This week’s Seattle Mayoral debate discussed a lot about how our city has been negatively impacted by the rapid growth we are currently experiencing. The culprit— “rich developers” and “tech.” Yes, there should be more conversation about how we can all share the load of responsibility and cost that comes with rapid growth. However, last night was an opportunity for a candidate to open up the conversation about the endless resources of technology and innovation we have at our disposal in our own backyard.
For every real challenge we are facing, there are millions of dollars and hours of research going into finding efficient solutions that scale. Right here in our community, we have businesses developing cutting-edge technology tackling many of these hot topics including affordable urban housing, shelter for the homeless, and transit, just to name a few. Where was the idea for a government-technology coalition? With City Hall spending up about $2,000 per resident in the last four years, you would think efficiency and scale would be at the top of the priority list. At a minimum, how about a discussion around data analytics? We are experiencing an unprecedented level of new taxation, and yet no clear reporting on whether this tax spending has been effective. I know of a firm or two that would be more than happy to take a stab at the budget.
Partnering with companies to help bring solutions while collaborating on our growth should have been mentioned by at least once by a single candidate last night. But instead, it was an evening of pandering. Once again we watched big business be blamed for all that’s wrong with Seattle. That attitude is not going end a regressive tax system. Or relive our traffic congestion. Or support the most vulnerable in our community.
As we approach the August 1 Primary Election, I hope we as a city resolve to shed our partisan viewpoints and instead strive to find sustainable solutions. Let’s drop the status quo and get innovative.