In May, CHS wrote about the unusual strength of the Capitol Hill Community Council to help shape City Hall’s work in Central Seattle neighborhoods. We also noted that it was time — once again — to appoint new leaders for the council. June’s meeting is Thursday night at the Cal Anderson Shelterhouse starting at 6:30 PM. The gathering will include the election of the candidates — detailed below — who have stepped forward to continue their work with the group or forge new paths. It’s a formality — none of the positions are contested. But it’s also a good opportunity to show your support for the group if you have a few minutes to spare that night.
Below are the 2014/2015 officer candidate statements. Thanks for being willing to serve! You can learn more at capitolhillcommunitycouncil.org.
George Bakan – for President
For 26 years George Bakan has been the Editor-in-Chief for Seattle Gay News. He has been overseeing the operation of the SGN weekly newspaper since 1983. George was born in Seattle, raised in rural Bellevue and in the 1960s he moved with his family to Eastern Washington. George returned to Seattle in the early 1980s to become a gay activist. Some of the highlights of his almost 30-years of gay community activism are organizing the Seattle AIDS Action Committee in 1983, which later became Mobilization Against AIDS.
During the early days of the AIDS epidemic George and the Seattle AIDS Action Committee organized an annual candle light vigil at SCCC at Pine and Broadway on Capitol Hill. During his early days as an activist he co-chaired the 1984 Freedom Day Committee, now known as Seattle Out and Proud. George was the regional co-chair for the 1987 and 1993 National Marches on Washington, DC. During both organizing efforts Bakan led the Northwest sponsored push for bi and transsexual inclusion at the national events. He was on the Hands Off Washington (HOW) Executive Committee and was for a time Vice Chair for Hands Off Washington. HOW worked statewide on LGBT political issues from 1992 to 1996. Thought of retirement does not suit George. The LGBT veteran activist continues his daily oversight at the SGN and looks towards future projects, including health issues for old gay guys and setting up training and leadership workshops for young LGBT activists and a tree planting project in Seattle parks to honor people who’ve died of AIDS.
Zachary Pullin – for Vice President
Is an enrolled member of the Chippewa Cree Tribe of Rocky Boy, Montana and a former Peace Corps volunteer in Belize, he finds passion in service and illuminating how our myriad identities weave together. Currently the Communications Coordinator for the Krista Foundation for Global Citizenship, he also works with Gay City hosting community conversation events for the LGBTQ community. He is currently an at-large member of the Capitol Hill Community Council, a member of the Gender Justice League, Northwest Two Spirits Society, the Native American Advisory Council with the SPD, and Seattle Neighborhood Greenways. Zachary has also spoken about social justice, inclusion, access, intersectionality, and community at universities across the country from Emory in Atlanta to Mills College in San Francisco, and is a freelance writer in notable publications such as The Advocate, Native Peoples, and Indian Country Today. His greatest accomplishment is bringing neighbors together for forums and summits to address intersectionality and community building.
I am interested in the Vice President role because I value that the Capitol Hill Community Council is for more than social justice, equity, and neighborhood livability. The CHCC is for authentic community; and, I would love to add to that mission. With experience in communications, digital media, marketing, sustainable development, nonviolent resistance, and community organizing, I know I will provide valuable experience and perspective to an already talented council. Refreshing our website and email management are my first goals as I hope to increase Capitol Hill resident participation at meetings and at various neighborhood events.
As a former Peace Corps volunteer, my inclination to serve is inherent in how I approach social justice and advocacy. As a young gay, Native American living on the Hill and organizing with various local community groups, I can add a fresh voice on the issues that matter to those who live, work, and organize on Capitol Hill. My interests are in affordable housing, neighborhood density, safety, the arts, and culture. I intend to represent the interests of renters, metro users, and marginalized groups with little to no access.
Mike Archambault – for Treasurer
I have have been living in Capitol Hill for that last 7 years, and I currently rent a 1 bedroom apartment with my partner in a beautiful, old (built in 1909!), brick building on Summit.
Over the years, I have worked with CHCC and community members to help make our neighborhood a safer place to walk, bike, and take transit. I’m proud to have been involved in past Community Council efforts such as the Complete Streetcar Campaign and the 12th Ave Safety Improvement Project, two fruitful projects that were made possible only through the strong community support and with the help of CHCC.
I currently see high housing costs as the most immediate crisis facing our neighborhood. I have witnessed too many friends and neighbors get pushed out of Capitol Hill to escape the quickly rising rents. If we want any chance at retaining the current fabric of residents and buildings that make Capitol Hill so special today, we need to work hard to make room for the inundation of new residents.
I’m thrilled by the opportunity to work as Treasurer for the Community Council. My strong math and engineering background make me well equipped to keep track of CHCC’s finances, and I’m excited to help the council find solutions that make Capitol Hill’s streets safer and its housing more affordable.
Elliot Helmbrecht – for Secretary
Is a Minnesota native and is approaching his 10-year anniversary of living in Seattle this fall. Four years ago, Elliot moved to Capitol Hill into an early-1900’s, brick building and in 2012 he and his girlfriend began co-managing the 29-unit apartment. During their two years of managing the building they have tried to foster a sense of community among the tenants by hosting events for neighbors to meet each other and socialize. Currently, Elliot works for Northwest Passage Consulting in Seattle. He previously worked for Capitol Hill Housing, an affordable housing developer and provider. One of his greatest accomplishments working with Capitol Hill Housing was his participation on a workgroup to assess and reduce barriers to housing for low-income neighbors in our community.
I am running for the Secretary position with the Capitol Hill Community Council to improve our online presence and meeting notices to encourage broader participation among Capitol Hill’s residents. We can expand our media relations to cover our meetings and issues we care about. I believe the Capitol Hill Community Council has shown evidence of being successful at neighborhood advocacy in the past. The potential to do even more is possible with an engaged and dedicated group of leaders and members.
Erie Jones – for Member at Large
I have lived, and also worked on the hill for 35 years and counting. In my view it is one of the best urban neighborhoods in the country. Simply stated, I would like to contribute to keeping it one of the best. This would include maintaining our diversity and tolerance for all, promoting affordable living, keeping local businesses healthy, creatively managing growth and development, preserving our cultural and architectural heritage, and especially maintaining our neighborhood feeling of mutual support. I have taught in Seattle Public Schools for 23 years, including at Lowell Elementary where I helped get the grants for our accessible playscape. I helped plan and build the Thomas Street P-Patch and am active in our neighborhood block watch. I have also helped, financially and through work, set up small businesses on the hill. I am a musician and currently teach music at Dusty Strings in Fremont.
Derek DeWolf – for Member at Large
I am a Seattle native. After graduating High School, I attended Arizona State University, graduating with a degree in International Business and Political Science. I served as an intern in the Senate during college assisting some of Arizona’s most prominent political leaders. After graduation I moved to Portland for a job with Nordstrom where I gained a better understanding of community, service, and consumer relations. Portland is a great city but never felt like home, which is why I moved back to Seattle. I currently live and work on Capitol Hill, the neighborhood I call home. I am fortunate to be a Real Estate Broker for Coldwell Banker Bain and primarily conduct my business serving the Capitol Hill community.
I am dedicated to serving on the Capitol Hill Community Council because I feel an abundance of community only found on Capitol Hill. The hill provides more than an address for me; it shapes the individual I am growing into. Capitol Hill teaches me about diversity, acceptance, understanding, passion, and most important, love every day. In my line of work and at a youthful age of 26, I am able to bridge a gap between different types of neighbors. Whether it be a renter living in an early 1900’s walk-up building starting their future, or a family who has been part of this community for decades dwelling in a large North Capitol Hill Craftsman. I sympathize with the young professionals who struggle financially while also sharing concern for the future of our community. My daily interactions provide me a path for communication. I recognize the history of leadership, activism, and perseverance it took to make a difference here, which is what I hope to do.
I am running for member-at-large position and will utilize my passion, experience with community, and deep-rooted commitment to making Capitol Hill a better place for my friends, my neighbors, and one day, my family in this role.
Thank you for considering my interest in this role.