Sunday, October 18, 2015

Who I'm Voting for to Sit on the Seattle City Council

I view the City Council races in two ways. One, public education in Seattle.  I want people on the Council who know where the line is between the district running itself and the City's role in supporting that effort.

Two, livability in Seattle (which I think is becoming an issue as our growth shoots up like a firecracker.)

I want progressives on the City Council so my choices are:

District 1 (SW) - Lisa Herbold  is a very strong candidate who is whip-smart and hard-working.  (I also like that Ms Herbold, having worked for Councilman Nick Licata for years, would know City Hall very well.)

District 2 (SE) - Tammy Morales.  There are many things to like/admire about Councilman Harrell but I find his work underwhelming.  That, coupled with some odd happenings at the 37th District endorsement meeting, make me believe it's time for change.

District 3 (Central) - Kshama Sawant.  Say what you will but she keeps people honest and she cares deeply about the average working person in this city.  We need that kind of counterbalance on the Council.

District 4 (Lake Union to Sand Pt) -  this is my region and I'm voting for Michael Maddux.  It's a good choice in this race and Rob Johnson is a nice guy but again, I want someone who will represent all of Seattle.  I think Maddux is the right person with the right skill set right now.  (I note that Maddux has a child in SPS and Johnson will soon.)

District 5 (North) - I have mixed feelings here because Sandy Brown looks very good but some of his contributor base makes me nervous.  Anyone?

District 6 (Green Lake to Golden Gardens) - also a tough call. I like Mike O'Brien but I sometimes don't get his votes.  I think he's bright but Catherine Weatbrook is a real policy wonk.  She knows her stuff and when I sat down to talk to her about public education in Seattle, I was pretty surprised at how much she knew.  I think Weatbrook is the best choice.

District 7 (Downtown to Discovery Park) - I'm underwhelmed (a lot) by Sally Bagshaw and she seems fairly aligned with Tim Burgess (not good).  I don't know Deborah Zech Artis.  Anyone?

City Council Position 8-At Large - There is no choice here if you truly care about Seattle Public Schools.  Councilman Tim Burgess is an ed reformer at heart and a very "my way or the highway" kind of councilman.  (As well, the Mayor calls him "the Godfather of Preschool" and given how the City's DEEL has been working the pre-k program in Seattle Schools, that's probably right.)

We are fortunate that a truly great candidate in Jon Grant is running (and running hard) against Burgess.  Grant has pointed out the untruth that there will be 2,000 NEW pre-k seats when it appears the majority will just be flips of existing pre-k seats to the City's plan.  Burgess also has a firm hand in running the Families and Education levy (and the doling out of dollars). 

Jon knows this city and apparently, is such a threat to Burgess that a special PAC was created just to defeat him. From Horsesass:
When two independent expenditure campaigns were announced last week, one explicitly pro Seattle City Council president Tim Burgess (“United for Tim”) and one explicitly against Burgess’s challenger, former Tenant’s Union leader Jon Grant (“Seattle Needs Ethical Leaders”), I wasn’t the only one to read this as a sign that Seattle’s business establishment was very nervous about Burgess’s reelection prospects. Seattle Needs Ethical Leaders was on the record promising to spend about $200,000, while the insider buzz had United for Tim budgeting at least the same. That’s an awful lot of money to spend on an incumbent who is already outspending his challenger by six to one.
You may have heard this story but here's a link.   From the Weekly:

Monday night, The Seattle Times reported that city council candidate Jon Grant alleges that a representative of the Triad development company offered him a quid pro quo: if Grant helped them settle a lawsuit that’s been blocking the Civic Square project, the representative, Brett Allen, would ensure that $200,000 of anti-Grant campaign money would go away. The most damning piece of evidence in the tawdry tale was a text message Allen sent to former mayor and Grant supporter Mike McGinn urging McGinn to facilitate the deal with Grant: 
Just in case I wasn’t clear yesterday: any deal would be contingent on the 200k IE going away. Please tell [Grant] that we’re sincere in our desire to get this resolved before any major damage done. We need him to show leadership. As an alternative, Grant could simply instruct his attorney . . . to accept our offer on the table (or make a counter offer). Deadline is Monday @ noon—after which certain bad things can’t be undone. Thanks again for your efforts to try to help us both! And Go Hawks!”
Vote Grant - Burgess is has associates/friends acting in desperate ways to keep him on the Council.

City Council Position 9 - At Large - Both interesting, solid candidates but my vote is for Bill Bradburd.  He knows this city, has fought for better housing for residents and has the kind of energy that you feel when he walks in the room.  Ms. Gonzalez is bright and likely capable but very aligned with the Mayor.  When I tried to talk to her at an LD event, she barely acknowledged me.  I found that odd that someone running a city-wide race wouldn't want to talk to someone who knows the district. 

Bill Bradburd is the better choice for the time and place we sit in as a city.


Christina said...

District 5 (North) - I have mixed feelings here because Sandy Brown looks very good but some of his contributor base makes me nervous. Anyone?

Because you asked:

I discussed the issue of contributor base with one of Sandy Brown's volunteer canvassers who doorbelled me last week. I had been going back and forth on which City Council District 5 candidate to vote for. She and Mr. Brown individually told me that some high-profile contributors know Mr. Brown from his gun-control efforts. As I was aware of the questionable contributors' support of gun control before learning of Mr. Brown or his candidacy for City Council, I accepted their answers as truthful. Mr. Brown sat as a director on the Lake Washington School Board, and I could ask a teacher I know who came from LWSD what her opinion is of Mr. Brown.

One can be in support of one party or candidate without buying in 100% to the candidate's platform. At least that's my humble voting opinion. Frequently I've had to vote for the least wretched, or most likely to turf out the even more wretched.

Anonymous said...

Last Saturday afternoon I sent an email to Sandy Brown and Deborah Juarez about drainage issues in our neighborhood that I thought a candidate in our district ought to know about. Sandy replied back within 2 hours on a saturday evening with a follow-up later that evening. He knew a tremendous amount about the issue simply because he has done extensive door knocking throughout the district and actually listens. The Juarez campaign still hasn't gotten back to me.
Yesterday a neighbor down the street had an open house for Sandy so my wife and I stopped by. I was very impressed with his depth of knowledge on issues and his willingness to listen. No school related issues came up in the meeting so I can't speak to his positions on education. I can say that he is very detail oriented and very smart. He also pledged to have a 24 hour response to district members if elected.
Matt Hanson

Anonymous said...

Pretty good line up. Beats the Stranger's cheat list without the overused and wanna be bad PG-13 language.

Burgess is the mayor behind the Mayor, win or not. You get the feeling the clumsy Triad brouhaha is just the tip. But I think Burgess will prevail with city hall patronage, big money backing, union and public employee votes. My vote goes to Bradburd and Weatbrook for check and balance to represent neighborhood's interest. Sawant stands on her own and hopefully will garner enough votes in her diverse district to keep her seat. This year's election is important to see if the lock on downtown, inner core power base can be broken so the whole of the city, and indirectly the region, is represented and managed equally. We've seen the neglect and harm this narrow and disconnect silo focus has caused.

Lastly, I find the descriptive progressive useless in a city full of "progressives". Look at their votes and meaningful actions and inactions to see who benefits.

maze runner

Melissa Westbrook said...

"You get the feeling the clumsy Triad brouhaha is just the tip."

I agree. What's odd is that it's not Burgess' doing (I don't think) but it was for him because they knew he would listen to them.

The weirdness at the 37th? Who was standing with Harrell as Harrell when back and forth to the group with the newly acquired memberships? Burgess.

He's there and he's not. Kind of slippery. From Crosscut:

“They (The Stranger) called me a condescending asshole,” says Burgess during an interview at Seattle Works Coffee near Pike Place Market (the exact quote is a “ruthless, condescending” man “with a firm grip on power”)."

Anonymous said...

"And Go Hawks!"

Do these douche-bros really think slathering sports jingoism on everything is appealing?

Scrawny Kayaker

chunga said...

While Kshama has been a relentless fighter for working people and overwhelmingly deserves to be re-elected, but if you need another reason to vote for her consider that her opponent has been on the board of the Alliance for Ed ( The last thing we need is another corp reformer on the council trying to strongarm the district. With Kshama, we know we'll have a strong ally for teachers and public ed.

NO Burgess said...

Similar to Ed Murray, Tim Burgess supports mayoral control of public education. If Murray gets his council, I wouldn't be surprised if we see the City Council lobby the legislature for mayoral control of public ed.

I agree with Chunga's sentiments, as well.

Anonymous said...

A pivotal election is the one in District 1, West Seattle and South Park, where it is essential that Lisa Herbold be elected. Lisa has 17 years experience at City Hall, as Nick Licata's chief aide. Her daughter went through Seattle Public Schools and her two grandchildren attend. Her opponent, Shannon Braddock, is one of the Murray/Burgess/Sinderman clique, is almost certainly a booster of the Murray preschool encroachment into SPS, and supported Steve Sundquist for re-election four years ago. She has toned down her overt support for the reformies lately, but no one should doubt it.

-- Ivan Weiss

Anonymous said...

And, I forgot to add, Lisa Herbold has SEA's sole endorsement.

-- Ivan Weiss

Brian Duncan said...

Mostly agree with Melissa's picks. However Mike O'Brien usually allies with the Sawant, Licata camps, so if you support Sawant, it seems logical/consistent to support O'Brien versus Weatbrook. Unless there's something specifically objectionable about what O'Brien has done, or something different you expect Weatbrook to do that would be better than O'Brien? I've been impressed with O'Brien generally over last few years. He generally is very progressive. My limited impression of Weatbrook, based on remarks at 36th LD Dems events is she's more on the moderate side of progressive. A good Dem, to be sure, but not as progressive as O'Brien.

Brian in Ballard

Watching said...

Weatbrook is stronger on education. She understands the misuse of Family and Education levy dollars. For example, the city is using the Family and Education levy to insert themselves into principal hiring. It wasn't long ago that the city pulled Family and Ed. dollars from a high need school(Sandpoint) because the principal was moving with his wife. The new principal was on board with the plan.

Catherine said...

Thank you Melissa for the endorsement and thanks Watching. I'd like to invite anyone who wants to ask me questions directly to any of my listening hours: Wednesday and Saturday 8:30am and Sunday 6 PM - or come to the last forum this Wednesday evening at the Ballard Landmark. My campaign web site will have locations. This Wednesday is at Grumpy D's on 15th/70th in Crown Hill.

A few education points:
- CM O'Brien twice now in 10 days has claimed that the attendance and academic improvement at Rainier Beach HS are because of his bus pass program there. The Rainier Beach school community has put in a tremendous effort on the IB program. and I believe that should be getting the credit for most if not all of the gain. I think the bus pass program is great and should probably be continued, but not to mention the IB program feels very out of touch with the on the ground reality.

- In the HALA report, where CM O'Brien was the lead council representative listed that the city should work with Charter Schools for community planning, never once mentioning public schools. Once I pointed that out, the text was changed on the city web site. But the fact remains, the report came out of CM O'Brien's work group supporting only charter schools. I'm opposed to charter schools - but they're here and we have to keep our eye on landscape but we MUST be planning for public schools.

- The Planning, Land Use and Sustainability, which CM O'Brien has chaired for two years now, has yet to require, budget, or ask about the city's responsibility for planning with schools and contributing towards buildings - both required in the Growth Management Act. In fact, in his six years on council, they have yet to meet with the school board.

- CM O'Brien was unaware of any school capacity issue until well into the campaign as I was talking more about it. He still seems uninterested in fulfilling the city's legal responsibility in that. His committee is happy to study impact fees for transportation, maybe for parks, but schools are specifically excluded.

There's more - particularly on the non-educaiton front - and I'd be happy to talk in person or on the phone: 206 372 2033 as I don't want to take over Melissa's thread here.

Anonymous said...

Ok, I'm looking for advice beyond my regular "progressive" sources because a certain brand of progressivism in Seattle is starting to feel anti-family (and, maybe anti is too strong a word and I really mean something more akin to ignoring families).

In the example above -- development without planning for schools is an example. So in my mind, is overly aggressive bus routes (we can work towards change, but families with kids in more than one school, two working parents, who need to buy groceries still need roads, a lot of them).

Mike O'Brien raised my hackles when he suggested further tying up the Montlake Bridge in the search for bicycle access everywhere. I'm just not behind that.

But, mostly, I'm confused in trying to vote for progressives (which to me includes accessible housing, but not million dollar triplexes in single family neighborhoods).


Anonymous said...

zb, try Wallyhood blog as that is part of O'Brien's district. At this point for me, it's figuring who'll win, who might win, and the toss up seats when I look at potential city council makeup. I like Mike, but he gave up on impact fees/developer fees for "affordable" housing. We've been down this path before with tax breaks. It has been a questionable ROI. Where's the audit? Read this and you'll see even a pro development ST is wondering?

This city has a problem. To say it's contradictory is almost too kind. A city which struts and pushes its "progressive" laws and "values" to stand apart and above others, yet its mayor and city council can't quite reform its police force to have a hands-on respected police force without unnecessary deadly force or big payout to victims. It's a city which tolerates vagrancy, burglaries, and car prowls though. Whether it's $15/hr minimum wage roll in or paid sick leave laws, the city has been behind in educating and enforcing the laws on the book. Never enough budget for these things, but $5 million ready to roll for a private, unprofitable, bike share program.

Anyway, I'm ready for a sea change. It's time to look at the whole of the city, not just downtown and light rail corridor. We are neighborhoods and communities with overcrowded schools, with parklets and porta potties, crumbling roads, bridges, & sidewalks (and no sidewalks in place after 50 years of promise), poor transit connectivity, poor public safety response, and the list goes on and on.

Bagshaw will take her seat easily and she's status quo all the way. For the at-large seats, I'm with Melissa, but good odds Burgess will keep his seat. You can read up on Braddock from previous posters. From my research on Bradburn, he's similar to Weatbrook in wanting neighborhoods represented at the big table again and he wants impact fees to help pay for the infrastructure and the backlogged maintenance this growing city needs. He's against Move Seattle for the same reasons many are- too vague, too big, too short on specifics where the money is going.

maze runner