Seattle City Council District 7 candidates Andrew Lewis and Jim Pugel fielded questions about transportation, taxes, homelessness, law enforcement and climate change during a forum hosted by Seattle CityClub on Thursday.

Seattle Times reporter Daniel Beekman got the ball rolling by pointing out that both candidates have backgrounds in law enforcement, and then asking whether the city needed an older homeowner with more experience or a younger renter more in touch with millennials.

Lewis is an assistant prosecutor with the City Attorney’s Office. The 29-year-old attorney was also former councilmember Nick Licata’s campaign manager during his 2009 re-election campaign. Lewis received 31.71 percent of the August primary vote in a race that included nine other candidates, while Pugel received 24.76 percent.

“My friends trying to build a life here in the city are frustrated and they’re impatient. They’re uncertain that they can realize the opportunities that their parents were able to achieve and to meet those goals in their lives,” Lewis said. “They’re not sure they’ll ever afford a house, they can’t understand why they’re stuck in gridlock in their morning commute, and they don’t understand why so many of their neighbors are seen unhoused on the street without access to shelter.”

Pugel joined the Seattle Police Department in 1981, and was appointed interim chief by former mayor Mike McGinn in April 2013. When Ed Murray beat McGinn and took office, he replaced Pugel with another interim chief. Pugel retired in 2014, and went on to work for the King County Sheriff’s Office as chief deputy until 2018. He has spent the last 30 years living in District 7, he said, and had been West Precinct commander prior to his appointment as police chief.

He said the Seattle City Council needs strong, new leadership, and he has the experience “to hit the ground running on day one.”

KING-5 reporter Natalie Swaby asked the candidates whether they thought developers should continue to be allowed to pay a fee in lieu of including affordable housing units in their projects under Seattle’s Mandatory Housing Affordability program.

Pugel supported the MHA program as a good start, and said he thinks fees should be provided though he would strongly encourage all developers to build mixed-income housing.

“I think that affordable housing needs to be in the building, not with the in-lieu fee,” Lewis said. “That affordable housing, I think we need to provide an incentive.”

He said San Jose, California offers fewer benefits for developers who opt to pay a fee, but allows developers to construct taller buildings if they include affordable housing.

Coupled with the MHA program were rezones to increase building heights in urban villages around the city. The city also has a multifamily property tax exemption program (MFTE) for developers that set aside 20-25 percent of their units as affordable.

Lewis and Pugel agreed they did not want to see municipal golf courses used for anything else but public open space when responding to a question regarding Mayor Jenny Durkan possibly repurposing them for a greater public benefit, such as affordable housing.

“If we give up open space, we’re never going to get it back, and those golf courses are open space,” said Lewis, who admitted to not being much of a golfer. “I believe in preserving the ordinance we have on the books now that says you can’t use that open space for any other purpose.”

Lewis said the Interbay Golf Center is a good tenant and turns a profit, but could see using other courses for alternative park space.

“Humans need green open space, they need sight lines, they need trees,” Pugel said. “That would affect our tree canopy. We have to do everything to increase our tree canopy.”

He said he would try to put the ordinance — created by Initiative 42 — into the city charter, “so it’s bomb-proof.” The ordinance the candidates referred to sets rules for changing park property for another purpose and requires an equal replacement serving the same community and purpose. It also requires a public hearing and providing proof that no other alternative exists before repurposing parkland.

KOMO News reporter Eric Johnson asked the candidates if they approve of allowing duplexes and triplexes in single-family neighborhoods. The city council approved citywide regulations easing requirements for accessory dwelling units back in July.

Pugel said he likes increased density, but wants it along existing and upcoming transportation routes, such as future light rail corridors. He then singled out the 1800 block of Ninth Avenue West.

“It’s the most hodgepodge mess of single-family homes that have triplexes in back; accessory dwelling units, detached accessory dwelling units, none of which are affordable,” Pugel said, “none of which there’s parking provided for and several families are moving out, and they’re good families and they love density.”

Lewis said he’s contacted nurses, firefighters and police officers living in backyard cottages, and he feels they should be able to afford to live and work in Seattle.

“As I’ve gone around, I’ve noticed there’s an awful lot of them that are existing illegally,” Lewis said of accessory dwelling units. “They’re unsanctioned, cause people have made them, and our current laws are overly restrictive.”

Pugel said “four-plexes” were built a long time ago, but construction was so out of control that certain areas were later rezoned for single-family homes.

Both candidates said they support returning to the neighborhood planning process, which many urbanists in Seattle argue resulted in exclusionary zoning and contributed to the housing shortage the city now faces.

Beekman asked the candidates where they thought the next protected bike lane should be sited in District 7. SDOT is behind on promises made in the Move Seattle levy to create more PBLs, and the city council recently approved an ordinance that requires the transportation department to include them any time a paving project valued at more than $1 million is conducted in an area within the city’s long-term bike plans.

Pugel bemoaned the two-way protected bike lane SDOT recently added on First Avenue North near the Seattle Center arena, saying it took parking away from adjacent businesses.

“They’re hurting. I think we need to do a better job of reaching out with the neighborhoods,” Pugel said. “We need to build more bike lanes. More importantly, look at the quality of the bike lanes that we already have.”

He said existing bike lanes need to be safe, and the city also needs to fulfill its Move Seattle promise.

Lewis, who lives in Lower Queen Anne and works downtown, said he doesn’t own a car.

“I’ll admit it, I’m a fair-weather biker,” he said. “That bike is going back into the closet for about eight months starting today, I think.”

He said he’s committed to creating more PBLs, but also went back to a neighborhood planning policy.

“We need to make sure that we have a policy based on pragmatism and not ideology when it comes to bike lanes,” Lewis said. “When the city goes into a neighborhood to put in a bike lane, we should be saying, ‘Look, here’s Point A, here’s Point B. Let’s work together to connect them.’ Let’s not come in with any ideal route.”

Rather than licensing and taxing bicyclists to pay for bike lanes, Lewis said he’d like to look at “a modest fee” on companies like Lime, similar to what the mayor is proposing to do to Uber and Lyft.

Pugel and Lewis — and every District 7 candidate in the primary — support a 1:1 replacement of the Magnolia Bridge, which is estimated to cost up to $420 million.

Lewis said there would be general fund dollars needed to replace the bridge, and he would build a coalition of regional stakeholders that includes the Port of Seattle and state. The port relies on the bridge for access to its Smith Cove Uplands, he said, so it should pitch in.

Pugel was working with the Seattle Police Department during the 2001 Nisqually Quake, and the bridge was shut down for months, he said, with traffic redirected to West Emerson and Dravus streets.

“It cost millions of dollars. It’s now 17 years later; it’s the same problem,” he said. “We haven’t fixed it. Magnolia needs three ways to get in and off that bridge.”

Pugel said he would work with the original stakeholders to find a funding fix, but is also open to making money through naming rights.

“Let’s do an Expedia Bridge where all the cruise ships show up,” he said.

Expedia Group plans to move its first round of employees to its new Interbay campus in early October.

Lewis said the city long should have been setting aside revenue generated in Magnolia through new construction to pay for the bridge.

“We should have growth paying for growth,” he said, “and take those resources from the taxpayers from Magnolia that they’re already paying into the general fund.”

Swaby asked the District 7 candidates if they support the Durkan administration’s increase in no-notice removals of unsanctioned homeless encampments without a significant increase in shelter capacity.

They do.

“I know, after being a police officer, how much crime goes on in those [encampments] and how often the homeless are the victim of other homeless people, who I call, which is only a small percentage, about 8-12 percent, that I call ‘The Will Nots,’” Pugel said. “They will not take any services, they prey on other homeless — some pretty violent crime — and we need to protect everyone out there.”

Lewis said sweeps policy should be connected to more enhanced shelter options. Pugel also called for creating more shelter and supportive housing.

“I do think a lot of these encampments are hazards that need to be removed, regardless of the shelter situation,” Lewis said, adding those include in parks and along freeway on-ramps. “I think in some cases we should, if there is a spot where there is a particularly troublesome camp, we should be making an exclusion zone there to stop camps from resprouting because they pose those hazards.”

He said Seattle should stop footing the bill for a regional problem, and Pugel said part of the problem lies with the service providers the city funds, only 10-15 percent of which meet “the gold standard.”

Neither candidate supported the short-lived and never implemented head tax on large businesses reporting more than $20 million in taxable gross receipts. Amazon, which was the presenting sponsor for the Sept. 26 CityClub forum, would have paid a little more than $12 million a year.

“Could Amazon have paid the head tax?” Lewis said. “Probably.”

A $275-per-head tax would have been a bigger hit to grocery stores like Uwajimaya, Lewis said.

Uwajimaya was part of a larger referendum campaign last year to repeal the head tax, though its financial support was much smaller than the large funding pledges from Amazon, Kroger, Albertsons, Starbucks and Vulcan.

“I don’t think that a head tax is the right way forward,” Lewis said. “I think we do need to look at other progressive sources of revenue, but the head tax was not the right way to do it.”

Pugel, who is backed by the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce’s Civic Alliance for a Sound Economy political action committee that led the fight against the head tax, said businesses were not included when that policy was being drafted. The worst part, he said, is the impact it would have had on Dick’s, his favorite Seattle restaurant.

Johnson, whose anti-homeless special, “Seattle is Dying,” points to rampant drug addiction as the problem and not a lack of affordable housing, and promotes a forced-treatment model, asked a series of questions related to crime and homelessness.

Lewis said he believes some people in addiction would benefit from a safe drug consumption site, and it would result in fewer needles in public restrooms and people “dying in alleys,” but said it would ultimately be up to Public Health-Seattle and King County.

Pugel served on the county’s Heroin and Prescription Opiate Addiction Task Force, which in September 2016 released a report that recommended safe consumption spaces or Community Health Engagement Locations be created. Pugel was opposed, he said.

“We should spend that money on medically-assisted therapy and other harm reductions, including syringe exchange programs and counseling.”

The City of Seattle has worked on creating a pilot site, then talked about a fixed-mobile location, but little has been discussed since the new U.S. Attorney has stated his opposition to them.

Both candidates agreed police officers don’t feel supported, and that more should be done to address “prolific offenders.”

Pugel said there were about 150-200 prolific offenders a few years ago, and their cases should be expedited when they arise.

“The entire city council continues to beat up on the officers only when one or two screw up, and not when everyone does things so well,” Pugel said, suggesting they give the job a try. “Councilmembers should probably throw on a uniform and go stand at Third and Pine for a week and see what it’s like, you know? And try to keep order.”

Lewis said he sees the same 30-40 offenders come up in the cases he sees at the City Attorney’s Office who would benefit from the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program, which Pugel said needs to be grown to scale in Seattle. The police and caseworkers work together to help people in drug addiction and sex workers receives multiple health and housing services.

While LEAD is successful in getting 61 percent of clients needed treatment and housing support, Lewis said, that means 39 percent don’t. He wants to see a misdemeanor drug court formed to help people whose crimes were motivated by drug addiction.

On the topic of climate change, Lewis said Seattle does need a Green New Deal, suggesting an electrified city fleet, cross-laminated timber in new construction and partnering with the Port of Seattle on its Blue Carbon program to remove trapped carbon dioxide in the Puget Sound.

So far, the Seattle City Council has approved a resolution to create a Green New Deal, but has not shaped an ordinance laying out what that will all entail when it comes to reducing the city’s carbon footprint.

“We have 11 or 12 years to greatly reduce it, or else we’re all screwed,” Pugel said, “especially our children and grandchildren.”

Pugel again called for stopping the removal of trees in Seattle, as well as protecting the Puget Sound and providing electricity to cruise ships docked here, so they are not running their engines. The port offers cold ironing at a few terminals, with plans for more.

Pugel also wants an electrified fleet.

“Let’s get cops in Teslas,” he said.

The South Lake Union Community Council will host a general election forum for the District 7 candidates from 5-6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 1, at the 415 Westlake event space.