Events over the past few weeks have made it clear that the upcoming election will be crucial in determining the fate of our neighborhoods. First, Councilmember Mike O’Brien and Mayor Murray were able to gut most of the best provisions in the legislation that was intended to bring relief from out-of-scale development in our communities. Following closely on that, the Mayor’s HALA committee – on which Councilmember O’Brien also played a crucial role – came out with an audacious proposal for yet another massive citywide upzone. It is no surprise that this proposal is a developers’ dream, as the HALA committee was stacked with developers and people with close financial ties to development interests.
Keep in mind that in a democracy the most important political office is that of the private citizen. You’re the boss. Now it’s your turn to weigh in. You’ve already received your ballots. If you are looking for guidance before casting your votes for Seattle City Council please consider the candidates named on the following neighborhood-friendly voter’s guide.
Several groups of concerned neighbors have collaboratively vetted the field of candidates in search of those worthy of the neighborhoods’ support. Given that the Mayor has made it abundantly clear that he’s no friend of our neighborhoods, we feel it would be most unfortunate if we ended up with a City Council stacked with his cronies, and all too willing to help developers strip-mine our neighborhoods. We therefore are not endorsing any of the Mayor’s candidates.
We also feel that the current situation of out-of-control development in Seattle, where developers pay no impact fees, is yet more proof that the development community has too much influence at City Hall. Hundreds of millions of dollars could have been collected from development impact fees over the years, had they been in place. Instead, the Mayor is proposing yet another regressive property tax levy to make up for this lost revenue. At $930 million, it will be the largest in Seattle’s history. It’s time developers started paying their fair share out of their increasing profits, and that they stop externalizing the heavy costs of development onto taxpayers in a community that already has the most regressive tax system of any major American city. The current policies benefit a few at the cost of many while thousands of low and moderate income residents are displaced from their homes.
It’s imperative that we elect pro-neighborhood Councilmembers who will mitigate the negative impacts of development and unsustainable growth, and make developers pay their share to provide the upgrades to infrastructure that a growing city requires. Please keep in mind that we are not against all development or all developers. But we are concerned that the current rate of unsustainable, out-of-control development is not the best course for Seattle’s neighborhoods.
Please see the list of endorsed candidates below. We recommend that you do your own research and cast your own votes. Thank you for considering the following.
We list our endorsements first and provide brief rationale afterward.
Here is our list, starting with the two city-wide positions that we all can cast a vote for:
Position 8: John Persak
Position 9: Bill Bradburd
District 1: Lisa Herbold
District 2: Tammy Morales
District 3: No Endorsement
District 4: Tony Provine
District 5: Mercedes Elizalde
District 6: Catherine Weatbrook
District 7: Deborah Zech-Artis
Position 8. We recommend JOHN PERSAK, a strong supporter of neighborhoods. We also like Jon Grant, but are not convinced that he will be as strong an advocate as he needs to be as our neighborhoods continue to be bulldozed.
Position 9. We STRONGLY recommend BILL BRADBURD. Bill is a champion of neighborhoods and is one of the few candidates who understands land use issues and how development impacts affordability. He helped organize and lead the fight to properly regulate microhousing and has been an effective leader on other issues concerning our quality of life, neighborhoods and local small businesses. He was also one of a small group that brought much needed District Elections to Seattle. Thank you! Vote for Bill and tell everyone you know to do the same.
District 1. We STRONGLY recommend LISA HERBOLD. During Lisa’s 17 years as a Legislative Aide to Councilmember Nick Licata, some began to refer to her as “the 10th Councilmember” because of the intelligence, tactical skill and unfailing moral compass that she brought to work with her every day. We know that Lisa will be a strong advocate for neighborhoods, and that she’ll hit the ground running the day she takes office. Vote for Lisa Herbold if you live in District 1.
District 2. We like TAMMY MORALES and feel that of the candidates running in D2, she understands best the negative impact market forces can have on neighborhoods and the importance of minimizing those impacts via reasonable regulation. While we appreciate incumbent Bruce Harrell’s support of some neighborhood concerns in the past, we don’t see him providing the necessary leadership to ensure that our neighborhoods are properly protected from development interests.
District 3. Although we endorse no candidate for this District, we specifically recommend that you DO NOT VOTE FOR Pamela Banks. We are concerned with the Mayor’s attempts to pack the council with close allies willing to follow his lead. The Mayor has proven to NOT be a friend of the neighborhoods, but he and his allies have proven to be the best friends developers could wish for. Beware!
District 4. We STRONGLY endorse TONY PROVINE as a proven supporter of a pro-neighborhood platform. Tony understands the importance of allowing neighborhoods to be part of decision making process for Seattle’s future. In saying this, we imply no disrespect for incumbent Jean Godden; anyone who’s met Jean holds her in very high regard. But our neighborhoods are in crisis and we need stronger leadership. Vote for Tony Provine.
District 5. We recommend MERCEDES ELIZALDE and feel her background and understanding of neighborhood issues make her the best choice for D5. We also like Halei Watkins in this race.
District 6. We recommend CATHERINE WEATBROOK. Mike O’Brien has a voting record that’s proved disastrous for neighborhoods. So much so that frustrated neighbors in Ballard have begun to refer to him as “Landfill Mike” and “Mike O’Bulldozer”. As chair of the Land Use Committee, his efforts have directly and indirectly led to the displacement of thousands of Seattle’s low and moderate income residents. His claim to being progressive is beginning to wear thin. He doesn’t get that out-of-control growth is unsustainable and that displacement of longtime residents from their homes is heartless. He has always marched in lockstep with development interests and will continue to do so if reelected. We need to see new leadership in D6. Please vote no on O’Brien by voting for change and Catherine Weatbrook.
District 7. We like DEBORAH ZECH-ARTIS in this race. The incumbent CM Sally Bagshaw is no friend of neighborhoods. Need we say more? Nope. Vote Deborah Zech-Atis.
Thank you for taking the time to review our guide to pro-neighborhood candidates running for Seattle City Council. Please share this guide with your friends and neighbors, and share the link to the SSU endorsements page on Facebook and other social media.. We need strong pro-neighborhood candidates in City Hall to ensure a future for Seattle that that respects the needs and interests of all its citizens. Your ballots must be mailed no later than August 4th.