Teresa Mosqueda for Seattle City Council – 2017 Questionnaire

Teresa Mosqueda for Seattle City Council – Position#8

TreePAC 2017 Seattle Candidate Questionnaire
Urban​ ​Forest​ ​&​ ​Green​ ​Space

Tree and urban forestry issues currently involve:
1) Tree, canopy and open space lost due to development
2) Need for stronger regulation to reduce tree loss and increase replacement
3) Increased funding for tree maintenance, new plantings, and community education.

BACKGROUND​ ​–​ ​Seattle​ ​is​ ​one​ ​of​ ​the​ ​fastest​ ​growing​ ​cities​ ​in​ ​the​ ​country.​ ​New​ ​apartment buildings​ ​are​ ​often​ ​replacing​ ​single​ ​family​ ​homes​ ​resulting​ ​in​ ​a​ ​loss​ ​of​ ​both​ ​trees​ ​and​ ​open space.​ ​The​ ​Seattle​ ​Times​ ​recently​ ​noted​ ​that​ ​“the​ ​city​ ​is​ ​on​ ​pace​ ​to​ ​see​ ​more​ ​apartments​ ​built this​ ​decade​ ​than​ ​the​ ​previous​ ​50​ ​years.”

QUESTION​ ​–​ ​What​ ​do​ ​you​ ​propose​ ​the​ ​city​ ​should​ ​do​ ​to​ ​maintain​ ​and​ ​increase​ ​its​ ​tree​ ​canopy and​ ​open​ ​space​ ​to​ ​accommodate​ ​the​ ​needs​ ​of​ ​an​ ​increased​ ​population​ ​as​ ​Seattle​ ​grows​ ​and densifies?

This would require a multipronged approach. We want to protect and enhance the natural beauty of our city, improve tree cover and canopy, and be able to promote environmentally responsible development that protects natural areas outside of our city from sprawl. I propose planting trees to replace trees lost to development. When designers are looking to build a structure, we should strengthen policies that protect existing trees and protect the largest amount of green space possible. I believe in creative solutions in preserving our city’s natural beauty and being able to handle the influx of folks moving here.


BACKGROUND​ ​-​ ​Currently​ ​trees​ ​and​ ​urban​ ​forest​ ​maintenance​ ​and​ ​protection​ ​is​ ​overseen​ ​by​ ​8 different​ ​City​ ​Departments,​ ​with​ ​frequently​ ​conflicting​ ​missions.​ T​ he​ ​City​ ​Auditor​ ​in​ ​2009 stated​ ​that​ ​the​ ​“City’s​ ​current​ ​approach​ ​to​ ​trees​ ​lacks​ ​top​ ​leadership.”​ ​Unifying​ ​“all​ ​City Departments​ ​behind​ ​a​ ​single​ ​vision​ ​through​ ​clear​ ​and​ ​demonstrated​ ​leadership​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Office​ ​of Sustainability​ ​and​ ​the​ ​Environment​ ​(OSE)”​ ​was​ ​recommended.

QUESTION​ ​-​ ​Would​ ​you​ ​support​ ​unifying​ ​tree​ ​and​ ​urban​ ​forest​ ​management​ ​under​ ​a​ ​single department​ ​or​ ​agency​ ​like​ ​OSE​ ​or​ ​a​ ​City​ ​Forestry​ ​Department​ ​that​ ​does​ ​not​ ​have​ ​a​ ​conflict​ ​of interest​ ​in​ ​protecting​ ​trees​ ​as,​ ​for​ ​example,​ ​DCI​ ​does?

I think that a City Forestry Department OR an office within OSE is needed. We do want a unified, efficient branch of our government working to protect our environment.


BACKGROUND​ ​-​ ​While​ ​other​ ​cities​ ​around​ ​the​ ​country​ ​have​ ​been​ ​updating​ ​their​ ​tree​ ​ordinances through​ ​an​ ​open​ ​public​ ​process​ ​to​ ​protect​ ​their​ ​urban​ ​forests,​ ​Seattle​ ​turned​ ​to​ ​one​ ​city department,​ ​DCI,​ ​to​ ​do​ ​so.​ ​It​ ​has​ ​been​ ​8​ ​years​ ​since​ ​the​ ​Seattle​ ​City​ ​Council​ ​passed​ ​an​ ​interim tree​ ​ordinance.​ ​They​ ​directed​ ​the​ ​Department​ ​of​ ​Construction​ ​and​ ​Inspections​ ​(DCI)​ ​to​ ​come​ ​up with​ ​a​ ​new​ ​ordinance​ ​draft​ ​under​ ​Council​ ​Resolution​ ​31138​.​ ​To​ ​date​ ​no​ ​new​ ​ordinance​ ​has​ ​been passed.

QUESTION​ ​-​ ​Would​ ​you​ ​support​ ​the​ ​Mayor​ ​and​ ​City​ ​Council​ ​adopting​ ​a​ ​more​ ​open​ ​and​ ​inclusive process​ ​to​ ​finally​ ​come​ ​up​ ​with​ ​a​ ​comprehensive​ ​urban​ ​forestry​ ​ordinance?​ ​One​ ​example would​ ​be​ ​appoint​ ​a​ ​citizens​ ​committee​ ​to​ ​prepare​ ​a​ ​draft​ ​urban​ ​forest​ ​ordinance,​ ​like​ ​the Seattle​ ​Parks​ ​Legacy​ ​and​ ​Green​ ​Spaces​ ​Citizens​ ​Advisory​ ​Committees​ ​did.​ ​How​ ​do​ ​you​ ​envision this​ ​process​ ​would​ ​move​ ​forward?

I do support adopting an open process for the ordinance. I believe that transparency and community input are paramount in any decision making process – this is how we hold our government accountable. I believe in the brilliance of our communities. If elected, I would gather grassroots environmental organizers and folks who have been involved in this work to come together to create an updated draft for the ordinance.


BACKGROUND:​ ​Seattle’s​ ​interim​ ​tree​ ​ordinance​ ​protects​ ​existing​ ​groves​ ​of​ ​trees​ ​(group​ ​of​ ​8​ ​or more​ ​trees​ ​12”​ ​in​ ​diameter)​ ​but​ ​DCI​ ​has​ ​proposed​ ​removing​ ​this​ ​protection​ ​in​ ​the​ ​past.

QUESTION​ ​-​ ​Do​ ​you​ ​support​ ​continuing​ ​the​ ​current​ ​policy​ ​of​ ​protecting​ ​tree​ ​groves​ ​to​ ​conserve habitat​ ​and​ ​canopy​ ​cover?

Yes, I support it.


BACKGROUND​ ​-​ ​Larger​ ​trees,​ ​(especially​ ​conifers​ ​in​ ​winter​ ​months)​ ​provide​ ​tremendous
ecological​ ​value​ ​to​ ​Seattle’s​ ​green​ ​infrastructure,​ ​by​ ​reducing​ ​storm​ ​water​ ​runoff,​ ​cleaning
pollutants​ ​from​ ​the​ ​air,​ ​and​ ​providing​ ​animal​ ​habitat.​ ​Like​ ​Portland​ ​and​ ​other​ ​fast​  growing cities,​ ​we​ ​continue​ ​to​ ​lose​ ​our​ ​magnificent​ ​trees​ ​across​ ​the​ ​city,​ ​with​ ​no​ ​end​ ​in​ ​stop.

QUESTION​ ​-​ ​Do​ ​you​ ​support​ ​giving​ ​greater​ ​protection​ ​to​ ​large​ ​trees​ ​like​ ​Heritage​ ​Trees​ ​and Exceptional​ ​trees?​ ​ ​How​ ​would​ ​you​ ​provide​ ​this​ ​protection?

I support protecting large and historic trees. I am glad that Exceptional Trees are already protected on both undeveloped and developed property (25.11.040), and I believe Heritage Trees should have similar protections. I do think this code can be updated and modernized, and that we can do more to protect large trees as we continue to develop the city at a rapid rate. For one, we need to ensure that development standards are being met, and that all developers go through the process of obtaining permission to remove large trees. Tree preservation requires working with arborists and other experts to determine when policies can be adjusted to better protect our Seattle trees, and my door will always
be open to those knowledgeable and passionate about tree policy.


BACKGROUND​ ​-​ ​Cities​ ​like​ ​Portland,​ ​Oregon;​ ​Lake​ ​Forest​ ​Park,​ ​WA;​ ​Vancouver​ ​BC​ ​and​ ​Atlanta, GA​ ​have​ ​passed​ ​much​ ​stronger​ ​urban​ ​tree​ ​ordinances​ ​requiring​ ​private​ ​landowners​ ​to​ ​do things​ ​like​ ​obtaining​ ​permits​ ​to​ ​remove​ ​trees,​ ​with​ ​a​ ​2​ ​week​ ​street​ ​posting​ ​of​ ​permits​ ​before trees​ ​can​ ​be​ ​removed,​ ​and​ ​either​ ​replacement​ ​on-​ ​site,​ ​or​ ​paying​ ​into​ ​a​ ​Tree​ ​Fund​ ​to​ ​maintain and​ ​replace​ ​the​ ​trees​ ​off-site.​ ​As​ ​SDOT​ ​already​ ​does​ ​this​ ​for​ ​street​ ​trees,​ ​there​ ​is​ ​already​ ​an established​ ​and​ ​approved​ ​processes​ ​in​ ​place​ ​for​ ​all​ ​city​ ​agencies​ ​and​ ​entities​ ​to​ ​adopt​ ​if​ ​they chose.

QUESTION​ ​-​ ​Would​ ​you​ ​support​ ​a​ ​permit​ ​process​ ​for​ ​tree​ ​removal​ ​on​ ​private​ ​property​ ​in
Seattle,​ ​including​ ​posted​ ​notice​ ​and​ ​replacement​ ​on​ ​or​ ​off​ ​site​ ​for​ ​trees​ ​removed​ ​to​ ​help​ ​stem the​ ​loss​ ​of​ ​trees​ ​in​ ​our​ ​city?



BACKGROUND​ ​-​ ​Deferred​ ​maintenance​ ​results​ ​in​ ​the​ ​costly​ ​loss​ ​and​ ​replacement​ ​of​ ​trees​ ​and landscapes,​ ​and​ ​slope​ ​failures​ ​in​ ​critical​ ​areas​ ​are​ ​very​ ​expensive​ ​to​ ​repair.

QUESTION​ ​-​ ​Do​ ​you​ ​support​ ​dedicated​ ​funding​ ​for​ ​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?​ ​If​ ​so,​ ​how​ ​would​ ​you​ ​act​ ​to​ ​address​ ​these goals?

Yes. It is extremely important that we prioritize the maintenance of public greenspaces, as failing to address their upkeep costs the City more than it would to just maintain them. I will work to make sure the City develops a comprehensive plan detailing open spaces in need of maintenance and when they will be addressed. It’s important that the City is accountable for necessary upkeep, and the Green Seattle Partnership is a great way to ensure the plan is implemented. Bringing together City resources, nonprofits, and other stakeholders is an important way to make sure every greenspace is restored, revived, and preserved.


BACKGROUND​ ​-​ ​Seattle​ ​is​ ​one​ ​of​ ​the​ ​very​ ​few​ ​urban​ ​environments​ ​that​ ​still​ ​boasts​ ​an​ ​extensive and​ ​diverse​ ​urban​ ​fruit​ ​tree​ ​canopy.​ ​Last​ ​year,​ ​over​ ​36,247​ ​pounds​ ​of​ ​fruit​ ​was​ ​gleaned​ ​by​ City Fruit​ ​from​ ​public​ ​and​ ​private​ ​property,​ ​and​ ​donated​ ​into​ ​the​ ​emergency​ ​food​ ​system.

QUESTION​ ​–​ ​Do​ ​you​ ​support​ ​funding​ ​to​ ​continue​ ​the​ ​maintenance​ ​of​ ​fruit​ ​trees​ ​on​ ​public​ ​land and​ ​harvesting​ ​fruit​ ​from​ ​private​ ​property​ ​for​ ​food?

Yes. Seattle’s agricultural production is a unique aspect of our city that we should take pride in.


BACKGROUND​ ​-​ ​The​ ​Seattle​ ​2035​ ​Comprehensive​ ​Plan​ ​removed​ ​a​ ​previous​ ​city​ ​goal​ ​to​ ​maintain the​ ​current​ ​level​ ​of​ ​park​ ​acreage​ ​per​ ​person.​ ​That​ ​goal​ ​would​ ​have​ ​required​ ​the​ ​addition​ ​of 1400​ ​acres​ ​of​ ​open​ ​space​ ​by​ ​2035​ ​to​ ​accommodate​ ​population​ ​growth.​ ​The​ ​city​ ​is​ ​currently selling​ ​surplus​ ​property​ ​to​ ​the​ ​highest​ ​bidder​ ​rather​ ​than​ ​adding​ ​it​ ​to​ ​open​ ​space​ ​for​ ​Seattle residents.​ ​A​ ​recent​ ​commentary​ ​in​ ​the​ ​Seattle​ ​Times​ ​noted​ ​that​ ​“Seattle​ ​decided​ ​a​ ​long​ ​time​ ​ago that​ ​it​ ​wouldn’t​ ​require​ ​growth​ ​to​ ​pay​ ​for​ ​growth​ ​with​ ​impact​ ​fees.​ ​At​ ​least​ ​80​ ​cities​ ​in Washington​ ​think​ ​otherwise,​ ​including​ ​all​ ​the​ ​big​ ​eastside​ ​cities,​ ​and​ ​impose​ ​impact​ ​fees.”

QUESTION​ ​–​ ​Would​ ​you​ ​support​ ​the​ ​use​ ​of​ ​impact​ ​fees​ ​on​ ​developers​ ​to​ ​help​ ​pay​ ​for​ ​both
surplus​ ​city​ ​property​ ​and​ ​other​ ​property​ ​to​ ​purchase​ ​open​ ​space​ ​and​ ​parkland​ ​to​ ​help​ ​maintain public​ ​access​ ​for​ ​recreation​ ​and​ ​green​ ​space​ ​as​ ​our​ ​population​ ​grows?

Yes, as the population grows so will the need for trees, parks, and open space. Finding the balance between need for in-fill, affordable housing and critical importance of parks and open space is the fundamental challenge facing our growing city. I believe we can be deliberate and smart in our planning to maximize the value of underutilized and surplus properties.


BACKGROUND​ ​-​ ​Seattle​ ​currently​ ​has​ ​a​ ​28​ ​percent​ ​2​ ​dimensional​ ​area​ ​canopy​ ​cover​ ​according to​ ​a​ ​2016​ ​City​ ​study​ ​of​ ​trees​ ​8​ ​feet​ ​tall​ ​or​ ​higher.​ ​The​ ​Seattle’s​ ​Urban​ ​Forest​ ​Stewardship​ ​Plan’s goal​ ​was​ ​set​ ​10​ ​years​ ​ago​ ​at​ ​30​ ​%​ ​canopy​ ​cover​ ​by​ ​2037.​ ​The​ ​Seattle​ ​Comprehensive​ ​Plan targeted​ ​a​ ​long​ ​term​ ​40%​ ​goal,​ ​as​ ​recommended​ ​by​ ​the​ ​American​ ​Forestry​ ​Association.

QUESTION​ ​-​ ​Do​ ​you​ ​support​ ​raising​ ​Seattle’s​ ​2037​ ​area​ ​canopy​ ​goal​ ​to​ ​40%​ ​and​ ​increasing measured​ ​data​ ​to​ ​include​ ​3-dimensional​ ​canopy​ ​analysis​ ​and​ ​forest​ ​health?

Yes. Additionally, I think it is important we use the best, most modern data analysis tools to secure healthy trees and forests.


BACKGROUND – In 2015 the Seattle Urban Forestry Commission recommended that DCI do a detailed Urban Forest Canopy Impact Assessment (UFCIA) for all properties undergoing development, providing information on all trees >6” DBH both before and after development. Yet, to date they have not responded.

QUESTION – Would you implement such a requirement?

Although I am not familiar with the specifics of how the Seattle Urban Forestry Commission recommendation would be implemented, I agree that we need to better understand the effect development has on our large trees and what we can do to mitigate negative effects of that development. Data on changes in canopy coverage, height, species, etc. would be valuable in tracking forestry preservation now and in the future.


BACKGROUND​ ​-​ ​During​ ​development​ ​is​ ​when​ ​most​ ​trees​ ​are​ ​lost​ ​in​ ​the​ ​city.​ ​Currently​ ​there​ ​is no​ ​requirement​ ​during​ ​development​ ​for​ ​’no​ ​net​ ​loss​ ​of​ ​canopy’​ ​for​ ​new​ ​or​ ​existing​ ​property development.

QUESTION​ ​-​ ​Would​ ​you​ ​support​ ​developers​ ​being​ ​required​ ​to​ ​replace​ ​either​ ​on-site​ ​or​ ​off-site​ ​a canopy​ ​equivalent​ ​for​ ​trees​ ​removed,​ ​by​ ​either​ ​planting​ ​new​ ​trees​ ​or​ ​paying​ ​into​ ​a​ ​City​ ​Tree Fund​ ​to​ ​compensate​ ​for​ ​ecological​ ​value​ ​lost​ ​by​ ​the​ ​trees​ ​being​ ​removed?

Yes, this is important for tree preservation and protection.


According to the ​2016 Seattle Tree Canopy Assessment​, a significant amount of the city’s
urban forest is situated on single family and multi-family residencies-which contributes to
72%​ ​of​ ​the​ ​city’s​ ​overall​ ​canopy​ ​cover.

QUESTION​ ​-​ ​What​ ​suite​ ​of​ ​community​ ​incentives​ ​and/or​ ​policies​ ​would​ ​you​ ​propose​ ​that​ ​will encourage​ ​private​ ​landowners​ ​to​ ​plant​ ​native​ ​trees​ ​to​ ​reduce​ ​storm​ ​water​ ​impacts,​ ​improve​ ​air quality​ ​and​ ​sequester​ ​carbon,​ ​as​ ​well​ ​as​ ​to​ ​provide​ ​habitat​ ​for​ ​urban​ ​birds​ ​and​ ​other​ ​wildlife?

There is no doubt that planting more trees and creating greater canopy cover leads to better environmental outcomes for our city. Trees have economic benefits and promote healthy communities. As such, I do think we should incentivize getting the community more involved in planting trees. I would start by promoting the Trees for Neighborhood program. Families, neighborhoods, and communities have access to free trees, mulch, watering bags, and expert insight and training. This is a great program that deserves more attention for its potential to improve our City’s ecosystem!


The​ ​2016​ ​Seattle​ ​Tree​ ​Canopy​ ​Assessment​ ​found​ ​there​ ​is​ ​a​ ​statistically​ ​significant​ ​inverse
relationship​ ​between​ ​tree​ ​canopy​ ​and​ ​both​ ​people​ ​of​ ​color​ ​and​ ​people​ ​within​ ​200%​ ​of​ ​the
poverty​ ​level.​ ​The​ ​report​ ​found​ ​that​ ​in​ ​Census​ ​tracts​ ​with​ ​lower​ ​amounts​ ​of​ ​tree​ ​canopy​ ​more​ ​of the​ ​population​ ​tends​ ​to​ ​be​ ​people​ ​of​ ​color​ ​and​ ​have​ ​lower​ ​incomes.

QUESTION​ ​-​ ​Given​ ​this​ ​relationship,​ ​how​ ​can​ ​the​ ​city​ ​work​ ​to​ ​identify​ ​opportunities​ ​to​ ​work with​ ​underserved​ ​communities​ ​in​ ​order​ ​to​ ​facilitate​ ​increased​ ​forest​ ​canopy.
I think this would be an important opportunity for community leadership. Working with communities of color and low income folks to create community events like tree planting, that foster a sense of ownership and increase education around the importance of the tree canopy. Partnering with community organizations like Got Green would be an incredible way to bridge racial justice work with environmental justice work.


BACKGROUND​ ​-​ ​Trees​ ​and​ ​open​ ​space​ ​offer​ ​a​ ​number​ ​of​ ​community​ ​benefits​ ​-​ ​increased
housing​ ​values,​ ​decreased​ ​rates​ ​of​ ​crime,​ ​offering​ ​protection​ ​against​ ​climate​ ​change,​ ​reducing air​ ​pollution​ ​that​ ​contributes​ ​to​ ​health​ ​problems​ ​like​ ​asthma,​ ​filtering​ ​and​ ​reducing​ ​storm water​ ​runoff,​ ​habitat​ ​for​ ​wildlife​ ​and​ ​quality​ ​of​ ​life​ ​for​ ​communities.​ ​Trees​ ​(especially​ ​older, larger,​ ​mature​ ​trees​ ​and​ ​forest​ ​canopy)​ ​are​ ​a​ ​significant​ ​factor​ ​in​ ​helping​ ​to​ ​reduce​ ​carbon emissions​ ​on​ ​an​ ​ongoing​ ​basis.

QUESTION:​ ​Share​ ​with​ ​us​ ​your​ ​favorite​ ​tree​ ​or​ ​urban​ ​forest​ ​memory​ ​and​ ​why​ ​you​ ​support
continued​ ​investment​ ​in​ ​trees​ ​as​ ​a​ ​community​ ​resource.

Growing up, there was a large tree in a park close to my house. It was extremely tall, had a thick trunk and lush dense leaves. I have very fond memories of playing with my sister Tania and the other children in the neighborhood in and around the tree. We would spend our summer days climbing up high into the branches of the tree and making up fairy tale characters. It was the hub for the children in our neighborhood. The tree served as the meeting spot for all of our games and is an important pillar in my childhood memories. This is a perfect example of why we must work diligently to protect our tree canopy. They are more than aesthetic fixtures, they serve as hubs for community and inspire creativity
and curiosity amongst our kiddos.

Please​ ​add​ ​any​ ​clarifications​ ​or​ ​comments​ ​you​ ​would​ ​like​ ​to​ ​convey​ ​to​ ​us​ ​regarding​ ​the
questions​ ​above,​ ​or​ ​on​ ​protecting​ ​trees​ ​and​ ​the​ ​urban​ ​forest​ ​and​ ​open​ ​space​ ​in​ ​general.

Thank​ ​you​ ​for​ ​your​ ​participation!​ ​Please​ ​return​ ​the​ ​questionnaire​ ​by​ ​email​ ​by​ ​July​ ​14,​ ​2017
to​ ​Steve​ ​Zemke,​ ​Chair​ ​of​ ​TreePAC​ ​at​ ​stevezemke@msn.com​ ​.​ ​Questionnaires​ ​will​ ​be​ ​posted at​ ​www.TreePAC.o