Oct 17, 2023 - Politics

Where Seattle's District 2 council candidates stand

Photo illustration of Tammy Morales and Tanya Woo.

Tammy Morales and Tanya Woo. Photo illustration: Axios Visuals; Photos: Courtesy of both campaigns

South Seattle's current City Council member is defending her seat against a community activist who recently opposed a plan to expand a homeless shelter in the area.

Driving the news: City Councilmember Tammy Morales faces a challenge from Tanya Woo, who works at her family's hotel in the Chinatown-International District.

Here are some notable policy differences between the two candidates in District 2.

SoDo shelter proposal

Woo led protests against a county proposal last year that would have greatly expanded an existing homeless shelter in SoDo, close to the Chinatown-International District.

  • She argued the neighborhood has borne the impacts of too many recent construction projects and wasn't adequately consulted about the plan. The project was later shelved.
  • Morales recently told KUOW that she agreed on the need for more community outreach, but she was ambivalent about the decision to scrap the project, citing the need for thousands more shelter beds in King County.

Taxes and budget

The city is projecting a general fund deficit of about $250 million in 2025.

  • In an interview with Axios, Woo emphasized the need to analyze the city's current spending before considering new tax measures. She said she wasn't certain offhand what programs might need to be cut.
  • Morales told Axios the city needs new tax revenue to help solve issues like homelessness and the lack of affordable housing.
  • "I'm willing to ask our corporations and our big businesses to pay their share," Morales said.

Encampment removals

Morales told Axios she is against "sweeping" homeless encampments, saying there aren't enough places right now for people to go.

  • Woo, meanwhile, said at a forum on homelessness last week that she thinks homeless encampments should be cleared in some circumstances.
  • "It's inhumane to allow people to die outside in the streets," Woo said.

Police funding

Morales told Axios that, in an ideal world, she'd prefer to see the police budget reduced and some of its funding redirected to alternative response programs, such as teams of social workers or mental health specialists.

  • But she added that if she's re-elected, she doesn't plan to focus on cutting the police budget, saying she didn't think the idea would be politically tenable.
  • Woo said she wants to boost the police department's budget and hire more officers.

Drug prosecutions

Morales recently voted against a new law that allows the Seattle city attorney to prosecute low-level drug offenses.

  • Morales said the new law doesn't do enough to expand treatment and other services to help people struggling with substance use disorder.
  • Woo said she would have voted in favor of the ordinance.

What's next: Ballots go out in the mail Wednesday. They must be postmarked or returned to a ballot drop box by Nov. 7 to be counted.

Go deeper: A guide to the 2023 election in Seattle

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