Nikkita Oliver’s run for mayor: housing, education, and ending the ‘school-to-prison pipeline’

It's official. Nikkita Oliver turned in her paperwork Monday to enter the race to be Seattle's mayor

It’s official. Nikkita Oliver turned in her paperwork Monday to enter the race to be Seattle’s mayor

The newly formed Peoples Party of Seattle is putting all-in-one educator, attorney, spoken-word poet, and activist Nikkita Oliver forward as its candidate to take on Mayor Ed Murray for this year’s election.

Oliver’s decision to run and help launch the “community-centered grassroots political party” came after the election of President Donald Trump.

“I didn’t want to stand in a place of powerlessness,” Oliver said.

After the election, she started meeting people for coffee, talking about values and concerns. Oliver talked with the “aunties and elders” in her community about how people running on the same platforms yield the same results and maybe it’s time to try something different.

Over time, those conversations lead to the collective decision that “we need to transform our local government.”

The party formed and encouraged Oliver to run against Murray.

“I take what my community says to me to heart,” Oliver told CHS. “… I’m not going to act like I entered into this with ease. I take it very seriously.” Continue reading

Activist Nikkita Oliver, new Seattle Peoples Party to take on Murray

Nikkita Oliver, an activist and attorney, will challenge incumbent Ed Murray in his first quest for reelection as Mayor of Seattle. She would be the first Black woman to serve as mayor in the city.

“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 in an interview published Wednesday announcing her campaign. “We needed people to begin running as public servants on this idea of a participatory governance system, doing so in a way that was really transformative.”

Oliver will run as a member of the Peoples Party, a newly formed group “led by and accountable to the people most requiring access and equity in the City of Seattle.” Continue reading

Safe streets advocate challenges Mayor Murray

(Image: Andres Salomon for Mayor)

(Image: Andres Salomon for Mayor)

At least one person in Seattle will pose a challenge to the incumbent.

Mayor Ed Murray is, of course, running to keep his office in City Hall and already has $100,000 in funding on hand. So far his only real challenger out of the four candidates who have declared so far seems to be Andres Salomon, an Ecuadorian immigrant whose family gets around the city by biking, walking, taking public transit — they don’t own a car.

The 36 year old has been working on safe streets advocacy for about five years. He first got into it because he wants his son, Atom, to be able to walk and bike safely.

“I’d hoped we’d make better progress by now and yet every week it seems somebody’s hit crossing 65th,” Salomon told CHS. “… We’re not there yet. I think that becoming mayor is the quickest path to getting the safe streets that I would really like for myself and my family.” Continue reading

First Action: From Capitol Hill bar and cafe, Women’s March movement sends postcards to D.C.

Jocelyn Coimbre had planned to get some pizza and invite some friends over to write to Washington state’s members of Congress for the Women’s March new campaign, 10 Actions for the First 100 Days.

But then she decided to invite a few more people and go to a bar. Eventually, the gathering grew to a few thousand people interested in attending the meet-ups at six different locations in Seattle organized via facebook.com/100DaysSeattle.

“I would have been happy with 100 (people),” Coimbre told CHS.

At one Capitol Hill location Monday night, the event started at 6 PM and tables and the bar were full of people writing postcards at E Pike’s Wildrose. Coimbre printed 3,000 official postcards from the Women’s March website to send to Washington D.C. and expected to run out by 9. Continue reading

Seven candidates file for Seattle City Council Position 8 race

No incumbent and Seattle’s new Democracy Voucher program has drawn seven candidates to the race for the at-large City Council Position 8 so far.

In November, Jon Grant, former director of the Tenants Union, announced his bid for the seat left open by longtime council member Tim Burgess’s impending retirement. Since then notable others have decided to vie for the job. Among them are Mac McGregor, a gender, diversity, and sex educator, activist, speaker, and coach, Teresa Mosqueda, political director for the Washington State Labor Council, and Sheley Secrest, local NAACP vice president.

10660100_10204351737221066_5828433409770086078_nMac McGregor
McGregor served on the Seattle LGBTQ Commission from 2011 to 2016. As The Gender Sensei, McGregor offers classes on self-defense, martial arts, and Tai-chi wellness. He is also a professional life coach, personal trainer, motivational speaker, and educates and trains groups on diversity and sensitivity, according to his website.

The Beacon Hill resident moved to Seattle from the Bible Belt in 2008.

“Even though there’re so many things we do right in Seattle, and we’re a progressive city in so many ways, we can do better,” McGregor told CHS. Continue reading

King County testing pre-paid postage for ballots

img_8920In 2016, King County Elections added heavily used ballot drop boxes including the one on Broadway in front of Seattle Central that collected 16,000 ballots in November. In February, elections officials will test another much-requested feature for Washington’s all-mail ballots — pre-paid postage:

We’re excited to announce that King County Elections is testing pre-paid postage for the February special elections in Maple Valley and the Shoreline School District. During last year’s General Election, we received some questions from voters about why we didn’t pay for the postage on ballots returned through the U.S. Postal Service. We have considered the idea in recent years, but before we can implement pre-paid postage, we knew we had to test it out first.

“This is something I’ve wanted to test since I ran for office,” Julie Wise, King County Elections Director said in a statement. “Pre-paid postage is another tool to remove barriers to voting and increase convenience – and this pilot will help us understand what it might look like for King County.”

Officials say they are testing the pre-paid ballot envelopes “to determine a number of things, including whether paid postage results in more voters returning their ballots.”

The county estimates the cost of of the tests will be around $21,000 $12,000 to serve the 64,032 registered voters in Maple Valley and the Shoreline School District. King County Elections is predicting a 30% voter turnout rate. The county is only charged for ballots returned through the U.S. Postal Service.

How much would it cost to deploy across all of King County? With around 1.2 million voters across the county, the math works out to around $400,000  $225,000.

Seattle’s weekend of anti-Trump protests starts with Capitol Hill student rally — UPDATE

UPDATE 1/21/2017 8:00 AM: Police announced an arrest overnight in the UW shooting.

SPD also reported that a police vehicle suffered a busted window Friday morning:

Around 9:30 AM, an unidentified person threw a rock through the windshield of a Bellevue Police Department officer’s vehicle—which was assisting Seattle police in the Capitol Hill area.

“No other arrests were made during the day’s demonstrations,” SPD reports.

UPDATE 1/20/17 8:50 PM: Police and Seattle Fire have responded to a reported shooting that witnesses say happened in the crowds assembled outside the UW Yiannopoulos appearance. Seattle Fire says a male victim has been transported to the hospital with “possible life threatening injuries. Police are investigating and the protests continue.

UPDATE 1/20/17 7:30 PM: The marchers were last reported headed north on 10th Ave E toward the University of Washington where protesters have been blocking entrance to a planned appearance by right wing Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos.

UPDATE 1/20/17 7:00 PM: A portion of the Westlake crowd marched through downtown and eventually up Capitol Hill following the downtown rally. The marchers have been peaceful and there have been no reports of significant property damage or arrests. SPD says it seized several dangerous objects from people in the Westlake crowd but did not announce any arrests.

UPDATE 1/20/17 3:00 PM: There were surprises from the start of what is expected to be two days of marches and protests following the inauguration of Donald Trump. Student walkout supporters who rallied at Capitol Hill’s Seattle Central were expected to eventually meet up with El Comite immigrants rights marchers en route from the Central District to a large rally planned Friday night in Westlake. But people were ready to get moving earlier than expected and the student marchers set out for a Central District rendezvous with the immigrants rights march. They met on S Jackson before 3 PM and set a new course together for Westlake Park, about 600 strong.

Before the marchers hit the streets, District 3 representative and Socialist Alternative party leader Kshama Sawant warmed up the crowd of students from schools from across Seattle and their supporters. Continue reading

In protest of ‘actions that demean our history and our heroes,’ Rep. Jayapal won’t attend Trump inauguration

Her office may have been offering constituents free tickets to the big show but newly sworn-in 7th District Rep. Pramila Jayapal will not be attending the inauguration of Donald Trump Friday in Washington D.C.

“When I announced last week that I would not be attending the inauguration, I did not undertake the decision lightly,” Jayapal writes in a statement sent to media about the decision. “I had hoped in the days following the election that we would see a President-elect who broke from his campaign rhetoric and worked to unite the American people.”

Continue reading

Affordable housing, tenant rights advocate running for council on Seattle Democracy Vouchers

Jon Grant ran for the seat in 2015, and this year he’s going for the same City Council Position 8 with a platform focused on affordable housing and tenant rights — and being one of the first publicly financed candidates ever in Seattle.

Grant, former director of the Tenants Union, announced his bid back in November with a challenge to supporters to raise 400 $10 donations in the city’s new Democracy Voucher program. He exceeded that by getting 560 vouchers averaging $16 to fund his campaign.

“We had a tremendous response,” Grant said. Grant has already received more donations for this campaign than his entire 10-month campaign in 2015.

Here’s how the voucher program works. Earlier this month, registered voters began getting four $25 in vouchers in the mail. Seattle residents who are at least 18 years old and are a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or lawful permanent resident can apply online for vouchers. Each voucher has the election year, resident’s name, a voucher identification number, and may have a voter ID number and barcode to help with signature verification. All contributions are public information. Continue reading

Community leaders begin efforts toward Capitol Hill ‘sanctuary neighborhood’

img_9967-2-1Elected officials have reaffirmed Seattle as a “sanctuary city” following the election of Donald Trump to the presidency, and now Capitol Hill community leaders want to take actions to further establish the neighborhood as welcoming and safe.

“We’re thinking about … what are some of the tactics that we can be explicit about,” Capitol Hill Community Council President Zachary DeWolf told CHS.

The group’s approach aims to provide sanctuary for people being harassed or discriminated against, educate and activate community members, and raise awareness. Continue reading