Whoever wins the Seattle City Council District 7 seat will have a large and geographically diverse constituency, but candidates spent Thursday night focused on what they would do for Queen Anne and Magnolia.

Replacing the bridge, an increased police presence, taking city hall to the people, turning new development in the 15th Avenue corridor into opportunity, and where housing and public spaces work best were among the topics tackled during the June 20 candidate forum, hosted by the Queen Anne and Magnolia community councils.

With nine out of 10 candidates on the Aug. 6 primary ballot participating, moderator Stephanie Ballard packed in many questions during the two-hour forum.

All candidates said they would prioritize replacing the Magnolia Bridge, calling for the Port of Seattle, the state, BNSF and other regional partnerships to get a 1:1 replacement, which is estimated to cost $340 million to $420 million.

Microsoft product marketer and Magnolia resident Jason Williams said he would also engage Expedia, which is moving around 4,000 employees to a new Interbay campus this fall, believing they may be willing to support the effort.

“We’re not going to get it from Expedia — they don’t care,” said Queen Anne resident Don Harper, a retired electrician and community council member.

Harper noted the city was pushing forward with the Center City Connector Streetcar project, or the next ineffective “trolley.” The cost for the project, which Mayor Jenny Durkan paused last year for further study, is now around $286 million.

“I think, if the City of Seattle can do that, we can build a damn bridge,” Harper said.

Attorney Gene Burrus, who is suing the city over its Waterfront Local Improvement District, which will tax him and other condo owners, said he would scrap the streetcar. He also warned Magnolia residents that a LID to replace the bridge was on its way.

“If you don’t know yet in Magnolia, it’s coming for you next,” he said.

City prosecutor Andrew Lewis said he has the support of 36th District Rep. Gael Tarleton, who secured $750,000 for a Ballard-Interbay Regional Transportation System plan that includes replacing the Magnolia and Ballard bridges.

“We can’t be replacing infrastructure with a LID,” he said.

Former Seattle Sonic and small-business owner James Donaldson said a new Magnolia Bridge should be able to support a streetcar or light rail connection to the neighborhood, where he’s lived for almost 40 years.

The Queen Anne Community Council unsuccessfully challenged plans to ease restrictions on developing accessory dwelling units (ADUs), such as mother-in-laws and backyard cottages. That legislation is slated for a full council vote on July 1.

Lewis said current ADU rules are overly restrictive, but the proposed legislation is overly permissive. He supports not requiring on-site parking in parts of the city where transit, such as light rail, is conveniently located. He called for protecting legacy and significant trees from ADU construction, and fixing the legislation so backyard cottages don’t end up as “three-story townhouses.”

Donaldson said he believes the legislation will work out without parking or owner-occupancy requirements. He said some of the candidates likely own more than one home — probably one they don’t live in.

Durkan signed legislation to advance plans to redevelop the Fort Lawton Army Reserve Center to include 237 affordable housing units on June 18. Magnolia resident Daniela Lipscomb-Eng, who works for her family’s sports telecommunication company near Fishermen’s Terminal, wants the planned development to move to the Washington National Guard’s 25-acre armory site, and would rather see a school considered on Magnolia Bluff.

The National Guard wants to move to North Bend, and its Interbay property is currently being assessed to determine the greatest public benefit it could serve in the future.

Burrus also wants to cancel the Fort Lawton plan. Harper said the armory site, near a BNSF switchyard, is no place for affordable housing.

Lewis said the armory site not only provides a great opportunity for workforce housing, but also supporting Seattle’s “legacy maritime industry.”

Not every candidate had an opportunity to answer each question during a “lightning round,” where three council hopefuls were picked to respond at random. It was unclear how the random selection happened, but former Seattle Police chief Jim Pugel was called on first to address property crime concerns, and Harper, who chairs QACC’s parks committee, had first crack at a parks-related question.

Pugel said property crime is the number-one issue he’s been hearing about while knocking on doors. He said he would create a task force to address what he believes is a small, but prolific number of thieves causing big problems in Seattle and other cities.

“I would argue that this is very connected with the camping crisis,” said candidate Isabelle Kerner, who understands some people might not like how she defines Seattle’s issue with homelessness.

Kerner said offenders should be kept in jail, sharing how a man smashed the rear window of her car in Capitol Hill back in May; he was out of jail in less than 24 hours. He has four domestic violence convictions and is alleged to have committed property thefts in another county.

“I say we keep them in jail, because they’re terrorizing everyone,” Kerner said.

Lewis said he’s the only candidate in District 7 who has won convictions in car prowling and theft cases. Responding about the suspect in Kerner’s case, Lewis said the city attorney’s office did request $2,000 in bail, but the judge denied it. He committed to working to get three patrol vehicles each in Queen Anne and Magnolia to stop crimes of opportunity, as there is usually only one now.

On top of fighting the Waterfront LID, Burrus’ other interest in joining the council is to improve how the city responds to public safety, describing the “open-air drug market” and frequent shootings near his downtown condo, one of which occurred on June 18, at Second Avenue and Pine Street.

Lipscomb-Eng said there was an RV outside her family’s business seven years ago, where heroin was being sold. After she recorded the activity and made it public, things only improved for a short time. There are still RVs up and down West Commodore Way, she said. The District 7 candidate recently went on a ride-along with first responders, she said, and reported prosecutors are not prosecuting assaults they experience on the job. She said a child recently found a used needle around a restroom facility in Discovery Park.

“It is not OK for our kids to be able to go into parks and find heroin needles,” Lipscomb-Eng said.

Seattle Parks and Recreation is exploring whether its four municipal golf courses should be repurposed, Mayor Jenny Durkan considering them for other parks and greenspace uses, as well as increasing affordable housing stock.

“The idea that we can sell our parks for other uses is absolutely insane,” Harper said.

If golf courses are not working, he said, they should be repurposed but remain parks space, such as P-Patches and off-leash areas.

“To me, it seems like a race to the bottom to see who can think of the stupidest idea,” Kerner said of repurposing golf courses.

Kerner proposes addressing the homelessness crisis by spending $4 million to convert 575 shipping containers into housing units, dividing people across 23 plots of land based on their service needs. She said people would need to submit to a drug test and fill out a questionnaire about their background and work history. Participants in this program would be paid for working at the sites, she said, but not until they’ve exited the program with a real job and enough money to acquire their own housing.

Michael George, a senior project manager at commercial real estate firm Kidder Mathews, said the city needs to take care of people with mental health and substance abuse issues, but also work smarter to address all of its issues in a way that works for residents.

“We need to think about everyone, and not just one group,” he said, “because if we do that, our city is going to be unlivable.”

George said the city is disproportionately covering the cost of the regional homeless crisis, which needs to change. The most effective approach is to prevent people from entering homelessness in the first place, he said.

Housing for all income levels, especially middle-income residents, is essential, as is making public spaces safe for everyone.

“I feel like the homeless issue just takes so much air out of the room,” Harper said.

Harper blames a lot of crime on drugs, but said the city can’t simply jail offenders. He said the “worst of the worse” should be confined to permanent supportive housing until they’re clean.

Burrus wants to get people out of parks and tents, he said, but the city does need to provide shelter. He wants “FEMA-style dormitory tents” as an option, he said, as well as funding exits from Seattle for those who want to leave.

“Portland is giving bus tickets to people to come to Seattle,” he said.

All candidates vowed to be available to constituents, attending community meetings and forums. Lipscomb-Eng said she wants to see neighborhood district councils brought back. Some still exist, but were cut from the city process by former mayor Ed Murray.

The entire forum is now available on the Magnolia Community Council's Facebook page.