Former Seattle Interim Police Chief Jim Pugel is joining an already crowded race for a Seattle City Council seat.
Pugel formally announced his candidacy for the District 7 seat, being vacated by a retiring Sally Bagshaw, which encompasses parts of downtown, Queen Anne, and Magnolia.
"I'll be a needed voice on the Seattle City Council," Pugel said at his introductory press conference at Seattle’s Occidental Park.
He was flanked by supporters, including homeless advocates, who spoke of Pugel's history with reform of the criminal justice system. Pugel was part of the introduction of the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion, or LEAD, program which seeks to treat nonviolent drug offenders instead of jailing them.
Pugel also struck a tone of a compassionate former cop who isn't interested in sweeping the streets of the homeless.
"I believe the mayor is doing everything she legally can," said Pugel. "In order to remove an encampment, you have to have services available for people that are being taken away."
Pugel was interim chief in 2014 before then-Mayor Ed Murray replaced him. There were whispers that Pugel was not well liked by the rank and file officers, and none were standing beside him on Tuesday.
However, he is likely the biggest name to enter the competitive race for the District 7 seat. Already, seven people have announced they will seek the seat.
Besides Pugel, there is: Elizabeth Campbell, Daniela Eng, Michael George, Isabelle Kerner, Andrew Lewis, and Naveed Jamali.
Jamali, a Naval Intelligence Officer, moved to Seattle three years ago and is offering what he believes is a new perspective. On Tuesday, he released a four-page memo outlining ways to mitigate traffic.
"Parking enforcement officers, take them out of their cars, and make them during rush hours, direct traffic to make them move slowly through choke points," Jamali told KING 5.
He also is pitching that the city investigates creating ride share pick up and drop off points, "find designated places," he says, "ways that don't block traffic."
Jamali also believes the city should restrict arterial traffic turning onto Mercer to avoid gridlock in South Lake Union during commute times.
The transportation platform is a sign that the campaign has begun, although candidates have until May to make up their minds about whether to file for election.
Right now, multiple candidates are filing paperwork with Ethics and Elections in order to raise money or qualify for democracy vouchers. In all, 33 people have filed for the seven seats up for election in 2019.
Only Councilmembers Debora Juarez and Kshama Sawant have indicated they will run for another term. Their colleagues Rob Johnson, Bruce Harrell, and Bagshaw have indicated they will not seek another term.