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.
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 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.
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.