Written by Irene Basloe Saraf
Three inspiring, progressive candidates are running for seats on the Bothell City Council: Han Tran (Position 1), Jenne Aderks (Position 3), and Rami Al-Kabra (Position 7). These candidates would bring thoughtful and holistic approaches to addressing housing affordability, homelessness, public safety, and other challenges facing their city. They would also bring the diverse perspective of two immigrants and a parent of children with special needs. All three candidates have been deeply involved with Anti-Racist Communities: Bothell. Opponents have misrepresented their policy positions, but even a quick perusal of Han’s, Jenne’s, Rami’s campaign websites show their commitment to smart, effective solutions that will be good for Bothell and the people who live there. If you are a voter in Bothell, we urge you to vote for Han, Jenne, and Rami!
In a recent conversation, Han Tran explained that she was inspired to run for Bothell City Council after several years of activism. Han, an immigrant, and refugee from Vietnam who grew up in Bothell, collaborated with other advocates to push the City Council to engage in diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts and to cease ill-conceived plans to cut human services during the pandemic. From her activism experience, Han realized that she could continue to change Bothell for the better by seeking elective office.
Han notes that, with expertise in electrical engineering and business, she would bring “a lot of transferrable skills” into her role on the City Council, including the ability to prioritize and to determine what policies would provide the biggest return on investment. In particular, Han would assess the City’s budget, which she notes does not fully reflect the “values of caring for the community.” She would reinvest funds currently used for policing into human services programs. “Keeping communities together, making things more affordable, meeting people’s needs where they are at, is a way to lessen crime and other issues that are of concern to people in Bothell,” Han explains.
Han believes in multi-faceted, integrated approach to addressing Bothell’s housing affordability, homelessness, and public safety challenges. Han supports a Housing First model because “housing is a crucial part of keeping people in our community safe and healthy. Once housed, from there, we can have human services programs that help stabilize people’s lives, so they have the best chance at flourishing and not just surviving.”
She believes in the “need to grow the city in a smart way, in terms of loosening up zoning laws, to make housing more affordable for people and to invite diversity.” She would work on zoning changes that would encourage retail development on the main floor of multifamily housing and would allow for a range of housing types, such as ADUs and duplexes, to help ensure that “families that want to stay together [are] not priced out of the neighborhood.”
Han’s website provides more information about her personal story, her policy priorities, as well how to donate to support her campaign.
As a member of the City Council, Jenne Aderks would address “systemic challenges with effective policy solutions.” A doula who home-schools her three children and serves on Bothell’s Planning Commission, Jenne is seeking election to public office because she wants to help “build a community that is family-friendly and address human needs across all stages of their development.”
Jenne believes that Bothell’s challenges stem from “intersecting crises: COVID, housing affordability, opioid epidemic, climate change.” And solving those crises requires “leaders who can recognize how they intersect and address them in holistic ways.” She points out that “a lot of property crime is related to the opioid epidemic, a lot of homelessness is related to housing affordability.”
Jenne would push for expansion of the North Sound RADAR (Response Awareness, De-escalation, and Referral) program, where Navigators help refer people in crisis to housing and services and thereby avoid the criminal justice system. She believes her city “needs solutions-oriented people to tackle these intersecting problems.”
As for affordability, Jenne is in solidarity with Han about the need for changes to Bothell’s zoning to allow for more “missing middle” housing options, including ADUs, duplexes, and row houses. Jenne would “heed the advice of our city staff to expand housing opportunities and rezone areas of Bothell to be more inclusive and accessible. I support evidence-based, data-driven approaches to addressing the affordability crisis.” Jenne agrees with Han that Bothell’s budget does not reflect the city’s values. Housing opportunities – with services, if needed – can help “people become stable and self-reliant, a proven approach that is also a humane and moral one … Economic justice and racial justice are how we all show our love for each other.”
To learn more about Jenne and to donate to her campaign, please visit her website.
Rami has lived in Bothell for 12 years and has given his time in a variety of ways to make Bothell a better place for all of its residents, including working on issues of human rights and racial equity and helping push the City Council to make a commitment to greater diversity, equity, and inclusion. Rami has also served on the Bothell Landmark Preservation Commission.
Rami shares Han’s and Jenne’s concerns about the current City Council’s budget priorities; this concern helped spur him to run for office. “A city's budget needs to reflect its values and priorities,” Rami says. “I don't believe Bothell's budget does.” Rami would seek to enhance public safety by shifting funds away from policing and into community-oriented programs, such as full-time mental health professionals to respond to people in crisis.
A lack of housing options informs Rami’s view on policy changes he would pursue as a member of the City Council. He believes that “housing is a fundamental right” and, along with Han and Jenne, would encourage zoning changes to improve affordability by allowing more “missing-middle housing” such as duplexes, triplexes, and row houses. Development should be done in tandem with attention to environmental issues, such as walkability and the conservation of natural resources. Rami also notes that a greater diversity of housing options would open homeownership to more people in Bothell, particularly Black, Indigenous, and other people of color, who have had historically fewer wealth-building opportunities. In his Action Fund endorsement questionnaire, Rami wrote that “affordable housing plays a big role in building a healthy and thriving community. As city leaders, we should create a path for wealth-building via homeownership. And that starts with reversing exclusionary zoning laws that have been put in place over, at least, the past century.”
Rami would bring important skills, with his MBA and capability as a manager in the tech sector, to his service as a member of the City Council. He would also bring invaluable “lived experiences as an immigrant and proven record for advancing racial equity and inclusivity” that would guide him in working “to create the inclusive, progressive, and diverse Bothell we strive toward.”
Rami’s website has more information about Rami, his background and policy positions, and how to donate to support his candidacy for the Bothell City Council.
Written by Kendra Allman
The Washington Housing Alliance Action Fund is proud to endorse Kaylee Galloway, Todd Donovan, Rebecca Lewis, and Barry Buchanan for Whatcom County Council.
Kaylee Galloway is a dedicated public servant with significant experience working at the local, state, and federal level. Kaylee has also demonstrated a thorough understanding of the importance of affordable housing in Whatcom: “Affordable housing is the key to success for the entire community,” she writes.
On the County Council, Kaylee says that she will “fight for more county funding to better leverage city, state, and federal funding to directly invest in the building of more affordable housing projects and programs.” Kaylee acknowledges the ways in which housing sits at the center of a web of interconnected issues. “The Council’s decisions about land use, water rights, climate, and transportation all come back to having enough affordable housing of the right kind in the right place,” she writes. She especially stresses the notion that a lack of affordable housing manifests as a health crisis. “Housing is a health issue,” she writes, “The County needs to ensure affordable housing is available to all for safety during the pandemic.”
Todd Donovan is running for reelection on the County Council and has already proved himself a loyal housing rights advocate. While he expresses excitement for Whatcom County having passed the ordinance that directs 1/10th of 1% of sales tax revenue toward affordable housing, he also acknowledges the work that still needs to be done and wants to continue investing in the creation of permanent affordable housing as well as to ensure greater protections for tenants. Todd also expresses a commitment to learning more about particular needs of Whatcom’s communities of color, as well as listening and engaging with these communities to address the systemic injustices that shape their housing experiences.
Rebecca Lewis is an experienced advocate in the Whatcom community. As President of her Labor Union, she understands the crucial importance of a livable wage and the struggle many in Whatcom face reconciling their rent with their income. She addresses the current homelessness crisis in the county and firmly expresses her belief that “we are not doing enough” as things are.
Rebecca acknowledges how communities of color and immigrant communities are disproportionately affected by housing difficulties and she demonstrates a dedication to righting these wrongs. She wants “to promote equitable investments in opportunity communities, specifically the neighborhoods of color at-risk of gentrification,” as well as to make housing resources more easily accessible to these communities.
Barry Buchanan is running to keep his position as Chair of Whatcom County Council with a long record as a public servant. The founder of Whatcom Homeless Strategies Workgroup, Barry has proven himself to be a strong believer of housing as a human right and a dedicated advocate for housing justice. If he remains on the County Council, he promises to “continue to push for policies that provide safe and secure homes for our residents.”
Like Todd, Barry supported the 1/10th of 1% sales tax that would direct $2 million per year to affordable housing across Whatcom County. He writes, “this new program will make a real difference in the lives of Whatcom’s low-income residents and I’m proud to be standing up for them.” That said, he also acknowledges the great deal of change that must continue to happen in Whatcom’s future, emphasizing the County’s need to “seriously improve government investment in workforce housing, permanently-affordable housing, and supported housing.”
Barry wants the Council to focus on the current housing crisis from a holistic standpoint, acknowledging how substance use disorders, mental health, and systemic racial inequalities deeply intersect with affordable housing. Like all of these candidates have stated, Barry also stresses the need to reform or end exclusionary zoning, as well as to provide better resources and protections to the communities most at risk of losing their homes.
All of these candidates have demonstrated themselves to be passionate public servants with thorough understandings of the complex root causes of housing injustice and strong commitments to addressing racial and other systemic inequalities in their work. The Action Fund is proud to give all of them our endorsement!
As always, any help you can give to get these candidates elected is greatly appreciated! If you’re interested in donating or learning more about any of these candidates, you can do so at their websites:
Kaylee Galloway: https://www.votekayleegalloway.com/
Todd Donovan: https://www.donovanforwhatcom.org/
Rebecca Lewis: https://www.lewisforwhatcom3.com/
Barry Buchanan: https://www.electbarry.com/
If you’re interested in volunteering, please reach out to me at: email@example.com
A new national poll by NPR has confirmed what we have been witnessing all along – households across our state and across the country are struggling and the pandemic recession has significantly made things worse:
38% of all US households are dealing with serious financial problems and most of those households are Black, Indigenous, and other people of color. While 19% of all households have completely depleted their savings during the pandemic, 31% of Black households, and 25% of Native American and of Latinx households have. It is too soon for Washington to step back from the eviction protections that are keeping a roof over so many heads.
With so many tenants across the state still waiting for rental assistance, it would be irresponsible and cruel to make tenants bear the consequences of our state’s failure to provide enough time and resources to get the funds out.
The Justice Department, Treasury Department, and HUD (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) have all asked every state to enact strong eviction protections through the end of the pandemic.
Please join us to make sure that thousands of households across the state waiting for rental assistance are not evicted. Ask the Governor to extend the “bridge” protections.
- Send an email via our action page
- Call Governor Inslee and leave him a message (sample message below)
- Tweet @GovInslee (sample tweets below)
Call Gov. Inslee at 360-902-4111 and Press 2 to leave a voicemail
Sample voicemail script:
Governor Inslee, I am calling to urge you to extend and strengthen renter protections through the end of the pandemic and at minimum through the end of the year. As of this month, there are 277,765 households in Washington who report slight to no confidence in their ability to pay next month’s rent. Meanwhile, only 27% of Washington’s first round of federal rental assistance has been spent, despite massive demand. We need more time, or else the system will be flooded with evictions. Your leadership has kept thousands of people in their homes since March 2020. Now is not the time to abandon renters. Please extend eviction protections through the end of the pandemic.
More than 100k WA renters are still behind on rent - @GovInslee let’s be realistic and extend renter protections until the end of the pandemic! We must avoid massive evictions. @WLIHA
BIPOC households are at far greater risk of eviction. @GovInslee please protect BIPOC renters until the end of the pandemic - extend your bridge protections as HUD and Treasury have requested! @WLIHA