Banks and Sawant face off in only* District 3 debate Sunday

Kshama-Sawant-and-Pamela-BanksSunday night appears to be the only chance to see the two contenders in the first-ever Seattle City Council District 3 race face-off in a public debate dedicated solely to the closely watched race.

City Council member — and de facto incumbent — Kshama Sawant and challenger Pamela Banks will take the stage at Seattle University’s Pigott Auditorium Sunday night at 7:30 PM.

Town Hall, Seattle Channel, and Seattle University present Seattle City Council Debate: District 3 Kshama Sawant and Pamela Banks
7:30PM, Sunday, October 4, 2015 Pigott Auditorium at Seattle University Free Doors open at 6:30 pm. Because this event is televised live, audience members are asked to take their seats by 7:25 pm for the 7:30 pm program. This event is free, but registration is required. No late seating.

You can also watch via the Seattle Channel’s live broadcast.

There is no theme or specific topics listed for the event and moderators will be asking questions tweeted to #seacouncil.

Erica C. Barnett of The C is for Crank will be moderating the forum, along with community moderators Jazmin Williams, founder of Rouge Lioness, and Danielle Askini, executive director of Gender Justice League. You can reserve free tickets here. The Seattle Channel will also broadcast the debate.

Meanwhile, both sides appear to have agreed to drop out of a planned District 3-dedicated debate planned for October 15th, according to an email sent from the Sawant campaign to organizers. Seattle Public Library had planned to sponsor the debate as part of simultaneous forums in districts across the city. CHS and the Capitol Hill Community Council were asked to help moderate event.

Even without debates dedicated solely to the District 3 race, the candidates face a full schedule of forums dedicated to various communities and organizations across the city. Shuffling candidates for multiple races through can make for somewhat harried affairs but occasionally the focus points for the specific community or group hosting the event can provide useful insight.

In mid-September, the Greater Seattle Business Association — the city’s gay chamber of commerce, if you will — hosted a forum at the W hotel that included a D3 session featuring Sawant and Banks taking on questions with an LGBTQ and business-friendly bent.

This doozy started the proceedings:

The Office of Labor Standards was recently established to focus on education and enforcement of the City’s labor laws. The Office itself reports that it receives four times as many inquiries about compliance from businesses than from workers, yet 100% of the requested funding allocation for business outreach and technical assistance was removed. How will you help honest small businesses without human resources departments understand the City’s new, unique laws and obtain the technical abilities to comply with them?

In a format we expect you’ll hear Sunday night, Banks answered with a call for building up existing City Hall resources with “more funding” and creating a new commission “for small businesses” that “need a platform,” while Sawant set up her answer in a larger framework saying the situation illustrated “the reality that City Hall and halls of government in general are accessible only to big business” and that a University of Washington study showed that “big business” was responsible for the majority of “flouting labor laws.” And, yes, Sawant also called for more funding.

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Banks / Sawant / (?)

In a preview of what could be a significant tussle on Sunday after Banks has now said that public safety is her number one issue in the election, the GSBA forum also asked the candidates to identify “two immediate, effective solutions to this violence that you would suggest that don’t just involve pushing the problem to another neighborhood.”

Banks again focused on a limited, some might say practical solution saying she was “very frustrated” by the “toothpaste effect” of pushing crime from one area of the city to the other and that “we have a serious issues with guns” and “have to address it.” Banks said SPD needed to be out “walking beats” — “We don’t know our police officers,” she said.

Sawant, again, pushed a larger agenda with “a broader strategy.” “If you keep passing the buck, the problem doesn’t go away,” she said. On gang violence, Sawant said “Society has failed them. They have no options.” Her solutions included a need to “address income inequality” and housing and fight for “serious answers” on underfunding of social and mental health program. As for funding, Sawant told the GSBA audience we can’t put the burden on small businesses — we need a “tax on millionaires,” the candidate said.

Public safety
The candidates last met at the Seattle Human Services Coalition forum, where social media captured barbs traded over campaign contributions and gun violence.

Hours before the coalition debate, Banks rolled out her public safety plan, which included calling for Seattle to hire ex-gang members to help quell gun violence. She also called for increased funding for the Career Bridge jobs program — an Urban League initiative that Bank’s has been calling for more public investment in since she was running the Seattle branch of the organization. On the issue of youth violence, Sawant touted her efforts to fight against building a new youth jail at 12th and Alder and her support for the Seattle teacher’s union strike.

Sawant took her strongest public safety stance early in the campaign before the primaries with a focus on anti-LGBTQ violence on Capitol Hill. The candidate said economic disparities underpinned bashings. “I want to make an appeal to everyone to connect these (crime) issues to larger economic issues,” she told CHS in March. “Underlying all of this is that people of color, LGBTQ people, working people are finding this city increasingly unlivable.”

The richest race in Seattle
In the fundraising race, Sawant was first to reach the $300,000 donation mark with just under $326,000 raised as of Monday, according to City campaign finance records. Banks is close behind with $299,160.

CHS previously wrote about the different paths the two candidates have taken to create Seattle’s richest race. As of earlier this month, Banks had received just under half the number of contributions of Sawant. However, Banks’s donations are on average about double the size of Sawant’s. Meanwhile, Sawant has raised nearly three times as much as Banks has from outside the city.

While District 3 candidate events may be ending, there are still opportunities to gather with fellow politically-minded District 3 denizens. One such event took place Tuesday night at Witness with a gathering co-hosted by the Capitol Hill Community Council.

Much to the chagrin of Witness owner Gregg Holcomb, there were no full-blown Sawant supporters to grill among the small group. Holcomb hustled out of the 43rd District Democrats endorsement meeting last month after the group declined to endorse big “D” Democrat Banks in the D3 race.

The informal conversations around a few tables touched on familiar election themes. One District 3 resident said he wanted to hear how candidates would ensure affordable housing will be included in development in the future of the MidTown Center property at 23rd and Union. Others voiced concern about Sawant’s views on public takeovers of private businesses and Banks’ lack of specific housing affordability proposals.

Tuesday’s meeting, and the handful of others, have mostly been organized through the relatively robust District 3 Facebook page.

UPDATE 10/2/2015 9:15 AM: The action is heating up heading into Sunday’s debate. Publicola has the account on two tiffs playing out between the campaigns. First, Sawant’s camp reportedly tried to play hardball after the 37th District barely found enough votes to endorse Banks:

Sawant’s troops, hoping for the “No Endorsement,” challenged three pro-Banks votes cast by brand new members, East African immigrants recruited by city council member and 37th member Bruce Harrell (who has endorsed Banks.) The new recruits may not have been members long enough to cast votes.

Second, in a six-night string of thefts, somebody was caught on surveillance video stealing Banks campaign signs from outside the Urban League at 14th and Yesler:

All’s fair, perhaps. It hasn’t been easy for Sawant’s legendary ground game, either. Last Saturday, police were called to a 19th Ave E address to a report of a suspicious black male in a red shirt “trying to get the complainant to come outside.” Police arrived and briefly detained the man who was, of course, a Sawant campaign worker on a get out the vote canvas.

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14 thoughts on “Banks and Sawant face off in only* District 3 debate Sunday

  1. I’m surprised CM Sawant would be okay with Erica moderating their debate considering she refused to sit down for a C is for Crank interview. Having said that, Erica will do a great job!

    • Yeah, that surprised me too, especially given how biased Erica has been in her reporting about the race.

      Though is Erica moderating in her capacity as a journalist or in her capacity as a NARAL employee?

  2. I think this debate will be very interesting. I’m not positive I can attend, so I will look forward to the recap if I can’t see it in person. I have been a long time Sawant supporter, and I will likely vote for her again, but I wish she was running at large. I agree with most of her city-wide platform, but sometimes it feels like Banks takes crime in the CD more seriously. I think both candidates would be excellent leaders and I am eager to see how they differ on key issues.

  3. AS A RESIDENT OF AFRICATOWN / CENTRAL DISTRICTFOR OVER 69 YEARS I PREDICT THAT PAM “DOWNTOWN” BANKSTER WILL LOSE BY 10 PERCENTAGE POINTS OR MORE AS SHE DID IN THE PRIMARY??? THIS IS BASED ON THE CORRUPT ORGANAZATIONS SUpPORTING HER INCLUDING THE POLICE GUILD, THE URBAN LEAGUE (GOOGLE “URBAN LEAGUE WATCH” ) AND CIA DRUG / DOWNTOWN ESTABLISHMENT SUPPORTED “WEED AND SEED” GENTRIFICATION / BLACK ETHNIC CLEANSING PROGRAM(S) (GOOGLE SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS PAPER’S “DARK ALLIANCE” SERIES BY MARK WEBB ON THE WELL ESTABLISHED ORIGIN OF THE REAGAN CIA “CONTRA” CRACK / CRIME EPIDEMIC)???

    URBAN LEAGUE CEO PAM “DOWNTOWN” BANKSTER AND THE CORRUPT ORGANIZATION(S) SHE REPRESENTS (INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO POLICE GUILD), HAVE ENDORSED HER WITH THE “KISS OF DEATH” / DEFEAT??? IN ADDITION THE BANKSTER’S BIO AND LONG TIME EMPLOYMENT WITH CITY GOVERNMENT, TATOOS HER FOREHEAD WITH “DOWNTOWN ESTABLISMENT / GENTRIFICATION DEVELOPERS “MARK OF THE BEAST”???

    BANKSTER’S FAKE PHONY “REPUBLICAN SMILE” MASKS A VERY ANTI-BLACK SELF-HATRED??? HER NEWLY FOUND INTEREST IN “YOUTH GUN VIOLENCE” IS A LAST DITCH, DESPERATE EFFORT TO GAIN RELEVENCE BY JUMPING ON THE “BLACK LVES MATTER” BAND WAGON WITHOUT CONFRONTING HER POLICE GUILD VIOLENT AND DEADLY MASTERS??? WHERE HAS SHE BEEN FOR THE PAST 10 TO 20 YEARS???

    NOW LET’S LOOK AT PAST URBAN LEAGUE “UNCLE TOM” CEO’S RECORDS OF SUCCSFUL COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT??? EDWIN PRATT, SENT TO NEXT WORLD BY SHOTGUN BLAST??? URBAN LEAGUE CEO JEROME PAIGE TOOK UNCLE TOM GAME TO WASHINGTON DC AND WIFE WAS REWARDED WITH BATTERY ACID IN HER FACE, CAUSING HIS ABRUPT RESIGNATION”??? BANKSTERS URBAN LEECH PREDACESSOR / PREDATOR, JAMES “GUNSLINGER” KELLY, WAS REWARDED WITH A SUSPENDED SENTENCE AND PAM “DOWNTOWN” BANKSTERS OLD CITY JOB TO MAINTAIN THE ORGANIZED CRIME RICO-RACKETEERING OPERATION PASSING ITSELF AS CITY, COUNTY AND STATE GOVERNMENT (READ THE BOOKS “PROPHETS OF THE CITY”, “ON THE TAKE” BY WILLIAM CHAMBLISS AND THE HISTORIC SEATTLE WEEKLY ARTICLE, “WHO REALLY RUNS SEATTLE”)???
    THIS AFTER URBAN LEAGUE CEO KELLY PLEADED GUILTY TO “FLASHING” LOADED AUTOMATIC PISTOL ON EFFECTIVE ANTI YOUTH VIOLENCE ORGANIZER INSIDE RAINIER BEACH HIGH SCHOOL???

    PLEASE DON’T TAKE MY WORD ON THIS, DON’T BE POLITICALLY LAZY AND DO YOUR OWN POLITICAL RESEARCH ON WHY ADULT CRIME, MASS KILLINGS AND “YOUTH GUN VIOLENCE “(NO DRONE TERRORISM YET) IS SO PREVALENT IN WAHINGTON, OREGON AND ACROSS AMERICA??? PAM “DOWNTOWN” BANKSTER IS NOT THE ANSWER BUT A NEW FACE OF THE RACKETEERING AND NORM “DON’T GET SHOT AGAIN” RICE “NON-PROFIT CIVIL RIGHTSTER GANGSTERISM”???

    Omari Tahir-Garrett, VIETNAM VETERAN (1967), WORLD TRAVELER, HISTORY / ANTI-APARTHEID / ANTI-COLONIAL SOCIAL STUDIES TEACHER, CO-CHAIR OF BLACK ALLIANCE FOR EDUCATION (1969 TO PRESENT) AND CANDIDATE FOR SEATTLE CITY COUNCIL (2018)

    WEBSITE; OmariForCityCouncil
    WEBSITE; AFRICATOWN / CHINATOWN NEWS DIGEST
    WEBSITE; prison2president

    • Hey Garrett
      On this website,I love to see what your latest rant is.You so full of yourself.Oh,I googled the FBI agent and the Kennedy assination.So what?The person wasn’t MADE an agent until 1964 Kennedy was shot in 1963.
      Get a life Garrett

  4. Is Sawant in office now? Yes. Will her job change if she wins this election? No. How is she not the incumbent?

    • Both you guys have a point. If re-elected, she will go from representing the city as a whole to representing district 3. That said her job performance and canned iron curtain slogans will remain the same.

      • IF she wins, I doubt she will be representing D3, because she has bigger fish to fry. Pamela Banks is much more likely to be an effective advocate for our district.

  5. FYI
    IF YOU HAVE SOME FACTS, TRUTH OR PERSONALLY WITNESS AN EVENT, PLEASE INCLUDE THEM IN YOUR COMMENT. THIS WILL HELP YOUR COMMRNTS HAVE EDUCATIONAL MEANING??? AS FAR AS YOUR OPINIONS AND EMOTIONS ARE CONCERNED, WE ALL HAVE THEM AND OUR 0WN STYLE AND “FINGER PRINTS”??? HOPE YOU AREN’T A LEMMING MINDED CORPORATE DEMOPUBLICAN???

    Omari Tahir, VIETNAM VETERAN, WORLD TRAVELER AND FOREVER A “CHILD” OF THE UNIVERSE

    WEBSITE: OmariForCityCouncil
    WEBSITE: AFRICATOWN / CHINATOWN NES DIGEST
    WEBSITE: prison2president

  6. I have had my Banks signs appropriated several times. Sad when you cant even display support without having people take it away. Not at all surprised to see that video.