The new mayor took questions during a Facebook Live Q&A in Seattle on Thursday. Here’s a quick look at what she talked about.
Rent vouchers, free college, homelessness — and a potential ban on leaf blowers.
Those were some of the topics covered as new Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan fielded questions from Seattle Times readers live on video Thursday.
Durkan tried to explain the rental-assistance strategy she says can prevent struggling families from becoming homeless or being priced out of the city. She described it as an interim effort as the city and its partners race to build more low-income housing.
“As we build a system that’s more robust for long-term housing, we can move people off the voucher support,” Durkan said during the Facebook Live session, as Seattle Times reporters relayed reader questions to the mayor.
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Challenging her, a reader asked why the mayor had announced a free community-college program this week before deciding how to pay for it in the long-term.
“We’re not jumping the gun,” Durkan replied. “We’ve identified a number of revenue sources, any of which could support this … We’re looking at: What’s that revenue source which is going to be best for us to use as a long, continuing stream?”
She went on to describe how tuition help has changed the lives of some South Seattle College students.
The mayor was ready to talk about her college plan, but seemed less prepared for a question on leaf blowers, as one reader complained about the machines.
Their loud droning is unhealthy, and leaf blowers powered by gas contribute to smoggy pollution, the reader argued, suggesting a ban.
“It’s one I haven’t thought of, but it’s one we should look at,” Durkan said. “I think we should look at it.”
Responding to questions about street homelessness dominating areas of the city, such as parts of Ballard and downtown, Durkan reiterated a campaign talking point, saying she believes the city may need to put more resources into mental-health and addiction services.
And she said there may need to be an expansion of work done by Seattle’s homeless Navigation Team.
Earlier Thursday, protesters briefly interrupted Durkan as she announced the creation of a new small-business council at Elliott Bay Book Company on Capitol Hill.