TreePAC Questions for Seattle City Candidates
1. Seattle currently has a 23% tree canopy cover. Seattle’s
Comprehensive Plan targets a 30% canopy goal by 2037. To help reach
this goal do you support strengthening tree protection by requiring
permits to remove large trees on private property which Portland,
Oregon ; Redmond, WA; Lake Forest Park, WA; and Vancouver, BC
currently do and as the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT )
now requires for street trees?
2. Seattle’s Comprehensive Plan also states a goal of no net
loss of canopy. Do you support requiring large trees being removed on
public and private property to be replaced either on site or off site
and proportional in size, over time, to the canopy being lost as
Cities like Portland, OR and Redmond, WA currently do?
3. Seattle’s interim tree ordinance protects existing groves of
trees from being removed. The Department of Planning and Development
has proposed removing this protection. Do you support continuing the
policy of protecting tree groves to conserve habitat and canopy?
4. The City Auditor in 2009 stated that the “City’s current
approach to tree issues lacks top leadership.” Unifying “all City
Departments behind a single vision through clear and demonstrated
leadership of the Office of Sustainability and the Environment” has
been recommended. Would you support a true City Arborist’s Office
located in OSE with oversight and coordination of all urban forest
issues in parks, streets, critical areas, private property and
5. Larger trees provide significantly more ecological value to
Seattle’s green infrastructure, including reducing storm water runoff,
cleaning pollutants from the air and providing animal habitat. Do you
support giving greater protection to large trees like Heritage Trees
and exceptional trees? (by requiring a larger permit fee and greater
numbers of trees being planted if they are removed or by prohibiting
removal unless shown to be hazardous)
6. TreePAC believes that deferred maintenance results in the
costly replacement of trees and landscapes. Will you fight to fund the
maintenance of public greenspaces, including increased funding for the
Green Seattle Partnership so that the goals to restore our parklands,
greenbelts, and critical areas can be met?
7. Are you willing to meet briefly with representatives from
TreePAC, at a time and place that is mutually convenient?
1. Any clarification or comments you would like to convey to us
regarding the above questions, or on protecting trees and the urban
forest in general.
I believe it would be outrageous for anyone to oppose policies such as
proportional replacement of lost trees, requiring permits to remove
trees, funding maintenance of green space, and revising development
plans to avoid destroying canopies and habitats.
I am grateful for an organization like TreePAC that will hold the city
and elected officials accountable if they forward policies that are
damaging to trees, green spaces, ecosystems, and the environment in
general. There needs to be a committee of environmental advocates that
has the ear of the city council, and I will work to ensure that this
happens if I am elected. TreePAC recommends establishing an Office of
Sustainability and the Environment, which I support, as long as it is
independently directed by environmental organizations like TreePAC,
and without the influence of corporate interests who care more about
their profits than protecting the environment.
I am committed to environmental justice in other ways. I am
campaigning for a Millionaire’s Tax to fund the construction of
environmentally sustainable public housing, the expansion of mass
transit, and a green public jobs program that will put the unemployed
back to work cleaning up our parks and repairing/building more natural
spaces. My campaign and the organization behind it, Socialist
Alternative, has been on the ground in Bellingham and Seattle fighting
against the construction of the coal terminals in the Pacific
Northwest. I was disappointed to find out that my opponent, Richard
Conlin, recently took the maximum donation from BSNF, one of the
primary companies behind the coal train effort. One of the first
things I plan to do on city council, on the other hand, is pass an
ordinance to make Seattle coal-free.
I look forward to meeting with representatives from TreePAC to find
out what I can do to help this organization further its goals, which
should really be the goals of all Seattle residents.