These are STB’s endorsements for the November 2019 general election. The sections are listed in rough order of importance. As always, we base these endorsements solely on our assessment of their ability to improve transit and land use.

NO on I-976.

The latest Tim Eyman initiative would dramatically reduce the amount of money available for transit. Proponents like to claim transit is inefficient relative to their platonic ideal, but offer no explanation on how drastic cuts will produce better outcomes instead of more suffering for riders.

King County Council

While Seattle Council gets most of the attention, King County government is the level with the most impact on both Metro and Sound Transit.

District 2: Neither candidate responded to a request for an interview. As both candidates admit to similar policy views, in the absence of further questions we are unable to discern a relevant difference on transit.

District 4 is blessed with two strongly pro-transit candidates, so we interviewed them both. Abigail Doerr has dedicated her career to improving the transit system, will bring fresh ideas to problems, and make transit a priority. We especially liked her system view of how to improve transit: more off-peak trips and east/west connections. She has firm command of the need to meet King County’s growth targets with new housing. While we think Doerr is the best candidate to make transit better, the incumbent, Jeanne Kohl-Welles, is doing a fine job.

District 6: Claudia Balducci is the most sophisticated transit expert on the Council. Her opponent has spent over a decade running against East Link.

District 8: Joe McDermott is a solid transit supporter who engages on these issues. His opponent is not a serious candidate.

Seattle City Council

We chose to focus our efforts on the under-covered county level, but during the primary we identified big differences between two candidates that would advance to the general. In districts 2, 4, 5, and 6, we assigned higher ratings to Tammy Morales, Shaun Scott, Debora Juarez, and Dan Strauss than their ultimate opponents, and we see no reason to change that conclusion.

District 1: While we have had our disagreements with Lisa Herbold over the years, she is worth supporting over a candidate who repeats old canards about light rail bringing crime to West Seattle.

District 3: Kshama Sawant has been a reliable vote for transit, though we ‘d like to see more leadership from her on the transportation committee and a sign that she thinks market-rate development is important. She supported MHA, and we assume that she’ll also be a “yes” vote when the council pursues single family zoning reform down the road.

For District 7, we didn’t feel confident enough of tangible policy differences to make our own endorsement. However, Seattle Subway uses quite similar criteria to ours, and their findings may be useful to you.

Suburbs

Bellevue City Council, Pos. 3: Jeremy Barksdale is vying to replace long-time council member and transit supporter John Chelminiak. Chelminiak, who was one of the most pro-transit Bellevue council members going back to the dark days of the East Link alignment battles, has endorsed Barksdale as his successor.

Bellevue City Council, Pos. 7: James Bible has a climate action checklist and wants Bellevue’s zoning to catch up with its workforce. He is endorsed by Claudia Balducci. The incumbent, Jennifer Robertson, has a mixed record on promoting good transit and promises to “keep the added density away from single family neighborhoods.”

Bothell City Council, Pos. 2: Mason Thompson is pro-upzoning, pro-biking, and pro-transit. He has clear ideas on how to build walkable communities.

Bothell City Council, Pos. 4: James McNeal is being challenged by a candidate involved in the Eastside Transportation Association, a group known for fighting against transit.

Kirkland City Council, Pos. 5: Neal Black wants housing diversity and transportation choices.

Kirkland City Council, Pos. 6: Amy Falcone brings a future-generations approach to decision-making, and wants Kirkland to be more inclusive. While she says little about transportation, Washington Bikes backs her.

Mercer Island City Council, Pos. 1: Dave Rosenbaum wants easy (pedestrian) movement between Mercer Island Station and the adjoining business district. His opponent is an outspoken critic of more bus service to Mercer Island, which would increase options for residents and workers there as well as mitigate capacity issues at the Park and Ride.

Mercer Island City Council, Pos. 3: Wendy Weiker serves on several regional boards and has the backing of Washington Bikes.

Mercer Island City Council, Pos. 4: Patrick Allcorn wants to make the regional transit system as efficient as possible, wants good bus service to the Link station, in particular, and is open-minded on options. His opponent is not against the intercept, per se, but wants to minimize it as much as possible.

Mercer Island City Council, Pos. 5: Craig Reynolds takes a multi-modal approach to getting around on, and on and off, the island. His opponent has a more laser-focused interest in car movement, and is a density critic.

Redmond Mayor: Angela Birney wants Redmond to be a welcoming city. “Anyone who works in Redmond should be able to live in Redmond.” Her opponent is not a fan of density because of its impact on car traffic flow.

Redmond City Council, Pos. 5: Vanessa Kritzer wants to ensure that “Redmond can grow in an inclusive, sustainable, and equitable way”. Her opponent wants to use smart traffic planning to improve car flow and reduce allowed living units.

51 Replies to “STB General Election Endorsements”

  1. Glad to know King County has so many positions with good transit candidates. And Mercer Island too. It will be great if they win, but even if they lose it reflects positively on the community they came from, and gives me hope that there are more like them.

    I love the Times’ endorsements summary ($), not. They’re against every one of STB’s Seattle endorsements, which isn’t surprising but the justification is vacuous. They complain all of these stand for the “status quo” and are “governed by ideological positions and not good at solving problems” while their opponents are “solutions-oriented candidates with experience getting things done in the real world”. I find that the current council has accomplished more on transit and land use and other issues than previous councils, so they are delivering solutions. Not perfectly, but a significant incremental improvement. And I’m suspicious of what “solutions” the Times wants. I’m sure it involves preserving parking spaces and GP lanes over complete streets, no on transit taxes (even if they oppose ultra-irresponsible I-976), no head tax, etc. I’m sure those are detailed in their individual endoresments, but to just say “solutions” in the summary with no indication of what those solutions are is misleading.

    1. I agree. Almost all of the Seattle Times endorsements are poor. Or at least, all of the ones that differ from The Stranger, The Urbanist, The Sierra Club, all of the various Democratic party/organized labor organizations and of course, this blog. The Seattle Times editorial board is an outlier. They support candidates that are far beyond the mainstream. It didn’t used to be that way. But when they support Solomon over Morales, for example, it is clear that they are more radical than The Stranger. They are going against the consensus — they are going against experience — they are going against the very principles for which they supposedly stand. They are supposed to be conservative — not reactionary. The former means moving slowly, carefully, with prudence towards a better outcome. The latter means dismantling everything, just because it doesn’t meet your right-wing goals.

      The Seattle Times is a fine local paper, but if you get it, you might as well save time, pull out the editorial section, and use it to wrap fish.

  2. I will make you regret that Dan Strauss rating… just watch me.

    Heidi Wills: She’ll fight Timmy Eyman and can’t wait to be a subject of a Tim Eyman e-mail blast. Strauss? Nope.

    Heidi Wills: She’s a Firestarter who has been there for us – U-Pass, Sound Move, ST2 & ST3 and Transportation Choices Coalition. Strauss? Nope.

    Heidi Wills: She’s a transit superhero to Skagitonians and Ballardites alike. Strauss? Nope and his biggest endorsement is now a net liability.

    =================

    OK, enough… and I’m going to kinda forget the Mother of ORCAleak was just endorsed here as I’m too busy getting elected a Hall of Fame quarterback… so my predictions for Seattle Council:

    D1: Toss-up, and could go either way as of 21 October 2019
    D2: We will see if big corporate money and the Jenny Durkan endorsement can undo the socialists’ dance partner TAMMY MORALES shutting down Ari Hoffman… I call it a toss-up but not by much. I hope SOLOMON ekes out a win…
    D3: EGAN ORION by seven points. Sawant party over.
    D4: SHAUN SCOTT by eight points. Unless you believe $$$ > Boot Strength & Karma
    D5: ANN DAVISON SATTLER by recount or overtime. Juarez has mismanaged policing the skies over public comment and homelessness and the Sonics Arena most atrociously.
    D6: HEIDI WILLS by seven point spread, possibly in overtime. Why? Because Heidi Wills is the Tom Brady of Puget Sound Transit Politics…
    D7: JIM PUGEL by three points. Thank you Seattle Times.

    It’s close guys. Except in Ballard… pack your bags to the Wills Inauguration. Problem is, it’ll be a low budget affair – the Badasses & the Guys got real work to do and not a lot of time to do it. 976 is that asteroid starting to enter the atmosphere… we should be laser focused on that.

    JOE SENDS

  3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nD2q4rordhE

    Rough one, here. I like Elizabeth Warren because she knows how to handle bankers. But Mark Zuckerberg’s dedicated fight for the right to use the internet to lie and spread genocidal propaganda gives me a lot of protection for the leeway I require to express myself on Seattle Transit Blog.

    Now Martin and Brent and everybody else with a so-called sense of responsibility can walk all over me! No commenter in the entire history of the world has ever had to put up with treatment like this! Damn. Just walked this backward into a light pole.

    Thanks for today’s posting. Makes me feel a little more relief about letting a developer remove me from where Sound Transit’s political managers have to take my phone calls. You’re showing me some decent people- even though Mark says you’re discriminating against the other kind.

    Mark Dublin

    1. Tavel: “We’ve got homelessness issues that are starting to intrude in West Seattle. And when we talk about light rail eventually coming here…that makes it easier for a lot of people to come to West Seattle where we’re just getting more needles left in alleyways, we’re getting more crime on the streets, more violent crimes, more shoplifters, RV problems.”

      1. Classic. Tavel sounds like an “Us vs. Them” guy. There’s a word for a politician like this but I don’t want to get modded so I’ll just hum it.

      2. yep… when you hear “people” in that context what is usually meant is “those people.” You (the voter) can fill in the blank to suit your own perspective of exactly what that means, of course.

        A lot of dogs perk their ears up when they hear that whistle.

      3. Well, Phil Tavel, thanks for letting me know where my business isn’t wanted. Curious, though: is it just me your neighbors don’t want for a customer, or only if I arrive via light rail? So I guess if I can’t drive there, I’ll just take the bus and lie on the part about being a person.

        And since the paper Link pass I usually buy doesn’t work on buses… gotta make sure I’ve got enough money in my e-purse to invade your district with funds available. Anyhow, get back to me and make it more specific. A lot of merchants who also don’t want me in their neighborhood were kind of hoping you’d take the load off. Used to be called civic duty.

        Mark Dublin

      4. Yikes. I don’t like Herbold for many reasons, and I was planning on just leaving this one blank or writing in something vulgar, but the good old crime train canard just nudged me into voting against Tavel.

  4. I made the mistake of reading the comments section of today’s Seattle Times article on I-976 (https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/transportation/cities-that-rely-on-car-tab-funding-consider-backup-plans-as-eymans-initiative-976-looms/)

    Seems like the most common arguments in favor of I-976 are “Sound Transit was dishonest about how vehicles are valued, therefore we need to ditch car tabs” and “Why should I subsidize public transportation when I don’t ride the bus?” and “My car tabs are too high and I don’t like it”

    1. Should they have said “if our politicians would have done anything during the legislative session to rectify this, Then I wouldn’t be forced to vote YES on I-976”?
      They are correct(besides the I don’t ride the bus guy…) This could have been fixed but Olympia decided to not do anything, so here we go…..

      1. I don’t buy the argument that if the legislature had fixed the ST car-tabs these people would have voted against I-976. They would have found another excuse. It’s the same as when light rail is on ballot, some people seem to support buses/BRT. But when the time comes to fund bus service they bail under a different excuse.
        I-976 will most likely pass but that outcome would not have been much different even if the car-tabs had been fixed in Olympia.

      2. When I read the summary of i976, as it appears on the actual ballot, I immediately became depressed. It was carefully constructed to get the votes of people who don’t bother to read the voters guide, or read any further than what’s printed on the ballot. It’s designed to get you thinking only about lowering taxes, and there is not one word of what gets cut as a result.

        I hope Durkin has a plan up her sleeve to keep the Seattle buses running after the car tab revenue is yanked out from under the rug. Killing the downtown streetcar would be an obvious place to start. Unfortunately, it won’t be enough.

      3. I hope Durkin has a plan …

        That’s sad. Really. I don’t even know the subject, but I’m quite sure she doesn’t.

      4. A mayor that cares about transit should definitely have a plan B, rather than just roll the dice with an election and throw up their hands if it doesn’t work out. I don’t think the mayor should be publicizing a plan B until the election is over (in case it’s not needed), but a smart mayor should definitely have one.

        If I were mayor, my plan B would involve going after Uber and Lyft to make up for the lost car tab money. Basically, take the proposed levy that was supposed to fund the downtown streetcar, increase the per-ride tax so that the total revenue matches what Eyman takes away. Then kill the downtown streetcar, so that all of the money collected goes to real transit.

        I was originally against non-trivial taxes on Uber/Lyft rides, but reading the shear number of trips that get taken each day, and the amount of revenue that could be raised for transit, my opinion has shifted. I ran some back-of-the-envelope numbers based on some 2018 ridership data, and concluded that, at least for Seattle itself, a tax of just $2/ride would provide about the same amount of revenue as the $80 annual car tab fee it currently collects. (For suburbs and smaller cities, this approach would, be much less effective, due to more private cars and way fewer rideshare trips per capita).

        Uber and Lyft is also, perhaps the only non-trivial source of untapped revenue left that could be legally collected. Traditional taxes – sales tax, car tabs, property taxes, there are state imposed limits as to how much a city can charge, and you can’t exceed them without convincing the legislature to raise the limit and/or winning a public vote. Uber and Lyft, however, to my knowledge, have no state-imposed taxation limits, so it is within a city’s right to tax each trip as much as it wants.

        The precedent of taxing Uber and Lyft to fund transit does exist. Chicago, apparently, already does it.

      5. It’s anyone’s guess if 976 will pass. I still see it being up in the air mostly because there’s too many variables to say it will pass one way or another. I also am apprehensive as to whether it will pass muster in the courts, but that’s another story.

      1. A bus gets about 3-5mpg. Way less than a car. You should check your numbers. Is it really getting cars off the road. If it were an electric subway as we should have as opposed to a inefficient and untenable bus system or a light rail that still has speed and access constraints I would be all for it. But our plan is crap from day one because it doesnt really solve the issues.

      2. Light rail is electric, pretty darn fast, and powered mostly by wind turbines. A vote for I-976 is a vote to halt much of the light rail extension plan.

        Also, voting for I-976 would delay the further electrification of Metro’s fleet, as it has to stop spending on capital improvements and focus on keeping service moving.

        A vote for I-976 is a vote not to reduce carbon emissions from transportation.

      3. >A bus gets about 3-5mpg.
        Oh shoot dude, you’re right, all the buses are driving around with 1 person in them so this is a great point. It’s not like what really matters is fuel consumption per person or anything like that.

        >Is it really getting cars off the road.
        Oh shoot dude, you’re right, if we didn’t have buses all the riders would just not go anywhere, they definitely wouldn’t get in their cars and drive to where they needed to go.

        Brilliant my dude, you’re very smart. I can tell your yes vote on 976 is well-thought out and definitely not based on small-minded BS.

      4. A 3 mpg bus is as efficient as 12 20 mpg SUVs, so if it gets 7 or more passengers it’s more efficient. Transit agencies use “passengers per service hour’. A typical threshold is 10 passengers/hour. Even seemingly little-used Metro routes get that. For instance, the 906 Southcenter-Fairwood van. I counted 7 people between Southcenter and IKEA on a Saturday, so it would need only 3 more in the eastern half. The entire route is less than an hour (48 minutes). You’d probably find similar numbers for the 50, 62, 71, and 75 off-hours. And the agencies look at a daily average so even if some runs don’t make it, other full runs compensate for it.

        If Metro and ST were to shut down, tens of thousands of more people would drive. That would affect your traffic. Just look at what happens in cities that have less transit.

      5. If it comes from City Light, I think it’s primarily from hydro. Point still stands, it’s very clean electricity.

    2. Just do your sanity a favor and stop reading Seattle Times comments. I wish the whole site would just turn that cancer off.

  5. I would expect a more thoughtful endorsement from STB for Seattle District 3. Backing a divisive politician simply because she’s “a reliable vote for transit”, and then following it up with a two sentence wish list you want from this candidate, isn’t a solid endorsement. It looks more like STB is trying to gaslight the electorate. If this candidate is “reliable” but clearly isn’t ideal (head tax, showbox, rent control, defamation lawsuit, etc), you should have the courage to endorse the challenger.

    1. It most definitely is not a solid endorsement. We have lots of problems with Sawant, but it would make no sense to endorse the Challenger if he is slightly worse

      1. Makes sense to me.

        I can’t say I agree with every endorsement, or rather, every rating. But I will say that the process has been exceptional. Rating people makes a lot more sense (it is what various organizations, like the Muni League, have done for years). There are grey areas. There are tough choices, like District 3. But the reasoning behind that, and every other recommendation is solid.

      2. In fact this a case where endorsements are important. If a candidate were running on, say, an agenda of demolishing downtown and replacing it with parking garages, it would be pretty clear where this blog should stand. The more nuanced races are the ones where it’s really helpful for everyone to compare notes.

    2. I’d call Sawant anything but divisive from the voting citizen’s point of view. The council may hate her, but her constituents want change in the council, so this ends up being a plus for her, not a minus.

      [violation of Rule 6 of the Comment Policy, specifically as relates to treatment of individuals based on their sexual orientation]

      1. Sawant is the definition of divisive. She’s as bad as Trump, but a lefty.

        Her shtick is to divide the electorate on wedge issues with a healthy dose of grandstanding. Her entire platform is “We need a movement, tax big business”.

        Sorry Ksharma, I can’t get behind a candidate who can only anger moderates and makes no effort to find consensus on difficult issues.

      2. Even if the alternative is a truly awful human being? There’s a reason I haven’t linked the Medium article. Egan’s written words disqualify him from holding any office.

        Kshama isn’t half as divisive as you claim either. She wouldn’t be a multivote incumbent if she were that bad.

      3. Yes the liberal press on capitol hill will endorse Sawant, that doesn’t make her a good council member. Your “whatabout ism” on Orion is tired — if you cant defend your candidate and have to knock down the opposition maybe you’re backing the wrong politician.

      4. Sawant has not been accused of self-dealing or corruption. She does not promote conspiracy theories, ask for help from foreign governments, cozy up to foreign dictators, disparage our closest allies, or deny the need for climate action. Sawant is an ordinary leftist democrat promoting reforms within the system. Mr T is a real threat to our democracy. See what happened when Hungary and Russia elected authoritarians, and “The Road to Unfreedom” and “Fascism: a Warning”.

      5. Oh I’ll happily endorse and support Sawant as a candidate in and of herself. She’s the most LGBTQIA+ supportive person in Seattle politics today. She actively challenges Durkan’s attacks on the homeless. She speaks truth to power, and that is truly why she is hated by moneyed Seattle elites.

        That said, I do not find reporting credible accounts of racism and sexism by her opponent or any politician to be whataboutism. I consider it protecting the citizens of this city who happen to be nonwhite or female.

  6. Orion is a “truly awful human being”? He isn’t my favorite candidate — not even close. But truly awful? Seriously?

    Come on. This is a race between a corporate stooge, and a demagogue. Neither are very smart, or very good at their job. It is crazy that one of the better districts — one containing plenty of smart people — has a race between such fundamentally weak candidates. But neither is truly awful. They are simply a bit below average.

    1. You’re surprised that a supporter of a candidate (Sawant), who publicly disparages people within hours of their deaths (John McCain, Barbara Bush, Paul Allen), disparages her political opponent by calling him an awful human being?

  7. I voted yes on I976 as will most people. We are all pissed and the transit agencies need to be held accountable for their fraud and misdirection.

      1. Nope I know where i am. You may not like my opinion but like my vote its mine and mine alone. And I am not alone a lot of people are very angry with the direction of the city and the transit system and its fan boys are not helping the case. Instead of attacking anyone who disagrees with them, maybe they should listen. This is how someone like Trump gets elected because those who are in favor of their chosen position and self righteousness refuse to listen or engage with any one who dissents. its all about throwing blame and stones. As you kinda just did.

      2. 976 has nothing to do with the “direction of the city.” You have an issue with that, take it out on the council. The issue I suspect you’re mad about is the MVET calculation, which is based on a the formula approved by the legislature. You got an issue with that, take it out on the legislature. It’s not some conspiracy cooked up by Sound Transit and Metro, it’s just plain legislative incompetence by state Republicans who didn’t bother to ensure that ST3 would use the up to date MVET formula but sure wasted no time getting pissy about it after it had passed.

        Instead, you don’t actually have any idea what you’re talking about, so you’re taking it out on your fellow citizens who depend on roads, bridges, and transit, so you can feel like a big man. Good going dude, way to punch down instead of up.

  8. This post does not show up when you follow the “2019 Election” link at the top of the page. I assume it’s missing the appropriate tag. The result is that the link takes you to a bunch of outdated posts from August :(

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