Voters in District 4 are spoiled for choice. Almost all of these candidates might win our sole endorsement if in certain other districts. In this race, it’s almost a given to support more transit, bike lanes, and upzoning single family neighborhoods. To be excellent in this race, candidates have to show both relevant political experience and a commitment to transit and land use in particular.

Excellent

Cathy Tuttle

Cathy Tuttle has decades of experience managing the planning and successful construction of public works projects. After her city career, she founded and directed Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, who we can thank for the 20 mph speed limit on most streets.

She proposes to institute “climate notes”, similar to fiscal notes, analyzing the climate impact of every proposed city project. She is a housing construction hawk, including her call to re-legalize micro-housing. She wants more dedicated bus lanes and 24-hour bus service, and is as unsympathetic to a “windshield perspective” as can be.

Shaun Scott

Shaun Scott is a socialist with a streak of transit geekdom — see his 4-part series on Forward Thrust last year. We think he could help bring the social justice coalition in this city to prioritize things like upzones and bus lanes.

Joshua Newman

Joshua Newman is a former president of Seattle Subway. As one might expect, his platform emphasizes the bus priority and upzones at the core of our agenda for the city. We trust him more than any other candidate to resist neighborhood interests that oppose these measures. His favored revenue source is a higher downtown parking tax, which is about as good as it gets. Furthermore, Seattle Subway (unlike STB) does real retail politics, a useful training ground for the act of building support in the real world.

Emily Myers

Emily Myers is a scientist who is emphasizing climate change in her campaign. She was one of the architects of the City’s “Green New Deal” and has built an impressive array of endorsements, so she’ll hit the ground running.

She wants progressively-structured congestion pricing to fund transit. She wants to expedite ST3 and ST4. She also wants to complete the Bicycle Master Plan, using data to prioritize which arterials need protected bike lanes most urgently.

Good

Going through the individual lightning-round responses would be a bit tedious. You know where we stand, and can see the answers yourself. Suffice it to say that Heidi Stuber and Sasha Anderson had answers that were a cut above the next tier of candidates and show a bit more political sophistication. And yet, they are not as deeply committed to our issues as the candidates above.

Fair

Frank Krueger, Ethan Hunter, and Beth Mountsier have basically correct core values, the occasional difference with us on second-tier transportation and land use questions, and no evidence of particular transportation chops or political organizing skills to indicate they’ll have much impact on the Council.

Poor

Even Alex Pedersen brings decades of relevant expertise and talent to this field. But he disagrees with the rest of the field in so many important ways. He is easily the most allied in this field with neighborhood interests opposed to upzoning and non-SOV right-of-way priority.

Pedersen is hiding behind a meaningless slogan of “Accountability”. He used to write a neighborhood blog, and then shut it down, with the result that those not on his email list wouldn’t see his posts opposing the Sound Transit 3 and Move Seattle ballot measures. (Thank you to Erica Barnett for breaking that story.) He is also the only candidate who didn’t show up to the MASS forum, so he avoided getting answers to a lot of tough questions on the record. The paper trail corroborates his stealth opposition to most of our agenda.

The Seattle Transit Blog Editorial Board currently consists of Martin Duke, Frank Chiachiere, and Brent White.

23 Replies to “Seattle District 4 candidate ratings”

  1. Thank you for getting your District 4 article out before my ballots showed up!

    Given the top-two nature of the primary, it would be good to have some sense of who has some basic momentum out of the Excellent candidates. Is there any data on this yet? I kind of suspect Pedersen is going to sneak into one of the two spots, since he has the neighborhood advocate lane sewn up.

      1. By that measure, it looks like 3 of the 4 “Excellent” candidates are viable in the primary (Tuttle, Scott, and Myers). It makes me wish that we could have more than 1 of them on the city council.

      2. Thanks for the link. Interesting numbers. Pederson has raised the most money, but he is fourth in terms of contributors. Myers, Scott and Tuttle (all of whom have Excellent rankings here) are above him.

        Worth noting is that Scott picked up The Stranger endorsement, and to me is the odds on favorite to win the race. The Stranger also liked Myers and Tuttle (calling them compelling) while clearly endorsing Scott. The Seattle Times endorsed Pedersen (naturally). My guess is Steve is right, and Pedersen gets past the primary, as folks on the other side split their vote (or just give all of their support to Scott). Although if the contributions are any sign, Myers may edge out Pedersen and make it to the general.

      3. It’s also worth looking at the proportion and number of each candidate’s donors from District 4 (click through to “Contributions by District”):

        Anderson – 48% (291)
        Myers – 49% (572)
        Pedersen – 64% (409)
        Scott – 33% (358)
        Tuttle – 66% (501)

        This might be a better indication of D4 voting patterns in the primary. Since everyone gets democracy vouchers, the number of donors here should pretty well reflect the voting intentions of D4 voters who are at least mildly politically active, although it doesn’t account for people who split their vouchers between multiple candidates, which might slightly inflate the Myers/Scott/Tuttle totals.

        The big question is who low-political-activeness voters, who I imagine are primarily younger voters, students, and renters, are going to vote for.

    1. Currently, Pedersen seems to have the most yard signs out in the Ravenna/Wedgewood area, and I’ve seen a few in the U-District too. I expect him to do decently among the anti-urbanist crowd and the people who want to preserve the city in amber.

    2. Thanks, Pat. This is awesome – it’ll be interesting to see how it actually does correlate when results are in!

    1. I was going to say that. District 4 is the U-District, Ravenna, and south Wallingford. My former district from 1985-2003. I’m not surprised it has so many transit/urbanist candidates. I wish there were more of them in other districts if any of the losers want to move there.

  2. Emily Myers would be my pick if I was in that neighborhood. No question. I’m a socialist, and she even beats out Shaun Scott, for me. I don’t care what you call yourself. I care about your past credentials and what you stand for. Myers has dotted her I’s and crossed her T’s. She has demonstrated on her webpage that she knows what is important. Also, she has a past career in something besides “organizing.” Scott is a politician’s politician. Myers is a resident and worker volunteering to lead her city. Her real-life work experience goes a long way. Bonus points for being a scientist who has to rely on facts, not opinions, in her day-to-day life.

    1. If you lived in the neighborhood, I’d probably ask you to do even a basic amount of background research on Scott before baselessly maligning him. Tearing down your allies is great socialist praxis.

      FWIW, Myers is a great candidate and I’d enthusiastically support her in the general if Scott doesn’t get in.

  3. I don’t know what to make of Tim Burgess’ support for Alex Pederson. Was this blog (and me) wrong to have a generally favorable view of him? Or does his support indicate Pederson may not be as bad as his campaign would indicate? Or has Burgess become more conservative in his retirement?

      1. I would say “center-left” candidates. Even the most “right” candidates are left, at least from a national (or even European) perspective. They are normal, boring, center-left bureaucrats/technocrats vs. lefty ideologues. Scott is the only candidate I’ll be actively cheering against…hasn’t this city learned its lesson with the inexperienced social activist types?

      2. Moderates, I’m sure he’d say. But as his political career showed, there are moderates that have pretty good urban values and are pro-housing, pro-transit, and there are those–like Pederson–who don’t. I thought Burgess’s pro-housing/transit positions were important to him, but he’s apparently willing to chuck them aside to get a candidate who’ll oppose new taxes on the wealthy.

      1. Obama just has an established history of not wanting to be a kingmaker. He intentionally avoided picking sides in the 2016 primary as well. Anyone who would expect an early endorsement from him hasn’t been paying attention.

  4. District 4 this year reminds me of District 5 last election, in that there are a lot of very good candidates running. I can’t really say that about District 6 or District 7, where there are slim pickings (in my opinion).

  5. Seems likely Pedersen will make it to the general because he has a lock on the anti-change vote. Cathy Tuttle has the best chance of beating him in the general. She’s the total package of vision, experience, communications chops and genuine compassion for people in all circumstances. She can attract some of the older voters who might be tempted by Pedersen while having the progressive vision and savvy to get good shit done for people of all ages and incomes. And she has no special-interest baggage, whether business, labor or other.

  6. “Accountability is a meaningless slogan?” Wow. [ah].

    Much more accurate to say that one’s intentions are a meaningless indicator.

    1. Pedersen is hiding behind a meaningless slogan of “Accountability”.

      At least get the quote right.

      Accountability can be a meaningful slogan. But based on the machinations of Pedersen’s campaign so far, I don’t see him doing a particular good job of modeling the concept.

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