For the first time in more than a decade, Gossett faces challenge to represent CD, Capitol Hill on King County Council

Girmay Zahilay, left, is set to challenge King County Council veteran Larry Gossett for the District 2 seat representing the Central District and Capitol Hill.

While much of CHS’s attention on Election 2019 has been focused on the race for the District 3 seat on the Seattle City Council, for the first time in more than a decade, a competitive race is shaping up for the District 2 seat on the King County Council as a young upstart flush with cash challenges a Washington civil rights icon first elected to the council in 1993.

Larry Gossett, former council chair and longtime incumbent, will have a competitor to remain on the council for the first time in 14 years with South Seattle lawyer and nonprofit leader Girmay Zahilay mounting a serious challenge.

The county needs to “target the equitable development of educational opportunities for all our kids, but with a particular focus on low-income and minority kids who are being left further and further behind,” Gossett said. Continue reading

District 3 candidates forum season continues with ‘Transportation, Housing, & Sustainability’ event

At this rate, you’ll have your minds made up before summer. Thursday night brings yet another District 3 candidates forum — this one focused on some pretty important stuff.

A large grouping of some key Seattle advocacy groups is organizing Thursday’s D3 Candidate Forum on Transportation, Housing, & Sustainability at the Washington State Labor Council AFL-CIO offices at 321 16th Ave S just up from Jackson:

District 3 Candidate Forum

An all-star team is bringing the event together including the Housing Development Consortium, Cascade Bicycle Club, Transportation Choices Coalition, Seattle Subway, Tech 4 Housing, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, Seattle Transit Riders Union, Rooted in Rights, the Sierra Club, and the Seattle Group.

This forum will be moderated by Seattle U professor Dr. Larry Hubbell and Seattle Times reporter Heidi Groover.

You can find all CHS Election 2019 coverage here.

Sawant scores ‘no consensus’ victory in the 37th — UPDATE

A few of the D3 candidates looking calm during a long Monday night meeting (Image: 37th District Democrats)

The evening began with an eager standing-room only crowd. More than three and a half hours later, the meeting ended with candidate pamphlets scattered and no consensus reached on an endorsement of the 37th District Democrats Monday night for the hotly-contested District 3 race.

A concerted effort by the Kshama Sawant campaign helped cement a “no consensus” vote as the 37th met Monday night to decide if the candidates deserved the group’s backing ahead of the August primary. The 37th District Dems only formally endorse members of the Democratic Party. Sawant, the incumbent and a member of the Socialist Alternative political group, high fived an aide after the final results were announced at the Ethiopian Community Center Monday night.

UPDATE: CHS has corrected the headline and story to recognized the formal “no endorsement” vote also failed and, instead, the decision reached was a formal “no consensus. Chase Cross, 1st Vice Chair, 37th Legislative District Democrats, notified us about our error and also takes issue with our positioning of the lack of endorsement in the vote:

I read your story about our recent endorsements meeting and there is a big correction needed: The “No Endorsement” position, which would be interpreted as a victory for Sawant (since she is ineligible for our endorsement), was declared the winner. That is flat incorrect — we reached the “No Consensus” position, which is different. No Consensus means that after balloting three times, no candidate and the No Endorsement position have all failed to achieve the 60% threshold. Characterizing it as a “win” for Sawant is inaccurate because not only did the No Endorsement position not pass on any ballot, but Zach DeWolfe also won a majority on every ballot except the final dual endorsement motion with Pat Murakami (a ballot on which No Endorsement” was not available.

The decision in the 37th can be chalked up as a loss for the most progressive of Sawant’s opponents and one candidate who considers the state congressional district her home turf.

“The Chamber of Commerce and Amazon are fighting to take City Hall back to business as usual corporate politics,” Sawant said earlier in the night as she addressed the 37th. “Their role goal in District 3? Anybody but Kshama Sawant. Why? Because they know that my office for the last five years has unwaveringly stood by and represented working people, people of color, and marginalized communities.” Continue reading

15 things CHS heard at the 43rd District Dems D3 forum

You can view video from the debate on the 43rd District Dems Facebook page

The 43rd District Democrats contributed to a rush of candidate forums Saturday afternoon with its event featuring six candidates for the Seattle City Council’s District 3 seat, which includes Capitol Hill and the Central District, discussing issues like homelessness, climate change, and even their favorite mayors in city history. The day also included the most direct political attack by a challenger on the incumbent yet.

While Pat Murakami’s call for a used cruise ship to house the city’s unsheltered population didn’t make a second appearance, Logan Bowers continued his push for a triplex on every block and incumbent Kshama Sawant continued her crusade for rent control and social housing.

The 43rd District Democrats will also be hosting a “Ballots & Bubbly” event Tuesday night at 7 PM at The Riveter, where many of the D3 candidates can talk to voters in smaller settings, and Seattle University will be hosting a marathon of district race town halls on Sunday.

15 things CHS heard at the 43rd District Dems D3 forum

  1. The forum featured one of the clearest rebukes of Sawant’s tenure yet in one of these events from Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce head Egan Orion, who accused the incumbent of being more focused on raising her national profile and money for the Socialist Alternative party: “She’s neglected the people of District 3.” He added moments later: “We need sound policy, not soundbites; we need a council member who will seek out constituents not a camera and a podium.” He said, if elected, he would have office hours in cafes in the district to talk to voters. Continue reading

Reminder: 43rd District Democrats host D3 candidates forum Saturday at The Riveter

Tuesday night, we learned which District 3 candidates most strongly support safe consumption sites, who would pursue downtown tolling, and who would, yes, buy a surplus cruise ship to help address homelessness if she were elected to the Seattle City Council. Wednesday, we learned which D3 candidates prefer pie and which — gasp — prefer cake.

There’s no telling what insights will be gained Saturday when the 43rd District Democrats hold their District 3 City Council forum at Capitol Hill coworking space The Riveter:

District 3 City Council Candidate Forum

“We’ll be asking candidates about their plans to address District 3’s most pressing issues including housing affordability, homelessness, and transportation,” the group promises.

Meanwhile, a D3 session is also on the slate as part of a series of town halls at Seattle University on Sunday.

With District 3 candidates forum season underway, Speak Out Seattle leads with homelessness, displacement in the Central District, and gun violence

The controversial but increasingly influential political group Speak Out Seattle hosted a forum for District 3 city council candidates to discuss issues of homelessness, displacement in the Central District, and gun violence among others over the course of the event that took place Tuesday evening in front of a standing-room only crowd at the Northwest African American Museum.

The first question of the evening from Speak Out Seattle stemmed from an issue that is informing much of this year’s city council races: the failed head tax.

“Look, big business has to do more to pay their fair share,” said Zachary DeWolf, the first out gay Seattle Public Schools board member, also arguing that the head tax has dominated the debate too much. “Everyday we talk about this unsuccessful policy, we have not talked about the other ideas, which are increasing the local estate tax” as well as basing fees and fines on income levels. (DeWolf is the only candidate to have written for CHS)

Council member Kshama Sawant, the Socialist Alternative incumbent, was the sole candidate to voice continued support for the tax. Continue reading

SOS: All D3 candidates to attend forum hosted by Speak out Seattle

Tuesday night will bring a D3 candidate forum to the Central District organized by a group that has drawn criticism but appears to be shaping up as an important player in this summer’s city council races.

The forum, at the Northwest African American Museum Tuesday night, is Speak Out Seattle’s final pre-primary forum after it has hosted a string of forums in other districts in the past months.

All seven candidates currently in the D3 race (Capitol Hill LGBTQIA activist Asukaa Jaxx has withdrawn) will attend the forum, which will be moderated by KIRO 7’s Essex Porter and feature a City of Seattle table with information and a chance for people to fill in or replace their (lost) democracy vouchers.

SOS District 3 Candidate Forum

Among the candidates attending is Zachary DeWolf, who has previously said he wouldn’t attend the debates hosted by Speak Out Seattle. “I’m not really sure that they are completely unbiased and coming to the table in good faith, so my inclination is no,” DeWolf said in April and repeated his position in another interview with journalist Erica C. Barnett.

But he is scheduled to attend Tuesday night.

DeWolf said he talked with the SOS organizers of the forum, who indicated “that they were being misrepresented,” he said. “They communicated to me that they’re interested in solutions, that they’re not for sweeps when there are no resources for people. My understanding from that communication is that they’re not what everybody is saying they are. I don’t have anything else to go off, and I have to take them at their word.”

The local organization, which has opposed drug-consumption sites, the head tax, tiny house villages, and encampments, had come under scrutiny for its views and some shared early connections with Safe Seattle, an online group that has mapped where homeless people live, spread fake news about a beheading in a homeless encampment and posted videos of people in crisis.

DeWolf’s change of heart might signal a larger shift in views on SOS, which seems to have been putting in work to appear less partisan. Continue reading

With forum and debate season underway, D3 candidates talk homelessness, small biz, and ‘a Green New Deal for ordinary working people’ with some of their youngest constituents

In a Sunday afternoon forum and an early test of their platforms as they speed toward an August primary, four candidates for the Seattle City Council’s District 3 seat — including current council member Kshama Sawant who called for a “a Green New Deal for ordinary working people” — answered questions from some of their youngest constituents on a range of issues from homelessness to small business development.

The event, led by the King County Young Democrats, hosted forums for five of this year’s Council races. The other three D3 candidates were urbanist Logan Bowers, Seattle School Board Director Zachary DeWolf, and public defender Ami Nguyen, while neighborhood activist Pat Murakami and Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce head Egan Orion were not invited to participate due to time constraints.

UPDATE 4/29/2018 9:05 AM: KCYD chair Derek Richards offered this explanation for the invitation decisions:

There are about 57 candidates whom have declared for Seattle City Council, it is literally impossible to have a forum to include all of them and not have the meeting be a 12 hour marathon. With the candidates we had it still took 3.5 hours. It sounds like you are more interested in many of the other great organizations and neighborhood councils that will be hosting district specific candidate forums in the months leading up to the primary vote where you will be able to hear all of their opinions and I would encourage you to attend those.

UPDATE x2: Richards provided some more context on the decision around D3 in a message to CHS:

Since we were fitting 5 different districts in our meeting we had decided 3 candidates per district to keep the forum around 3 hours. For district 3 we did number of individual contributors, which gave us Councilmember Sawant, Logan Bowers and Ami Nguyen. Then the day we were going to send invites Zach DeWolf announced and had 2 city council endorsements and all the school board endorsements so we made an exception for D3 to have 4 candidates. However all candidates are welcome to speak at our endorsements meeting on Sunday May 19th at the WSLC between 5 and 7.

No matter the question, Sawant, a member of the Socialist Alternative political organization, pivoted to affordable housing concerns and her push for rent control. She repeatedly decried the council for its handling of the head tax and its overall lack of political courage. Answering a question on waste management, the council member called for a large-scale climate overhaul led by Seattle.

“The bottom line that we need, in terms of a Green New Deal for ordinary working people, is a massive public works program to expand transit and affordable housing and, primarily, what we need is social housing,” Sawant said, calling for a tax on big business to fund this publicly-funded and -owned housing proposal. Continue reading

Gloves come off in District 3 cash battle as Bowers first to have Democracy Voucher cap lifted

Bowers at a recent “Coffee with Logan” session (Image: Logan for Seattle)

The battle over District 3’s seat on the Seattle City Council is the city’s most expensive. Some of that money — $75,000 of it, to be exact — is why candidate Logan Bowers has achieved a milestone first for the district. Bowers is now the first D3 Democracy Voucher recipient to be released from the program’s fundraising cap.

“With the latest round of Democracy Vouchers currently being processed, I’ll hit the $75k limit,” Bowers explained to CHS. “By raising $76k herself through last month alone, Kshama has pushed the price tag on a fair election even higher.” Continue reading

Can DeWolf win District 3 running against ‘homelessness, rising housing costs, anti-worker values, regressive taxes’ — and not Sawant?


When Zachary DeWolf took the mic at Tougo Coffee on Yesler Way to announce his candidacy for Seattle City Council District 3 Tuesday morning, he made sure to make one thing clear. “I’m not running against whoever is in office,” he said, flanked by his husband, friends, and community leaders including Tunny Vann from the Port of Seattle and Sokha Danh of the Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation Development Authority.

With his candidacy, DeWolf, a citizen of the Chippewa Cree Nation, the first out gay Seattle Public Schools board member, former Capitol Hill Community Council president and program manager for regional homelessness agency All Home King County, joins an already-crowded race to dethrone incumbent Sawant, who is running for a third term.

During his speech, DeWolf posited that his opponent was not Sawant, but rather “homelessness, rising housing costs, anti-worker values, regressive taxes and fees.”

Still, he also said “we need to ask ourselves if any of us are better off than we were eight years ago or if any of our community’s problems have been solved during that time. I also believe we need a leader who is uncompromising and absolute in their commitment to listen to their constituents rather than allow their own personal politics to set their agenda. While it might be easier to deliver soundbites or yell our problems away, we simply don’t have time for that anymore,” which reads as a critique of Sawant, who has been charged by opponents and critics of choosing rallies over results, her Socialist Alternative organization over D3 constituents.

Continue reading