott ran for the vacant seat last year, and now are in a rerun of that contest.

The candidates’ responses to questions asked during the forum appear below. Their answers are grouped together, candidate by candidate, in alphabetical order, and some answers are paraphrased for accuracy.


[2]

Goodspaceguy

Goodspaceguy

Should King County Councilmembers, who make well over $100,000 a year, give back their cost-of-living allowances?

The reason there is so much unemployment is the average wage is so high. If one highly paid person is laid off, 10 lower-wage people could be hired. This would bring down the average wage.

How would you work with suburban cities as well as Seattle?

We need to think of ourselves as passengers on Spaceship Earth. By increasing our knowledge of economics we can increase our standard of living.

Is there any real value in keeping Metro Transit if it can’t provide a service people can use?

“I like Metro a lot better than Sound Transit … bus service is needed.” But instead of cutting service by 17 percent, “cut compensation by 17 percent or 18 percent or whatever it costs to make it profitable.”

Joe and his challengers rate his performance as King County Councilman:

“I would really hope for a lot more from Joe … but a ‘sunshine type’ of person doesn’t create jobs.” He doesn’t understand economics and supports the minimum wage.

Should there be special criteria to determine which King County social services are smart economic investments and yield a return?

“We are fortunate to be in King County and not in Seattle” where services like city library hours are being cut. “I would bring in ‘helpers’ for all government functions to employ more people.”

Should county arts funding for 4Culture program be dissolved?

“I sort of agree … in a competitive free market that works for you, the consumer, I want for-profit entertainment and culture.”


[3]

Joe McDermott

Joe McDermott

Should King County Councilmembers, who make well over $100,000 a year, give back their cost-of-living allowances?

“I returned by COLA this year as a number of my colleagues have done.” This is important because hundreds of jobs in King County government have been saved because 90 percent of county employees agreed wage and benefit reductions.

How would you work with suburban cities as well as Seattle?

“I have been getting around [the 8th District] to build relationships with the cities.” This includes securing funding for the new South Park Bridge and making sure the county council held a public hearing in Burien on Metro Transit service.

Is there any real value in keeping Metro Transit if it can’t provide a service people can use?

“Metro bus service is a public good. Yes, there’s a place for Metro Transit.” Already over 100 Metro Transit positions have been eliminated, resulting in $143 million in savings over two years, and fares have bone up by 80 percent. “I support the $20 license tab fee” to close the remaining financial gap and avoid service cuts that would affect 80 percent of riders over the next two years.

Joe and his challengers rate his performance as King County Councilman:

“I am proud of my work in just over eight months [on the county council] … I’m crafting solutions to problems that maybe you didn’t think of yourself.” Deflecting criticism that the $20 license tab fee is a regressive tax, “unfortunately it is the only solution the Legislature gave us.” Support for economic development includes the North Lot project that will bring up to 2,700 construction jobs and generate more than $700 million in economic activity” in District 8.

[Note: Recently the county council approved the “North Lot” project near Century Link Field, which will include housing, offices and a hotel in Pioneer Square area.]

Should there be special criteria to determine which King County social services are smart economic investments and yield a return?

We need to make sure we serve the people who have the needs and reach people across the county. We need to build oversight into our social programs.

Should county arts funding for 4Culture program be dissolved?

Investments in the arts are very important. 4Culture supports arts in communities around the county and “not just downtown elitist” arts programs. Funneling 4Culture money into the schools is a “misguided effort.”


[4]

Diana Toledo

Diana Toledo

Should King County Councilmembers, who make well over $100,000 a year, give back their cost-of-living allowances?

“Joe and I agree but I don’t think it should go back to the general fund. It should go to programs for people who need it … if elected I will donate a large part of my salary” to these programs.

How would you work with suburban cities as well as Seattle?

Having worked on licensing with 15 contract cities while employed by King County, “I would want to work closely with the suburban cities … I have heard from other bureaucrats that I was a ‘breath of fresh air’ … because I actually listened” and built strong relationships.

Is there any real value in keeping Metro Transit if it can’t provide a service people can use?

“Metro Transit is a critical element … we have to provide a service. But we can do better than in the past decade … I know there is lots of waste.” We need to make Metro run more efficiently through better management, not with scare tactics. We need to implement Metro audit recommendations like cutting empty buses, not by cutting routes that are needed.

Joe and his challengers rate his performance as King County Councilman:

“Basically Joe says the same thing and takes credit for other people’s hard work,” including funding for the South Park Bridge and the Maury Island county park. “His support of the $20 temporary tax [for bus service] is laughable … and a regressive tax on the poor.”

Should there be special criteria to determine which King County social services are smart economic investments and yield a return?

Budget priorities are set by the county council and basically we need to stick to those priorities. “We need to cut management to keep what’s needed in our communities for the most needy. This includes giving top priority to public health and health education.

Should county arts funding for 4Culture program be dissolved?

In an economic downturn, we need to look at every single dollar. Many artists complain that arts funding goes to overhead and to artists with connections to directors of arts programs, “while ‘starving artists’ don’t get funded.” But “I support the arts. I love the arts.”

Audio Recording

This is the audio recording from the candidates forum. Some introductory material has been removed for time and portions of the audio have been made louder to aid in listening due to issues with the sound system at the venue. No other content edits have been made.

[display_podcast]

Facebook [5]Twitter [6]Subscribe [7]