Job No. 1 for Seattle’s next mayor: Be ready to stand up to City Council

We need a mayor who understands that Seattle’s current blessings are not granted in perpetuity. That we are, quite to the contrary, at a tipping point.

THE upcoming mayoral election finds Seattle facing choices that may well determine our economic fate and social makeup for decades to come. Such times demand leadership with a clear, realistic, passionate view of the Emerald City’s future, and the skills to bring this vision to life.

We need a mayor who understands that Seattle’s current blessings are not granted in perpetuity. That we are, quite to the contrary, at a tipping point. The city needs someone who can chart and navigate an innovative new course to nurture the sources of our prosperity while improving livability for all residents.

This is a golden time for Seattle. Our booming economy, led by the technology, hospitality, tourism, maritime and health-care sectors, has pushed unemployment to the 3 percent range, a full point below the national rate. The median household income for Seattle residents tops $80,000, compared to the U.S. average of about $58,000.

This expansion has brought attendant problems. Perhaps the most glaring of these is Seattle’s housing costs, which are pricing low-income and even many middle-income residents out of the city.

Seattle’s chronic homelessness problem continues seemingly unabated despite city spending. We need a fresh approach. The new policies should include continued efforts to provide what is needed to help the homeless get off the streets and rebuild their lives. There should be incentives for homeless residents to use existing shelters and disincentives to live in parks and public places.

We have the fourth worst traffic in America, and the second worst afternoon rush hour, according to a 2016 study by the TomTom navigation company. Seattle needs to dramatically up its traffic game through the adoption of new technologies and new thinking at the Seattle Department of Transportation. This must be done while striking a realistic balance among the needs of automobiles, transit, pedestrians and bicyclists.

Such problems have prompted justified concern that we are…

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