Maren Costa, Candidate for Seattle City Council District 1

Maren Costa, Candidate for Seattle City Council District 1

On this Wednesday topical show, Crystal chats with Maren Costa about her campaign for Seattle City Council District 1. Listen and learn more about Maren and her thoughts on:

  • [01:08] - Why she is running
  • [04:15] - Lightning round!
  • [14:34] - What is an accomplishment of hers that impacts District 1
  • [15:46] - City budget shortfall: Raise revenue or cut services?
  • [17:45] - Climate change
  • [20:54] - Transit reliability
  • [22:20] - Bike and pedestrian safety
  • [23:24] - Public Safety: Alternative response
  • [26:00] - Victim support
  • [29:43] - Housing and homelessness: Frontline worker wages
  • [31:39] - Small business support
  • [33:45] - Childcare: Affordability and accessibility
  • [36:37] - Difference between her and opponent

About the Guest

Maren Costa

Maren Costa is 21 year resident of West Seattle, Seattle Public Schools mom, tech leader, and climate justice organizer. While at Amazon, Maren guided big teams and big budgets to successful results. She rallied her colleagues and co-founded Amazon Employees for Climate Justice, which used first-in-the-industry collective organizing tactics to bring international scrutiny to Amazon's climate negligence – and resulted in multi-billion dollar climate commitments. Now, Maren is running to represent Seattle's District 1 to help lead a housed, healthy, and safer Seattle.

Find Maren Costa on Twitter/X at @marencosta.


Campaign Website - Maren Costa


[00:00:00] Crystal Fincher: Welcome to Hacks & Wonks. I'm Crystal Fincher, and I'm a political consultant and your host. On this show, we talk with policy wonks and political hacks to gather insight into local politics and policy in Washington state through the lens of those doing the work with behind-the-scenes perspectives on what's happening, why it's happening, and what you can do about it. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast to get the full versions of our Friday week-in-review show and our Tuesday topical show delivered to your podcast feed. If you like us, the most helpful thing you can do is leave a review wherever you listen to Hacks & Wonks. Full transcripts and resources referenced in the show are always available at and in our episode notes.

I am thrilled to be welcoming a candidate for Seattle City Council District 1 to the show today. Welcome, Maren Costa.

[00:01:03] Maren Costa: Thank you, Crystal. It's a pleasure to be here, and I have to say I'm a big fan.

[00:01:08] Crystal Fincher: Well, I appreciate it. I just wanted to start out by hearing - what made you decide to run?

[00:01:18] Maren Costa: Yeah, that's a great question, and there's several facets to that answer, but the first one is I'm a mom and I have kids. And I think about their future, and I think about wanting to leave a better future for them than I currently see - the path that we're on - so that's a big one.

And then another one is that I was in Big Tech and managing big teams and big budgets and solving big problems, but I started to get really concerned about the climate crisis, and I believe when you wanna make change, you start where you are. And I was at Amazon at the time - one of the largest carbon footprints, and also a company that was getting like an F on every rating scale for climate, this was before The Climate Pledge - so I thought - Hey, I'm gonna start where I am. I started trying to make change from within and talking to all the SVPs and VPs and that I'd met in my 15 years at the time being there, but I couldn't make any progress, and so - people just didn't wanna talk about climate. It had worked for me before where I would say like - Here's a great idea, here's why it's great for customers, here's why it's great for the business. And it would be like - Great, here's the team, here's money, go do it. But when it came to climate, it was nobody wanted to move. And so I found another way to make change. I started organizing with my coworkers and organizing around climate justice and getting thousands of tech workers to stand up and walk out. We walked out for the Global Climate Strike. I did end up getting illegally fired right at the start of the pandemic when we were also standing up for warehouse workers' safety, but the National Labor Relations Board stepped in - took Amazon to court and we won, in addition to winning all of The Climate Pledge and those other things. So just really seeing the power of collective action, the powers that workers have when we come together, and how important that is in bringing balance to the powers that be - that's a big reason.

And then the third reason is I love Seattle - I've lived here for 33 years. I love District 1 - I've lived in District 1, in West Seattle, for 21 years. And I see the challenges facing our city. And I think a lot of us are frustrated with some of the seemingly intractable problems that we're facing. And I wanna take all of my skill set and my energy and put it towards trying to solve big problems for our communities.

[00:04:15] Crystal Fincher: Absolutely. Well, I decided to switch things up a little bit in our candidate interview series this year, and we're implementing a lightning round in the interview. So just a series of yes or no, or either-or questions.

But we'll start off with - This year, did you vote yes on the King County Crisis Care Centers levy?

[00:04:39] Maren Costa: Yes.

[00:04:41] Crystal Fincher: Did you vote yes on the Veterans, Seniors, and Human Services levy?

[00:04:47] Maren Costa: Yes.

[00:04:49] Crystal Fincher: Did you vote in favor of Seattle's Social Housing Initiative 135?

[00:04:54] Maren Costa: Yes.

[00:04:56] Crystal Fincher: In 2021, did you vote for Bruce Harrell or Lorena González for Mayor?

[00:05:02] Maren Costa: Lorena González.

[00:05:05] Crystal Fincher: In 2021, did you vote for Nicole Thomas Kennedy or Ann Davison for Seattle City Attorney?

[00:05:12] Maren Costa: Nicole Thomas Kennedy.

[00:05:15] Crystal Fincher: Did you vote in 2022 for Leesa Manion or Jim Ferrell for King County Prosecutor?

[00:05:25] Maren Costa: Gosh, I don't remember. 'Cause I know Leesa now, you know, roughly, through campaigning. I think I voted for Leesa? I don't remember.

[00:05:36] Crystal Fincher: In 2022, did you vote for Patty Murray or Tiffany Smiley for US Senate?

[00:05:41] Maren Costa: Patty Murray.

[00:05:42] Crystal Fincher: Do you own or rent your residence?

[00:05:46] Maren Costa: I own.

[00:05:48] Crystal Fincher: Are you a landlord?

[00:05:50] Maren Costa: No.

[00:05:52] Crystal Fincher: Would you vote to require landlords to report metrics, including how much rent they're charging, to help better plan housing and development needs in the district?

[00:06:04] Maren Costa: I think so. Sounds like a good idea. I don't actually know much about that.

[00:06:10] Crystal Fincher: Are there instances where you would support sweeps of homeless encampments?

[00:06:21] Maren Costa: Only if people are already provided with where they're going to be safely housed.

[00:06:30] Crystal Fincher: Will you vote--

[00:06:31] Maren Costa: I'm not in favor of sweeps.

[00:06:33] Crystal Fincher: Got it. Will you vote to provide additional funding for Seattle's Social Housing Public Development Authority?

[00:06:40] Maren Costa: Yes.

[00:06:42] Crystal Fincher: Do you agree with King County Executive Constantine's statement that the King County Jail should be closed?

[00:06:49] Maren Costa: Yes.

[00:06:50] Crystal Fincher: Should parking enforcement be housed within SPD?

[00:06:57] Maren Costa: No, but we know how complicated that turned out to be.

[00:07:01] Crystal Fincher: Would you vote to allow police in schools?

[00:07:08] Maren Costa: I think that's a no. I want to hear more from the schools and the people - what they want, but -

[00:07:17] Crystal Fincher: Do you support allocation in the City budget for a civilian-led mental health crisis response?

[00:07:24] Maren Costa: Yes.

[00:07:26] Crystal Fincher: Do you support allocation in the City budget to increase the pay of human service workers?

[00:07:32] Maren Costa: Absolutely.

[00:07:34] Crystal Fincher: Do you support removing funds in the City budget for forced encampment removals and instead allocating funds towards a Housing First approach?

[00:07:43] Maren Costa: Absolutely.

[00:07:45] Crystal Fincher: Do you support abrogating or removing the funds from unfilled SPD positions and putting them toward meaningful public safety measures?

[00:07:55] Maren Costa: I think that makes sense.

[00:07:57] Crystal Fincher: Do you support allocating--

[00:07:59] Maren Costa: That's a yes.

[00:07:59] Crystal Fincher: Okay. Do you support allocating money in the City budget for supervised consumption sites?

[00:08:11] Maren Costa: That's - I'm - yes. I think I'm a yes on that one. I want to do a bit more research on that as well, but -

[00:08:19] Crystal Fincher: Do you support increasing funding in the City budget for violence intervention programs?

[00:08:25] Maren Costa: Yes.

[00:08:27] Crystal Fincher: Do you oppose a SPOG contract that doesn’t give the Office of Police Accountability and the Office of Inspector General subpoena power?

[00:08:36] Maren Costa: I don't know. I don't know what that is.

[00:08:46] Crystal Fincher: The ability for them to subpoena people involved in their investigations. So with the Office of Police Accountability and Office of Inspector General - people involved in doing police investigations. Would you approve a contract where they did not have subpoena power?

[00:09:04] Maren Costa: I'm sorry, I still don't quite understand. Like that we would be able to subpoena police officers to testify in cases against police officers - is that?

[00:09:18] Crystal Fincher: If there was a complaint made and throughout that investigation - yes, they could compel information from police officers or other people involved.

[00:09:28] Maren Costa: Okay, and then so would I support a contract that didn't--

[00:09:33] Crystal Fincher: That didn't have - where those offices did not have the ability to subpoena?

[00:09:40] Maren Costa: No.

[00:09:42] Crystal Fincher: Okay.

[00:09:43] Maren Costa: I would want to be able to subpoena officers to testify.

[00:09:48] Crystal Fincher: Do you oppose a SPOG contract that doesn't remove limitations as to how many of OPA's investigators must be sworn versus civilian?

Right now there are limitations - there must be, there's a cap on the number of civilians. Should that number of civilians be capped? Would you oppose a contract that didn't remove that limitation?

[00:10:17] Maren Costa: No. I would not oppose a contract that didn't remove. This is the double negative that's getting me.

[00:10:23] Crystal Fincher: You would only support a contract that eliminated--

[00:10:28] Maren Costa: Yes.

[00:10:30] Crystal Fincher: Okay, so the limitation would need to be removed and then you would like it. Is that a correct characterization?

[00:10:36] Maren Costa: Yes.

[00:10:36] Crystal Fincher: Okay, I just wanted to make sure.

[00:10:38] Maren Costa: Yes.

[00:10:38] Crystal Fincher: Okay. Not trying to have these be gotcha questions - want to make sure that you actually understand, that we get an actual real answer.

[00:10:47] Maren Costa: No, these are great questions and it makes me know how much I need to know, how much more I need to know.

[00:10:53] Crystal Fincher: Do you oppose a SPOG contract that impedes the ability of the City to move police funding to public safety alternatives?

[00:11:04] Maren Costa: Yes.

[00:11:07] Crystal Fincher: Do you support eliminating in-uniform off-duty work by SPD officers?

[00:11:14] Maren Costa: Yes. I think that's - is that like traffic enforcement and stuff?

[00:11:20] Crystal Fincher: Yep.

[00:11:20] Maren Costa: Yeah.

[00:11:22] Crystal Fincher: Will you vote to ensure that trans and non-binary students are allowed to play on the sports teams that fit with their gender identities?

[00:11:31] Maren Costa: Yes.

[00:11:32] Crystal Fincher: Will you vote to ensure that trans people can use bathrooms or public facilities that match their gender?

[00:11:39] Maren Costa: Yes.

[00:11:41] Crystal Fincher: Do you agree with the Seattle City Council's decision to implement the JumpStart Tax?

[00:11:48] Maren Costa: Yes.

[00:11:50] Crystal Fincher: Will you vote to reduce or divert the JumpStart Tax in any way?

[00:11:55] Maren Costa: No.

[00:11:56] Crystal Fincher: Are you happy with Seattle's newly built waterfront?

[00:12:03] Maren Costa: Yes.

[00:12:05] Crystal Fincher: Do you believe return to work--

[00:12:07] Maren Costa: I have some complaints, but overall, yes.

[00:12:11] Crystal Fincher: Do you believe return to work mandates, like the one issued by Amazon, are necessary to boost Seattle's economy?

[00:12:21] Maren Costa: Probably in the interim.

[00:12:24] Crystal Fincher: Have you taken transit in the past week?

[00:12:28] Maren Costa: Yes.

[00:12:29] Crystal Fincher: Have you ridden a bike in the past week?

[00:12:34] Maren Costa: No.

[00:12:36] Crystal Fincher: Have you ridden a bike in the past month?

[00:12:40] Maren Costa: No. Not a bike rider.

[00:12:44] Crystal Fincher: Should Pike Place Market allow non-commercial car traffic?

[00:12:54] Maren Costa: I would say no. But I don't know. I don't know all the pros and cons there.

[00:13:01] Crystal Fincher: Should significant investments be made to speed up the opening of scheduled Sound Transit light rail lines?

[00:13:11] Maren Costa: Say again - sorry.

[00:13:13] Crystal Fincher: Should significant investments be made to speed up the opening of scheduled Sound Transit light rail lines?

[00:13:23] Maren Costa: Yes.

[00:13:24] Crystal Fincher: Should we accelerate the elimination of the ability to turn right on red lights to improve pedestrian safety?

[00:13:33] Maren Costa: Yes.

[00:13:35] Crystal Fincher: Have you ever been a member of a union?

[00:13:39] Maren Costa: No.

[00:13:40] Crystal Fincher: Will you vote to increase funding and staffing for investigations into labor violations like wage theft and illegal union busting?

[00:13:49] Maren Costa: Yes.

[00:13:51] Crystal Fincher: Have you ever walked on a picket line?

[00:13:54] Maren Costa: Yes.

[00:13:56] Crystal Fincher: Have you ever crossed a picket line?

[00:13:58] Maren Costa: No.

[00:14:00] Crystal Fincher: Is your campaign staff unionized?

[00:14:04] Maren Costa: No, it's just Kyler.

[00:14:10] Crystal Fincher: If your campaign staff wants to unionize, will you voluntarily recognize their effort?

[00:14:16] Maren Costa: Absolutely.

[00:14:18] Crystal Fincher: Well, and that's the end of the lightning round - pretty painless, I hope.

[00:14:24] Maren Costa: It was - that was good. That was intense - I love it. It was wonky.

[00:14:30] Crystal Fincher: It was wonky - true to name.

Lots of people look to work you've done to get a feel for what you prioritize and how qualified you are to lead. Can you describe something you've accomplished or changed in your district and what impact that has on residents?

[00:14:50] Maren Costa: Yeah, I think that the work that I did at Amazon to bring Amazon as, both a city and a global company, into better alignment with climate justice has a direct impact in my community, particularly in the - one of the things that came out of that was their bid to buy 100,000 Rivian vans. And now I daily see those vans out in my neighborhood driving around and I'm so happy every time I see that 'cause it's like - wow, that's less pollution that's driving through my neighborhood right now. I mean, we can't, maybe, you know, there's, maybe we wish there was just fewer vans and that we were buying less in general, but when, you know, if we're gonna have those vans, it's so much better to see them being electric and I feel really proud of that.

[00:15:46] Crystal Fincher: Excellent, appreciate that. I wanna ask you about the City budget. City's projected to have a revenue shortfall of $224 million beginning in 2025. Because we're mandated by the state to pass a balanced budget, the options to address the upcoming deficit are either raise revenue or cut services. Which one of those is your approach or what combination of those will be your approach?

[00:16:18] Maren Costa: We should always be looking at how we can be more frugal with the resources that we have - that's a given. However, we need to raise more progressive revenue. I'm in favor of the recommendations that came out of the recent work task force assigned to progressive revenue. So things like an additional capital gains tax on top of the state tax, you know, a vacancy tax. As a climate justice advocate, I will always be interested in progressive ways that we could tax carbon. You know, anything like that where we can make doing the right thing the desirable thing, sort of like the sugar tax is, you know - that could have good benefits for climate. So we definitely need to raise more progressive revenue. It's always a challenge. There's money in our city, we can see it - but it's just hard to bring it actually into the workings of the City and turning it into things that benefit everyone here. You know, we have an upside down tax code. And so it's just - the chips are sort of stacked against us. And so we need to be more creative with the way that we generate progressive revenue. And I think that those recommendations, some of those recommendations that came out of the task force are good places to start.

[00:17:44] Crystal Fincher: Absolutely. Now on almost every measure, we're behind on our 2030 climate goals, while experiencing the devastating impacts from extreme heat and cold, wildfires, floods, toxic air, you name it. What are your highest priority plans to get us on track to meet 2030 goals?

[00:18:05] Maren Costa: Thank you, Crystal. That was a great question and something I'm very passionate about. You know, one of the things that I say is, you know, all of these things that we care about if we don't have a planet to live on, you know, they don't matter. And then I also say that housing is climate justice, transit is climate justice - you know, it's all connected. And so there's so much work we need to do. One of the things that I would love to do - you know, out of the gate - would be to get climate resiliency centers in every neighborhood. So making sure that maybe all 27 branches of the public library, schools, community centers, you know, churches even - that have backup power, air filtration, heat pump air conditioning - safe places for people to go in extreme weather events. So that's like the first line of defense, but we need to also go heavily on offense because as we know, and as you say, we're behind - as a city, as a nation, as a planet. And so we know that the building emissions performance standards are going to be on the table for the next council. It sounds like they won't be coming through this, you know, before the end of the year. I will want to make sure that those have teeth, that we make sure that, again, doing the right thing is the desirable thing so that you can't, you know, too easily avoid them or buy out of them. Because it's time for us to start facing the facts that we need to do this tough work to make the transition that is inevitable and that we're already behind on. We know that climate will affect the most vulnerable among us, worst and first. And this is why our unhoused neighbors, low-income communities - we need to start there with our climate work so for example, you know, fixing the flooding problem in South Park, that was a king tide combined with an atmospheric river in December and it displaced about 20 families, many of whom have still not been able to move back into their houses. And so I would want to take a look at making sure that we're starting with the historically under-invested communities first.

[00:20:52] Crystal Fincher: Thanks for that. I wanna talk about transit a bit, starting off with - residents in the city are experiencing a lot of disruption and interruption in transit service and reviews are not all stellar. It seems like we really need some intervention. Recognizing that Sound Transit is a regional entity and King County Metro is a county entity, what can you do as a City councilmember to stabilize transit service?

[00:21:23] Maren Costa: You know, a lot of the closures are based on, you know, maintenance and drivers - a shortage of drivers. And so doing everything we can to make sure that drivers feel safe and supported and paid well and - so that we keep as many drivers as we can and hire more - the ones that we need. And then, you know, the maintenance, I'm not sure how we could do that better, but looking into any ways that we could improve - keeping buses on the roads. I'm trying to think if there's anything else at the City level - I'd say those are the two big ones.

[00:22:20] Crystal Fincher: How would you go about improving pedestrian and bicycle safety in your district?

[00:22:29] Maren Costa: We have some significant like problems, you know, for pedestrian safety and bike safety in District 1. We've seen a lot of road racing on Alki, up and down California Avenue and 35th Avenue. So bringing in some of the speed bumps have been helpful and we can continue to do more of that. We've built in some, you know, traffic controls around Alki that have really improved and we just need to keep doing that. Bike lanes need to be safe, protected, connected. We are missing almost entirely a safe east-west bike connection across District 1, so that would be something I would want to prioritize.

[00:23:22] Crystal Fincher: Gotcha, makes sense. Now, when it comes to public safety, other jurisdictions around the country and in our own region have rolled out alternative response programs to better support those having behavioral health crises. But Seattle is stalled in implementing what is a widely-supported idea. Where do you stand on non-police solutions to public safety issues? And what are your thoughts on civilian-led versus co-response models?

[00:23:50] Maren Costa: Crystal, this is so important. When I talk to voters in my district, public safety comes up, you know, top of the list for many people. And we know that we have a shortage of officers, a sort of a nationwide problem - hiring is hard. So now more than ever, we need to stand up these police alternatives. We are feeling the pain of the fact that we haven't invested in these areas as we should have. We had one tool in our tool belt and now we're really feeling the pain of that short-sightedness. I'm in favor of bringing in civilian response. We see programs like Health One and the firefighters making good strides in that area. What was the question again?

[00:24:53] Crystal Fincher: What are your thoughts on civilian-led versus co-response models?

[00:24:59] Maren Costa: Okay, I don't know that I know that nuance. Civilian-led?

[00:25:06] Crystal Fincher: Or responses where the person is accompanied by an armed policeman versus ones where they aren't.

[00:25:12] Maren Costa: Right, I see. Yeah, I think we need more. I think we actually need more nuance there. I think we need a few tiers. You know, there are certain calls that need to be responded to with, you know, an officer with a gun. Then maybe there's officer-led civilian-back. And then maybe civilian-led officer-back. And then civilian only. And we need to make sure that we're using all types of combinations there for the appropriate call - keeping our civilian responders safe, making sure that we're not putting them in danger. But leading with civilian as often as we can, because the more we can minimize, you know, contact between armed officers and community - you know, we can keep our community safe that way as well.

[00:26:00] Crystal Fincher: I wanna talk about victims. A lot of times we hear victims talked about in political conversations a lot and their concerns mischaracterized. But when talking to victims and data coming from studies involving them, two things come to the top as priorities. One, to make sure what happened to them never happens to them or anyone else again. And two, that they receive more support to help recover from what happened, to help restore what had been damaged or lost, or, you know, to help rehabilitate. And we do a really poor job of that - as a community, as a government - when it comes to assistance and support for victims. In your role as a councilmember, what would you do to better support victims of crime?

[00:26:56] Maren Costa: That's a great question. I think a lot of times, as victims, people can feel very isolated and alone. And so I think like community support - community support groups, community support networks - if there are other people with that same lived experience could be incredibly helpful. And I don't know if that exists or if that's something that the City could help promote. And then I think, you know, having a channel to express that frustration - what broke in the system that made you feel, you know, victimized, where did the system, how was the system not there to support you? And being able to be heard, to make sure that the City or whatever, you know, department understands what went wrong. And then seeing that be taken seriously and seeing change and results - that is what is restorative to, I think, to victims - is knowing that you've been heard and that change happened. And so in any way that we can make sure that victims are heard, and then that we take the problem seriously and make the changes necessary to make sure that it doesn't happen again is really important.

[00:28:39] Crystal Fincher: We've heard from certainly victims across the spectrum and some businesses - there's actually a business owner who wrote a column talking about wanting better support for businesses that have been victims of break-ins and theft - things like victims' assistance funds, business assistance funds, you know, to repair storefronts that are damaged or anything like that. Would that be something that you think would be helpful and that you would support?

[00:29:06] Maren Costa: I do. I've heard that from a lot of businesses. I know that, you know, in some cases, there's, you know, small business insurance and you can have some of that paid for, but it's a lot of times - it's not. It's every single time that window is broken, you're paying $10,000 to have it replaced. And it doesn't - there is no support. A lot of these businesses are on, you know, shoestring budgets already. And we want to keep our small businesses alive and vibrant and they need support.

[00:29:43] Crystal Fincher: I want to talk about housing and homelessness. One thing called out by experts as a barrier to the effectiveness of the homelessness response on the ground is that frontline worker wages don't cover the cost of living, especially in a city like Seattle. Do you believe our local nonprofits have a responsibility to pay living wages for our area? And how can we make that more likely with how we bid for and contract for services at the City?

[00:30:11] Maren Costa: I do think we need to pay a living wage. I have met directly with people on the frontlines. They are being, as I've heard described, criminally underpaid - and I think that's accurate. The work that these people are doing on the frontlines for our city has such a massive value for our city, for our society. And, you know, not only are they undervalued almost everywhere, they're even more undervalued in some of these City positions where they could go do the same function somewhere else - you know, outside of a nonprofit or - you know, and be paid more. And I've had people say, you know, I could go work at Dick's Drive-In and make more money, you know. And the work that they're doing is highly skilled - it takes time and it's so important to build the trust. We cannot have this low-paid, high-turnover staff and expect the results that we all wanna see. And so I'm not sure how the contracts - not being a City insider, I don't know how the contracts are made or what control we have, but I would definitely be an advocate for making sure that those frontline workers are getting paid a living wage.

[00:31:39] Crystal Fincher: Now, Seattle and District 1 have a really vibrant business community. Some of the largest corporations in the world are here, and so many small businesses that run the gamut of products and services are here - but they face a number of challenges. What are the top challenges that you see small businesses facing in your district and what are your top priorities for addressing those needs?

[00:32:07] Maren Costa: I think that, you know, during COVID, we saw some subsidies that really helped keep small businesses alive, but I think we're still seeing the challenges. People are still kind of coming out of the shadow of COVID. In any ways that we could - and I know that a lot of that was federal money, but - you know, in any ways that we can continue subsidies that keep businesses afloat. I have a good friend who's a small business owner - my twin sister is a small business owner in District 1 - but a good friend who's just constantly bobbing, just barely bobbing above the line of staying afloat. And so we need to support these things. We need to make sure that there's different sizes of spaces for small businesses - making it really flexible - if you need 400 square feet, you can find 400 square feet. So, you know, having these shared business spaces or dividing these into smaller spaces, making retail units available on the first level of multi, you know, four-floors-and-a-corner-store, opening up zoning where we can have more small businesses throughout our communities. Just - what I usually say, like, what's good for small businesses is good for the community. Like when we know that it's working well for small businesses, we know we're doing something right. So they bring such, as you say, vibrancy to our communities and we wanna do what we can to support them.

[00:33:45] Crystal Fincher: Childcare is another humongous concern for, really, the entire community. For parents of kids, childcare is often a cost - their number two, sometimes with a number of kids, number one cost. We just saw reporting that childcare is now more expensive than college on an annual basis, which is just staggering. And the availability of childcare is also a challenge. What can you do in your role as a City councilmember to help parents with this?

[00:34:19] Maren Costa: We do need - I've heard that there's only about 50% of parents with kids, or the number of kids - only about 50% of the needs are met by the childcare centers that we have. So people are being forced to reach to, you know, relatives or nannies or, you know - but there's just not the space in childcare centers that we need in District 1. There's a large childcare center at the, you know, Delridge - you know, right by the Delridge on the West Seattle Bridge and Fauntleroy, I guess - that is under eminent domain for the - to the transit. And it's, you know, it's gonna be really hard to lose that center - they take care of a lot of families. And the money that is being offered for them to relocate is not anywhere near what they need to relocate. So making sure that that center gets to stay afloat, if in fact they are displaced by Sound Transit, would be incredibly important. And making sure that they're given the subsidies needed to actually rebuild their business. And then I would love to see more and, you know, smaller childcare centers distributed throughout neighborhoods so that people can, not only - you know, we would love to see people be able to live where they work, near where they work. So we're seeing a lot of displacement out, you know, into Federal Way and further out, people keep getting pushed out. But so to be able to live where you, near where you work and to be able to have childcare where you work. So making sure that some of the big businesses that go in put childcare centers in the buildings that they're in so that, you know, that's something that can work for working parents - to have childcare at your work site. And then just making sure that we're supporting the small childcare centers that are open and making a reasonable, viable business to open new ones.

[00:36:36] Crystal Fincher: Now, as we close today, there are a number of voters, residents living in Seattle who are trying to make a decision between you and your opponent and who they should vote for, who most aligns with their values. What do you say to voters when they ask - what's the difference or why should I choose you?

[00:36:58] Maren Costa: I think that the skill set that I bring and - the skill set, the values, and the focuses that I bring are going to be really, I think, valuable for the City going forward. So I come out of big business and big tech - I've managed big teams and big budgets, I've brought competing teams together to actually work together to get more stuff done at both Amazon and Microsoft. I think we need someone on council who actually really understands big tech. And then obviously I have a focus on climate. I think we need someone on council who has the depth of the climate justice focus that I have. And I think that my former opponents who endorsed me - the six primary opponents who came together to endorse me - speak to the level of trust that they have in me to authentically and thoughtfully lead our, and represent our district on council. They've seen me learn and listen and follow through. And I think my past experience and how I've shown up on the campaign trail speak to that.

[00:38:48] Crystal Fincher: Well, thank you so much for joining us today - Seattle City Council candidate in District 1, Maren Costa. Thank you so much.

[00:38:57] Maren Costa: Thank you so much. It was a pleasure to be here.

[00:39:00] Crystal Fincher: Thank you for listening to Hacks & Wonks, which is produced by Shannon Cheng. You can follow Hacks & Wonks on Twitter @HacksWonks. You can catch Hacks & Wonks on every podcast service and app - just type "Hacks and Wonks" into the search bar. Be sure to subscribe to get the full versions of our Friday week-in-review shows and our Tuesday topical show delivered to your podcast feed. If you like us, leave a review wherever you listen. You can also get a full transcript of this episode and links to the resources referenced in the show at and in the podcast episode notes.

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