by Kirby Lindsay Laney, posted 29 September 2015
Leading up to November 3rd, Michael Maddux hopes to convince voters in the newly formed Seattle City Council District #4, including his home neighborhood of Eastlake, that he would be the best choice to represent them, and their issues, Downtown.
Under the district system, Maddux can go out and meet constituents. “I like to linger,” he said about attending all the public events and meetings, “and talk to people. You get some great ideas from talking to people,” Maddux explained, and “Whether we agree or disagree, we all have the best interest of the city in mind.”
“I got involved in public service at an early age,” acknowledged Maddux recently. Due to conflicts with his step-dad, Maddux lived in a shelter during his teens and, even after returning home, he continued to volunteer. Maddux has volunteered, and served as coordinator for Yo! Crossroads and Planned Parenthood, to help out at kids’ shelters and connect youths with resources.
“Eventually I wanted to eat, and pay rent,” he explained, and Maddux went to work at Group Health, Providence and then became a paralegal working for law firms. He has worked on cases representing the rights of foster children, lobbying for health care and championing civil rights claims against police brutality. In his ‘free-time,’ Maddux has served on the Parks Levy Oversight Committee and helping the local Democrat Party with campaigns.
The Campaign, Now
Maddux had long hoped to run for election, but his commitment as a single Dad, and the realities of election financing, kept him out of the ring until now. “I’m not a wealthy individual,” he acknowledged, “I couldn’t run At-Large.” The current district system, which requires candidates to campaign only across a segment of Seattle, appealed to him.
As for running, Maddux explained, “we have an affordability issue.” He has seen housing, as well as costs for operating small businesses, rising, “and I didn’t hear any solutions, even as, more and more, there are encroachments on our industrial areas and maritime businesses.”
Maddux wants to help with the housing issue, “so people can live near where they work. If I’m not successful, so be it,” he stated, being realistic about his candidacy, “but if I’m not, the conversation still needs to be started.”
Maddux would also like to see the City encourage more diversification of our economy. “We’re putting all our eggs in one basket, and it isn’t going to work,” he said, “What good does that do us.”
A Different Focus
Maddux, and his challenger Rob Johnson, came through the primary ahead of incumbent Councilmember Jean Godden, and two others. Some voters can see few differences between the two candidates, but Maddux can identify several.
“Our priorities are different,” Maddux explained, “I’m working at a local level, bringing my experience working with people to making an informed decision.” He can work within the system. “I enjoy the wonky aspect of working behind the scenes,” he said, to negotiate the best solution to meet the varied needs of the people involved.
Maddux is in the race because, as he explained, “I didn’t hear the issues I’m interested in being addressed.” He asked himself, “is there someone better than me at representing my issues, my values?” and the answer he got was no. He wants to see his values represented Downtown, on behalf of his neighborhood and all of District #4.
For Fremont, he sees a need for transportation – particularly improving the east-west corridor problem. “I want to make sure the Department of Transportation has a plan to allow for flow,” he said, along with, “mitigating the parking issue.”
Maddux believes one thing that won him the primary for District #4 was his focus on the west side of the district, and talking with everyone in all the neighborhoods, not just the select few. He plans to keep that focus if elected.
Public Safety & Parking
When asked about his public safety plan, Maddux talked about the need to get the Seattle Police Department out of the current consent decree, “in the right way.” He wants to see the culture of our police force change, to rebuild trust between police and the public.
“We need more officers,” Maddux said, “walking the beat, and driving the beat.” He wants more police, and the LEAD (Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion) program used across the city. This program discourages recidivism by redirecting low-level offenders into community services, instead of jail, and, as he explained, “meeting with people to connect them to services, and problem-solving.” From his time working in teen shelters, Maddux recalled an officer that took the time to talk and reassure the teens – teaching them how police can help.
As a Councilmember Maddux hopes to be able to go out with officers, to see what they do and meet the people they encounter, to better identify resources that help both. As he said, “we must shine a light on the officers that are problems, but also on the great officers doing great things!”
On the parking problems, Maddux didn’t have any pre-formed solutions but he does want to mitigate the pressures. We have to have transit, he acknowledged, but we don’t have the money to pay for our own. He believes the Restricted Parking Zones (RPZ) might hold some solutions, especially if we put limits on the number of permits that can be issued to apartment/condominium units that overwhelm the available curb space.
“We are in an urban area,” Maddux observed, “We need to do a better job managing our public right-of-way.” He has looked at encouraging more businesses to provide fleet vehicles to employees who use transit, bicycle or walking to get to work. He also said we could do with “a build out of the electric car network.”
A Final Word
When elected, Maddux intends to keep a District Office, to give citizens a place to visit and talk about the issues – and the solutions – they’ve seen. He wants to meet with all his constituents, and get those great ideas.
For more information on Maddux, visit his candidate website and consider attending an upcoming public appearance. Seattle Channel will be filming a debate between Maddux and his challenger, Rob Johnson, at University Heights Center, on October 1st (reserve a seat through Stranger Tickets) and there will be another public debate between the District #4 candidates on October 14th at the Good Shepherd Center in Wallingford at 7p.
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- by Kirby Lindsay Laney, 29 September 2015
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©2015 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.