The first and only scheduled City Council District 3 debate was more barbed and more focused on neighborhood issues than past forums, but candidates also stuck to well-honed talking points in what is now the home stretch of the race.
City Council member Kshama Sawant and Seattle Urban League CEO Pamela Banks squared off in the hour-long debate at Seattle University Sunday night. Erica C. Barnett of The C is for Crank moderated along with three community panelists. The debate was broadcast live by the Seattle Channel — a recording of the forum is expected to be available for view later this week.
Banks also launched a new line of criticism against Sawant Sunday night, going after her Council attendance record. According to Banks, Sawant has a track record of missing committee meetings including the energy committee, which she chairs.
“You can’t represent the people without doing the work in government,” Banks said.
As in previous forums, Sawant quickly established herself as the more energetic and polished speaker — though it didn’t help that Banks was literally losing her voice as the debate progressed. Banks did prove she could draw a crowd capable of rivaling Sawant’s reliable sea of red. Wearing purple “PB” shirts, the Banks supporters in the crowd matched the Sawant side cheer for cheer.
18 things CHS heard at the D3 debate:
- “I believe in unity,” said Sawant, adding that she rejected Seattle divided by “stunning” financial inequity.
- Banks: “My opponent only listens to people who think she is great.”
- Career Bridge, a jobs program launched by the Urban League under Banks, was brought up multiple times in the evening. Sawant said she wanted to bolster the program; Banks said she tried to meet with Sawant about it last year, but could never get an appointment.
- Before hiring more police officers, Sawant called for an audit of the Seattle Police Department to see how resources are being deployed. Continue reading