John Lombard, District 5 Candidate — Arts Platform

Candidate: John Lombard, Candidate for District 5


Seattle Arts Voter Guide: What is your statement on the arts?

Lombard: Art is fundamental to our humanity.  “Art and Civilization” was the college class that most deeply influenced me.  I’ve always appreciated that it began with the 20,000-year-old cave paintings from Lascaux, France, dramatizing how basic a need it is for humans to represent their world through art.

I appreciate the way the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods once supported public and neighborhood-based art, frequently giving voice to under-represented communities across the city.  The DON programs for doing this are still there, but funding is less and awareness and communication about them is even less.  If elected, I would like to help restore these programs to something like their former glory.

John Lombard, Candidate for District 5

SAVG: How does your relationship with the Duwamish influence your decisions as a policymaker?

Lombard: My work has focused on environmental policy in the Puget Sound area, highlighted by my book, Saving Puget Sound.  Through my career, I’ve gotten to know and work with many different tribes around the region.  Early in my campaign, I reached out to the Duwamish, and was very pleased to gain their support.  They introduced me to the book, Chief Seattle and the Town that Took His Name, which taught me much more than I had known previously about what our city owes to Chief Si’ ahl (as the Duwamish spell it, closer to the original Lushootseed pronunciation) and to the Duwamish Tribe, and how poorly we have treated them in return.  In response, I have drafted a resolution, which I am committed to sponsor at the City Council if elected, that would endorse federal recognition of the Duwamish Tribe, apologize for our collective past behavior, and identify our hopes and commitments for a better future relationship.  I think this action would put today’s citizenry in better touch with the realities of our collective past, deepening our experience in a variety of ways.  The Duwamish Tribe offers us an unmatchable knowledge of this place.  We can gain the most from this if we join it with knowledge of our own history with the tribe, which is inseparable from our history with this place.  Meanwhile, we can benefit from the example of resilience that the Duwamish have shown, gaining much more from it if we truly go forward together.

SAVG: Having dedicated much of your career to the environment, in what ways can you uplift local artists to create something meaningful and educational within district 5?

Lombard: The environment is a more prominent part of the character of District 5 than it is in much of the rest of the City, especially because of Thornton and Pipers creeks and the maturity of the tree canopy across so much of the district—along stream corridors; in parks, natural areas, and greenbelts; and in many neighborhoods, including Broadview, Cedar Park, Pinehurst, Victory Heights, and Haller Lake.  Licton Springs and Mineral Springs parks also celebrate natural features of the landscape. However, there are additional natural features of our landscape that development has made invisible, such as the large wetland complex that once covered much of the area in and around Northgate Mall and the former oak prairie in the vicinity of what is now “Oak Tree Village.”  Art can help us celebrate the natural features that we still have, while helping us recall what our landscape was once like.