Maritza Rivera, Candidate for Seattle City Council District 4

Maritza Rivera, Candidate for Seattle City Council District 4

On this Tuesday topical show, Crystal chats with Maritza Rivera about her campaign for Seattle City Council District 4. Listen and learn more about Maritza and her thoughts on:

  • [01:06] - Why she is running
  • [04:46] - Lightning round!
  • [19:29] - What is an accomplishment of hers that impacts District 4
  • [22:51] - Response to ARTS staff letter complaints
  • [24:58] - City budget shortfall: Raise revenue or cut services?
  • [29:02] - Public Safety: Alternative response
  • [31:24] - Victim support
  • [33:33] - Housing and homelessness: Frontline worker wages
  • [34:49] - Climate change
  • [36:56] - Transit reliability
  • [39:15] - Bike and pedestrian safety
  • [39:52] - Small business support
  • [41:43] - Childcare: Affordability and accessibility
  • [43:40] - Difference between her and opponent

About the Guest

Maritza Rivera

Maritza is running to make restoring our public safety system a priority because she knows from personal experience that failing to take public safety seriously harms low-income and underserved communities the most. She won’t rest until we get to 5-minute response times for priority 911 calls, take home and car break-ins seriously, get guns off our streets and out of our schools and shut down open-air drug markets.

Maritza loves Seattle, the small businesses, food, arts, music, and diverse populations that make up our city’s rich fabric. Maritza is committed to listening to everyone and working with everyone – to find real solutions to real challenges we cannot ignore any longer.

Find Maritza Rivera at


Campaign Website - Maritza Rivera


[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.

Well, today I'm very pleased to be welcoming a candidate for Seattle City Council District 4 to the program - welcome, Maritza Rivera.

[00:01:01] Maritza Rivera: Thank you, Crystal. Thanks for having me on the program today.

[00:01:05] Crystal Fincher: Absolutely. Well, I wanted to start off by hearing why you are running.

[00:01:12] Maritza Rivera: Thank you for the question, Crystal. I'm running because I'm a mom of two teenage daughters who go to Ingraham High School, where - sadly, and I'm sure you know, and everyone else by now knows - there was a shooting in the fall last November. And a student got killed by another student. And our kids were all in lockdown for hours. And as I was sitting - not sitting, standing - at the parking lot waiting for the kids to come out and my girls to come out, it was, you know, a frightening experience. And I thought, you know, the public safety issues in Seattle right now are such that I can't sit around and watch what's happening. And when our current councilmember, Alex Pedersen, decided not to run again, I thought - I have 30 years of public service, I have something I can offer the city council, and I can't sit around and watch - I have to try to do something. You know, I grew up in New York City in the Bronx, in a mainly Black and brown neighborhood - and it was low-income and it wasn't safe. You know, we were safe in our homes, but it wasn't safe walking to and from school. And I moved to Seattle 22 years ago because it was so safe and vibrant and beautiful - and I thought what a great place it would be to start and raise a family, and we did that. And then fast forward - you know, things have really changed in Seattle - and, you know, I got into the race to address what I think is most urgent right now, which is the public safety issues across the city that the D4 is also experiencing, like the, you know, the shooting at my daughter's school, like the - daughters' school - the, there are home break-ins and car break-ins, the businesses on the commercial corridors of the D4 are suffering. Those small businesses - they're getting their windows broken into, there're folks using drugs blocking their entryways. So, you know, these are all the issues - there've been shootings in this neighborhood apart from the school shooting. And so we really need to address that.

And, you know, we need to do various things on the, you know, unhoused folks - we need to get folks off the street. I think it's inhumane to leave people living on the street where there's no sanitation and amenities, where women and youth are particularly vulnerable. Lots of folks in those encampments are vulnerable to, you know, the drug dealers who are preying on these folks. We really got to get them indoors. We need to provide services - both mental health and drug addiction services - but we need to have folks off the streets. You know, we need to do better that way. And so for all these reasons, I thought - you know, I'm going to get into this race and I'm gonna do what I can to help get our city back on track. I think the mayor's doing a great job, but he needs a city council that's gonna work with him to actually accomplish positive change.

[00:04:45] Crystal Fincher: Thank you. Well, we are going to add a different element into this than we have in some of our prior years' candidate interviews and do a little lightning round here in the interview. Pretty quick and painless - but just some quick yes or no, or quick answer questions. So starting off - This year, did you vote yes on the King County Crisis Care Centers levy?

[00:05:08] Maritza Rivera: Yes.

[00:05:09] Crystal Fincher: This year, did you vote yes on the Veterans, Seniors, and Human Services levy?

[00:05:13] Maritza Rivera: Yes.

[00:05:14] Crystal Fincher: Did you vote in favor of Seattle's Social Housing Initiative 135?

[00:05:21] Maritza Rivera: That's the PDA [Public Development Authority]?

[00:05:24] Crystal Fincher: Yes.

[00:05:25] Maritza Rivera: No.

[00:05:26] Crystal Fincher: In 2021, did you vote for Bruce Harrell or Lorena González for Mayor?

[00:05:30] Maritza Rivera: Bruce Harrell.

[00:05:32] Crystal Fincher: In 2021, did you vote for Nicole Thomas Kennedy or Ann Davison for Seattle City Attorney?

[00:05:38] Maritza Rivera: Ann Davison.

[00:05:39] Crystal Fincher: In 2022, did you vote for Leesa Manion or Jim Ferrell for King County Prosecutor?

[00:05:46] Maritza Rivera: Oh my God. I'm so sorry, I'm having a - Leesa Manion, Jim - I can't remember, Crystal.

[00:06:04] Crystal Fincher: Okay. In 2022, did you vote for Patty Murray or Tiffany Smiley for US Senate?

[00:06:10] Maritza Rivera: Patty Murray.

[00:06:12] Crystal Fincher: Do you rent or own your residence?

[00:06:15] Maritza Rivera: Own.

[00:06:16] Crystal Fincher: Should parking enforcement be housed within SPD?

[00:06:24] Maritza Rivera: I don't have an opinion on that one.

[00:06:27] Crystal Fincher: Are you a landlord?

[00:06:30] Maritza Rivera: We are.

[00:06:31] Crystal Fincher: Would you vote to require landlords to report metrics, including how much rent they're charging, to better help plan housing and development needs in the district?

[00:06:47] Maritza Rivera: You know, I'm gonna say maybe on that one.

[00:06:51] Crystal Fincher: Are there instances where you support sweeps of homeless encampments?

[00:06:57] Maritza Rivera: I, you know, we need to get people off the streets. So I do support getting folks off the streets and into sheltering.

[00:07:09] Crystal Fincher: Will you vote to provide additional funding for Seattle's Social Housing Public Development Authority?

[00:07:17] Maritza Rivera: And that one also, I would say maybe, because it depends on - the reason I didn't vote for it was because I feel like we have all these programs for housing and I need to see, you know, where are we with what the investments we're already making before we add another thing. So I just have concerns about adding something else before we know what we're doing with the current investments that we have. But I think that, you know, it passed. So it doesn't matter, you know, it's the law of the land and I respect that. And I think that we should have - you know, let them do a, let us do a project - let us invest in a project and see how it goes. And if it's successful, then great - we should keep funding it.

[00:08:07] Crystal Fincher: Do you agree with King County Executive Constantine's statement that the King County Jail should be closed?

[00:08:20] Maritza Rivera: You know, to be honest, Crystal - I don't know enough about why he's, you know, he's making the recommendation to close it to be able to answer yes or no on that one.

[00:08:31] Crystal Fincher: Okay. Would you vote to allow police in schools?

[00:08:37] Maritza Rivera: Depends what kind of police. Like I think if it's community police officers and if it's in a - you know, what the details around it is - I think I might support something like that, but it just depends what it is.

[00:08:53] Crystal Fincher: Would you vote to allow any armed presence in schools?

[00:08:59] Maritza Rivera: Armed presence. I don't think we need armed presence in schools, but I do need - I think we need to make the relationship between, you know, our youth and schools and the police more - you know, a better relationship.

[00:09:16] Crystal Fincher: Do you support allocation in the City budget for a civilian-led mental health crisis response?

[00:09:25] Maritza Rivera: I would have to see what that looks like. Civilian-led without any experience working with mental health folks - I'm sorry, with folks that are experiencing mental health crisis - like, I mean, you need mental health professionals to work with folks. So if it's in conjunction working with the mental health professionals, perhaps. But folks experiencing mental crisis really need a mental health professional.

[00:09:54] Crystal Fincher: Okay, and for these, we're going for quick yes, no, or maybe answers. We have a whole section to talk about all the details. So I promise you - you'll get the ability to explain yourself on topics in a fuller way after we get done with this.

Do you support allocation in the City budget to increase the pay of human service workers?

[00:10:14] Maritza Rivera: Sorry, can you repeat the question?

[00:10:17] Crystal Fincher: Do you support allocation in the City budget to increase the pay of human service workers?

[00:10:25] Maritza Rivera: Maybe.

[00:10:27] Crystal Fincher: Do you support removing funds in the City budget for forced encampment removals and instead allocating funds towards a Housing First approach?

[00:10:42] Maritza Rivera: Most, I mean, maybe, Crystal. Again, we need to look at what the proposal - these are hard to answer yes or no because without the details, it's hard to say on some of these.

[00:10:54] Crystal Fincher: Do you support abrogating or removing the funds from unfilled SPD positions and putting them toward meaningful public safety measures?

[00:11:06] Maritza Rivera: We need to hire more police officers. So, I mean, taking money away from being able to do that, and you can't do the money-

[00:11:16] Crystal Fincher: Right, this isn't for hiring police officers. This is money that was allocated for unfilled positions that were then not hired yet. So in this year's budget - where there is money there for them to be hired, but they weren't hired yet.

[00:11:29] Maritza Rivera: Yeah, but it's not ongoing funding. So, you know, that's a maybe - because if it's, you're funding something temporarily, but then once you hire the officers, you're not gonna have the money to redirect the resources. So if you're saying the funds for this year's budget that haven't been used, and it's a one-time thing-

[00:11:51] Crystal Fincher: Well, there would still be money for hiring in successive budgets. It's just if they didn't use it in the current year.

[00:11:55] Maritza Rivera: Correct - current, but I mean - yeah.

[00:11:57] Crystal Fincher: So you think it should be saved and added to the next budget? Is that-

[00:12:01] Maritza Rivera: No, no - what I'm saying is if you're gonna use it for a one-time investment in something, then that's fine. But if it's not for ongoing - if you need to hire the officers, right? 'Cause the problem, Crystal, is sometimes - you know, if you're investing in something, that thing you're investing in, if it's a community thing, that needs ongoing investment as well. So I just wanna differentiate - if we're not using it this year, then we should redirect it to something else, like the budget in general of the City. But then it has to be something that's a one-time because then for the following year, you're gonna need it to fund the thing you originally-

[00:12:44] Crystal Fincher: Yes.

[00:12:44] Maritza Rivera: -fund, right?

[00:12:45] Crystal Fincher: And that is a useful differentiation.

[00:12:48] Maritza Rivera: Yeah.

[00:12:48] Crystal Fincher: Do you support allocating money in the City budget for supervised consumption sites?

[00:12:56] Maritza Rivera: I would support - you know, I've had-

[00:12:58] Crystal Fincher: Going for a yes, no, or maybe, yes, no, or maybe.

[00:13:01] Maritza Rivera: Well, maybe on that, but-

[00:13:04] Crystal Fincher: Okay.

[00:13:05] Maritza Rivera: More leaning toward no, because I think the Fire Department actually has a better solution that I would support instead of consumption sites.

[00:13:14] Crystal Fincher: Gotcha. Do you support increasing funding in the City-

[00:13:16] Maritza Rivera: I'm sorry, the Fire Department, did I say Fire?

[00:13:18] Crystal Fincher: I think you said that.

[00:13:21] Maritza Rivera: Okay, great.

[00:13:22] Crystal Fincher: Do you support increasing funding in the City budget for violence intervention programs?

[00:13:28] Maritza Rivera: Yes.

[00:13:29] 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?

[00:13:40] Maritza Rivera: I need more information about that, Crystal.

[00:13:43] Crystal Fincher: Okay. Do you oppose a SPOG contract that doesn't remove limitations as to how many of OPA's investigators must be sworn versus civilian?

[00:13:53] Maritza Rivera: I need more information about the SPOG contract. So anything related to that.

[00:14:00] Crystal Fincher: Okay. So again, opposing a SPOG contract that impedes the ability of the City to move police funding to public safety alternatives? Again, not enough information?

[00:14:12] Maritza Rivera: Can you tell me the question again? Sorry.

[00:14:18] Crystal Fincher: Sure. Do you oppose a SPOG contract that impedes the ability of the City to move police funding to public safety alternatives?

[00:14:32] Maritza Rivera: So take money away from the police department to put into police alternatives.

[00:14:38] Crystal Fincher: Do you oppose a SPOG contract that prohibits, or impedes, or makes harder the ability of the city to move police funding to public safety alternatives?

[00:14:53] Maritza Rivera: Yeah, I do need more information.

[00:14:55] Crystal Fincher: Okay. Do you support eliminating in-uniform off-duty work by SPD officers?

[00:15:04] Maritza Rivera: Ask me again - sorry - do I?

[00:15:07] Crystal Fincher: Do you support eliminating in-uniform off-duty work by SPD officers? So if they're working - doing parking duty, or traffic direction duty - off-duty. Or if they're working in a security capacity off-duty. Do you support eliminating their ability to do that in SPD uniform?

[00:15:37] Maritza Rivera: I need more information about that too, Crystal. These are very detailed.

[00:15:45] Crystal Fincher: They're specific questions.

[00:15:47] Maritza Rivera: Very specific - correct.

[00:15:49] Crystal Fincher: Yes. 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?

[00:15:58] Maritza Rivera: Yes, I support that.

[00:16:00] Crystal Fincher: Will you vote to ensure that trans people can use bathrooms and public facilities that match their gender?

[00:16:05] Maritza Rivera: Yes.

[00:16:06] Crystal Fincher: Do you agree with the Seattle City Council's decision to implement the JumpStart Tax?

[00:16:14] Maritza Rivera: Yes.

[00:16:16] Crystal Fincher: Will you vote to reduce or divert the JumpStart Tax in any way?

[00:16:24] Maritza Rivera: Need more information about that - it depends.

[00:16:27] Crystal Fincher: Are you happy with Seattle's newly built waterfront?

[00:16:34] Maritza Rivera: I mean, as a user of the waterfront, I think it's a great project. Obviously, I don't have the details of the investments that are being made and how things are getting completed, but I think it's a great project for the city.

[00:16:53] Crystal Fincher: Do you believe return to work mandates like the one issued by Amazon are necessary to boost Seattle's economy?

[00:17:02] Maritza Rivera: Yes, absolutely.

[00:17:05] Crystal Fincher: Have you taken-

[00:17:06] Maritza Rivera: We need to get folks back into the office if we're gonna get downtown back on track.

[00:17:11] Crystal Fincher: Have you taken transit in the past week?

[00:17:14] Maritza Rivera: Yes. Light rail.

[00:17:15] Crystal Fincher: Have you ridden a bike in the past week?

[00:17:19] Maritza Rivera: No.

[00:17:20] Crystal Fincher: Should Pike Place Market allow non-commercial car traffic?

[00:17:25] Maritza Rivera: Actually, I would like to see it closed off to non-commercial, which is a proposal - I know - that's being floated around.

[00:17:34] Crystal Fincher: Should significant investments be made to speed up the opening of scheduled Sound Transit light rail lines?

[00:17:42] Maritza Rivera: Sorry, ask again.

[00:17:43] Crystal Fincher: Should significant investments be made to speed up the opening of scheduled Sound Transit light rail lines?

[00:17:50] Maritza Rivera: Yes, we should do all we can to finish the extensions.

[00:17:56] Crystal Fincher: Should we accelerate the elimination of the ability to turn right on red lights to improve pedestrian safety?

[00:18:04] Maritza Rivera: Yes.

[00:18:05] Crystal Fincher: Have you ever been a member of a union?

[00:18:08] Maritza Rivera: I haven't personally, but my dad was when I was growing up.

[00:18:15] Crystal Fincher: Will you vote to increase funding and staffing for investigations into labor violations like wage theft and illegal union busting?

[00:18:24] Maritza Rivera: I definitely support that.

[00:18:27] Crystal Fincher: So you would vote to increase funding?

[00:18:30] Maritza Rivera: I mean, I support doing it. I can't say - I mean, I don't know what the current, where we currently are with that work at OLS [Office of Labor Standards], but I definitely support it. And if we need more funding, then we need to look - figure out how to get it.

[00:18:47] Crystal Fincher: Have you ever walked on a picket line?

[00:18:49] Maritza Rivera: Yes. No - like walked with the picketers.

[00:18:53] Crystal Fincher: Supporting. Supporting the picketers, yes.

[00:18:56] Maritza Rivera: Supporting - yes.

[00:18:57] Crystal Fincher: Have you ever crossed a picket line?

[00:19:04] Maritza Rivera: No.

[00:19:05] Crystal Fincher: Is your campaign staff unionized?

[00:19:12] Maritza Rivera: Campaign - no.

[00:19:13] Crystal Fincher: If your campaign staff wants to unionize, will you voluntarily recognize their effort?

[00:19:19] Maritza Rivera: Yes.

[00:19:21] Crystal Fincher: Well, that's the end of our lightning round. Pretty painless, there we go. So back to other questions. 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 had on residents there?

[00:19:44] Maritza Rivera: I've worked - so I've worked at the City for a number of years now - I just resigned from my position as Deputy Director in the Office of Arts and Culture, where I primarily was in charge of getting our budget through the budget process. And prior to that, I was in Mayor Durkan's administration - worked in the Mayor's office and worked with a portfolio of City departments - a lot of it related to their budgets and reviewing of their budgets. So I think in general - not just in the D4, but across the city - I've been involved in reviewing department budgets and working to make sure and bring accountability to those budgets. And making sure that I was implementing the mayor's - and the city council, when they passed the budget - implementing the programs and the services that were passed in the budget. So like I'll say most recently, 'cause I was just at ARTS, there was recovery funding for arts organizations and artists across the city. And I worked - our staff did a great job - and I worked with our staff to get those dollars out the door as quickly as possible, particularly post-pandemic. And the department gives grants out to organizations, arts organizations, across the city. So we work to make sure and we were getting those grants out as quickly as possible. So I think these are things that are not just specific to the D4, but do include the D4.

True, in the Durkan administration - unfortunately, we were in a pandemic. And one thing that I feel really proud of is - I worked on reopening of the farmers markets after everything was shut down. It was really the first thing that was opened, and I worked with the farmers markets across the city - including the one at the University District - to make sure that they opened it safely during that post-pandemic, not post-, but during the pandemic, actually - I shouldn't say post-pandemic - during that pandemic time. And I'm really proud of the work that I did there because the farmers market was open and available to the residents here in the D4. And I'm proud to say there were no outbreaks at the farmers markets because we were following the public health guidelines, and working with the farmers markets' leaders who did a great job in putting the guidelines - following the guidelines and making sure that they were doing all they could to make sure that there were no outbreaks so we could continue to keep the markets open.

[00:22:51] Crystal Fincher: I wanted to ask more about your time at ARTS because there was reporting related to your time there saying that 26 out of 40 ARTS staff at the time signed a letter really detailing complaints against you, highlighted by three - that leadership disregarded City policies, that there was a toxic work environment, and that the staff's ability to do its work for the community was hindered. With over half of the employees there signing their name to this letter publicly and this being handed over to the Ombuds office with their concerns, how do you respond to this? Do you think that accurately reflects your time there? Were there any thing that these employees said that to you was something that you could improve or reflect on?

[00:23:39] Maritza Rivera: I'll say, Crystal, that the mayor brought in Director, or former Director - or former Interim Director - royal alley-barnes to direct the office. She, in turn, brought me on - I was backfilling for someone at the time. And, you know, I know that staff - you know, every time there's change of leadership, staff has - some staff have a hard time. And so - you know, we, I feel really proud of the work that I did while I was at ARTS. And I have a lot of respect for the folks that work there. I know change is hard, but we worked together and we were able to get a lot accomplished, and I feel really proud of my personal work while I was at ARTS.

[00:24:36] Crystal Fincher: As you consider those allegations in your time there, is there anything to you that you could have done differently to change that outcome?

[00:24:47] Maritza Rivera: Again, I just feel really proud of the work that we were accomplished - I mean, that we accomplished together. That's - you know, I feel proud of the work there.

[00:24:58] Crystal Fincher: Well, I wanna ask you about the budget, because the City of Seattle is projected to have a $224 million budget shortfall in 2025. The City's mandated to pass a balanced budget, so the options to address this are either raise revenue, cut services, or some combination of those two. Which one of those will be your approach to the budget?

[00:25:22] Maritza Rivera: Yeah, thank you for the question, Crystal - and obviously this comes up a lot. First and foremost, I think we need to look at the budget and make sure that we are accountable to the dollars that we're currently investing. So I say that, to say - we need to look at the programs that are being funded and make sure that they're having the outcomes that we intended - because part of budgeting is making sure that the money that you're using is being well spent. And you don't know that if you don't know what outcomes you're getting - How many folks are you helping? Is it really helping? Does the community feel like it's helping? And so we need to do the reviewing of those programs in each of those departments to make sure that the programs that we're funding are actually, like I said, having the intended outcomes. If they are, then we should continue them. If they're not, then we should redirect the resources to something different that will have the outcomes that we're intending. So we need to engage in that exercise before then we look at - excuse me - raising revenue. And so that, to me, is really important - the accountability piece. I feel really strongly - I mean, my dad was a blue collar worker and he paid taxes, and I just, I'm very sensitive - people work really hard for their money and we wanna make sure that we're spending their money, we're accountable to those dollars. And then once we do that exercise, then we can look toward - if we need to raise revenue, then we can look at how we would do that. But I do feel like the accountability piece is really important and it's been missing.

[00:27:18] Crystal Fincher: Well, I do wanna get into more specifics here because that is not a small budget cut - pretty significant - so unless that review winds up with some pretty steep cuts or that's the outcome - that will end up, there will also need to be revenue. There were some options presented by a revenue workgroup. Do you support revenue options, and which ones do you see yourself supporting or advocating?

[00:27:44] Maritza Rivera: Yeah, Crystal - I can't say now which ones I would support. You know, I'd have to, I'd look at it and see and talk to, you know, folks. And see and then talk to my colleagues and see what makes sense for the city - and talk to the mayor, obviously, as well. So we need to do this working together. We need to find these solutions working together as a city council and working with the mayor. So I can't say today which ones I would support, but I will say that we need to work together to look at which ones make the most sense for the city.

[00:28:25] Crystal Fincher: Are there any of the recommendations that you would not support, or what would be the priority revenue options or what you'd be most likely to support?

[00:28:36] Maritza Rivera: I don't have - I can't say today what that would be.

[00:28:41] Crystal Fincher: Okay, so nothing from the workgroup that you've heard makes it to the top of the list?

[00:28:48] Maritza Rivera: There's nothing today that - I wouldn't prioritize it right now. I'd wanna have conversations about it.

[00:28:54] Crystal Fincher: Gotcha. I do wanna talk about-

[00:28:56] Maritza Rivera: I haven't met with the workgroup and I haven't had the opportunity to have those conversations.

[00:29:01] Crystal Fincher: I see. When it comes to public safety, several jurisdictions around the country and in our region have rolled out alternative response programs to better support those having a behavioral health crisis or other issues, but Seattle has stalled in implementing what's a widely-supported idea. Money's been allocated, but it has not been implemented yet. Where do you stand on non-police solutions to public safety issues? And what are your thoughts on civilian-led versus co-response models?

[00:29:32] Maritza Rivera: Well, I think that we need to support alternative responses because we know that, in certain cases, a police officer is not trained to handle a situation - but a mental health or social provider or social worker's in a better position to, is trained to respond to those situations and be able to deescalate. In terms of - you know, I think the non-police solutions where there's a co-response - sometimes that's appropriate and that's what we, you know, should support. You know, I think the Health One model is a great model - it's proven to be successful and it's one that we should look to invest more in. Those are the kinds of models that I think have proven results to work and something that we should look at expanding. And then, also - I mean, in terms of in the community - when the police budget got cut, things like the police, the community policing efforts, also - those are the things that kind of go first. And I think those are a really great way of working with community in the neighborhoods to really do, to handle, to address the public safety issues. And so I think that we need to go back to basics that way and make sure that all our neighborhoods have that community policing - community police and those neighborhoods working on the ground with the community folks to address the public safety issues in the neighborhoods.

[00:31:24] Crystal Fincher: Now, I do wanna talk about victims and survivors. We talk a lot about victims - people who have been impacted by crime or who have been harmed - but most of what we hear are people speaking for victims or over victims. And we don't often listen to what they're saying, and what they say mostly is that - one, they wanna make sure that what happened to them doesn't happen to them or anyone else ever again. And they want better support, more effective support, in helping to get beyond what happened to them - to help mitigate the harm that occurred, whether it's from an assault or a theft or you name it, some help getting beyond that. What can you do, in your capacity as a city councilperson to better support and help victims or people who have been harmed?

[00:32:19] Maritza Rivera: I mean, I think - I mean, we need to listen to folks and we need to listen to - you know, we need to listen to their experiences and we need to listen to, you know, their needs. I think that about victims and also survivors - and just in general, as a city councilmember, your job is to listen to your residents in your - to the residents in your district, in this case district. It used to be they weren't district positions, right? They were citywide. But now you need to listen to folks in your district and make sure that you are, you know, not operating in a vacuum when you are doing the work because really, ultimately, the work is to support the residents of the city. And so that includes victims as well - listening and listening to what their needs are, because you need to be well-informed when you are making these decisions that have an impact across the city.

[00:33:33] Crystal Fincher: One thing called out by experts as a barrier to the homelessness response is that frontline worker wages don't cover the cost of living - causing staffing issues, impacting the level of service. Do you believe our local nonprofits have a responsibility to pay living wages for our area? And how can you make that more likely with how the City bids for and contracts for services?

[00:33:59] Maritza Rivera: Yeah, absolutely - I think the nonprofits need to make sure that they're paying living wages to the folks that they hire, in the same way that the City does. And, you know, I mean, I think with the bids - that's an area where you can, as you're working with these providers and nonprofits, making sure that you're setting up funding models that require nonprofits and providers to support workers and make sure that they're paying living wages to their workers.

[00:34:49] Crystal Fincher: Now, on almost every measure, we're behind on our 2030 climate goals, while we're experiencing devastating impacts from extreme heat and cold, wildfires, floods locally and around the globe. What are your highest priority plans to get us on track to meet 2030 goals?

[00:35:09] Maritza Rivera: Yeah, I think my biggest priority in terms of the climate is really on the transportation front. I think - you know, I came from a city where we had a robust transportation system and it meant that I didn't have a driver's license 'til I was 30 years old because I - and I took public transit everywhere. So, you know, Seattle - we need to be investing in a transportation system that's on par and competitive with other cities across the country. And, you know, we've lagged behind - it's taken us a long time to get even where we are, but we need to go further. And it really - I think, is one of the best ways that you can address climate change - is to get people out of their cars and using public transportation. And so I support, you know, the light rail, buses. We really need to get folks, you know, utilizing these services, but we can only do so if we have a robust service. And so we really need to focus on investments in the transportation. So, you know, like Move, the Move Seattle Levy's coming up next year - or not coming up, but, you know, renewal, hopefully. The council, whoever's sitting council, will vote to renew it and put it on the ballot again for folks in the city. But I really do think that we need to continue and we need to expand on the transportation investments, so we can have a robust system that folks will utilize and we can get folks out of their cars.

[00:36:56] Crystal Fincher: One major issue that people are saying is preventing them from getting out of their cars right now is transit reliability. Because of staffing shortages, other issues - the reliability of buses has been tanking with buses not showing up when they're scheduled, routes being suspended, some being canceled - and really putting people who are currently riding in a bind, forcing some of them out of transit and into cars. Now, Sound Transit is a regional entity and King County Metro is a county entity, but as you talked about with the Move Seattle Levy and other things, the City does impact transit service in the city. So what can you, as a city councilmember, do to stabilize transit reliability?

[00:37:43] Maritza Rivera: Yeah, well, we need to work in partnership with Sound Transit and the county to make sure that we are providing a service to residents that is robust and reliable. But we can only do so if we have strong partnerships, because to your point - we make investments, but Sound Transit is the entity that's responsible for implementing, right? So we need to have really strong partnerships with these entities. And I will say reliability is a huge issue, but I'm gonna say my experience is public safety is a huge issue as well. Right now, public safety, in my opinion, has impacted people's not wanting to take the light rail and buses. And then we've also seen bus drivers that have been impacted because of folks doing drugs on the buses and the light - well, bus drivers on the buses and the operators on the light rail. So we need to do, we need - I think public safety is an equally important piece to address when we're looking at trying to increase ridership of the light rail and buses across the city.

[00:39:10] Crystal Fincher: How would you-

[00:39:11] Maritza Rivera: And we need to work with our partners on that as well.

[00:39:14] Crystal Fincher: Gotcha. How would you improve pedestrian and bicycle safety?

[00:39:20] Maritza Rivera: We need to make sure we have the robust bike lanes and we need to do things like the signal - I don't know what you call it - but the signal, when it changes, it lets the pedestrian, it gives some time for the pedestrian to cross before it changes for the driver. And so we need to do more of that across the city. We have that in certain places, but it's not robust. And so we need to do that - those kinds of things - to promote pedestrian and bike safety.

[00:39:52] Crystal Fincher: Now, we have a vibrant economy and a vibrant business community in the city and in the district. We have some of the largest companies headquartered here and nearby, but also really diverse and varied small businesses. What are the highest priorities for small businesses in your district, and what can you do to better support those businesses?

[00:40:17] Maritza Rivera: Yeah, the small business owners that I've talked to in the district are really concerned about public safety because they've had to deal with, like I said earlier, windows broken into. There's a business in the D5 that I know has gotten broken into five times and have been robbed. And so - those five times - so we need to support the public safety issues. We would need to provide support for the public safety issues that these small businesses are facing. You know, as you said, we have a vibrant economy. And I think that the lifeblood of any city is it's small businesses - it really - the small businesses keep a city vibrant. Obviously big business provides jobs, so that's important too. But right now I think what the small businesses are mostly facing are those public safety issues. And so we need to really work with them to make sure that we are addressing those issues so that folks are coming out and going to those businesses, and the business owners aren't losing money just trying to deal with the public safety issues that they're experiencing.

[00:41:43] Crystal Fincher: Now I do wanna talk about another issue crucial to our local economy and that's childcare. Many families are dealing with a high cost of childcare - it's the number two cost behind housing for most families. And we recently got reporting that shows that childcare is more expensive than college now. Families are breaking their budgets trying to afford this, and we can't talk about inflation or affordability without contending with childcare. What can you do to ease the burden on families for childcare costs?

[00:42:18] Maritza Rivera: Yeah, so it - I mean, I experienced firsthand just the childcare issues, a lack thereof. And I'm particularly concerned - I mean, I'm lucky that I actually took some time off to be able to care for my children because it wasn't penciling out - what I was making was going toward childcare. And it was difficult to even find the childcare to begin with, so we need to be supporting the opening of more childcare centers. We need to make sure that childcare providers are working - workers I mean, are making living wages because it's a hard job and, you know, folks are not gonna wanna do it if it's not, you know, a living wage. And so we need to support those things. And I know that the City has some childcare subsidies and my understanding is not everyone is aware - so making sure that community folks, you know, in low - in our underserved communities are aware of the services is really important too on the childcare front. But we definitely need more childcare options and we need to make sure workers are making a living wage so that they will want those jobs.

[00:43:40] Crystal Fincher: Now, as we move to close this interview, there are still a lot of people trying to make up their minds between you and your opponent. When a voter is asking - Why should I support you? Or what is the difference between you and the person you're running against? - what do you say?

[00:43:58] Maritza Rivera: What I say, Crystal, is that there is a stark difference between us in that - my opponent does not support the mayor's proposal to hire more police officers to address public safety. My opponent doesn't support the drug possession law, which is supported by the mayor and which I do support - and which our current councilmember in the D4 brought forward, actually, with Councilmember Nelson as well. That is huge. If folks - public safety, I have a sense of urgency of public safety. I've said, and I've been consistent, this is why I got into the race to begin with - was the public safety issues because of what happened at my daughters' school. And my opponent is not supporting the laws that would address public safety right now in the city - and that's what we're suffering the most from in the city currently - are the public safety issues. So that is a huge difference.

I also think that my opponent's rhetoric is divisive. He's named-called councilmembers. And I talked to a voter the other day who said - my opponent went to her door and was, you know, name-calling and being derogatory on some councilmembers and they didn't like that my opponent was doing that. So I don't think that - you know, you can agree to disagree on the city council and still work together. I worked for Tom Rasmussen when Tom was first elected. And, you know, one thing I saw with that group of city councilmembers - they didn't all agree, you're not always gonna agree, but they did work together to find compromise and move forward. And there was civil discourse. And that's what's missing from the city council right now. And, you know, my opponent's divisive rhetoric is more of the same of the city councilmembers who are engaged in that type of behavior. And so those are two stark differences between us.

[00:46:31] Crystal Fincher: Well, thank you so much for joining us today, candidate for Seattle City Council District 4, Maritza Rivera. Thank you so much.

[00:46:39] Maritza Rivera: Thank you, Crystal. Have a great day.

[00:46:42] 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.

Thanks for tuning in - talk to you next time.