Conversation Is Everything—Speak Out Seattle! District 4 Candidate Forum

SOS! District 4 Candidate Forum. Watch for yourself. Do you really see hate spewn here? I don’t.

Attending these SOS! candidate forums informs me. I learn what candidates want to do. I learn what concerns the voters in the audience. I don’t think it’s a problem that SOS! holds different opinions than I do. Plus, in hosting these forums, SOS! curates questions that speak to issues I care about like zoning and homelessness.

I’ll give you an example. At this event, I learned that District 4 candidates Alex Pedersen and Heidi Stuber agree with upzoning, but that each upzone needs to include community specific input—even block by block, as Stuber put it. Now I know that I strongly disagree with these two candidates. This position doesn’t make them evil, just incorrect from my perspective. With 12,000+ homeless, the problem is dire. We can’t wait for block by block discussions to allow more housing. We can’t wait years. Experiencing these SOS! events emboldens my belief that we need a Minneapolis-style blanket upzone of Seattle. It should always be legal to house everyone.

At these forums, you get to hear each candidate talk about our city’s homelessness crisis.

At these forums, you get to hear each candidate talk about our city’s homelessness crisis.

I’ve also learned a bit more about the safety, displacement, and character loss concerns of people who support a slower approach to upzoning. Yes, we could cynically call them complete obstructionists, but it’s the labeling itself that scares me. We live in a democracy. If enough people want slow upzones, that’s what we’ll get. Democracy doesn’t inherently implement objective best truth.

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I’m grateful to SOS! for hosting these forums. They add to the conversation. Conversing is how we learn, how we empathize, how we relate—it’s how we grow as thinkers, as people. A key mission of this blog is to make upzoning popular. I have to find a way to reach these slower-growth folks. I doubt villainizing them will be effective. They get to vote right? But, the more I hear the concerns of people who disagree with me, the more I’ll learn how to speak to them. Thanks SOS!

On the other hand, would I succeed by pandering to people who already agree with me? No. I know I could get more likes, shares, and comments if I joined the chorus of progressive SOS! bashing, but is that my goal? Also no. I want upzoning, not social media notifications. That’s why I’m disappointed District 4 candidates Emily Myers and Shaun Scott boycotted this forum. They both speak more to my upzoning dreams, and they missed a chance to make their case against candidates like Stuber and Pedersen. I think that is a failure of leadership, specifically for those of us fighting for upzoning.

We need our leaders to show up. (If they had, they’d see these SOS! forums are pretty helpful, not hateful.)

What I want most in a City Council member is someone who can practically manage this city and build consensus. How is that possible if you skip events like these candidate forums?

I urge pro-zoning candidates to attend the remaining forums for their districts. Give our upzoning hopes a wide platform. Show us if you can create buy-in outside of your base: Be a leader.

The next SOS! Candidate forum—District 2:

April 4, 7-8:30pm

Lakewood Seward Park Community Club

4916 South Angeline Street 




Nathan Chaffetz