Fun fact: I was a good chunk of the way through writing this ridiculous post, and I somehow managed to delete the entire thing without saving. There were jokes (well...Maddux jokes, which it tends to be that only I find funny)! The timing has to do with the King County Democrats' Endorsements Meeting, which is tonight.
Alas, what it all came down to: sometimes people ask for my endorsement. I like to focus on down-ballot races - school boards, judicial races, legislative branch - and suppose I'll end up supporting at least one or two mayoral candidates in Seattle. But, to start:
Renton City Council Pos. 6: I like Jami Smith. A lot of folks I know who live in and/or represent Renton also are fond of Jami Smith (Ed Prince, Marcie Maxwell, Sen. Lisa Wellman). From what I have seen, it's easy to see why: Jami has a vision for Renton - improved education access, bringing more jobs to Renton so folks can work in the same city in which they live, and transportation infrastructure that prioritizes people. Plus, she didn't endorse Steve Litzow, ostensibly supporting the GOP agenda to defund education, defund Planned Parenthood, and wage a war on the Transgender community (that's right: I do guilt by association). Tonight, I'll be supporting Jami, and encourage my friends and family who live in Renton to do the same on their ballot.
Seattle City Council Pos. 8 and 9: This may come as a shock to some, but I'm all in for Teresa Mosqueda and Lorena Gonzalez. Lorena has been a breakout star on the Council since being elected two years ago - police reform, LGBTQ protections, fighting for affordable housing and good paying jobs. Amazing staff plus a great leader = phenomenal results. Teresa is the clear choice for Position 8, bringing personal experience (young Latina, renter) that is unmatched in this race, and a history of effective advocacy and community work (also unmatched). It says something that her supporter list is chock full of affordable housing advocates, tenant rights advocates, and Labor leaders - folks who have worked with multiple candidates in this field know that she's the one to effectively lead on the issues that will keep Seattle moving forward! I'm super proud that KCDCC has already solely endorsed both of these candidates.
Seattle School Board, Districts 4, 5, and 7: Eden Mack, Zachary DeWolf, and Betty Patu. Eden is a leader in education in Seattle. Whether that's part of PTSA, her leadership on Washington's Paramount Duty, or general activism to improve the quality of education for our kids, when I heard she was considering jumping in, I was excited to be an early supporter. Zachary would be the first out LGBTQ member of the School Board...ever? His history of activism and viewing issues through a social justice lens show me that he will be the advocate for safe schools and quality education that our kids need - particularly low-income kids, communities of color, and LGBTQ youth. Betty Patu has been that voice from Southeast Seattle for true equity in education, and has been a leading proponent of community-based action in our schools. The only woman of color on the school board, she brings a perspective that is needed if we are going to meaningfully look for solutions in Seattle. I look forward to supporting all three tonight.
Seattle Mayor: So...this is a job. After this election cycle, we will have our fourth mayor in as many terms. Or maybe our third? Who knows. What I know - there are six major candidates, and for the primary, I get to pick one. But for King County Democrats' Endorsements, I'm only limited to five! So let me go through them, one by one (in order of ballot appearance):
Cary Moon - I really like Cary a lot. She's quite possibly the smartest person (or one of) on city policy on any stage, and shares a lot of priority of values. While I found her consultant's hinting at her entry in poor taste, Cary has shown her values rise above that unfortunate Tweet. One thing that she hasn't shown: the political or executive experience to manage a city the size of Seattle. While she was one of the first in, she has the unfortunate (for her) situation of sharing the stage with Jessyn Farrell. I'll be voting for Cary tonight, and she's a "maybe" for August.
Jessyn Farrell - In 2015, Jessyn Farrell (along with Cary Moon) endorsed Rob Johnson. Regular readers of this blog know how I feel about City Council Member Rob Johnson. This time around, Rob has endorsed Jessyn Farrell. So has the 43rd District Democrats, labor organizations, a host of legislators I'm fond of, and now me. Why: she has been a rock star on transit and transportation infrastructure, affordable housing, having tough conversations with groups that oppose growth, and all while parenting three kids. She doesn't miss a beat, is with me on the overwhelming majority of my issues, and has the experience both executive (former ED of TCC) and elective (former State Representative) to do well. By leaving the House to campaign and be able to raise money, she also shows she's a serious candidate. Plus that fun tidbit: we haven't had a woman mayor in Seattle in a very long time, and last I checked, Jessyn isn't anti-beer. I'll be voting for Jessyn tonight, and she's one of the top two for August - top two enough to have a personal endorsement.
Mike McGinn - Mike's been mayor before, and he started just awful. Politics was clearly not his forte, but he got a lot better. On the issues, he's spot on - prioritize transit, pedestrians, cyclists to protect our environment; invest in affordable housing using more progressive taxation; work to expand missing middle housing throughout the city; and be an open, accessible, and transparent mayor - for better or worse. I have always said a pox on all houses for the McGinn years. With a city council overly hostile, not much was going to get done. This was evidenced by the council voting 5-4 against allowing a legal encampment as a band-aid during the McGinn administration, and then voting unanimously a year later to allow three during the Murray administration. Playing politics with people's lives is a horrible game, and our new council seems to get that. I'll be voting for Mike tonight, and he's the other top two for August - top two enough to have a personal endorsement.
Jenny Durkan - She opposed legalizing marijuana. She worked to arrest people who refused to give up information on peaceful protesters. She supports the homelessness sweeps policy. That whole thing between her and the Urbanist. Here's the thing: 18% of folks experiencing homelessness are LGBTQ. 40% of young people experiencing homelessness are LGBTQ. Just being part of the community doesn't mean you actually care about the entire community - especially when you put an income cutoff before you're ready to terrorize people experiencing trauma - and by supporting the sweeps policies in Seattle, that is exactly what Jenny Durkan does. For all of his faults, Mayor Murray has tried hard to figure out how to do things better. Jenny doesn't seem interested in even learning - which can only be expected from an extremely wealthy candidate originally from the Eastside who spent her time in private schools and among the elite of the political elite. Seattle can do better. #JennybodyButDurkan.
Nikkita Oliver - Nikkita gave the keynote address at my kid's middle school graduation. I was inspired by her words, and hope that the kids were, as well. We do have our differences of opinion, however. Her deference to another candidate on housing policy that is not well rooted in fact is troubling. Not voting for multiple elections - including both on funding the Youth Jail - is troubling. Running on a platform that includes more homeownership opportunities for low-income families and support for existing moderate and low-income folks is awesome. Not knowing until months into the campaign that we already have those programs through the Housing Levy - troubling. Nikkita is coming at issues through the right lens, but her lack of knowledge about the city and programs she is seeking to lead gives me great pause. Still, I'd support her over Durkan.
Bob Hasegawa - I really want to be down with Bob. But time and again, I am not getting that he shares my values for a safe and inclusive city. He's definitely there on missing middle housing (A+!), but then his positions on prioritization for transportation is horrible (citing Tatsuo Nakata as a reason for more pedestrian safety, then later saying car infrastructure is more important, shows a major disconnect). While I am with Bob on a municipal bank, holding up investments in affordable housing, homelessness prevention and intervention, and education access for that bank is a non-starter (we can do them all concurrently). I'm actually fine with working with Community Councils and providing adequate funding and staff to increase participation, but until Community Council reflect the city, I'm not convinced that allowing unfettered control of parts of the budget is a smart move. So I want to, but I just can't get there with Bob. Still, I'd support him over Durkan.
And that is that. A set of endorsements and takes on some races in advance of a vote to endorse tonight. Should be a blast, per usual.