Final election data maps: Capitol Hill leaned ‘anti-establishment,’ but rallied for Mosqueda

More blue = More Mosqueda

It’s no surprise that Capitol Hill leans hard to left in local elections. In 2015, socialist City Council member Kshama Sawant decisively won reelection against Urban League CEO Pamela Banks with roughly a ten point margin, and lefty Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders had a solid base of support on Capitol Hill during the 2016 Democratic presidential primary.

The November 2017 general election results complicate this picture — but only slightly. Thanks to Phil Gardner, regional Democratic strategist, CHS has access to detailed visualizations of the final precinct-level voting data from the 2017 local general election. (November’s final election results were finalized on November 28th, according to King County Elections.) Gardner looked at voting data from the citywide Position 8 city council, mayoral, and King County Sheriff’s races. Continue reading

Seattle’s Democracy Vouchers: They worked

One of Seattle’s many progressive experiments, the Democracy Voucher program proved effective for balancing the scales between everyday people with limited money for campaign donations and large companies with more than enough to support their candidate of choice.

Around 25,000 Seattleites made campaign contributions. Driving the big tally, 18,000 Seattle residents gave nearly 70,000 Democracy Vouchers to 2017 candidates. For comparison, roughly 8,200 donated in 2013.

“Seattle voters put in place the Democracy Voucher Program to make local government more accountable to the people of Seattle, and so far, it’s working,” said Tam Doan, research and policy director at Every Voice Center. “As billionaire donors play an increasingly larger role in national politics, Seattle’s Democracy Voucher Program is a promising example and a reminder for the rest of the nation that if we choose to use them, we have the tools necessary to reduce the power of big money and give everyday people a bigger voice in our political system.” Continue reading

Durkan sworn in as Seattle’s 54th 55th 56th mayor

Jenny Durkan, Seattle’s first woman to serve as mayor since 1926 — and the Pacific Northwest metropolis’s first out lesbian mayor, ever — was sworn in at the start of a five-stop tour from the south of the city to its north Tuesday afternoon. Fittingly, the whole thing was planned to come to end Tuesday night with a beer — Lake City Way’s Elliott Bay Public House marked the final stop.

Any Seattle voter who chose Durkan because she seemed like she might be a tough ally in the seeming culture war underway in the country probably liked what they heard Tuesday.

“We will not be bullied and will not be told what to do,” Durkan said. “We’re not spoiling for a fight but we will not back down from what we know is right.” Continue reading

Voters overwhelmingly approve $350M King County Veterans, Seniors and Human Services Levy

Voters this week approved Prop. 1, the Veterans, Seniors and Human Services Levy. It gives funding to services providing assistance to veterans, military service members, their families, seniors and their caregivers, and vulnerable King County populations. At last tally, more than 67% of King County voters said “yes” to the boost.

Capital facilities, regional health, and human services for housing, financial stability, healthy living and social engagement. It requires a six-year property tax less than 11 cents per $1,000 assessed valuation on all taxable property. The tax increases will reach no more than 3.5% in the other five years. It will raise more than $350 million over six years.

It largely helps domestic violence survivors and veterans. Locally, there are groups like King County Veterans’ Consortium, The Seattle Stand Down.

The levy has existed since 2005 when it was created to alleviate deep cuts in human services and was seeking its third renewal. This time it adopts the outcomes-based framework and gives more support to affordable housing.

Previously, each section of the program typically screened around 2,700 veterans with around a 76% success rate in diversion and housing. You can read more about its performance here.

Election 2017 | Optimism party watches Durkan take expected big lead

With reporting by Kelsey Hamlin and photography by Alex Garland

With the combatants in the central battle in Seattle politics gathering their supporters off Capitol Hill, CHS spent Election Night at Broadway and Union’s Optimism Brewing where City Council candidates Lorena González and Teresa Mosqueda and Capitol Hill-based School Board candidate Zachary DeWolf watched the night’s first ballot counts come in and show the expected early big count for mayoral candidate Jenny Durkan.

Full King County results are available at

Durkan’s Election Night party was held at the strong>Westin while Cary Moon supporters rallied at 1st Ave’s Old Stone Brewing Co.

Durkan, a former U.S. Attorney, would be the first woman elected mayor in Seattle since 1926. The Victory Fund, dedicated to boosting LGBTQ candidates, celebrated her likely victory as the first “out lesbian” mayor in the city’s history. Most viewed her as the establishment candidate due to her legal background and her championship of the justice system for solutions. CHS talked with Durkan about her plans for the mayor’s office in the weeks leading up to Election Night. “For three years I sat in on every police shooting case there was,” Durkan told us at the time. “I have spent decades working for social justice in this city.”

Remembering the last woman elected mayor of Seattle, Durkan joked about her legacy Tuesday night:

She also told a story about meeting a Seattle woman who was alive during the Bertha Knight Landes administration. “Last week, I was in South Seattle at the senior center and I met a woman named Jewell who is 94,” Durkan said. “She was alive when Bertha was Mayor. She has lived in this city for decades. She has lived almost two lives. But today Jewell can barely get by. I sat and talked to her. And she pays her rent and expenses – she has only a few hundred dollars left. And she talked to me about how hard it was and how much she really had faith in Seattle. So wanna tell you Jewell if you’re watching this: Help is On the Way.”

While Durkan stopped short of declaring victory, she did acknowledge from the stage that the Seattle Times had called the race in her favor with only the first round of votes counted. Durkan said the campaign was tough but gave her new love for Seattle. “It has really renewed my optimism for this city,” she said.

Back at Optimism, Mosqueda found herself with a Durkan-like lead over challenger Jon Grant. She also found the appropriate adjective given the brewery setting when we asked her how she felt on Election Night. “Full of optimism,” she said before the first tally showed her with more than 60% of the vote. “I feel like this entire year, the campaign has been about how we pull together the community. People are coming out and showing they want somebody who will work for others… believe in women, believe in me.”

Continue reading

Election Day on Capitol Hill and the Broadway ballot drop box is busy

It is Election Day in Seattle. Or, really, Election Night — the first drop of early voting counts will hit sometime after 8 PM. Don’t worry. You still have time to vote. And you don’t need a stamp — just a pen.

CHS stopped by the friendly neighborhood King County Elections ballot drop box Monday. The blue and white, tough as nails security box was already doing brisk business with Capitol Hill and Seattle Central voters. Continue reading

Plymouth on First Hill, one point of progress in Seattle’s homelessness emergency

Plymouth Housing Group built the Cal Anderson House — supportive housing for the Lifelong AIDS Alliance — 17 years ago. Now, they’re opening a new building on First Hill, moving in mostly homeless people with disabilities. Because of the mountains of paperwork, moving people in is a slow and rough process that will be finished by the end of December.

Walking up to the building on Cherry Street, the familiar landscape-painted poles under I-5 accompany people sitting out in the cold on mattresses, in boxes and in tents. Plymouth’s own building attempts to bring a piece of that familiarity inside with its own landscape-painted pole in its lobby.

The security-enforced front desk, operated 24/7, lies adjacent. Largely because of its hours, the building has 10 people on staff. Those working the front desk try to keep tabs on their residents so they know everything is alright while not being too intrusive. It’s a tough balance. UPDATE: CHS reported on the staff total for the project. There are 170 total employees across all Plymouth properties. Sorry for the error.

“A lot of the people who moved in to Plymouth Housing units have not been treated well in the system and bureaucracy,” said chief program officer Kelli Larsen. Continue reading

Year two of Seattle’s homelessness state of emergency marked by City Hall sleep-in, debate over ‘sweeps’

(Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

Two years ago, Seattle declared a state of emergency for homelessness and plans to boost spending to address the issue by a few million dollars. To mark this declaration and stop homeless sweeps, activists slept overnight in Seattle City Hall and on the plaza after they gave over 100 testimonies against so-called “sweeps” before peacefully wrapping up their camps Thursday morning.

“As many times as I’ve stood up here since June, I’ve stood at homeless camps with friends,” Travis Thompson said, addressing a Seattle City Council budget hearing Wednesday night as the sleep-in got underway. He described what happens when police come in to remove the homeless. “What little stability you have is ruined and we put them closer to death by doing that … This needs to happen right now, people are dying!”

At Wednesday night’s budget hearing, both Stop The Sweeps and pro-sweeps group Speak Out Seattle offered ample testimony while people filled the overflow room and rallied outside. As it got dark, others downstairs played in a makeshift band with its own tap dancer. Some said it reminded them of the Occupy movement. People slept in tents, gathered supplies, and huddled around a few heating lamps. Continue reading

13 things CHS heard at the Seattle Peoples Party forum

Tucked into a large church Sunday night, previous mayoral candidate Nikkita Oliver moderated two debates through the Seattle Peoples Party platform. Seattle City Council Position 8 candidates Teresa Mosqueda and Jon Grant went head to head and so did mayoral candidates Jenny Durkan and Cary Moon.

The Peoples Party organization coalesced around the activist Oliver last spring in a bid to challenge Ed Murray when the incumbent seemed a sure bet for reelection.  “We started to think about what that meant for those of us who aren’t wealthy or groomed for political office,” Oliver told the South Seattle Emerald as she announced her campaign.

Much of the same spirit shaped Sunday night’s forum. The debates featured a list of predetermined central values and a healthy dose of skepticism. Oliver said she personally feels voting is not the strongest way to instigate change.

If you don’t yet have your ballot in for the November election, CHS says you should still give it a chance. Here are 13 — in the spirit of Halloween — things CHS heard at Sunday’s forum. Continue reading

Why Capitol Hill needs a Sheriff, anyway

Why should anyone on Capitol Hill care about the King County Sheriff’s election? The King County Sheriff’s Office, after all, is responsible for policing in the unincorporated areas of eastern King County. But the sheriff’s office does much more than that, including shouldering quite a few responsibilities in the neighborhood.

Incumbent John Urquhart, 69 of Mercer Island, has been sheriff since 2012 and involved in law enforcement in some capacity for 42 years. His opponent Mitzi Johanknecht, 58 of West Seattle, is a major in the sheriff’s office has been in law enforcement for 33 years.

One of the largest issues emerging in the campaign doesn’t have as much to do with law enforcement as much as it does with management style. Johanknecht, commander of the southwest precinct, said one of the top reasons she’s running is to reverse what she said is a decline in morale over the past few years that Urquhart has been sheriff. She said she hadn’t actually considered running until she was approached by people inside and outside of the sheriff’s office who encouraged her to run.

Urquhart said he is running for re-election because he’s done a good job, and would like to continue. He credits himself for working to change the culture of the shreiff’s office, pointing out that he’s fired 22 people for cause. And has worked to “dismantle the blue wall of silence.”

“We are a much different sheriff’s office than when I took over,” he said.

The sheriff’s office handles law enforcement for both King County Metro and Sound Transit, so if there’s a problem at the light rail station, on the streetcar, on a bus, or at a bus stop, it’s up to a sheriff’s deputy to respond – with help from Seattle Police when appropriate or needed. The sheriff’s office handles search and rescue operations for people who get in trouble or lost when hiking in the eastern part of the county. Continue reading