Magnolia native Daniela Eng has seen crime around her family’s business and a lack of law enforcement for years. It is one of several motivating factors for her bid for Seattle City Council.
“If I’m going to complain about the way things are, and I’m not going do anything about it, then how can you complain?” she said.
Eng grew up in Magnolia with her mother and father, who started sports telecommunication company WBL Services in Magnolia, where she works.
She now shares a home with her husband, David Eng, a financial analyst at Expedia, and their four sons.
“I live a block away from where I grew up in Magnolia,” Eng said.
For the past four years, Eng said, there has been illegal activity occurring in RVs parked outside WBL Services. The business has many security cameras around its building, and Eng said she has caught people buying and using drugs there.
In a September 2018 interview with KIRO 7 — there had been another story in 2016 — Eng talked about those issues, as well as the need to lock waterspouts on the building that people were using.
Eng said nothing is being done about enforcing the RVs, nor has the Seattle Police Department addressed the crime she sees around her family’s business.
“We’re here four years later, and the same thing is continuing to happen,” she said.
The office was burglarized on Jan. 16, but much of the telecommunication company’s equipment was in Atlanta for the Super Bowl, Eng said; they did steal a generator and some cellphones. Despite having security footage, including a license plate number, Eng said no arrests have been made.
“The Nextdoor community is amazing,” she said. “I’m told these people are frequent flyers at the Ballard Food Bank.”
Eng said she is tired of the Seattle Police Department being selective with enforcement.
“I have heard that the morale is pretty low within the police enforcement community because of how they’re told to do their job,” she said.
When assessing Seattle’s homelessness crisis, Eng sees a distinction between people who are down on their luck and those committing crimes to support their drug use.
“People who have a drug problem need help, and we need to have the resources for them to get help,” she said.
Eng does not support the city’s plans to create a safe consumption space for people to use drugs under medical supervision, preferring funds be put into recovery programs. If the city moves forward with plans to open one, she’d prefer it be sited at a hospital, preferably Harborview Medical Center.
“You’re just enabling people to do something they shouldn’t be doing,” she said.
Eng likes the FareStart Seattle program that provides food industry job training to those who are homeless or struggling in poverty.
“But not every single homeless person wants to be a cook or work in the food industry,” she said.
She’d like to see the city work with Seattle Colleges to provide a trade school for those experiencing homelessness, so they can put in the work to improve their situation.
On the topic of housing affordability and availability, Eng said she supports upzoning in certain areas of the city that don’t impact single-family neighborhoods. If multifamily housing is allowed, she said, there needs to be adequate parking requirements.
“I understand the city wants less cars, but the truth of the matter is there are not less cars,” she said.
The District 7 candidate wants more government accountability and transparency, which she said was absent from the employee-hours (head) tax legislation that was passed last year and repealed soon after.
“The head tax really seemed to be a backend deal,” she said, adding the best way to raise money is to not waste existing revenues.
She supports more audits of city departments and better reviews of proposed projects, which Eng said would help realize their real financial impacts. She said the city should have cut its losses with the Center City Connector streetcar line when it realized the cars were too big for the tracks.
“If we spend more money on the review process, that would save money,” Eng said, adding she feels city employees should be rewarded when they find cost-saving strategies.
Eng is not in favor of increasing or adding taxes, and acknowledges Seattle and Washington need to address their regressive tax systems, including the business-and-occupation tax, the cost of which is passed on to consumers, she said.
“The property taxes, we cannot continue to raise property taxes.”
But Eng also doesn’t favor punishing big businesses by forcing taxes on them, she said, and she believes those large Seattle companies do want to help fix those biggest issues facing the city. She said she thinks they would support her idea for creating more trade schools.
“I don’t agree with punishing a business that’s bringing money here,” she said.
Eng also doesn’t like the idea of punishing drivers by tolling them for the right to drive downtown, she said. Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan has led the congestion pricing debate.
Outgoing District 7 Councilmember Sally Bagshaw has promised to use her last year in office to work on securing funding for a 1:1 replacement of the aging Magnolia Bridge. The cost to do that is estimated at $340-$420 million, and likely will take more than a year fund entirely. As a Magnolia resident, Eng also wants a 1:1 replacement.
“If we got rid of it, it would make our view a million times better,” Eng said, but noted the traffic issues caused by the ongoing West Nickerson Street repaving project. “If you took away the bridge and didn’t replace it, traffic would be insane.”
One of Eng’s greater aspirations for the city council is to offer more support to Seattle Public Schools, including helping to reduce class sizes.
“I really want a maximum of 20 kids,” she said.
Eng points to Durkan’s ORCA Opportunity program, which provides Seattle public high school students with free ORCA passes, as an example of the city boosting services for students, and says it’s a good argument for the city to do more to help the district. SPS has two school levies — one for operations and one for facilities — that will be on the Feb. 12 special election ballot.
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