Tacoma

Mayor

PCYD's Endorse Jim Merritt

All three candidates for Mayor have answered our questionnaire:
Victoria Woodards
Evelyn Lopez Primaried Out
Jim Merritt

Candidates are listed in the order they will appear on your ballot.
There was a primary for this office.
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For more to consider, check out the Tacoma Mayoral forums:
World Affairs Council Tacoma
Indivisible Tacoma

Sanctuary Status

Do you support Sanctuary Status for the area you would represent? Please explain.

Victoria Woodards

Yes

Yes. I support Tacoma becoming a sanctuary city. And more than that, I’ll put real action behind our words. I will fight an expansion of the Northwest Detention Center, work to keep hospitals, schools, and places of worship off-limits to ICE, and ensure our immigrant and refugee neighbors are informed of their rights, especially those facing deportations.

Evelyn Lopez

Yes

Yes. I am an immigrant, and want all Tacoma residents to feel secure in their city. Tacoma will not be perceived as a “welcoming” city if it does not provide clear guidance to city staff about how we will work with residents who do not have legal status. I want to show that Tacoma protects its people, and being a Sanctuary City will put Tacoma on the right side of history--I’m certain of that.

Jim Merritt

Yes

Yes. Immigrant communities within the city of Tacoma are tax payers. They should not fear deportation when attending church, school, court, going to the hospital, or a wedding. If our police departments increase their collaboration with ICE, they will not be able to keep the trust of our immigrant communities. This will cause organized crime to take root in these communities and exploit their vulnerabilities. I was the first candidate to support Sanctuary Cities and all others have followed my lead.

PCYD & WA Democrats Resolutions

What resolutions from PCYDs or the WA Democrat State Party do you align with?
(PCYD: Decline to Sign I-1552, Petition: Tacoma City Council: Protect Undocumented Immigrants #HereToStay)

Victoria Woodards

I support both of these resolutions. I was an early endorser of Washington Won't Discriminate (decline to sign I-1552) and recently I was a sponsor for their Tacoma fundraiser. I would also support #HereToStay because we must do better by the people who help make our communities strong, vibrant and diverse.

Evelyn Lopez

I am opposed to I-1552--it is merely a tool to make trans people feel at risk, and it presents real safety threats for trans youth and adults. I am in favor of protections for undocumented immigrants, and I'm particularly concerned about protections for children who came to this country with their parents and proposals to keep them in this country (they are as American as I am). I support progressive social change, increasing living-wage jobs, and building vibrant, safe, and caring communities. I am committed to working with all segments of the city to develop policies that benefit all of us.

Jim Merritt

I was the first to sign the #HereToStay petition. I have declined to sign I-1552, rallied with Washington will not Discriminate and endorsed their campaign.

Goals & Needs of Constituency

If you could achieve three accomplishments in your coming term, what would they be?

Victoria Woodards

1. Create more Family Wage Jobs
2. Reinvest in Public Safety
3. Protect our safety net by focusing on decreasing Homelessness and increasing Affordability

Evelyn Lopez

(1) Identify the barriers to high-quality employers locating in Tacoma, then fix the problems that create those barriers.
(2) Locate clean industry, particularly future-oriented industries like hydroponic farming in the Tideflats.
(3) Close the Detention Center, or reduce the population detained to only those facing deportation due to serious criminal offenses, and continue reducing until it is closed.

Jim Merritt

Family-wage jobs.
Mass Transit now, not later.
Make Tacoma emergency ready by fully funding public safety services.

What are the top five needs of your constituency?

Victoria Woodards

1. Family wage jobs - While addressing unemployment we have to remember that there are many families in our community are underemployment. United Way has a report that talks about A.L.I.C.E. (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) a segment of the population that is just above the poverty line but still struggling. We need better paying permanent jobs with benefits for our residents.
2. Accessible and Dependable transportation
3. Affordable housing – as our region grows we need to be able to ensure Tacoma remains affordable so that everyone who wants to live here can.
4) Public Safety - Everyone in Tacoma deserves to feel safe and welcome.
5) Safety Net - We had to make cuts during the recession and now it’s time to re-invest in what makes our community strong.

Evelyn Lopez

(1) More living wage jobs in Tacoma and broader employment options;
(2) Cleaner development/industry at the Port and Tideflats;
(3) More affordable housing units;
(4) Lower crime rates across the city, but more so in South Tacoma and Eastside;
(5) Increased drug/alcohol services and assistance for those who are homeless.

Jim Merritt

Access to affordable housing.
Help the homeless.
Higher paying jobs.
Public safety.
Balance between family-wage jobs and protections to the environment.

Connecting with Young People

How do you plan to involve the voices and needs of young people?

Victoria Woodards

I believe young people are not only our future, but they are also our present and we need to be sure their voices are heard now. As Former President and CEO of the Tacoma Urban League, I not only chartered the Tacoma Urban League Young Professionals Auxiliary Group, but I also personally mentored young men and women, particularly young students of color. Under my leadership, we created Student Government day in the City of Tacoma. I will continue, personally and as mayor, to incorporate the voices, thoughts, and ideas of young people.

Evelyn Lopez

This is a question I asked frequently at the PDC--how to involve young people in politics and open government. I am comfortable using social media platforms to push information and engage with people. I would regularly ask for input and would set up opportunities for informal meetings. My door would be open.

Jim Merritt

All of my campaign staff are young people and they are helping drive this campaign. I have conferred with young immigrants of color and young democrats on policy.

Police-Minority Relations

Do you have any plans for improving police-minority relations? Please explain your response.

Victoria Woodards

Yes

Yes. At a time when our nation was (and is) grappling with distrust and violence in our police systems, I led efforts to work on police reform with a broad coalition of community members. Not only did we work on Project PEACE - a community policing program - but we also came together with over 800 community members, elected officials and front line police officers to discuss community priorities, build relationships and understand each other’s shared experiences. Out of those meetings, we created a list of community priorities, as mayor I will work to make sure that those priorities are implemented. I will also continue to find best practices from across the country and implement them here at home.

Evelyn Lopez

Yes

Yes. I would start with discussions. We have different minority communities, with different police relationships. Here is my reality--I can drive around with my tail lights out, and it's very unlikely I will ever be pulled over; and if I am, I will receive a warning. Younger people, and minorities face a different reality. They are pulled over because the police think they are more likely to have warrants or other infractions (because the system is rigged against the poor and people of color); and once pulled over the interactions can go very badly. First we have to recognize and acknowledge that there are problems--racial problems--then we can work on training so that we (all of us) recognize our biases and learn how to work through them. This is not a situation that is solved overnight--it's a long term human relationship situation.

Jim Merritt

Yes

Yes. I will support the training and continuing education of our police force so that they can better relate to the communities they serve. Project PEACE is just the start, and is not enough. All sides of the issue must be brought together and allowed to express their concerns and fears without censorship allowing tensions to dissipate. If more police officers lived in the communities they serve, I believe this would foster better relationships with our communities and our police.

Homelessness

How will you advocate for the homeless population? Including in regards to city camp sweeps and voting rights?

Victoria Woodards

As a city councilmember, I worked to build a stronger system for combating homelessness. When preparing and adopting the 2017/18 biennial budget I’d advocated for more investment to address the homeless issues in Tacoma. We increased funding by 50% and focused on a continuum of services to ensure that all of needs were being address to include housing, mental health, and employment. As Mayor, I will continue to find permanent solutions that break the cycle of homelessness in our city.
I do not support city sweeps of tent encampments and believe we need to look to better policies that respect the dignity of our homeless population to address this issue.

Evelyn Lopez

I am looking forward to seeing how the city plans to implement the temporary tent housing area, and how it plans to help people transition to housing. I need more information and a better understanding of the issues--there are different populations of homeless (those who are temporarily unhoused and can be assisted into housing, particularly families; those who have medical/mental health issues that need assessing; those who have drug issues). The starting point is compassionate assessment and assistance, and I would strongly advocate for that. I would advocate for voting options for homeless citizens, and believe that the Pierce County Auditor is also in favor of that.

Jim Merritt

I have long term relationships with folks who have been, and are currently, homeless in Tacoma and meet with them on a regular basis to discuss ways to alleviate their circumstance. We must treat our homeless population with dignity. I believe the rights of citizens of the United States shall not be denied or abridged by anyone regardless of permanent residential address.

Net Neutrality & Internet Privacy

Would you advocate for Net Neutrality on a Federal Level? Please explain your response.
Note: There was an error when creating the questionnaire that originally required a 2250 character response. Any additional characters candidates added as filler only have been removed.

Victoria Woodards

Yes

Yes. Net Neutrality ensure everyone has access to internet without having to pay more. I would absolutely fight against efforts to make it harder for working people and young people to access the internet, as it is an essential to creating economic and educational opportunity.

Evelyn Lopez

Yes

Yes. I’m in favor of open government, and lots of public debate, so of course I’m for the open, free internet. Over my adult lifetime, the explosion of information available to everyone has been a revolution--anyone can find out just about anything with very little effort. That is an enormously democratic and equalizing power for social justice and social activism, and I don’t want to see anything stop that power.

Jim Merritt

Yes

Yes. We must ensure the right to freedom of speech, access to uncensored information, and the free market.

How would you protect people in your area from having their info sold through ISP?

Victoria Woodards

At the local level, I believe we should require key internet service providers to obtain permission from users before selling their browsing information and data.

Evelyn Lopez

This is not something that is easily regulated at the local level, but we do have open data and open records laws that might be used to help people find out if their data is being misused. Right now, data is sold all the time (that’s why when I go to a news site, it shows me an add for the jacket I was looking at yesterday on a completely unrelated retail site). I’m not sure if we can roll that back, but I would be open to discussion about possible options.

Jim Merritt

I believe that we need to ensure the privacy of consumers. Internet service providers need to communicate their terms in clear language and obtain consent from their consumers.

Incumbency, PCYD's Involved & Campaign Consultants

Are you an incumbent to this position?

Victoria Woodards

No

Evelyn Lopez

No

Jim Merritt

No

Do you have any staff from PCYDs currently working or volunteering for you? If so, what are their names?

Victoria Woodards

No

Not at this time. However, as in past campaigns, I hope to engage the PCYDs in this race.

Evelyn Lopez

No

No, I only started my campaign as of May 10 and do not have staff or volunteers yet.

Jim Merritt

Yes

Yes: Felicia Jarvis and Jose Manzano

What consultants for this current campaign have you worked/collaborated with?

Victoria Woodards

Moxie Media - Delana Jones and Emma Tupper. Orca Organizing - Phil Gardner. McShane Strategies - Raven McShane.

Evelyn Lopez

Progressive Strategies Northwest (Kess Smith, Nic Van Putten, and Ben Anderstone)

Jim Merritt

This is a grassroots campaign.