D4 Candidate Heidi Stuber Is Classy & What The SOS Haters Don't Get

To date, Speak Out Seattle! likely does more than any other org in Seattle to help voters get to know the more than 50 plus candidates running for city council and vice versa. This what the SOS bashers just don’t get.

For example, at the District 4 forum, Candidate Heidi Stuber appeared fairly skeptical of upzoning. From an EHN post on the D4 Forum, “[d]istrict 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 … This position doesn’t make them evil, just incorrect .... 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.”

Well, Stuber read that post and reached out on facebook. She feels that she didn’t represent her position as clearly as she would have liked to at the forum. Then she gave permission to publish her note:

District 4 Council Candidate Heidi Stuber (Facebook)

District 4 Council Candidate Heidi Stuber (Facebook)

“Hi Nate,

I read your post about the speak out Seattle D4 forum, and as one of the candidates, I wanted to clarify my thinking on density. First off, as I’ve been campaigning, listening to my constituents and continuing my research, I’ve become more urbanist than I started out. (emphasis added) Second, I think my block by block comment at the forum wasn’t clear and I wanted to clarify.

On the first point, I’ve never been anti-density but I am admittedly pro-community input and the D4 constituents are very divided on this issue (perhaps more than any other issue). I do believe density is a reality and needed for a city growing like ours and I think we can be thoughtful about how we go about it. As a pragmatist, I think upzoning too quickly will create a backlash and not be productive. That’s why I keep talking about thoughtful density. I also do believe there is a place for SF neighborhoods in Seattle. But I do think we can and should add density in SFZ by making it easier to build ADUs and easier to convert basements to MILs. I’d also like to look at allowing for duplexes/ triplexes in SFZ provided there’s no change to heights restrictions. I also think we need to upzone more near job and transit hubs, although as I said, I don’t support the developer buy out option, even though I completely understand the math.

Which leads me to my second point. For my block-by-block comment, someone came up to me after the forum and asked about that specifically. I said that I thought we should look at graduated zoning with highest heights on the major transit lines and zoning heights stepping down into the community, sometimes block by block. I didn’t mean neighborhoods get to veto on a block-by-block basis. I’ve taken the feedback on my lack of clarity and now say on the campaign trail that I’m for thoughtful density, because I am. (Emphasis Added)

As a strategic businesswoman, I tend to favor a balanced approach on most issues, and I like to think I’m moderately liberal on zoning and urbanism, although clearly not as left as most in my race. I’m pro-transit and pro increasing housing supply, I’d just like to be creative on how to do it. Maybe this doesn’t change your opinion of my views on the matter, but I did want to clarify. I believe candidates should be open to learning as they go and this is an issue I continue to push myself on. So thanks for listening.

Heidi Stuber
For a Better Seattle”

Stuber deserves some credit here. Not only did she politely reach out in response to criticism, she took the time to clarify her position. This is admirable behavior. That shows class and even leadership. It’s what happens when you speak to people in good faith. If you approach the SOS forums with the same good faith that Stuber demonstrates here, you’ll see how valuable they are—if you’re looking for truth, not to signal virtue.

Nathan Chaffetz