The City Council race for South Seattle’s District 2 just got a little more crowded. Christopher Peguero, an employee of Seattle City Light who lives on Beacon Hill, announced his candidacy this morning for the open council seat.
Peguero is jumping into what might become the most crowded council race this year. District 2’s Bruce Harrell announced earlier this month that he would not seek reelection, leaving the seat without an incumbent. Harrell announced that decision a day after Tammy Morales, a community organizer in the south end who came within a few hundred votes of beating Harrell in 2015, announced her own candidacy. Morales’s near win four years ago puts her at the front of the pack.
Two other candidates had jumped in before Morales announced her candidacy. Ari Hoffman, a local business owner, and Matthew Perkins announced their campaigns last year. A week after Morales pushed Harrell out of the race another community organizer, Phyllis Porter, said she would run in the district.
And now there’s Christopher Peguero. According to his campaign website, Peguero is “a father, husband, and Queer Latinx and Native American advocate for environmental, race, and social justice.”
District 2 includes Chinatown-International District, Beacon Hill, Rainier Valley, Columbia City, and Georgetown. It is Seattle's only council district where white people make up a minority of the population.
All seven of the council’s district positions are up for election this year; the two citywide seats are not. Candidates have until the second week of May to file for candidacy with a top-two primary election on Aug. 6. The general election is Nov 5 of this year.
I’ve set up a time to interview Peguero and find out more about his platform, but I wanted to get a preliminary sense of his policy positions. I sent him a short survey after he told me in an e-mail last night about his campaign. The rules were simple: rank these eight policy positions in order of priority. I gave him two blanks so he could mix in a couple of his own policies; I’ve put those Peguero-provided positions in bold and included any comments in blockquotes.
Here’s how he ranked the policies I gave him:
1. Rehumanize our houseless neighbors
We have to stop sweeps of encampments unless for extreme safety issues, expand City sanctioned encampments beyond the current 8.
2. Build more public housing
3. Community Centered Representation
• Community Determined Cultural Significant Business fund to mitigate at-risk businesses from gentrification and displacement.
• Community Policy Committee that prioritizes the voices of women of color, economically marginalized communities and members of the LGBTQIA that all members will be compensated for their expertise.
• Create a Business District Council whose members represent women, minority-owned businesses, historically underutilized businesses and queer and trans people of color.
4. Improve mass transit
Absolutely yes… and… let's make it free again in the city center core.
5. Reduce the tax burden of billionaires/millionaires*
We need to continue to lobby for a progressive income tax… It's time to address our economic disparity—for the wealthy to pay their fair share.
6. Upzone the hell out of Magnolia
Initially my reaction is why just Magnolia? We need more housing options all over Seattle if we're going to meet our goal of 6,000 new affordable units.
7. Make the city more accessible to people with disabilities
Absolutely—Southeast Seattle sidewalks could use some love for a start.
8. Institute congestion tolling
OK… that's fine as long as we're not impacting immigrant and refugees.
9. Legalize pot cafes
OK, as long as we can prioritize black and brown ownership as a way to build wealth in the communities most impacted by the war on drugs.
10. Build a municipally-owned mushroom farm (preferably underground somewhere)
Oh sad day for the battery street tunnel. Hmmm… maybe it could be part of the underground tour… sure… as long as the plan includes a municipal bank.
*One note—I think he misunderstood my cheeky question about “reducing the tax burden of billionaires/millionaires,” and took it as “increase the tax burden." We’ll give him a pass since he stayed up late answering my survey about municipal mushroom farms the night before his campaign launch.