One year in, what’s your Jenny Durkan Capitol Hill approval rating?

During Seattle’s annual “Kitty Hall,” Durkan faced what was *probably* the easiest decisions of her first year in office (Image: City of Seattle)

Last year around this time, newly sworn-in Mayor Jenny Durkan stopped through Capitol Hill and was met by a disruptive protest as she kicked-off her administration. It was the start of a sometimes rocky year for Mayor Durkan — and Seattle including an ugly fight over the Amazon head tax and the slogged out final miles of the police union contract. Monday, with her new $5.9 billion city budget in hand, Mayor Durkan returns to the neighborhood to start her second year with a “Capitol Hill Community Celebration,” part of a week “crisscrossing Seattle,” “listening to community members,” and attending “nearly a dozen community events and roundtables in all seven Council districts, from Northgate to West Seattle to New Holly to Ballard.”

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Monday’s Capitol Hill event is mostly a social calling. Taking place at 12th Ave’s Rachel’s Ginger Beer starting at 4:30 PM, the Capitol Hill gathering will be short and sweet. The mayor’s people only gave her 90 minutes to enjoy a Moscow Mule and make it through Seattle traffic to a second celebration scheduled in Ballard. If only it were the late 2030s, she could take the train.

Monday’s community parties follow Durkan’s big business at City Hall earlier in the day. At 1:15 PM, the mayor will sign the 2019-2020 city budget. Pounded into its final shape by the Seattle City Council last week. The $5.9 billion plan includes general City Hall belt tightening like cutting fuel and consultant costs as the city prepares for a forecasted economic slowdown. Most departments will face cuts to consultant spends and to their fuel budgets as 10% of the city’s vehicle fleet is axed along with some major commitments to the Seattle Police DepartmentSeattle Fire, and SDOT. For Capitol Hill, there is money earmarked for homelessness outreach in the neighborhood and a holdover $1 million to help boost an affordable housing and youth center project on Broadway.

With Monday focused on the budget and the community celebrations, Tuesday, Durkan is scheduled to announce details of the city’s continued efforts on criminal justice reform, part of her and SPD Chief Carmen Best’s pledge to continue to pursue reform at SPD even after pounding out a new contract agreement with the Seattle Police Officers Guild.

Friday in the mayor’s week of activity marking the start of her second year in office is scheduled to be focused on “new actions” to support Seattle small businesses. That session will be a virtual second round of Capitol Hill activity for the mayor. CHS reported earlier this year about the heavy Capitol Hill presence on the mayor’s newly formed Small Business Advisory Council.

What does Mayor Bloomberg think? (Image: City of Seattle)

While some are bandying about the “M word” about Durkan as she seemingly is picking up steam headed into her second year, don’t necessarily expect a Capitol Hill victory tour for the mayor among her neighborhood business base. Capitol Hill’s business community is a little more fractured than this time last year as the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce had to pull back on a plan for a major expansion of its City Hall-backed business improvement area. Seattle’s summer head tax head fake also left a bad aftertaste as has, for many, her slow down and think about it approach to transit.

But the mayor also has strengths and victories to build on. She got her $619 million education levy passed. She continues to be a voice against the Trump administration. And the city seems to be rallying around the coming “period of maximum constraint” and the massive changes about to finally be unveiled on the city’s waterfront. The mayor will also likely enjoy her relatively secure position and ability to play some political hardball as seven of the city’s nine City Council positions representing the neighborhood districts are up for grabs in 2019.

Starting the second year of her term, Durkan is still a long way from having to worry about reelection. That’s probably a good thing. When we asked CHS readers earlier this year in spring what they thought of Durkan’s early performance, just under 40% chose the middle ground neither approving or disapproving of her job running the city. After a year of head tax battles, homelessness and affordability efforts, and police reform debate, we’re going to guess opinions have firmed — but you tell us.


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15 thoughts on “One year in, what’s your Jenny Durkan Capitol Hill approval rating?

  1. It would be interesting to see a simultaneous poll about satisfaction with City Council. It’s highly likely that some of Durkan’s critics are actually upset about things driven by SCC vs. the Mayor. Of course, the frothing Socialists won’t be happy with anything.

  2. Disapprove. The homelessness crisis continues to destroy our city and she has done little to address it. Meanwhile she has time and again proven to be indecisive and easily cowed by political bullying and the radicals on the city council.

    Stand your ground, Jenny. If you didn’t want Carmen Best to be police chief, she shouldn’t be police chief. If you didn’t want the head tax to ever pass in the first place, it should never have passed. If you want homelessness funding to go to the nav team instead of these corrupt organizations like SHARE and LIHI, that’s where it should have gone. You’re the mayor for pete’s sake. Use your bully pulpit. Nobody likes these idiots on the council and in the streets who scream and cry whenever you take their power/money.

      • double right-on…. is “Build” serious about the streetcar? It’s hard to believe anybody thinks those POS are a good idea. The existing ones are a joke and fiasco. It literally slows to 5mph descending Broadway toward Yesler….

    • As a resident of Capitol Hill for the last 7-8 years, I walk all over the city and see the impact that all this growth has had with the underserved. I am a street photographer on my time off and it breaks my heart to see what is happening. I offer help, however, I can but this city is rich and if it wants to it can make a real difference. The really annoying part of all this is that her brother Tim Durkin knows the struggles and shares photos of those riddled with drug abuse and homelessness. Yet even his work or direct line of sight on the issue does nothing to make her do something policy-wise. I will continue to take photos and tag her in every single one. Eventually, I will make ONE book with these photos and send them to her… This town needs to come up with a decisive plan and execute it and yes it needs to pull taxes from the wealthiest company here…

      • These homeless issues have been plaguing this city a lot longer than 7-8 years and long before Amazon became a major player in this city. It’s going to continue to be a problem IMO until:
        1) There’s adequate transitional housing that provides addiction/mental health services
        2) The transitional housing provides clear path/timeline to employment
        3) Increase in low incoming housing inventory to move the newly employed, transitioning folks into permanently housing
        4) Strick enforcement during the transition period e.g. actively seeking employment, managing addiction
        5) Continue the sweeps camps, with outreach teams offering assistance into said transitional housing.

        For me, I’m giving Durken 1 full term before I pass judgement.

        Also, you’re fully capturing the homeless issue with only stylized pics of POC… Make sure to snap shots of the unauthorized camps that artistically frame the discarded needles, trash, and piles of bikes strewn about.

      • Brian, I am taking photos of things that happen out in the open to show how worse it’s getting and if you go far back enough, you’ll see white people as well. Things that happen in the shadows I have no access too. Tim Durkin does have access to that and photographs it well and can share it with his sister (I’m sure he has). I show how it is getting worse and how it never gets any better. I want real action, and all those things you mentioned make sense, and I want them to take action. As for me covering it fully, I’ll never cover it fully, but as someone who shoots 30 rolls a month, I have tons of photos in very public places. I can’t share all of them because I want to share some good things I see when walking around too but the book I’m making just for her will have all the things I don’t share on the regular. I’m not selective on any race either I shoot what is there on my walks. It’s a mixed bag week to week.

      • Brian, also they are not stylized photographs its just whatever lens and film stock that is used for the picture. I’m not sitting there going ”this filter would look great for this scene”

      • Help me understand why unemployable people who suffer from some sort of mental disorder and/or drug addiction and are typically homeless need to be given housing in some of the most expensive real estate in the city/county/state? It’s confusing to me that the Mayor and City Council doesn’t do anything for the middle class who have to commute an hour to work each way, live in older housing and pay 2k a month for child care. Why do the minority populations get all the time and resources of the city? Why aren’t we helping the majority of the population live closer to jobs and have more money to raise a family?

  3. Less than zero. Durkan is a tyrant, oppressor, racist, blatant classist, thief, a criminal and a menace. Sex criminal even (used her federal position to commit attempted rapes by proxy, used a 9 time sex felon as a “field agent” in her un-Constitutional persecution of Leftists/the poor/absolved a violent and active sex offender of his sex offender status/encouraged multiple attempted rapes and dowbloading of child pornography on phone she provided, by said offender and partner/abjured said rapist of any charges related to those offenses she was aware of in real time (multiple attempted sexual assaults/child endangerment/hundreds of downloaded graphic child pornography images/paid $90,000 of local taxpayer dollars to the active predator, pedophile and rapist to falsely imprison innocent people (2 for over 2 decades, also proven very mentally ill and or deficient)/let rapist/pedophile partner escape at large under federal protection). All of that was on Capitol Hill. She has done her best to destroy any history or culture in the area, and to dominate the poor and needy that she has thoroughly victimized and fed off of parasitically. She is a vile psychopath, and has ushered in incorrigible corporate domination and oppression, and done her best to profit from misery (through fraud and crime), while not spending a cent of her own extremely privileged, elite-born, trust funded money. Shocking that she was so heavily supported by the previous corporate shill and fellow sex offender/pedophile/rapist that occupied her mayoral throne. She also refused to prosecute major banks for illegally paving the way to her dream of dystopian gentrification and destruction. Her office and campaign were heavily funded by Bloomberg, who also implanted several other shills in our Council, and has done his, Chinese mafia, and Jeff Bezos’ bidding. What a horrendous blow to Seattle her blatantly falsified election was. One of the most corrupt mayors this city has had in decades (which is saying a lot). The Central Area and Capitol Hill have been primary victims of hers for ages, and she has maintained her evil, iron grip upon us