In our ranking of district 6 candidates, last week, we critiqued Ed Pottharst for “concerns about his work on the Phinney Neighborhood Association during its fight to stop more apartments from being built in the neighborhood.”

The Phinney Neighborhood Association was not involved in any such fights. We regret the error and have changed Pottharst’s rating from “fair” to “good.”

18 Replies to “Candidate Ranking Update: District 6”

  1. What about those apartments on Phinney that where stopped due to not enough parking? As I understood it, the developer qualified for less parking because the bus was scheduled every 15 min, but it was withdrawn because the bus is often late. That kind of nimby stuff is not something I support. Am I mistaken about the story?

    1. The Phinney Neighborhood Association primarily concerns itself with programming, not advocacy on land use.

    2. The NIMBY group (which was not the PNA) succeeded at convincing the hearing examiner to interpret the zoning rule as requiring buses every 15 minutes in real life (instead of on the schedule). This would render the rule essentially moot because no bus route runs exactly on time all the time. In response, the city council updated the text to reflect their intent all along: buses scheduled with 15 minute frequency trigger lower parking requirements even if they’re late sometimes.

      I believe the building in question is currently under construction after literal years of appeals holding it back.

      1. Thanks for the clarification. I’m definitely still fuming about that. Don’t want to go off on the wrong target though.

      2. I think you’re correct about that if you’re talking about the Phinney Flats development. Folks can follow the project’s progress and see all the documents filed with Seattle DPD (or whatever they call it now) here:

        Here’s the announcement by Liveable Phinney of their appeal dismissal following the city council’s changes to the transit frequency language in the zoning regulation that was critical to one aspect of the group’s challenge:

        I do miss the Stumbling Goat Bistro that used to be at this site. It was one of the best places to eat in this area of town. (For those who might like to reminisce for a bit, here’s a review in the Seattle Weekly from 2006.)

      3. “This is a sad example of the City Council’s preference for developer interests over citizen interests.”

        So residents who don’t drive or don’t want a car are a “developer interest”?

  2. I don’t think it will sway most people here anyway. But just to be clear, how did the facts get skewed in the first place? Only curious.

    1. Jimmy James, I have no direct knowledge, but I do know that one way that anti-density and similar organizations operate is to take names that sound like they should be real grassroots organizations like the Phinney Neighborhood Association. And so sometimes it gets confusing, which is the intent.

    2. It seems that STB simply conflated two Phinney groups thinking they were one. According to Pottharst’s comment they are the Phinney Neighborhood Association (good) and the Phinney Ridge Community Council (tried to preserve parking minimums). I doubt the names were intended to cause this confusion; it’s probably just the authors’ limited experience with Greenwood. Both groups naturally want to emphasize they’re a neighborhood group, and there are a limited number of ways to word that. The bigger problem is nimbys claiming to speak for all neighborhood residents, but that’s more of a general issue in every neighborhood.

  3. This is way too late coming – posting your correction on the eve of the primary, when everybody has already dropped off their ballots, does nothing. The comments on your District 6 rankings pointing out the errors were placed on the post the same day it went up, and you had ample opportunity to fix it.

    If you are going to continue doing candidate rankings in the future, please take it more seriously, and do better next time. It’s better to say nothing at all on the topic than it is to spread falsehood.

    1. I agree.

      They really should have consulted with people who live in the district or perhaps called PNA. PNA has a long history of doing good work.

      I question the credibility of this website to cover candidates because of this.

    2. You question all STB rankings because of one mistake in one district in one election?

      1. I question it both because it was a lacking writeup to begin with (it was a bunch of positive specifics, and then a hand-wavy “Ed may have at some point been loosely associated with a group that may have had a faction that may have supported bad policy” – guilt by association even though it was clearly the opposite of what his stated beliefs were), but also because a ton of us called it out immediately and nothing was done about it until it was too late.

        Honestly, it felt like STB had already decided who their top two were, and who the NIMBY candidates were, and then they phoned it in on anybody in-between.

        Mistakes happen in journalism, even good journalism. But doing half-hearted research and then not responding in the face of clear, conspicuous proof contrary to your claim, that’s not acceptable, and it certainly calls into question whether they did their research properly on the other candidates.

      2. In terms of this primary, they corrected it (albeit slowly). Would Ed have gotten in the top 2 with an immediate correction? Probably not. STB is not a full time job for the editors so I am willing to cut some slack. (Perhaps they should have put in an edit in the ratings sooner that this is being checked after heavy pushback– although I realize that could lead to a slippery slope that every single fact might be deemed “fake news.” )

        I think there is a broader concern when someone in the comment horde brings up worthy points), is the reader impression of the STB reaction. While it probably isn’t the ST intention, it gives the readers the impression that they are infallible/how dare these blog readers think they know more than us. (Again, not the intent, but it appears Eric has that impression; I know I got that when STB did not ever respond to my numerous asks in open threads (which were supported by others) to ask SDOT’s Scott Kubly about what he is planning for ST3 so we could figure out the pitfalls– how long would it take, did they contact the Port of Seattle, etc. ).

        As a senior person in my organization once said to us, “If you are honest/on the level with people, they may not like you, but they will respect you.” A quick statement like “we are doublechecking this”/”Scott Kubly told us to go pound sand” would have been ideal.

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