New vaccines put hope on the horizon, but we are in for tough months ahead and an even tougher recovery.
As mayor approaching the last year of my term, that meant a choice. I can spend the next year campaigning to keep this job or I can focus all my energy on doing the job — a job that will face all the similar difficulties of 2020.
There was only one right choice for our city: doing the job. Next year will be consequential to our recovery and the trajectory of our city.
Durkan’s term will be no doubt remembered for this summer’s protests — her announcement comes the same day that a federal Judge held the Seattle PD in contempt for its use of tear gas — as well as the fights with City Council over Amazon and the head tax.
From a transit perspective, Durkan secured the renewal of the STBD made a good hire for SDOT. We also saw some wins, like ORCA Opportunity and the Center City Connector (though it was short lived – the CCC is now on pause again)
But the mayor also had a knack for bold chin-stroking pronouncements, like congestion pricing and the 15-minute city, that made for good headlines but were never truly operationalized (though there’s still a year to make good on them!).
The 2021 race should be interesting, to say the least. It seems likely that more than one Seattle City Council member will try for the big chair, along with the usual cast of first-time contenders and maybe even some old names getting back in the ring.
114 Replies to “Mayor Durkan will step down after one term”
“Usual cast of first-time contenders” is a bit of an oxymoron, but it’s definitely going to be an interesting election. I can’t think of a single shoo-in or obvious frontrunner at this point. Whichever masochist ends up in office will have a tough 4 years ahead of them… if they even last that long!
Heh, yes. maybe “typical cast” may have been better.
I can’t think of a single shoo-in or obvious frontrunner at this point.
That is common. I can’t think of a time when there was a clear front runner. My guess is though, that the city council members are already thinking about it, and even talking to one another about it. If only one runs, there is your front runner. If more than one runs, then things could get more interesting. I don’t think that many will run (for various reasons) but I could see:
González — She is city council president, and holds one of the at-large seats. Given her huge wins in the past, I would think she is the front runner.
Mosqueda — I would consider her right behind Gonzalez, because she too has been elected to an at-large seat. She might run a bit to the left of Gonzalez, but I may be reading too much into the recent controversy over police hiring.
Pedersen — He would run to the right of everyone, and could easily make it to the final. But unless he is running against someone incompetent, I don’t see him winning.
Strauss — A bit early for him to run, but he did work for council members before being one.
Lewis — Very young, but that might be an advantage.
If anyone else runs, I don’t think they would stand a chance (unless they are the only city council member who runs). I also wouldn’t be surprised if an ex-council member (Harrell, Burgess) decides to run. They would probably lose to a sitting member, but win against someone from outside.
I wouldn’t mind seeing Jessyn Farrell run again.
Good point. I voted for her last time (although I would still prefer someone on the city council).
I’m not so sure about Burgess giving it a shot. The reason he got the appointment in 2017 after Harrell was because he was not going to run to retain his council seat. I’ve never read anything about him having higher political aspirations at this point in his life, have you?
I haven’t heard any rumors about either Harrell or Burgess — I’m just speculating. About the only thing I heard from either are editorials from Burgess (I haven’t heard anything from Harrell). That’s what made me think of him (he hasn’t gone away).
I have positive impressions of Gonzalez and Mosqueda on transit but I don’t remember who did what.
Any chance they’re still celebrating their high school graduation by writing their four-year Evergreen syllabus to accompany their application?
Since Seattle’s established age discrimination will make the both houses of the Washington State Legislature their only law-making position when they graduate in 2024….hmmm. There’s a precedent!
Tell me nobody with a Dome-bottom position in Olympia had anything to do with the Deep Bore tunnel!
Whichever masochist ends up in office will have a tough 4 years ahead of them… if they even last that long!
I don’t see that at all. I figured Durkan’s term was going to be really tough (and that was before things got really bad). You had the big transportation issues (the big squeeze). You had the police decree. All the while, you had a right-wing president who made clear his hatred for cities. Throw in a broken bridge, riots, and a pandemic, and things were bound to be rough for the mayor.
There is nowhere to go but up for the next mayor. The city is likely to be OK financially, even in a recession (since tech will do well). Any improvement in the police will be seen as a great accomplishment. The West Seattle bridge will be fixed, and Northgate Link will be operating. When Durkan leaves office, bus funding levels will likely be below the level they were when she took office. A new mayor can push for, and get, an improvement in bus service (on top of the recent tax). Similarly, any improvement in bike infrastructure would be seen a huge win, given how poorly she did in the past.
This is all without the promise of stimulus money, that may or may not come. If it did, the new mayor would likely get the most benefit from it, as Durkan’s term will end just as things start kicking in. Overall, I don’t see it as a particularly tough time to be mayor, nor will Durkan be a tough act to follow.
What’s Nikki Oliver doing this time next Election?
So far, when voting in Seattle elections, I have always voted for the person who seemed to care the most about sidewalks, bike lanes, trails, and transit.
Now, we’ve got a tension where the people who support non-car transportation also support massive tax increases for social programs unrelated to transit, as well as defunding the police. While people who oppose the other left-wing stuff tend to be very pro-car and lukewarm about all other forms of transportation.
I wish there were room in Seattle politics for somebody who is pro-business, yet still supports walking, biking, and transit, and is willing to inconvenience car drivers to make room for them on the streets. But, the way things seem to be headed, it doesn’t seem like such a person would stand a chance.
Out of sheer curiosity, how does one living in Kirkland vote in Seattle elections?
I don’t. But I lived in Seattle until recently, and did vote in the last mayor’s race. Obviously, I won’t be voting in this one.
Seattle politics still matters to me, as I still visit the city, ride the buses, bike the trails, and walk the sidewalks.
To the in laws that I know in the eastside area, Seattle may as well be in another state for the politics and realities of the city are just very distant from their experience and interest.
Perhaps this is an opportunity to join one of those two coalitions and persuade them to support your view.
“massive tax increases for social programs unrelated to transit, , as well as defunding the police”
What massive tax increases?
Anyway, no one — except maybe Sawant — is willing to reduce the police force substantially, let alone reduce it dramatically (i. e. “defund it”). Even though the numbers are going down via attrition, the council recently decided to hire back a lot of new cops (https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/push-to-stop-police-hiring-in-2021-rejected-by-seattle-city-council/). So I don’t know why you think there are people in power who support ideas you consider “radical”*.
Unless Sawant runs (which is unlikely) that means the only candidates with the platform you fear would be outside the council. That, in itself, is more worrisome than the positions they take. I really don’t want someone who can’t be bothered to win a council seat thinking they are qualified to be mayor. Besides, even if someone won with that sort of platform, it wouldn’t matter (as we’ve seen recently). As much as Seattle talks a big game, we aren’t willing to change the basic formula that includes lots of bad cops breaking the law, and lots of good cops dealing with things they shouldn’t have to deal with. This mayor was a former federal attorney and she did nothing to reform the police department, despite them being under a court order to reform.
What I fear is that we will have someone like Pedersen (qualified and anti-transit) running against some sort of incompetent social justice warrior. I’m sick of demagogues — I want people who can get things done.
* The idea of shifting money from the police force to social spending is considered radical in this country, but it is normal in say, Sweden. The police are a lot more effective — they catch way more criminals — even though there are fewer of them. In the long run, it is actually cheaper, since the legal and penal system is so damn expensive.
“The idea of shifting money from the police force to social spending is considered radical in this country, but it is normal in say, Sweden.”
While Sweden indeed has a much higher social:police spending ratio, it’s extremely misleading to compare that to the “defund the police” movement. Firstly, the extra social spending mostly reflects a higher tax rate, not an intentional funding shift away from their police force. Their police are also very well trained, which most ‘defund’ activists around here are strongly against.
That is a distinction without a difference. If we shifted money away from the police, away from the justice and prison system and towards social spending, we would be mimicking Sweden, even if they got there a different way. Most countries didn’t go on a big incarceration kick like we did — they didn’t need to defund anything.
Most countries didn’t go on a big incarceration kick like we did — they didn’t need to defund anything.
This right here.
Sweden (and most other first world countries) choose to invest in their citizens rather than imprisoning them. That’s how you get Tough on Crime™.
Good point.We have to remember the starting point isn’t always the same.
Degnaw’s comment is not a distinction without a difference. If Sweden is spending $10 on police and $90 on social programs, then to reallocate funding here so the police get $4 and social programs get $36 (the same social:police ratio) is not “getting there a different way.” Instead it would be insufficient funding for the police to maintain safety at Swedish levels and insufficient social funding to make a difference.
I don’t have budget figures, but according to Wikipedia the US has 238 police per 100k pop; Sweden is 197, a difference but not huge. For comparison, Norway is 188, and Iceland is 196. The Netherlands, Germany and France are 295, 388, 429. New Zealand is 232 and Japan is 234, both similar to the US. It does not at all follow that low crime and high social spending equal a smaller police.
Of note, according to WorldPopulationReview, the total crime rate in Sweden is almost identical to the US, although I don’t know their sources or methodology.
I think one of the biggest difference is the amount of money we spend on proper training for the police versus all the countries you list.
To drive home the difference, I encourage you to check out the Wikipedia article “Police firearm use by country”. Here’s a snippet from Sweden:
The police authority report that normally police will threaten to use their weapon but do not discharge it, this happens about 200 times per year. In a typical year the police shoot 20 warning shots aimed at people or vehicles.
If you look at other European countries, the results are the same. Use of weapons is rare, discharges extremely rare and deaths the exception to rule. Most European countries’ entire police forces have numbers that would rival small to medium sized police departments in the United States.
So there’s clearly a big discrepancy in how the US police forces operate versus other countries. The political, social and economic reasons can be argued until we’re blue in the face, but once thing most people can agree on is that whatever we’re currently doing is not working.
@Onux — You can’t just count the police. There is also the justice system and the penal system (which are very expensive). To quote this article, https://theweek.com/articles/918143/what-america-learn-from-nordic-police:
A much more generous welfare state and better public services would require much more taxation, but it could also be partly funded by cutting the amount spent on police and (especially) prisons that are plainly failing abysmally to control crime anyways. The remaining money for police would be directed towards a radically re-configured way of doing business, focused on solving crimes and rehabilitation instead of vindictive retribution and political repression (which would still be fairly costly, to be fair). Camden, New Jersey did something like this on a modest scale several years ago and crime indeed fell.
If you want results as good as the Nordic countries, you have to spend like the Nordic countries — that is true. But if you split the difference, you still have better outcomes. I can’t find it, but I remember a Rand study from a few years back that looked at increased incarceration versus social spending (e. g. “Three Strikes You are Out” versus more community centers). They found that *both* lowered crime, but for the money, the latter worked better. So yes, more cops, more jails, tougher sentences do lower crime. But it is extremely expensive. It is a much better value to spend more money on social services.
Police training or use of weapons is a separate subject from what RossB originally said, which was that Sweden spends less on police to spend more on social services.
I don’t think you can say that splitting the difference provides better outcomes, unless you have an example of a jurisdiction that does that successfully. I agree with your statement that to get Nordic results you need Nordic spending. But lowering the police budget to increase social spending doesn’t get Nordic spending levels, it just rearranges US spending levels.
The Week article is wrong when it says higher social spending could be offset by reducing police spending because crime is down. Sweden spends 13% more of GDP by the government than the US. That is equivalent to $2.67 trillion for the US. You could zero every police budget in the country and not make a dent in that kind of spending increase. Camden seeing crime fall a few years back doesn’t prove anything, since almost every city in the country saw crime fall almost every year straight from 1991 to 2014.
I would have to see the RAND study, but the places seeing the highest crime spike right now are generally liberal cities that buy a lot into restorative justice and community centers.
I hear you, I’m probably one of those people with no home in Seattle politics.
I’m skeptical that it is a winning bloc for a citywide election because most of those voters move to the suburbs.
The problem is, for the most part, the people who are merely center-left, rather than far-left tend to also be pro-car, while the people that advocate transforming street space to function for walking, bikes, and transit (rather than just a pipe to carry as many cars as possible) tend to be far left.
There are certainly exceptions. I’ve met plenty of people who are center/center left in general politics, but still believe personal ownership of a two-tone vehicle should not be a requirement to get around the city. But, they’re voices are being drowned out.
At the time I lived in Seattle, I generally dealt with this conflict by choosing the more progressive candidate for mayor/city council, while voting for someone more center-left in races like congress or president, since most of the progressive wish list can’t be done at the city level, anyway (but they can and do fund more bus lanes and bike lanes).
while the people that advocate transforming street space to function for walking, bikes, and transit (rather than just a pipe to carry as many cars as possible) tend to be far left.
I guess it depends on how you define “far left”, but I doubt Sawant, for example, could get over 50% of the vote in an at-large election against any other council member. But around 70% will vote for transit funding. I just don’t buy your assessment — but feel free to make your case.
@Ross there is a huge difference between “I support spending money on transit” and “I want to take away car lanes and parking for transit.” The Onion put it best:
There’s some irony that Sound Transit is building a BRT station right in the middle of the photo in that Onion article.
“I support spending money on transit” and “I want to take away car lanes and parking for transit.”
From a political standpoint, I doubt it. I doubt there are many people who say “Don’t take away my lane, but tax me so the buses come more often” or vice versa. Move Seattle passed comfortably, on an off-year election (58% in 2015). Of course it involved taking lanes for bikes and buses — that was pretty clear. Every single member of the city council supported it.
Just about all opposition to bike and bus lanes is local (so called Nimbys). Generally they are ignored (or at most get a bit of compensation) because they make up a relatively small minority. Occasionally candidates will run with that in mind, but they almost always lose. The one exception is Pedersen, who didn’t run that hard on that part of his platform — like many, he tried to appeal to the middle. He also ran in an area that has lots of single family housing. And he won in an off-year election, against a pretty weak candidate, with only 52% of the vote. To say that his position on bus lanes and bike lanes (which is moderate, not reactionary) represents the average Seattle voter is similar to saying Sawant’s fiscal policies represent the middle.
The middle is more or less González — fully in support of bike and bus lanes; willing to reduce the police force, but not dramatically.
In council elections I am also in the same position. The candidates that I want to support for their transit priorities tend to lean much too far to the left for me.
Andrew Lewis might be the only council-member that I feel matches my own beliefs, though I don’t live in his district.
I’m hoping Debora Juarez runs and makes it to the final election. I might even vote for Alex Pedersen if he can finally realize that Seattleites want more transit and are VERY willing to pay for it (seriously, how many elections is it going to take him to realize?)
I have to say Ross’s take on past mayors is pretty much spot on. The only two things I would add about Rice is he could have purchased all of Two Union Square for less than it cost to build the convention center over I-5, which permanently reduced capacity and influenced north/south projects to today.
Plus every city, federal and county office could have been housed in one building.
Number two is since he lived in Belltown all the dealers and street people in Belltown were moved to Pioneer Square, and those were some hard and scary people.
Frank touches on a point I have raised: why do transit advocates feel it is necessary to wage war on cars when it is a fight they can’t win, and don’t need to fight if transit — whose funding disproportionately comes from car owners who don’t use transit — comes down to public subsidies? Frequency depends on public general fund subsidies, not fare revenue.
For some reason transit advocates think artificially creating car congestion will shift car users to transit when history has proved congestion just leads to bigger roads.
The left is mixed on transit too. STB and The Stranger regularly have opposite endoresments because STB’s favorite has transit experience and/or an urban vision, while The Stranger’s favorite is a minority and/or ultra-progressive on social issues. Frank Chopp, a center-left, is mediocre on transit issues. Kshama Sawant was non-commital on transit issues until she finally came out in support of them but she’s not a champion of them other than low-income/free fares. What about getting more bus frequency? Others don’t want to raise taxes to improve transit, or complain about car tabs. Others don’t want to give up GP lanes or street parking to speed up the buses.
Even people on the left who support transit often have unrealistic expectations, counter-productive ideas, or they don’t understand the basics of a good transit network or how a better network would make their lives better. Some argue to keep long, slow, redundant,half-hourly routes rather than putting the money into a more frequent corridor that would benefit more people and make it easier to get around without a car.
The fact that transit funding often comes from sales tax is a major sticking point for some on the left. Personally, I think the progressive benefits outweigh the regressive taxes, but I can understand why some would disagree and/or oppose any sales tax increase on principle.
I do not understand why people think the Washington State version of sales tax is “regressive”. Food is exempt. Rent is exempt. Services — including entertainment — are exempt though some have venue hotel taxes. Healthcare is exempt.
All that’s left that is a mandatory recurrent expense for most people is clothing. Most other things sales taxed are to some degree “choice” purchases — restaurant meals rather than “bag” meals — or intermittent.
Being poor is fundamentally a limitation on choice; that’s true. But Washington’s exemptions go a long way toward preventing the sales tax from making being poor worse.
@Tom — Yeah, it could be worse. But the sales tax is one of the big reasons we rank so poorly when it comes to equality. We are the most regressive according to at least one study: https://itep.org/whopays/.
“But Washington’s exemptions go a long way toward preventing the sales tax from making being poor worse.”
Also, please keep in mind that the legislature has been actively targeting these sales tax exemptions in recent years in their attempts to locate additional revenue sources. It’s one of the reasons we’ve had an increase in the number of these pointless advisory votes on our ballots.
Seattle Mayor with the coolest name: Gideon Weed. Served 1876 – 1878.
A man ahead of his time.
Was his nickname “Giddyup”?
Thanks for the bit of Seattle memorabilia. Well done.
Hopefully Mosqueda or Gonzalez will run (and win). I’m tired of electing people who know nothing about city government, and try to learn on the job.
Durkan wasn’t a great mayor, but she wasn’t terrible. While bicycle infrastructure took the biggest hit from this supposedly progressive mayor, transit didn’t fair much better. It took years before she even had a “permanent” SDOT chief. Yes, this guy is much better than the last one, but that is setting the bar extremely low. There were a few projects to speed up the buses, but not as many as if she had hit the ground running. Off board payment downtown and the aforementioned ORCA opportunity program are probably her biggest transit accomplishments. Meanwhile, when it comes to funding, she pushed hard to reduce the amount of money going to transit — it was the city council that wanted full funding (at the level before). They reached a compromise, but it is still a reduction. She has kept the wasteful CCC project alive, while bus service is likely to suffer coming out of the pandemic.
Overall, I guess I would give a C- for transit, and a D overall. The most important part of her job is handling the police, and she largely failed in that regard, so a passing grade might be generous. As you wrote though, her term isn’t up, and maybe she will accomplish a few things in the future.
To date, I’d generally be in that same grade range, perhaps a smidge higher with a D+ or C- overall and a C on transit. (I could be talked into giving her a lower grade on transit because of her willingness to keep the CCC project alive.) Durkan just strikes me as the type of leader who is constantly assessing things in political terms, i.e., seeing which way the wind is blowing before taking a position. As a result, she is often slow to react and execute a plan. While I can appreciate a measured approach to handling the various issues a mayor of a city the size of Seattle is forced to contend with, I too want someone in this leadership role who can actually get stuff done. At the end of the day, and with the caveat that Durkan still has another year to serve, her list of accomplishments is just not that long at this point in time.
“The most important part of her job is handling the police.”
Well, it is defintely in the top three, particularly given the ongoing consent decree situation. I would also put budgeting (priorities) and financial management (accountability and stewardship) on that list.
I’m curious as to what you think about the model of using a city manager in tandem with the mayor’s role, like as in Tacoma. Any thoughts?
I have an older sibling who has served on a city council for a medium-sized east coast city for quite a few terms. In his jurisdiction, the mayor serves on the council and is (s)elected by said council from the duly-elected members, I believe for no more than two terms. The city hires a city manager to be the top administrative executive, so in this format the council/mayor structure functions similarly to that of a corporate board in many ways. He asserts that their system works well and that the residents are overall supportive of the structure.
Cities vary quite a bit in how their system works. Strong mayor, weak mayor. The same is true for how schools are handled. Independent board, part of the city; strong superintendent, weak one.
Anyway, there used to an old pithy line about local government. I can’t remember it exactly, but it is something like “90% of city government is handling the police, and 90% of state government is handling the schools”. McGinn thought he could just focus on bike paths until this reality hit him upside his ignorant head. Durkan, being the daughter of a politician, certainly knew this. If you count Schell, that is three mayors who didn’t win reelection in large part because of their response to the police. The fourth lost because he failed to plow the streets (and supported the stupid SR-99 tunnel). I guess that is the other 10% :)
Admittedly, the whole Capitol Hill occupation sequence of events tarnished Durkan greatly. After that, I think the public lost trust in her no matter where they stood on policing.
It’s too bad though. I liked her calm and reason-based approach in general. I’d much rather have a dull, logical mayor than one who is on a dogmatic crusade.
Hopefully those aren’t the two choices. You can have someone who is capable of dealing with the problems in this city without being dogmatic. The CHOP problems simply laid bare the issues with the police force which were known before she took office, and continued well into her term (https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/judge-overseeing-seattle-police-reforms-orders-officer-accountability-fix-extends-federal-oversigfht/).
What I don’t understand is why the Capitol Hill occupation did not tarnish the reputation of the city council member who represents that district.
Because we still don’t know who made the decision to abandon the police precinct. Neither Durkan nor Chief Best have taken responsibility or told us who it was.
What I don’t understand is why the Capitol Hill occupation did not tarnish the reputation of the city council member who represents that district.
Because we still don’t know who made the decision to abandon the police precinct. Neither Durkan nor Chief Best have taken responsibility or told us who it was.
And Sawant has no control over the police other than proposing and voting on budgets. SPD answers to Durkan and the police union.
Sawant didn’t help the situation, but to put the CHOP onto her is folly on a Dori Monson level.
One might think many Seattle Mayors come from the ranks of the City Council, but it’s just as common that they come from someplace else. State Legislature, KC Council, Port Commissioner, etc.
Yep, but most of them lose reelection. Greg Nickels was the last mayor to be reelected. While he never served in the city council, he was an assistant to Norm Rice, while Rice served on the city council. Before him was Norm Rice (who was also reelected). The last person to get reelected without any initial city council experience was Charles Royer. We’ve had four mayors since him who lost (or didn’t run) for reelection, none of whom had any experience in city government (Schell, McGinn, Murray and now Durkan).
Experience matters. If you have city government experience, you are more likely to do a good job in your first term, and get reelected.
I am not looking forward to the mayoral race.
We’re ripe for a swing rightward in the city, because the current default politics are very visibly broken, and happen to be liberal. Getting a substantial policy shift and staying within the liberal consensus seems very hard. A swing leftward is electorally unlikely. On a pure transit analysis, Covid has thrown transit and density analysis into a fairly uncertain mode, and I don’t think a strong bus plank will be compelling because of that factual uncertainty. A bike plank will be more compelling (social distancing!, freedom!, leaving the house!).
I would like to see Mosqueda run, I think she’s probably charismatic enough and big-tent enough to win. But I actually expect Alex Pederson or a similar person to both run and win, on a Law and Order anti-homeless/anti-theft plank. Because I’m a cynic and this seems like a very vulnerable position right now.
I do not want Cary Moon or other person without elected experience to run. Seattle is a big city, and this shouldn’t be the individual’s first electoral rodeo.
from a transit perspective, like I said, I think we can double down and enhance biking advocacy, and I hope that the mayoral candidates will lean into that.
As I wrote up above, my only fear is that someone like Cary Moon will face off against Pedersen in the final. That’s the only way I see Pedersen winning.
I don’t see a rightward swing. There may be an anti-council sentiment, but I doubt it will manifest itself with a right wing outsider. I just don’t see anyone filling that role — Pedersen is rare — and he is part of the council. We’ve had businessman run for office before — they usually get crushed.
I know people complain, but the biggest complaints are with the mayor. Rightly or wrongly, she takes the blame. People like Sawant take positions that are out of the mainstream, but nothing happens. For all the talk, the council voted to keep hiring police (https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/push-to-stop-police-hiring-in-2021-rejected-by-seattle-city-council/). The biggest conflict from a public transportation standpoint has been over the streetcar, and my guess is the vast majority of the city supports the council’s position (kill it, put the money into buses). I’m sure you can dig up an issue or two that goes against the grain, but for the most part, the council is voting for things the people want. The problem is getting them, which falls to the mayor.
I think property crime and homelessness have not been addressed effectively – or even a shouting distance of that. That is to say, this a long standing sore point with most of the city. Someone on the right who can put together a policy package that isn’t absurdly violent would stand a good chance making a case for “let’s try a centrist/right wing approach”.
Fundamentally to me, this means making SPD effective, which is the mayor’s problem. We can rotate budgets around or whathave you, but it’s still – fight crime, don’t brutalize schmucks down on their luck.
Durkan also has not been good for bikes- remember 35th NE?
I made reference to Durkan’s weakness on the bike issue in several comments.
Yeah, someone could put together that platform — I’m just saying they would lose. They would get a decent minority, but likely fail to get a majority. Unless, of course, they ran against a similar demagogue from the left. Now that is a scary thought.
Don’t see a rightward swing unless the progressive candidates destroy each other politically and financially in the primary AND there is precisely one strong “establishment” candidate who can count on ~35% support to coast into the general.
A weakened activist candidate might not be able to marshall the support to win, especially if they embitter rivals’ supporters. However, any establishment candidate is also disadvantaged because an “anti-homeless/anti-theft” platform is a recipe for disappointment. People steal from my local QFC all the time, quite brazenly, and it is roughly 862nd on my list of important local issues. Homelessness is frankly an unsolvable problem at the local level – something I think most people realize but wish wasn’t true.
Pedersen can’t win and I would imagine he knows it. He narrowly won his council seat. Likewise Sawant can’t win either, and I wager she knows that.
Most likely scenario I think is a general election between one progressive politician (e.g. Mosqueda) and one activist (likely running to the left).
@[Another]Alex.- Pedersen was running against a very good far left candidate (who I actually liked & donated to!), with a very energized supporter base.
I think he’d do substantially better against other candidates.
Petty crime, homelessness, and mental health are my #1 issue (they are deeply entangled), followed by transit, followed by Appropriate Cop Behavior. I loathe thieves and vandals and want it to be fundamentally diminished.
pn, the data doesn’t support your assertion that mental illness and homelessness are intertwined. The rate if homeless individuals who have a mental illness is only 50% higher than the national average (30 percent as opposed to 20 percent). Meanwhile African Americans are overrepresented by 6 to 7 times (6-7 percent of Seattle/ King County residents, 40% of the homeless), and transgender individuals over 10 times (1.3% of population, 14% of the homeless). I feel this shows that prejudice and discrimination are much bigger factors than mental illness.
I’m going to make a prediction. I think the next mayor will be Nikkita Oliver. I think she’ll be bad for Seattle, but I think the political winds are blowing in that direction.
I sure hope not. I also don’t think Oliver can win. At most it would mean screwing it up for other candidates. Oliver only got 17% of the vote last time, which is pretty close to the ceiling. Hard to imagine 50%.
I know it’s a bit of a long shot, but I just thought it would be fun to make an early prediction. I also think she’ll do better than she did last time.
I could see Oliver winning Capitol Hill and South Seattle, but lose the rest of the city. I don’t think she has broad appeal beyond bohemian, black and brown communities.
asdf2, name me one left-wing thing anybody in Seattle government has ever entertained in their most ‘sixties fantasy of an LSD dream.
In anyplace where, streetcar or trolleybus, a driver’s announcements are in Swedish, Danish, Norwegian or Finnish, our City Council’s “Left-est” would class as responsibly moderate Conservative.
But Daniel Thompson, I’m trusting you to hold me to this standard: Being harder on my own side than his side ever can ever be in your wildest dreams. In Anti-war DC in ’66 or so, our own “MP’s” were called “Parade Marshals.” Any Liberator’s first duty? Anyplace you OCCUPY, every broken window is your fault.
So Seattle’s ABSOLUTE WORST this year? The sight of my side relieving the far right of its every duty to destroy us. If I was still ATU 587 eligible, I’d file that grievance called a “Runaround” on my enemies’ behalf. Talk about Working Out of Grade!
But my intent this morning is not a scolding, but a suggestion. For you, Frank, and the rest of STB’s readership. Have us transit advocates organize ourselves to present the Mayor and her Council with a sweeping bunch of Zooms.
Discussing things that we MIGHT do with the Link-cars, buses electric and otherwise, and Sounder-trains we already have to incorporate ourselves into the REPAIR.
Every session, Flip-Chart Free. With audience-handling in hands with transit-grease instead of Sharpie-ink under their nails. Agenda? What we can do to make actual wheels, steel and rubberized, take their place in What’s To Be Repaired.
Do I hear a Second? ‘Cause tick me off and I’ll yield my time to Alex Tsimerman.
A little crazy that we haven’t seen an incumbent Mayor win re-election since 2005. But all of the incumbents since then have lost, or not run, for completely different reasons – it seems more of a fluke than a trend.
I’ve only actually lived in Seattle for one mayoral election (2009) so this will be my second. We’ll see who runs. As for me, I’ll be looking for somebody who 1) enacts evidence-based policy, 2) heartily supports transit, and 3) is most likely to hire a competent team.
Seattle has developed a bad habit of not reelecting mayors for knee-jerk reasons. Schell was thrown out because of WTO, Nickels didn’t make the primary because of a snowstorm, McGinn was shown the door because some people didn’t like his lack of car supremacy, Murray resigned because of something that may have happened decades ago that had nothing to do with the major job, and now Durkan has chosen not to run again because three different groups think she should have done different things about the police (slash 50% of its budget, not let CHOP be autonomous, or some vague “reforms” she should have done). All of them were mostly good mayors. Durkan was the most disappointing because she had no new visions or plans to improve transit, she just continued the previous plans and did not make it a priority. But continuing the previous plans is better than ripping them up.
McGinn was shown the door because some people didn’t like his lack of car supremacy
No, that was the only part of McGinn they liked. They got rid of him because he couldn’t do his job. Talk to people in the city — he was a terrible mayor. He was like a deer in the headlights when it came to the police situation. I’m sure someone tapped him on the shoulder and told him he isn’t mayor of Sedro Wooley — this is a big city you are running now, kid. These are the big city problems you have to deal with — it isn’t all bike paths and streetcars.
Oh, and Nickels lost for a couple reasons. One was his stance on transportation. He pushed for the SR 99 proposal, and opposed the monorail. This lead to opposition from The Stranger, back when they were more moderate. It meant that someone incompetent (like McGinn) could run to his left. The center-right folks (the ones who are more interested in cars) opposed him because of his handling of the snow storm.
Murray didn’t run because of his actions as a sexual predator, but he was a terrible mayor. It was completely irresponsible to know about the short comings from Move Seattle and do nothing about it.
Schell was the best of the lot, although I do think Rice was better.
Re: Nickels, I am not particularly interested in cars, and do not use one, but I have distinct memories of all those articulated buses jacknifed along the Ave and Montlake/25th Ave during that time. I am glad we had done our grocery shopping right before, because going anywhere after the snowmageddon started was a nightmare, and we pretty much did not leave our block – except for once to get to my optometrist appointment, which was still a nightmare, some 7+ days after the first snow hit, and I believe I had to walk the entire way back (about 2.5 miles) because the buses were _still_ not running with any degree of reliability on the Ave at that time, and not at all near my street. Good practice for the pandemic, I suppose :)
If that makes me center-right, so be it, though I would respectfully beg to differ.
What police situation, and how was he a deer in headlights? The arguments about him not being able to get along with legislators seemed like mostly a disguised policy disagreement.
Nickels lost because Sonics.
That used to happen every snowstorm. What happened is, peoples attitudes changed, and Nickels happened to be the mayor they changed during. As for the Sonics, maybe. That’s such a non-issue I forgot it. It’s unfortunate that so many people think cities should fund stadiums for for-profit sports teams.
Seattle didn’t use to have more than two snowplows because it was seen as an excessive expense for the amount of snow Seattle gets, and the city didn’t salt the streets because the salt washes down to the Sound and kills the fish. Then one year people’s attitudes changed to “Screw the fish, salt the streets, and buy snowplows.” Then because Nickels didn’t handle the issue perfectly, people threw him out, like they did to other mayors.
@Mike Orr: while you’ve lived here longer than I have, my sense is the same as yours, that the reputation of Seattle was “we get half an inch of snow and the city shuts down, lol lol lol”. The problem that particular winter was that the city shut down for two weeks, not that the city shut down at all – most snow and ice events wouldn’t last as long as that one. So it was a freak accident, and probably the people’s attitudes were changing, too, as you noted – and Nickels was the receiver of it all.
I personally did not find him particularly bad as mayors go, but there was definitely a sense among my immediate crowd that he was “in bed with developers”, perhaps in no small part because of the belief that he was supporting the tunnel project to help up property values along the waterfront. Whether this was justified I cannot say, either.
Seattle has had a long run of very poor mayors. Durkan is just one more, although compared to her predecessors she is better. But so is Caligula. Seattle voters vote with their hearts, not their brains.
Usually an incumbent runs because they don’t think they can win reelection, or the future problems seem unsolvable. For Durkan I think it is both. She was elected as the pragmatist who understood money and business, but during the protests she tried to pander to all groups. Her quip on national TV that CHOP was the summer of love doomed her career, and made Seattle look silly.
Her successor will face some big challenges, with a city that has a lot of division over its future and among its citizens, with a real passion and vitriol for identity politics.
1. Number one by a mile is to what extent tax revenue returns post pandemic. There certainly will be a recession after the vaccine is rolled out, so Durkan’s successor could have a few years of bad economic times. Many service industries and restaurants have closed, who knows how many commuters will return, tourism was not helped by the national publicity, and business/retail activity looks like it will decline. Although they tend to be empathetic one thing progressives are terrible at is making tough budget decisions. Over the last 10 years with rising tax revenue Seattle progressives could pretend everyone could get everything (if they ignored infrastructure). Those days are over.
2. The homeless situation has to be addressed, and Seattle’s street scene, or it will damage tourism and business, both from commuters and from shoppers/diners. The downtown retail core might be permanently damaged due to lack of retail density and a perception of unsafe streets, especially among suburban women, their best customer. NY and LA are number one and two in population in the U.S. and one and two respectively in number of homeless. Seattle is number 18 in population but number three in number of homeless. I don’t know how to solve this problem, but then I won’t be mayor. The region is spending $100,000 per homeless person but getting no results. https://www.city-journal.org/seattle-homelessness
3. A companion to number 2 is the end of moratoria on evictions. Those can’t go on forever, and many people will lose their rental housing without the first/last/damage deposit to get another place. Unfortunately the city has little revenue to address this problem. Seattle residents might be progressive, but they still demand fair market value when renting or selling their places.
4. Unfunded infrastructure. This includes bridges, the second transit tunnel, someone has to finish the convention center remodel even if beginning it was unwise, seawalls, and many other expensive projects the city council ignored during good economic times. You can’t ignore a failing bridge. Unfortunately every time a replacement is needed the community wants the most expensive option, with no loss of car capacity.
5. The morale of the police. Defund the police was a terrible campaign theme for Democrats across the country, but is particularly bitter in Seattle. Applications by Seattle police officers at the Bellevue Police Dept. are very high.
You can’t have a police dept. and criminal justice system that are going to ignore misdemeanors, and the broken window syndrome, and have a street scene shoppers, tourists, commuters, and diners feel comfortable walking around in. Bellevue is just across the lake, and a lot of Seattle’s entertainment dollars come from the eastside.
6. Affordable housing. We can argue about this all day long, and whether simply upzoning and building more units will create real affordable housing and not $600k DADU’s, but so far I haven’t seen it, and it will take decades to get those units online. Prices are going up for most properties except very high end rentals. Seattle has a vanishing middle to working class between the home owners and wealthy and the homeless.
7. A deepening rift between east and west King Co. We saw this in the decision of nearly every eastside city to opt out of the 1/10th of 1% sales tax increase enacted by King Co. Council for emergency housing and allocating those funds to their own city-based housing funds. Eventually I think splitting King Co. into east and west will be considered, but until then look for east King Co. to demand more tax subarea equity like ST, in which the revenue raised in a jurisdiction must be spent there. No more blank checks to King Co. from the eastside.
One saying I like is “money can move”. A lot of the discussion in Seattle these days is how to spend other people’s money, which is fine as long as you don’t force the money to leave. If you have 22% of all kids in private school, and schools are probably the primary factor for parents when deciding where to live, you have 22% who are ready to move out of Seattle (and 22% is low because those are the residents who can afford private school).
Although it is a pandemic the high end apartments rents are falling and the vacancies rising because these folks can leave if they want. https://www.apartmentlist.com/wa/seattle#rent-report
I think with working from home there will be a lot of latitude on whether and when to go into the office, and that will depend a lot on whether the office is located in an area where the worker wants to go anyway, to shop or dine. I am not sure Seattle appeals to a lot of out-of-city commuters.
Seattle could end up like a lot of cities in which the large city gets all the high cost citizens while all the high revenue citizens move to the suburbs, and don’t count on King Co. balancing that out going forward.
Even more important than the police in creating safe streets and an attractive urban scene with retail density is simply the number of citizens on the street. Right now with very few non-street people on the street is a very unsettling place. I just don’t know if enough commuters, shoppers, diners and renters will return to downtown Seattle to support it.
Re: transit that is easier to predict because the professionals at the agencies are doing it for us. Expect a 25% reduction in levels of service for Metro through 2040, and expect timeline extensions in major ST projects. Transit is just one of those tough budget choices progressives have a hard time with, but is generally one of the first cuts. Also look for division between neighborhoods if more transit is reallocated based on politics of “equity” and “privilege” which could affect transit levies.
NY found itself in this situation at the beginning of the 1990’s and felt it had nothing to lose so elected a narcissistic mini-tyrant prosecutor called Rudi Giuliani, and then another Republican Michael Bloomberg who governed a lot like Giuliani. Like Colonel Nathan Roy Jessup sometimes progressives want someone grotesque on the wall if they prefer to not stand guard.
1. Seattle — like the East Side — will likely recover much faster than most cities in the United States, given our strong tech sector.
2. Yeah, Seattle’s response to homelessness has been poor. Hopefully we will get help on a federal level, and hopefully we will see apartment prices coming down. But like the police problem, the city can do a better job.
3. The end of the moratorium eviction is another national problem.
4. The second transit tunnel is the responsibility of Sound Transit. The convention center is a county project. The bridges are no worse than in most parts of the country, and again, it is national problem that should be dealt with at the state or federal level. Hopefully they will, but the city can muddle along for a long time with things the way they are. Magnolia, for example, doesn’t need to replace its big bridge — a much smaller, cheaper bridge would be fine.
5. It isn’t about the morale of the cops, it is about the abuse that hasn’t been dealt with. The Seattle Police Department is still not adhering to the court order. That needs to be fixed, whether cops get their feelings hurt or not.
6. This is contradictory. On the one hand, you are saying that Seattle will fall apart and everyone with money will flee to the suburbs. They you are saying that rent will be too high. That doesn’t add up. Of course Seattle needs to deal with high costs. So does Bellevue, and San Fransisco, and Manhattan, and every other city that has lots of jobs, and not enough places to live. The best way to deal with it is the way that Portland dealt with it (widespread zoning changes) even though, obviously, it takes a while to kick in.
7. You are describing a county problem, not a city problem. Besides, disagreements within the county council are nothing new.
The tech is on the eastside, and Amazon is moving there pretty steadily if you look at their lease activity. Expedia may not survive the pandemic. They are looking to sublease a good percentage of their new office building.
Homelessness has to be addressed, but I don’t know how. If $1 billion/year is not enough then what is?
The second transit tunnel is the responsibility of ST but ST is made up of five different subareas. Seattle/N. King Co. is to pay half of the tunnel, or $1.1 billion, with the other four splitting the other half. If the N. King Co. subarea revenue covers the $1.1 billion, yes you are correct this really isn’t a Seattle specific issue, except we need a second transit tunnel at some point. If the N. King Co. subarea revenue is not enough for a second transit tunnel I don’t see how you build lines to W. Seattle or Ballard with one transit tunnel.
Muddling along is what SDOT did with the W. Seattle Bridge. Bridges are hard to muddle along with. Eliminating bridges will not be popular for any mayor, and you still have to remove the bridge. The state auditor’s report on Seattle bridges suggested muddling along was no longer viable.
Seattle police have a history of abuse, and have been under federal oversight for years, so definitely that is an issue. But right now the issue — at least for future revenue — is street safety. Without street safety, and a perception of street safety, no one will come to downtown Seattle, and that is where most revenue is generated.
What I said is high end renters are fleeing because they can, and high end rental rates are declining. Moderate and lower income renters are not fleeing, and those rates are flat or up slightly, because they cannot leave. When will the zoning changes kick in, and when will we see affordable housing? 20 years?
I am describing a county problem, but a lot of county money, like for affordable housing and the homeless, originate on the eastside but address Seattle problems because the eastside has fewer social costs per citizen. The disputes among the council in the past were not as dramatic as east/west, and I think at some point consideration of splitting King Co. The irony there is 15 years ago I would have predicted Mercer Island would have joined west King Co., but today if given the choice the vote would be overwhelming to join east King Co.
Will any of these very difficult and almost unsolvable issues be part of the campaign. Probably not because they require more than just party platitudes, instead just a lot of identity politics and promises that can never be kept.
The tech is on the eastside
The tech is on the west side as well. I can’t think of a major company that from the west side to the east side, while several (including Amazon) moved the other way.
Muddling along is what SDOT did with the W. Seattle Bridge.
Yeah, which is my point. The bridge was supposed to last a lot longer. They noticed problems. They monitored it. The problems got worse so they shut it down. Now they will fix it. They did about as good as you can expect.
I don’t know what to make of your statements about the transit tunnel. It is in the Seattle subarea. So what? It will likely get delayed, like every other project. So what? It is a better value than most projects. So what? It isn’t like anything in ST3 is essential.
But right now the issue — at least for future revenue — is street safety.
No its not. It is largely irrelevant to everyone but you. No one is avoiding downtown (or any other place) because of street safety. They are avoiding it because of the pandemic.
What I said is high end renters are fleeing because they can, and high end rental rates are declining.
Right, but that is happening everywhere. They are moving to houses. Housing prices in Seattle have not dropped — they keep going up. Those that can afford it are moving to houses. That will likely turn around as soon as the pandemic is over. Either that, or we have a bubble in real estate, as new construction finally caught up to demand. Either way, it doesn’t suggest people are moving away from Seattle (again, the price of houses keep going up).
a lot of county money, like for affordable housing and the homeless, originate on the eastside but address Seattle problems because the eastside has fewer social costs per citizen.
Wait what? Are you suggesting that the East Side is helping fund Seattle in some way? Citation please. Yes, Seattle has more problems. It also has way more money. Holy cow, I know Bellevue and Redmond have jobs, but they are tiny compared to Seattle.
Maybe if there was a capital gains tax, the folks in Medina might chip in a higher proportion. But as long as it is just sales and property taxes, Seattle is paying more than its fair share.
The biggest conflicts have to do with areas that want high taxes, and those that don’t. Ironically, those that want high taxes (places like Seattle and downtown Bellevue) are the ones that pay a higher proportion on taxes, while those opposed to it (places like Kent or Burien) are more likely to need more than they can easily pay for. That is true all over the country. Blue areas pay for red areas, even though red areas don’t complain about the spending.
Of course you also have the handful of wealthy suburbs (Medina, Mercer Island) who often vote their pocket book, choosing to reduce spending outside their extremely wealthy bubble. Nothing new there.
Amazon was founded in Clyde Hill/Bellevue area, moved to Seattle after a couple of years or so when it was still tiny (so late 90s), grew a lot in the Stadium/Union Station area, moved to SLU, and then started to aggressively grow in the Bellevue and Redmond area with plans to do more of this in the 2020s. Not sure why you would give it as an example of a corporate move from the Eastside to the Seattle proper; it is factually wrong unless you claim that events 20 years ago have distinct relevance to the future. I know you better than that :)
Facebook is also growing a lot in the Eastside, after initially growing primarily in SLU.
Google has a number of major campuses and are growing all of them.
Expedia moved to Seattle.
Microsoft, I believe, had some small number of office desks in Seattle that maybe are no longer there? I have not heard either way.
You also made a claim about the number of jobs in Seattle being much higher than in Bellevue-Redmond. Do you have any statistics of this (preferably normalized by population of each city)? I looked and could not find them, but since you are so certain of your claim, I have no doubt you can paste the statistics in a future comment to enlighten all of us.
Finally, I am certain you do not believe that “no one” other than Daniel Thompson is avoiding Seattle because of the homeless crisis, but if you really do feel that way, I got a bridge to sell you, over there in Brooklyn :)
“Her quip on national TV that CHOP was the summer of love”
She said that? I also thought CHOP felt like Haight-Ashbury.
The whole thing was blown way out of proportion in national media. I had family outside the metro area calling me worried, offering me a place to stay. They were talking to me as if the entire city was on fire. I went to CHOP several times (during the day) and it really was like a street festival although I know it was a little wild at night.
Here is a video of Durkan’s comments.
The national news probably did overplay it, but that was millions of dollars of negative advertisement for months on end. I hate to tell you this, but a lot of cruise ship passengers (and tourists and convention goers) are older and white, and watch Fox News religiously. I have shared cruise ship tables with them, and while very polite their political views are quite conservative.
I had family not only in this country call me but also in Europe who were concerned about my safety after seeing CHOP. I had to reassure them that I was fine and several miles away from it. So it was covered extensively by the news media beyond the borders of this country and it didn’t leave a great impression of Seattle and its leaders.
We should do something differently because the right stirs up and believes in conspiracy theories?
I stopped reading after your first paragraph.
If you want people to take your thoughts and comments seriously, I’d suggest not making sweeping, generalized conclusions.
I’m a Seattle voter and I vote with my brain every time. Any suggestion to the otherwise regarding me (or any other voter you don’t know) is just a flawed opinion based on your own personal biases. Do better.
Many, many voters vote with their hearts, especially if they don’t really understand the complexity of the issues or the candidate is new. I don’t know why you think that is an insult. I certainly listen to my heart when I vote. When I say voting with their hearts I hope you understand that is a euphuism. Hearts can’t really vote.
For example, although on balance I probably favor more Republican policies than progressive Democrat policies I could not vote for Trump based on my heart.
On paper I thought John McCain was more qualified than Barrack Obama, and I really did not know that much about Obama because he had been in politics for such a short time, but I voted for Obama twice based on my heart. I just felt in my heart he was better for the country at the time, but if I had voted with my brain McCain was the obvious choice based on his record. If I voted solely based on my brain I would probably never vote progressive.
I really don’t care if readers take my thoughts or comments seriously, especially on a transit blog, and I doubt they really do because sometimes I disagree with the majority view. I really just don’t see others on this blog reading something I wrote and deciding to change their lives based on that. At least I hope not. Blogs are all about sweeping generalized conclusions. And so is politics. I spend my days writing legal briefs in which every assertion or sentence must be cited with a footnote, and that gets a little dry sometimes.
“For example, although on balance I probably favor more Republican policies than progressive Democrat[ic] policies…”
There. Fixed it for you.
Thank you, Daniel! There IS something we agree on. Luckily, crime and Homelessness both share a remedy with Transit’s greatest challenge.
A massive public works program that, in addition to any hope for a Recovery, will start hiring people at a wage level that’ll let them more than AFFORD a House! If this does not class as National Defense, stuck motorists should not have to look at all those shields on so many poles.
But “East-Side”, everybody who knows Brooklyn (both of them) knows you’re posing! “Cynic” comes from the Greek for “Facing challenges by lying on the coach and growling.”
Wasn’t it one of your own who stood on deck in the freezing rain, and in the face of violating Shoreline Management by being thrown overboard, told a boat load of lynch-minded women that the rain-soaked misery they were looking at would soon be NEW YORK CITY?
Not generally known that “ALKI” translates as “In Ya DREEMS!” Though as your language also so elegantly phrases truth, “Ya Gotta Be Patient!”
Hi Mark, the problem with a FDR type public works program today are four fold:
1. In Dec. 2020 the stock indices are at all time highs. In 1932 they were at historic lows;
2. Pre-pandemic unemployment rates for all demographics had hit all time lows;
3. In 1932 there were was no Social Security or Medicare draining the federal revenue. In fact FDR chose age 65 for social security because Bismarck used age 65 for his social security plan, which was really an unpopular war tax plan, because no one made it to 65 back then. Eisenhower could afford to build the interstate highway system because no one had yet qualified for social security, or at least very few.
4. The federal debt was not at $27.5 Trillion.
Our problem today is not lack of income/wealth but income disparity, and wealth disparity, which has a lot to do with offshoring and automation, and the staggering cost of the elderly.
But there is no major war, and we did discover and manufacture a vaccine in 8 months for Covid-19, and Bill Gates has said this research might be the one thing that saves us from the anticipated virus that combines the infectious rate of measles and the lethality of Ebola (basically Small Pox).
In some ways if we are arguing over transit and density and Urbanism things can’t be too bad, if we get serious about global warming.
My guess is in 50 years the issue will be depopulation. But that will be someone else’s problem.
Is Seattle “ripe” for a celebrity mayor? Is there some resident notable in the business or entertainment world who would feel motivated to lead the city?
Given the collective unpopularity of City Council as well as the Mayor, someone who has the charisma to lead but isn’t saddled with local political antics would seem to be a viable winning candidate.
That is a terrible idea. The last four mayors that lacked experience in city government failed to get reelected. No more bozos who treat the job as a learning experience.
I’m not giving an opinion on the quality of a candidate. I’m simply noting that a charismatic outsider can pull off a win politically given the negatives of the current council.
There are probably many outside the Council who could be good mayors. Of recent multi-term mayors, only Rice had been on the Council; Uhlman, Royer, and Nickels had not been on the council. The terms of both Gonzalez and Mosqueda are up, so do not have a free ride to run for mayor. The other seven members do. Good mayors have wisdom and judgement and make good hires and compromises.
Frank praised Durkan for the CCC Streetcar. She was correct to pause it and study it; she was quite wrong to continue it. She and SDOT erred on Ride2 and Via. She has not helped much on RapidRide; lines G and J seem weak. She seems to have helped with ST2 and the NE 130th Street station. How about sidewalks on Aurora Avenue North between North 115th and 145th streets?
How many of those things you listed should have been prioritized by the City Council, specifically the sidewalks issue in North Seattle.
Juarez is my councilmember and, as far as I can recall, she did jack-diddly with respect in addressing the sidewalk issue (which was an issue in her first campaign).
I expect Juarez helped get sidewalks on 30th Avenue NE in Lake City (one side) and on NE 110th Street near Nathan Hale.
Did you tell her it was important enough do donate sufficient Diddly to at least call her attention to the need?
Of recent multi-term mayors, only Rice had been on the Council
Right, and we haven’t had a mayor as good as him since then. No one has even come close. Experience matters.
The one significant error Rice made if I remember correctly is he could have purchased the entire Two Union Square building for much less than it cost to build the convention center over I-5, that limited north/south capacity through Seattle forever, and ended up affecting projects like replacing the viaduct because maintaining capacity was so critical or eliminating buses from the transit tunnel.
Also he lived in a condo in Belltown during his mayorship, and not surprisingly the street people in Belltown were moved to other areas, like Pioneer Square, and they were much tougher and scarier than our Pioneer Square homeless folks and much more into hard drug dealing, at least back then. During Rice’s mayorship Pioneer Square was a much tougher place.
“Right, and we haven’t had a mayor as good as him since then. No one has even come close. Experience matters.”
eddiew, like every single project in a Region whose boundaries are the Cascade Crest, the Pacific Coast, Prince Rupert, and Tierra del Fuego, is there any chance ANYTHING will get continued in the foreseeable future?
But both history and close pavement observation do indicate one thing. That just about any street that once had streetcars still has their tracks and ties not too deep beneath the pavement.
Most likely Project Chief for the multi-neighborhood consortium the Connector’s streetcars will effectively connect? Commerce-Chamber Chief Rachel Smith. Who leaves me with a really serious duty.
At ST Public Comment, if a certain mistaken Hitler- saluter gives her any mention of the Chief of State whose police make me wish none of SPD’s uniforms were black, I’ll put him in for a railroad time-keeper in Palermo.
Come to think of it, good chance it was not an Italian who gave Mussolini credit for getting the trains running on time. Same politics that make the Feds keep the death penalty for membership in Antifa.
If Sawant runs and wins, my advice to Seattle business owners is this: LEAVE.
Daniel, I’m pretty sure you know how Hillary Clinton’s opponent felt about John Mc Cain. Giving no indication whatsoever it was Classified.
But given the ages of both that temporary office-holder and Joe Biden, General James Mattis might consider it his duty to at least offer Congress his services.
Think he also might be with me on putting our coast-to-coast shield-bearing bathroom-less parking lots to rail. But max important:
If the Chinese see us do this like we mean business, we’ll longer have to kow-tow to them to build any more of our railroads than they’ve already done.
Sensitive to cultural prejudice, though, so long as the sledge-hammer’s swingin’, whatever Chinese is for “Paddy” should be honorable enough to offer attribution.
How many people on this blog think transit is the first, second or third most important issue for the Seattle mayoral race? And which?
And where will the money come from?
some important matters are not fiscal but concern the allocation of scarce rights of way.
Daniel, being neither worthy of you or pertinent, anybody taking public dollars for their personal home-security belongs governing someplace for whose transit system I’d never either advocate or drive.
Whose unions also need some Lysol-ed walls. Trade-constant, though. The worse they serve their members, the closer they are to Management. Back home, Jimmy Hoffa’s outfit was rumored to have a special room where the disrespectful got the crap beaten out of them.
West Seattle Bridge has got a purpose: fighting Homelessness by paying people wages that’ll let them afford a Guess What! And the fact they’ll have to do it legally means 100% you’ll have a job.
What about Carmen Best? I doubt she wants the headache but she could cause some problems for council members trying to run for mayor.
At heart, Carmen Best is a police officer. Of the exact quality that makes me hardest on those who habitually abuse both their authority and human decency:
Somebody whose helpless wife, sister, or mother they kill in her own bed, will take out a good officer if, rage ruins their aim. My guess is that the worst are foul but few. But dominate their department by calling decent colleagues “Dudley Do-Right.”
Put Carmen on a Commission, and give her a lot of Authority. To every Tool her Use.
And the Revenue Source? Savings on pot-hole detonations, and job-loss for traffic-oriented tardiness. Not to mention gasoline.
Your insurers should give you a break too. Real meaning of “Values” in a political connection? What you believe is right to have, you’ll pay for.
“Our problem today is not lack of income/wealth but income disparity, and wealth disparity, which has a lot to do with offshoring and automation, and the staggering cost of the elderly.”
Careful, Daniel. That kind of talk can brand you as too Progressive to be allowed to Live. Accuse Joe Biden of saying it, and you Won’t.
I blame it on the order of debility that gives Transit its biggest problems. Final spectrum-wide agreement that for working people of all ages, lifelong debt’s just so much easier all around than paying people enough to live.
As opposed to sweat, fear, and become Homeless when the car they’re living in gets Repossessed. Some Topic-history I really think is [ON] tonight.
Bank or modern credit union? Loan officer tickles his mouse, and up comes your credit score, pricing your interest accordingly. THEN, like close post-WWII? Three shop-floor partners of yours look over your application.
“You want me to loan you money? That caliper you borrowed a month ago. When am I gonna get it back?” Followed by:
“Look, the reason we know your can’t afford this car is that we can’t either. BUT. The guy (or gal) in the drill-press next to me has a ’52 Chevy for sale. Hardly any rust. Here’s their phone number.”
Read the Ninth Amendment carefully and you’ll see the kind of Right I’m talking about, that the whole un-rich world has always known first-hand. The right not to live your life in debt.
What makes a debtor the most abused kind of slave is that Society always calls their hardship “Shame on THEM!” Reason I keep sticking that little needle in re: “Leeches.” Though I DID note that, blood-letting and all, these creatures really do earn their keep.
Any non-keep-earning ruling class that DOESN’T might do well to watch its step. Because, History-long, the world’s most savage Rebel is first and foremost a Debtor.
I was just going to say that.
If I was a betting man, I would say it’s Gonzalez’s race to lose. (I’ve heard her speak once at a transit event in Ballard, she definitely has the gravitas to be mayor– the only thing is she may want something bigger, like state AG when Ferguson runs for governor.)
As for the police– the city was held in contempt today by a federal judge for SPD’s actions during the protests.
SPD were under a federal supervision under the Obama administration. The mayor, Chief Best, and the rogue members of the SPD (pepper spraying an 8 yo, even if it was found not to be a violation) lost any credibility among center-left liberals.
Another open-seat election for mayor, another election where the top two candidates from whom we end up choosing could collectively represent a minority of votes cast in the primary election. I’m as much concerned about how we elect the mayor as who we elect for mayor. Seattle is too big and the job too complex to winnow the finalists for the job interview down to just two candidates, and then have it be about the politics of personal destruction rather than policy issues (which further discourages the best applicants from applying).
I would commend the voting system Alaskans just passed, in which the top four candidates advance to the general election, and voters get to rank the finalists. Yeah, I realize that is not happening next year, but one can dream.
I also hope to see democracy vouchers fully-funded for the mayoral contest. This will be the first mayoral race in which they are used *if* they get funded. (Or did I sleep through the budget? I’ve had to step away from blogging for awhile and focus on doing my paying job. I count myself lucky to be among those who have a paying job, and among those able to live in Seattle.)
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