The long climb to City Hall / photo from Wikicommons

The deadline for candidates to withdraw their filings for the races for mayor, city attorney, and city council positions 8 and 9 passed Monday.

For those who have been wishing to have a simple list of links to the candidates’ position pages, here ya go:


Clinton Bliss

Henry Clay Dennison (no website found)

James Donaldson

Colleen Echohawk

Jessyn Farrell

M. Lorena González

Bruce Harrell

Andrew Grant Houston

Arthur K. Langlie

Stan Lippmann

Lance Randall

Don L. Rivers

Casey Sixkiller

Omari Tahir-Garrett

Bobby Tucker

City Attorney

Ann Davison

Pete Holmes

Nicole S Thomas-Kennedy

City Council Position 8

Brian Fahey (no website found)

Jordan Elizabeth Fisher

George Freeman (no website found)

Paul Glumaz

Jesse James (no website found)

Kate Martin

Bobby Lindsey Miller (no website found)

Teresa Mosqueda

Alex Tsimerman

Alexander White (no website found)

Kenneth Wilson (no website found)

City Council Position 9

Corey Eichner

Xtian Gunther

Lindsay McHaffie (no website found)

Sara Nelson

Nikkita Oliver

Brianna Thomas

Rebecca Williamson (no website found)

25 Replies to “Seattle 2021 candidates and their position webpages”

  1. Are there any candidates out there that support sidewalks, bike lanes, and transit, but also oppose massive tax increases, defunding the police, and housing policies that discourage investment?

    Lately, it’s been seeming like you have to choose between one or the other, but can’t have both.

    1. Yeah, just like you can’t find many leftists that support restrictions on abortion. They are out there, but they are rare.

      Anyway, increasing taxes along with spending (on things like transit) makes sense, since for the most part, we have to pay as we go. Defunding the police is a sensible way to deal with crime (and budget issues). That is, if you consider “defunding the police” to mean the gradual shift away from punishment and towards prevention (i. e. what more advanced countries do). I’m not sure what you mean by “housing policies that discourage investment?”.

  2. Very few of the candidates have developed clear platforms on transit and land use – the ones that even bother to mention it typically just say they support “affordable and equitable transportation”, and mentions of land use are generally limited to “inclusive zoning” or “reforming zoning”. There are a few honorable mentions of missing middle housing but mostly emphasis on more affordable housing.

    Obviously it’s early in the election, and there will likely be more profiles/blogs/op-eds fleshing out candidates positions on STB-related issues. However, after a quick skim through Brent’s links (thanks!), here are some notes on those who bothered to mention transit or zoning:


    Colleen Echohawk: no transit mention; wants zoning changes for affordable housing

    Jessyn Farrell: large segment of platform dedicated to Transportation; wants an “ST3 for Housing” (whatever that means)

    Loren Gonzalez: current SCC #9 – see voting record; nothing substantive on website

    Andrew Grant Houston: very detailed platform includes “paint the town red and green”; explicit callouts for parking reform, superblocks, etc.

    Lance Randall: transport platform has car-priority bent; seeks to “level the playing field through more inclusive zoning”

    Casey Sixkiller: wants all neighborhoods to have “access to reliable and affordable transportation”; has a “Resilient Neighorhoods” platform plank with some mentions of reforming land use.

    ATTORNEY [skipped]


    Jordan Elizabeth Fisher: lost count of “blockchain” references, but says “reforming our current zoning laws could have an enormous economic impact”

    Kate Martin: wants to “Prioritize district-level and neighborhood-level transportation systems.” but includes a ballard stop on Sounder North; wants to “set a 75% goal for homeownership across a wide spectrum of income levels”

    Teresa Mosqueda: see voting record; platform says she wants to “Prioritize bike lanes in our street-scape” and “Expediting the Move Seattle Levy investments”; also plans to “Work in partnership across Seattle to rezone” including “Incentivizing and allowing missing middle-housing options”


    Xtian Gunther: wants a “public utility to construct/manage enough affordable, green housing”; wants to “Expand Seattle bikeways/subways” [smh at “subways”]

    Sara Nelson: previously ran for position 8 in 2017; no mention of transit; prioritizes “targeting new housing growth along frequent transit corridors and in urban centers and facilitating the creation of “missing middle” housing” while “retain[ing] existing, naturally affordable rental units”

    Nikkita Oliver: 3rd place for mayor in 2017; supports Seattle For A Green New Deal, says “public transportation should be universal and free”; wants to “ending zoning laws which have segregated Seattle”

    Brianna Thomas: wants to “prioritize sustainable growth” including “transportation & public transit”; mentions “15-minute neighborhoods” but no details.


    Any candidates not listed here had no easily findable mention of STB-related issues on their websites (or didn’t have website this morning).

    I am curious how these platforms will evolve, but I don’t expect them to change very much. I’m seeing a lot of focus on police and homelessness.

    1. “Very few of the candidates have developed clear platforms on transit and land use – the ones that even bother to mention it typically just say they support “affordable and equitable transportation”, and mentions of land use are generally limited to “inclusive zoning” or “reforming zoning”. There are a few honorable mentions of missing middle housing but mostly emphasis on more affordable housing.”

      That’s the problem; they don’t see transit as very important to voters, like how Durkan didn’t bother to have any specific ideas beyond continuing the previous administrations’ plans. People can’t ride a “transit” abstraction, they can only ride specific transit runs. So it’s those runs we need to improve and make more numerous.

      “affordable and equitable transportation”: That does nothing to make buses more frequent or have more crosstown routes or eliminate congestion bottlenecks where buses are stuck behind cars. It gives discount fares to low-income riders and increases service in minority/poor neighborhoods, that’s it. Those are important but other things are important too. Middle-class riders and choice riders are important. Especially if we want to reduce vehicle-miles traveled and carbon emissions. We do want to reduce these, don’t we? The politicians say they do.

      “mentions of land use are generally limited to “inclusive zoning” or “reforming zoning””

      Inclusive zoning is completely inadequate. 1,000 units for a 50,000 unit shortage is a drop in the bucket. It depends on a developer’s willingness to build 40-100 market-rate units for every 10 subsidized units, and to keep doing so every year forever. Sometimes the subsidized units are for only ten or twenty years and then they revert to market rate. So we then have to build 40-100 more market rate units to replace the 10 subsidized units for another 10-20 years. And the people in those subsidized units may live fifty years and their need for affordable housing won’t go away in ten years. It’s like a ponzi scheme. The market-rate apartment market may look insatiable but it’s not infinite, and we need to support an adequate number of subsidized units permanently somehow. Especially after the price increases of the past fifteen years. That substantially increased the percentage of people who need subsidized housing. Both at 0% AMI, 30% AMI, 50% AMI, and 80% AMI. All those people are important, and the work the contribute to the community is important.

      “Reforming zoning”, well, that’s true, but it could mean anything. What kinds of reforms specifically? How strongly will you make sure they get passed during your term?

      Thanks for your list of who supports what and what you think of their position. That’s the kind of thing I’ve been looking for.

    2. There are also structural tax changes and land-ownership changes and universal rent control that could dramatically change the shape of housing costs. Some of these would require state action, but the city could do smaller things on its own. It could prioritize pressing the state hard for reforms, and uniting with the larger suburban cities to press a common message. The suburbs are becoming more like Seattle as they grow, and facing more of the same concerns. It’s the smallest towns and exurban/rural areas that are the most reactionary. Shoreline has embraced density to some extent, and gave the E full BAT lanes throughout its jurisdiction. Lake Forest Park, Algona, and Medina, not so much. There’s a dramatic switch between Algona 99% single-family and Auburn industrial at A Street SE, and Auburn has taken some steps toward station-area densification at Auburn Station.

      1. Some of the possible changes I’ve heard about are:

        – Switching from property tax to land-value tax (i.e., not taxing the buildings). Most of the price increases and volatility we’ve seen have been in the land, not the buildings.

        – Charging property tax on highest zoned use instead of current use. This would keep developers from sitting on surface parking lots for decades waiting for prices to rise dramatically before they build, while they pay next to nothing in taxes in the meantime. This was a problem downtown although it has gone away there, but it’s still occurring in Rainier Valley.

        – Cooperatives that build houses and sell them for a low price on condition that the buyer can only resell it at a similar low price later. If they add or improve buildings, they could raise the price somewhat to recoup their costs.

        – Universal rent control. There are two kinds of rent control. The bad kind is what San Francisco, New York, and some other American cities established in the 1970s or 1990s, where it only applies to buildings built before a certain year, it’s so restrictive that owners can’t recoup maintenance costs, it resets to current market rate when the tenant vacates, and it doesn’t apply outside the city limits. So as new buildings get built, the population increases, and old buildings get torn down, an ever-decreasing percent of the population can get a rent-controlled unit, and those left out have to get a market-rate unit if they can. And people lucky enough to have a rent-controlled unit never vacate it, they just sublease it and sub-sublease it forever. Owners can’t recoup their costs so they let the building rot, or coerce the tenant into leaving so it can reset to market rate. Developers flee to just beyond the city’s boundaries, where walkability and transit are worse.

        In contrast, Germany has the good kind of rent control. German states have statewide rent control, so developers can’t evade it by going beyond the central city’s boundaries. The rate allows a modest profit every year above inflation, it just doesn’t allow a windfall killing like we’ve seen in Seattle where rents went up 40% in ten years. Tenants know they won’t be priced out of the unit even when they’re in their 80s and 90s, so they’re more willing to rent long-term, and less interested in buying a house/condo immediately to avoid possibly being priced out of the city someday.

        – More emphasis on public housing. Some 30% of Vienna’s housing is public, and more gets built as the population increases, so that keeps the city affordable to everybody, both those who can pay market-rate and those who can’t, even though the city is large and popular like San Francisco.

        I’m not endorsing any of these in particular except the German and Vienna models, which are proven working, since I’m not a real-estate expert. But these are the kind of out-of-the-box ideas we should be considering and looking for more of.

    3. Hi Nathan,

      If you’ve been to my website, you know that I do mention transportation. It’s been one hell of a ride the last few years, so, unfortunately, there a couple of life-and-death issues that were more pressing on my platform in terms of prominent mention and highlights. However, I have spent my entire life advocating for smart planning that includes a comprehensive public transportation system built around trains, ferries, pedestrian, bike and walking access, with busses doing the fill in work. Busses do the connecting to the train and ferry spines because, currently and historically, they are the least desired by most of those who are not currently using public transport. Trust me I know a ton about this stuff and I’d be happy to field questions from anyone here. I’m absolutely serious about pushing for Seattle to complete its own Subway system, using the Seattle Subway vision map as a guide. Any timeline that Sound Transit would ever put together to do this work would likely mean waiting until Earth kicks us off of it before we’d see it completed. We are moving far too slowly developing a complete system. And, with Biden in office, me in City Hall and new big-city congestion tolling, there are ways to pay for it. Vote for me for Seattle City Council position 9 and watch me rock out demanding major public transport changes and investments for the better.

  3. Mr Ts has the strangest campaign website. In trying to give reasons to vote for him, he ends up giving reasons to vote against him.

    “For the last few years, I, along with StandUP-America, have brought almost 50 cases against US Senators; State Senators; King County, Bellevue, and Seattle Council; many judges, prosecutors and policemen. All of these cases were dismissed, many without even being heard. This shows how deep the corruption runs in our justice system; ” — Or it shows the cases were frivolous.

    “To punish me for my political activity, class action and for running for King County Council position, the King County prosecutor charged me with obtaining funds illegally from DSHS as an independent caregiver – this case was a complete fabrication.” — How am I a criminal? Let me count the ways.

    “I have been prosecuted twice for each of my class actions and have many trespasses given to me by the Mayor Adolf Murray, Seattle City Council and the Executive of King County, Dow Constantine.” — This is a reason to vote for you? P.S. Excessive name-dropping is a sign of an insecure bore.

    It’s almost a satire of a political campaign. Is this really just an art exhibit?

    1. Have you seen Alex Tsimerman speak at the city council? He’s… I’m not sure he’s all there. Furthermore, here’s his statement from the 2020 Governor’s race, and I quote verbatim from

      Standup! America First! Live Free or Die! Stop Seattle / King Fascism with idiotic face. A One party system is always Fascism. They are all war criminals!

      Standup! America First! Live Free or Die! Stop Seattle / King Fascism with idiotic face. A One party system is always Fascism. They are all war criminals!

      (1) Stop Seattle / King Fascism with idiotic face!
      (2) Stop Seattle / King Fascism with idiotic face!
      (3) Stop Seattle / King Fascism with idiotic face!
      (4) Stop Seattle / King Fascism with idiotic face!
      (5) Stop Seattle / King Fascism with idiotic face!
      (6) Stop Seattle / King Fascism with idiotic face!
      (7) Stop Seattle / King Fascism with idiotic face!
      (8) Stop Seattle / King Fascism with idiotic face!
      (9) Stop Seattle / King Fascism with idiotic face!
      (10) Stop Seattle / King Fascism with idiotic face!
      (11) Stop Seattle / King Fascism with idiotic face!
      (12) Stop Seattle / King Fascism with idiotic face!
      (13) Stop Seattle / King Fascism with idiotic face!
      (14) Stop Seattle / King Fascism with idiotic face!
      (15) Stop Seattle / King Fascism with idiotic face!
      (16) Stop Seattle / King Fascism with idiotic face!
      (17) Stop Seattle / King Fascism with idiotic face!
      (18) Stop Seattle / King Fascism with idiotic face!
      (19) Stop Seattle / King Fascism with idiotic face!
      (20) Stop Seattle / King Fascism with idiotic face!
      (21) Stop Seattle / King Fascism with idiotic face!
      (22) Stop Seattle / King Fascism with idiotic face!
      (23) Stop Seattle / King Fascism with idiotic face!
      (24) Stop Seattle / King Fascism with idiotic face!
      (25) Stop Seattle / King Fascism with idiotic face!

      Vote for Trump and Alex Tsimerman to bring Washington and America back to common sense of, by and for the people!


      So, uh, I wouldn’t take him seriously.

    2. I’ll admit I’m relatively new to paying attention to local politics (maybe seriously tracking it for the past couple years) but it seems that WA and Seattle’s ease of access to candidacy leads to some people routinely running who have no chance of getting anywhere near election, particularly Alex T. There’s a Mayoral candidate who appears to exclusively hoping to sell more copies of his poetry book, and a couple members of the Socialist Workers Party running without a specific website and no real visibility.

      It certainly makes for an entertaining voter’s guidebook, though.

      1. There are very-qualified candidates who will nevertheless have no chance of getting anywhere near election. The City has work to do on that score, and it isn’t rocket science, as you point out further up. NYC is getting their elections out of the 19th century for the first time with their mayoral primary (but the powers that be insisted on keeping party primaries, so yeah, the drawbridge isn’t completely lowered).

        Cities that can figure out how to build subways under large bodies of water can certainly figure out how to let their denizens rank candidates for public office. Candidates, including the systemically-protected incumbents, should be able to see that democratizing the voting process helps get away from the politics of personal destruction that chases the best and brightest away from running for office.

    3. Yes, I’ve seen him at ST and city public hearings. He speaks the same way there. Every other sentence has the word “fascist” referring to government leaders. ST is fascist; Seattle is fascist. He never explains coherently why or what he wants. He says nothing for or against any of the specific light rail or bus alternatives that are the topic of the hearing; it’s just all that the agency as a whole is fascist and taxes are too high. He’s from a Communist country so I guess he’s a modern-day Ayn Rand, but with an incoherent message and none of her lovely poetic imagery.

      Before 2016 he was a unique anomaly, but when Trump became president he joined the Trump bandwagon. It’s hard to understand why, because the issues he focuses on and they focus on are different. It seems to be that one pseudo-populist rabble-rouser deserves another, so they ally no matter what their ideological differences. (As long as they’re not leftist, of course.)

      He has run for Seattle mayor and got like 3% of the vote, so it’s unlikely he’ll ever get into political office. But most people thought the same about Trump until it happened. Still, Seattle’s political attitudes are not like the country’s average.

  4. As much as the STB posters and readers think about transit, I don’t view it as a major Council issue in this election. The most political questions will involve transit operations funding — and even then there is a voter perspective that it’s up to Metro, ST and stand-alone ballot measures. Plus, the happy vibes coming from opening three new stations in North Seattle that will imply that “transit is expanding” to many voters.

    I think this election is going to be about homelessness, housing affordability and the police to most voters. Transit policy statements won’t differentiate candidates except to a handful of voters. All of the candidates better have practical strategies on these three bigger topics rather than rehash the same populist tripe that they have in recent years.

    1. This election will be in a new context. Historically the government supported some downtown and urban-village growth, championed the DSTT/retail core renovation and Sound Transit’s light rail, but was otherwise slow-growth and pro-car/parking/highways. In the 80s Metro’s network was abysmal, most of Seattle had only coverage-level transit: 30-minute frequency, long parallel milk runs to downtown, and little crosstown service. (Only the 48/45 (then 48), 44 (then 43), the 40/75’s predecessors, and a 30 on 45th.) The suburbs were even worse with hourly frequency. Most of Metro’s service was peak-only suburban expresses to downtown, many in neighborhoods that didn’t have any all-day service. There were no express buses to Pierce or Snohomish Counties, only the local coverage routes. (The 4xx from Snohomish County did exist; they were created during this time. At first they were Metro routes funded by CT’s TBD, then CT started operating them and changed the color to blue.) The Seattle city government and Metro did nothing to improve transit or walkability, other than supporting the DSTT. Metro routinely proposed district-sized reorganizations, and then vetoed them after one squeaky wheel complained about losing the bus stop in front of their house and a one-seat ride to downtown.

      In the 2000s this started to change. Transit Now was approved to launch RapidRide A-F. ST1 and ST2 were approved. Metro stepped up with RapidRide reorganizations that were better than previous attempts. (Although the 1990 northeast Seattle restructure was substantial; it rationalized the 71/72/73X, truncated the 74 local, and added service in U-Village and 25th, 35th, and Sand Point Way all to Campus Parkway. That eventually became a frequent corridor between Children’s and Fremont on N 40th, which became so popular it matched or exceeded the 44’s ridership.)

      The 2008 recession hit Metro hard, with a 20-25% bus reduction in 2014. (The financial impact was delayed, and 2012-2014 was propped up with a temporary tax surcharge the state authorized.) During that time McGinn stepped up with a Seattle Transit Master plan. It had been mulling since 2000 whether the next generation of Seattle transit should have streetcars, buses, or light rail in the biggest corridors. The 2014 plan had four top-priority corridors (Westlake, Eastlake, Madison, the CCC) and a half-dozen secondary corridors. (45th, 23rd, Rainier, etc). It recommended streetcars for Westlake and Eastlake (the 40 and 70 corridors, the latter possibly extending to Northgate). It wanted a streetcar on Madison but said it’s too steep for modern streetcars so it recommended BRT instead. Another potential streetcar corridor was Jackson-Rainier to Mt Baker station. The secondary corridors would get enhanced bus routes. These were later merged with the RapidRide brand.

      2015-2016 was the heyday of Seattle transit. Voters approved a Seattle TBD, Move Seattle, and ST3. The TBD was originally to counteract proposed recession cuts, but when the vote came November 2015 that was no longer needed, so the money went to unprecedented frequency. (The 5, 8, 10, and 49, 65, and 67 were half-hourly evenings before it. The 2, 40, 41, and 120 were hourly evenings. The 11 was half-hourly Saturdays. And those are just the routes I know the most about. ) Move Seattle fulfilled the TBD vision of several new streetcar and RapidRide lines. (It failed in its execution and financing plan. Murray downgraded the Westlake and Eastlake streetcars to RapidRide, which was a more cost-effective and appropriate idea anyway. It didn’t actually promise to fully fund the RapidRide lines like voters thought it did, and subsequent budget gaps and NIMNY/SOV activism got most of the RapidRide lines downgraded to merely some unspecified improvements. The current plans for the 40, 44, 48, and 7 corridors are the result of that — some improvement, but not first-rate transit.

      This mid 2010s period also saw the city council converted from all at-large positions to district-based positions. This was a plot by single-family activists to get more influence and money. They got the city to hire a geographer who gerrymandered the districts to dilute the multifamily cores into several districts, each with a majority single-family periphery. That couldn’t work in central Seattle, which got a multifamily-majority district, but in north Seattle the districts go north-south instead of east-west. But the plot backfired, and most districts elected surprisingly pro-transit, pro-urban councilmembers — the other single-family voters overcame the NIMBYs. The first district-based term was the most pro-urban council Seattle had ever had since at least the 1970s, and the second was similar (and the most liberal, especially with Sawant on the council).

      The McGinn and Murray administrations dutifully started an upzoning process for the recent and future light rail station areas. At first it continued to be piecemeal, one neighborhood at a time, following no precedents. Seattle had earlier decided in the 1980s to create urban village islands and channel growth to them, so it continued that. The upzones went one neighborhood at a time, following no precedent principles, other than the vague commitment to the established villages. The growth allowed was modest, and watered down by NIMBYs. The Rainier Valley, Roosevelt, and Beacon Hill stations were especially subject to this. Sound Transit’s attitude in ST1 and ST2 was to be neutral regarding TOD: it didn’t want to get caught in the middle of pro-density vs anti-density battles and badmouthed on both sides.

      In the mid 2000s the city started to be more pro-upzoning. A report called HALA recommended urbanist density and walkability in urban villages and station areas, and abolishing single-family zoning (replacing it with missing-middle housing). The single-family part drew the expected criticism, and Murray (?) out of political fear immediately threw it away. The rest of HALA was eventually approved. It helped the U-District, Capitol Hill, and Mt Baker upzones, which were better than anything previous, although still not excellent. But the U-District will get a major increase centered on Roosevelt, and a highrise at the station, while the lower Ave will be protected at its current level (as is maybe appropriate, since developers seem incapable of making new pedestrian-retail cores as vibrant as the pre-WWII ones, so we’d better keep them).

      The 2020 covid recession was another major hit, and fallout from the Floyd protests and the police response to it changed the council’s priorities somewhat. Now there’s a strong emphasis on equity, in both the Seattle council and Metro and the county council. This is leading to increased bus service in southeast Seattle, eastern West Seattle, the CD, and South King County, which is needed. (And South King County has been especially neglected for decades.) But it threatens to partially displace other needed priorities, like bus frequency throughout Seattle, last-mile access to Northgate Station, and density/walkability in all urban villages. And some councilmembers want to prioritize police reform and homelessness above all else. So this is an emerging factor.

      It has always been unclear whether the council’s pro-urban trend would last more than one or two terms. It has lasted two so far. And a leftist turn has also emerged. The mayor’s office has been different. Durkan is a throwback to the pre-McGinn days, focusing on continuing existing plans and moderation. Her transit innovations have come not in frequency or route improvements, but in free passes for public-school students and expanding low-income fares. That helps the lower-income and may inspire kids to become transit riders, but it does nothing for overall mobility or making transit more competitive with driving.

  5. New York City’s mayoral race will be ranked-choice voting ($). Some warn it may expose a flaw in the ranked-choice paradigm called “ballot exhaustion”. If a voter makes only two or three rankings, and all of them lose in the first three rounds and there’s still no winner, then that ballot will be impotent in the subsequent rounds. This could lead to an upset different from the public’s overall preferences. Ranked-choice voting is intended to get more moderate winners and the one with the largest plurality, but widespread ballot exhaustion can cause a different result.

    The article points to the need for more voter education: voters may not fully understand the new system, or that ranking all candidates ensures their wishes will be best represented, whereas ranking just your top couple choices may lead to some of your wishes not being expressed.

    1. All the education in the world won’t solve the problem of limiting the number of rankings allowed to fewer than the number of candidates minus one.

      In practice, Seattle will still need a primary to winnow down each race to four or five finalists.

      NYC politics forced a poor implementation of RCV, perhaps to sabotage it, like what happened in Pierce County. It was the charter amendment the powers that be allowed (and that passed overwhelmingly), not the ideal the advocates wanted. The powers that be yanked ranked choice voting in the general election right at the end of the process of winnowing down amendments that would be put on the ballot.

      I think Alaskans got it right having an open primary and moving the top five candidates onto the general election ballot, letting voters rank all five of them.

  6. Was hoping Langlie had a position on Transit. Want to know before I vote, so I don’t punish him by voting against because the streetcar to trackless trolley conversion began on his Grandpa’s watch. Although the Street Railway was heavily in debt and sometimes had to use nickels and dimes from the farebox to pay employee when banks would not honor IOUs. I would like to know if the candidate at the very least will fight to keep what we are building, at least. Especially because Seattle Mayors have been Sound Transit Board Members.

  7. FYI: There is a transit-centric AMA w/ Jessyn Farrell this Friday 6-6:30 PM I’m hosting. You can ask info-AT-JessynFarrell-DOT-com for the login info.

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