The Gee & Ursula Show is doing a series of interviews with Seattle City Council candidates who represent downtown and the 7th District. Today’s interview is with challenger Robert Kettle, retired U.S. Navy. Kettle is running against incumbent Andrew Lewis; and other challengers Olga Sagan, owner of Piroshky Piroshky; Isabelle Kerner, business owner; Aaron Marshall, Seattle Police Officer; and Wade Sowders, software engineer at Amazon. The 7th District represents downtown, Queen Anne, and Interbay.
Safety is at the top of his agenda. Bob Kettle is a stay-at-home dad and a candidate for the 7th District Seattle City Council seat.
Kettle, talking on the Gee & Ursula show, said he believed that the ordinance to outlaw public drug use should have been passed.
“In addition to voting in favor of it, I would have been a co-sponsor,” Kettle said. “It goes to setting the tone, in terms of that permissive operating environment.”
The city needs to lead with compassion and wisdom, Kettle explained.
“Compassion understands that there are individuals out there, who are dealing with some type of trauma. There are different things that lead to the position that they’re in.
“But we also need to have the wisdom to understand that we can’t have secondhand fentanyl smoke on our buses. We have to give individuals with disabilities the ability to go from point A to point B down our sidewalks. We have to have the wisdom to understand that we have to look at the whole society and not just one piece.”
Kettle said he was running for the 7th District seat because of the failures of the current city council.
“My daughter just turned eight and I want a home for her, a city for her that she and all those like her can go down to the aquarium or the Pacific Science Center,” Kettle said. “She’s a big Seattle Storm fan. I want her to be able to go down to the Pledge and watch the Storm and then not have to worry as we walk from our car or wherever we’re coming like from public transport. We want to know we’ll get back safely. That’s the city that I want for my daughter, and I want not just for the kids, but for all of us.”
More Gee and Ursula 7th District interviews: Incumbent Andrew Lewis
Kettle felt that one of the issues the city must address is the shortage of police officers on the streets.
“We need to focus on recruitment retention. How can we get back police officers who have retired or left the force? As a city council, we need to be supportive. We need to create that positive environment, that positive engaged leadership that makes it attractive.”
Kettle would like to see a partnership between the city’s youth and all the districts and pair it up with community college programs.
“Imagine identifying some young folks who are interested in police work in public safety, going to our community colleges, getting an associate’s degree, and then looking to join the police force.”
Gee Scott said the current city council, in his opinion, has had a tough time connecting to small businesses and others in the community. He wanted to know how Kettle would help bridge that gap.
More Gee and Ursula 7th District interviews: Challenger Olga Sagan
“By engaging. One of the things I want to do is basically recreate a connection between the district representative, the council member, and the various neighborhood community councils to engage with them, to get an understanding of what is going on in each of the neighborhoods.”
Kettle explained that while he was on the Queen Anne Community Council he chaired the public safety committee.
“And through the public safety piece, I’ve been engaging with small businesses, and I understand their pain and their suffering in the sense that they’re working through one insurance piece for when they got hit by criminals. And so they have really great concerns.
“So we need to have a process and an attitude of engagement with these small businesses. We need to understand their concerns and then work through them to make sure that they’re stronger, and our communities are stronger.”
Ursula Retin asked Kettle what he envisions for downtown Seattle.
“We need people to go downtown and ‘activate.’ We need them to go to the shops, go to Nordstrom, and buy whatever they need. But all again starts from a safe base. And so we need to do that first and then build with positive engaged leadership.”
Kettle said he likes Mayor Bruce Harrell’s One Seattle vision, but that’s only the beginning.
“But what he needs is a city council that can match him and work with him in terms of having that positive engaged piece, then to really create that safe environment.”
Kettle said he would create incentives for businesses to return to downtown Seattle.
“But it all comes from again, that safe base and the positive engaged leadership. And unfortunately, the current city council is not been doing it. There’s been more conflict versus working together. And that’s the thing that we can really deal with in a reset of today’s city council.”
Listen to Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.