Voters in District 4 are spoiled for choice. Almost all of these candidates might win our sole endorsement if in certain other districts. In this race, it’s almost a given to support more transit, bike lanes, and upzoning single family neighborhoods. To be excellent in this race, candidates have to show both relevant political experience and a commitment to transit and land use in particular.
Cathy Tuttlehas decades of experience managing the planning and successful construction of public works projects. After her city career, she founded and directed Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, who we can thank for the 20 mph speed limit on most streets.
She proposes to institute “climate notes”, similar to fiscal notes, analyzing the climate impact of every proposed city project. She is a housing construction hawk, including her call to re-legalize micro-housing. She wants more dedicated bus lanes and 24-hour bus service, and is as unsympathetic to a “windshield perspective” as can be.
Shaun Scott is a socialist with a streak of transit geekdom — see his 4-part series on Forward Thrust last year. We think he could help bring the social justice coalition in this city to prioritize things like upzones and bus lanes.
Joshua Newman is a former president of Seattle Subway. As one might expect, his platform emphasizes the bus priority and upzones at the core of our agenda for the city. We trust him more than any other candidate to resist neighborhood interests that oppose these measures. His favored revenue source is a higher downtown parking tax, which is about as good as it gets. Furthermore, Seattle Subway (unlike STB) does real retail politics, a useful training ground for the act of building support in the real world.
Emily Myers is a scientist who is emphasizing climate change in her campaign. She was one of the architects of the City’s “Green New Deal” and has built an impressive array of endorsements, so she’ll hit the ground running.
She wants progressively-structured congestion pricing to fund transit. She wants to expedite ST3 and ST4. She also wants to complete the Bicycle Master Plan, using data to prioritize which arterials need protected bike lanes most urgently.
District 2 has seven candidates for an open seat on the Seattle City Council. While none of them are uniformly outstanding on transit and land use issues, some are much better than others. As a reminder, here’s our rating system.
The two candidates in this tier share a lot of common ground. They are both for safer streets, more housing types in single family zones, and prioritizing transit. In both cases, concern about displacement veers into unproductively demonizing developers. We would not characterize them as transit wonks, and there are occasional positions we don’t like in their policy mix. But we believe the impact of either overall would be strongly positive.
Endorsements for city council races are starting to trickle in, and we are hard at work on ours as well.
With regards to the City Council, we have many, many candidates who are seeking their first office. This new council will see many important issues over the next few years. Some that are top of mind for us include:
Lifting the apartment ban on the majority of Seattle’s residential land
Keeping large housing projects from getting bogged down in NIMBY complaints
Staying strong on bike and bus priority in the face of parochial (or mayoral) pressure
Increasing funding for buses, either through a renewed Seattle TBD or another measure, hopefully in a way that helps get buses out of traffic
Unlike previous cycles, rather than select a single candidate we will rate candidates as “Excellent”, “Good”, “Fair,” or “Poor” based on their estimated policy impact, positive or negative, on transit and land use progress in Seattle. As most candidates in city council races don’t have any legislative or political experience, we’ll rely what’s in their platform and what they’ve said at various debates.
Here’s how we define those terms. This is evolving so we reserve the right to be inconsistent, but we’ll do our best to explain our thinking.
Excellent candidates are ones who have a passion for transit-related issues and the desire to spend political capital making our issues their issues. It’s one thing to call for the elimination of single-family zoning in a debate, it’s quite another to craft the policy and push it over the finish line.
Good candidates are ones we mostly agree with on issues but we either have some reservations or we don’t think that transit is a particular focus or passion.
Fair candidates we may disagree with on one or two major things and are at best a continuation of the status quo on the council.
Poor candidates are unqualified or hold many positions we actively disagree with.
The first round will come shortly. For city council, we’ll be offering ratings in Districts 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7. Lisa Herbold in D1 hasn’t drawn any pro-transit/pro-density opposition, so we’ll save our ink.
In the meantime, let us know in the comments if there are any suburban races we should be thinking about.
The editorial board consists of Martin Duke, Brent White, and Frank Chiachiere