Response to Neighborhoods for Smart Streets

I’m writing in response to the newsletter from a group called “Neighborhoods for Smart Streets.” Unfortunately, they made a public post that contains several inaccuracies, even if unintentional. I know we are at the stage where interest groups have made their decisions–whether the TreePac and many of those who led the effort to save Luma the Cedar this summer on my side of the aisle or the Master Builders Association and their members (who did so much to make it easier to cut down trees in Seattle) putting over $100K into my opponent’s PAC. I fully expect things to get punchy, and I don’t begrudge an endorsement that doesn’t come my way. 

But in a city where we have to live in community together, I do take issue with the accuracy of some of the statements in the newsletter. We do not need more polarization and divisiveness undermining our city’s future. While I hope that was not their intent, I do want to set the record straight.

For instance, I did not call any councilors deceptive or divisive. I did at that time criticize some of their specific behaviors as such–and then made a case for why I thought so. Anyone who has parented or worked with children knows how important that distinction is. Teresa Mosqueda, who is known for civility and managing relationships effectively on council, offered sharp words about those behaviors at the time as well. 

I will readily admit that the title of the article was incendiary–but as anyone who submits op-eds knows, titles are not chosen by authors. I never used the word “Freedom Caucus” in my article. 

Most important, my article was an article about civility on the council. I identified specific behaviors that I thought, at the time, undermined its functioning. I think it strains reason to suggest that my highlighting the problem of some specific bad behaviors on counsel somehow implies I’ll behave badly on council. I understand that an endorsement is a piece of persuasion. But to claim that you have proof from an article I won't be civil, imply I did a bunch of name-calling when I didn't (I criticized behaviors), and leave out the fact that this was an article about civility on the council—is not rooted in reality. At the very least, I wish they had linked out to the article itself.

And the reader of this piece is concerned about who will work well with others on council, better to look at records of how I treat my colleagues (who have consistently praised the effectiveness and collegiality of my work) compared with my opponent, who has a history of ineffectiveness and treating colleagues poorly, something that has been discussed in the press, and she was questioned about on Hacks and Wonks. 

Regarding drug policy and my tweets. My drug policy is here. It includes enforcement, and in fact, in some areas, more strict enforcement than the Harrell administration is pursuing. 

On tweets: a few weeks ago, I sent out an email about my policy and summarized it in 13 tweets. After speaking to some folks working on the Harrell administration’s effort to get drugs off the street, I made a clarification regarding one of the tweets with a new tweet, subtweeting the original one I was modifying. My new tweet was a statement that reflected that I learned from a Harrell administration insider and expert on drug recovery and crime that there is a subset of dealers who are street-level, subsistence dealers, who are also addicts themselves. And that the data has shown that jailing them just hardens them, they end up back on the street quickly, and hasn’t been shown to help with deterrence or cleaning up neighborhoods. So it’s expensive and ineffective. But that same data also shows that arrest and diversion works better. So I tweeted to make the point that that subset should be put into diversion because we should do the stuff that works. (Note–I’m endorsed by the founder of Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) and CoLEAD Seattle’s nationally renowned programs for getting people off the streets and into recovery. We need to scale this up.) 

Unfortunately, some people ripped this out of the context of the other tweets, failed to mention the enforcement identified in the other tweets, and have repeatedly ignored my clarification that I still support prosecuting drug dealers who don’t fit the description above. They used this to create a misinformation campaign around it. When it refused to die down, I screenshotted the tweets, emailed them to reporters, and you can see them on my fact check page. I have nothing to hide. In fact, the amount of misinformation coming from my opponent has become so bad that the Democratic Party of King County has had to step in and reprimand my Democratic opponent for adopting “MAGA gaslighting tactics.”

Last, there is no definition of “equivocation” that fits my approach to public safety. There is space to criticize my positions, of course—but it's simply false that I've equivocated. I’ve been far clearer on the specifics of my policy and how to pay for it than my opponent. This is why I’m endorsed by the 911 dispatchers, 17,000 corrections workers, Lisa Daugaard the founder of Law Enforcement 

Assisted Diversion, who is the architect of the Mayor’s police + treatment plan, Dom Davis, head of our best gun violence prevention programs, former King County Superior Court Judge (and trial judge of the year) Theresa Doyle–and I am the only one to wins awards from Moms Demand Action and the Alliance for Gun Responsibility in this race. In fact, the head of the 911 dispatchers union said, “Ron Davis is the only candidate in this race who understands all the layers of the public safety system and how to improve them. His realism, willingness to actually fund public safety, and his attention to the details on how to deliver are what we need on city council. His public safety plan is what we need if we are going to get to fast 911 response times and rapid arrival of emergency services.” Equivocation is not a defensible claim here. 

Politics can be a nasty sport; I understand that–and I welcome criticism. At the same time, we are a community of neighbors, our children are in school together (mine are at Eckstein and Bryant—hope I run into you!), we drive on each others’ streets, eat and play alongside one another and often provide care or food for one another’s loved ones. If we want to be effective, we need to be careful about twisting reality beyond recognition, even when we advocate, even when it is inadvertent.  

Let’s please remember that as we go through the heat of this campaign. 

All the best to my neighbors,