In race for District 3, Bowers puts housing first

Bowers says it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand Seattle’s lack of affordable housing (Image: Vote for Logan)

Covering an election as if it were a horse race is frowned upon when it comes to journalism ethics. It puts the focus on things like polling data and popularity — not policy. So, how about a Solowheel race?

It’s true. Logan Bowers rides an “electric unicycle” — he Solowheeled to our meeting with the candidate around the holidays at 15th Ave E’s Victrola. But while he was rolling across Capitol Hill, he was thinking about housing — housing policy.

“I think the thing to remember is that we had a huge win when we got $15 an hour minimum wage, but all of the gains from that wage — or nearly all of them have been eaten up by rent,” Bowers said. “So folks aren’t better off if we can’t control the price of housing.” Continue reading

Madison Park resident considers ‘centrist independent’ run for president

Schultz inside the 23rd and Jackson Starbucks for a 2015 forum on race and policing (Image: Casey Jaywork for CHS)

Could America elect a president who probably couldn’t even win a race for his own district’s City Council seat?

Probably not.

But former Starbucks CEO and longtime Madison Park lakefront mansion resident Howard Schultz is apparently passing up his opportunity to challenge socialist incumbent Kshama Sawant for her seat representing his District 3 on the Seattle City Council in 2019 and, instead, gearing up for a “centrist independent” run for president in 2020. Continue reading

Opponents criticize Sawant for decision to forgo Democracy Vouchers in District 3 race

During her campaign announcement Thursday, Kshama Sawant said she supports the “progressive” Seattle program but won’t be participating in the city’s Democracy Voucher in the race for her District 3 seat on the City Council. Her opponents are questioning the campaign’s explanation.

“The Democracy Voucher program ensures every Seattleite gets a voice in our elections,” candidate Beto Yarce said in a statement Thursday. “Public financing of campaigns means community needs comes first—not special interests.” Continue reading

‘Who runs Seattle?’ — Sawant bracing for million dollar battle for District 3

Sawant embraces Ubah Warsame, a Seattle East African community leader, during Thursday’s press conference at 12th Ave’s Saba restaurant

With promise of tens of thousands of volunteers and support of the Socialist Alternative movement, Kshama Sawant kicked off her 2019 re-election campaign Thursday morning inside Saba, the 12th Ave Ethiopian restaurant she has committed herself to help save as it searches for a new location in the face of planned redevelopment.

“This year will be a referendum on one vital question: Who runs Seattle? Amazon and big business,” Sawant declared. “or working people?” Continue reading

Busy Thursday around Capitol Hill for Sawant: campaign announcement, City Council committee meeting

It’s a busy day in District 3 for Kshama Sawant as the City Council representative for Capitol Hill, the Central District, and the nearby brings her Human Services, Equitable Development, and Renter Rights Committee to Capitol Hill for an evening meeting following a planned morning campaign announcement.

CHS broke the news last week that Sawant’s re-election committee had formally filed to enter the race to defend the incumbent city council member’s seat against a field that has already grown to three challengers. Thursday morning, Sawant is slated to hold a press conference to discuss her 2019 campaign plans. Continue reading

Re-election: Sawant officially enters District 3 race — UPDATE

Kshama Sawant has entered the 2019 race for her seat representing District 3 on the Seattle City Council.

Vote Sawant 2019 is now an official political committee registered with the city’s Ethics and Elections Committee.

According to records, the group is starting with around $2,700 in debt to various organizations including Sawant’s political organization Socialist Alternative, the Unitarian Church of All Souls in New York City, and the Smith & Lowney law firm.

Expect the campaign’s finances to greatly improve. In 2015, Sawant out-raised her opponent by 20%, accumulating some $480,258 in contributions from some 3,900 supporters — about 2,500 more than Pamela Banks. Continue reading

Sawant, D3 candidates respond to reports on Socialist Alternative influence at Seattle City Hall

District 3 representative Kshama Sawant has responded to reports on the control the Socialist Alternative party has over her Seattle City Council office.

Meanwhile, her possible opponents in a race for the D3 seat have weighed in with harsh criticism.

In her statement, Sawant does not refute that she is “democratically accountable” to Socialist Alternative.

“I was elected and then reelected to the Seattle City Council on the basis of my pledge to unwaveringly use my office to help build movements to win victories for ordinary working people,” Sawant’s statement on the reports reads. “A recent article from SCC Insight, now happily picked up by the corporate conservative media, argues that pledge is somehow at odds with my long-standing and publicly declared commitment to remain democratically accountable to the members of my organization, Socialist Alternative.”

Her full statement is here.

Seattle City Council Insight reported this week on findings from a trove of internal Socialist Alternative documents and communications that showed the extent to which Sawant “has handed over her Council responsibilities to Socialist Alternative.”

CHS examined the documents and reported how the Socialist Alternative structure determined Sawant’s votes on City Council actions like the confirmation of Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best.

The documents and letters show that not only is Sawant beholden to the tenets and causes of Socialist Alternative but that the political organization is also calling the shots in Sawant’s City Hall office, setting her policies including how the veteran council member votes, what she will say about her decision in the council chambers, and who works on her city payrolled staff. Continue reading

How Socialist Alternative calls the shots in Sawant’s City Hall office

Critics have long accused Kshama Sawant of putting party before district in her work on the Seattle City Council. Documents published Monday by the Seattle City Council Insight news site seem to show that not only is the District 3 representative beholden to the tenets and causes of Socialist Alternative but that the Trotskyist political organization is also calling the shots in Sawant’s Seattle City Hall office. You can read the full report here — all the documents gathered by SCCI are posted here. SCCI provided copies of the documents to CHS in advance of publication for review and so we could begin our own reporting.

“The IEC agrees that the running and staffing of KS’s office in Seattle be agreed by the national EC of the organisation in consultation with KS,” conclusion number four of a resolution adopted by the worldwide Committee for a Workers’ International and Socialist Alternative’s National Executive Committee in December 2017 reads.

The alphabet soup directive — International Executive Committee, Executive Committee, and, yes, KS for Kshama Sawant — came last winter after a round of infighting over concerns that the Seattle City Council member’s office had been “unaccountable” to national leadership. Continue reading

Sawant: Make transit free during coming ‘Seattle Squeeze’

(Image: City of Seattle)

Officials have been warning of the coming “Seattle Squeeze” starting with the January 11th closure of SR-99 offering up “Rapid Response Teams” and discounts on Uber but only one has stepped up to make the boldest, likely most effective, and — unfortunately — probably most implausible call yet — make public transit in Seattle free.

“Immediately, public transit from Metro to the Light Rail should be made free for all during the three weeks of the Seattle Squeeze,” District 3 council member Kshama Sawant writes in a letter to Mayor Jenny Durkan and King County Executive Dow Constantine. Continue reading

‘Neighborhood activist’ Murakami, pot entrepreneur Bowers join race for District 3

There are now three challengers for the Seattle City Council District 3 seat held by Kshama Sawant.

And none of them are Kshama Sawant.

Pat Murakami, defeated in her 2017 run against Lorena González for the council’s Position 9 citywide seat, and pot entrepreneur Logan Bowers have joined nonprofit director and entrepreneur Beto Yarce in the race to lead District 3 representing neighborhoods including Capitol Hill, the Central District, First Hill, and, yes, Beacon Hill. Continue reading