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

‘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

‘Beto for Seattle’ — from Capitol Hill’s little pink house to a run for City Hall

Beto Yarce announced his candidacy with supporters and partner Phil Smith at his side

When he first arrived on Capitol Hill in the early 2000s, Beto Yarce’s living arrangements were pretty typical for a young, gay person in their 20s. You may have seen his home — it was hard to miss the little pink house on John just above Broadway.

“I lived with three drag queens and two of my friends were women from Mexico and that’s how it really started, my journey here, you know,” Yarce tells CHS. “I’m seeing the different components of the CD and Capitol Hill and the complex diversity and, now, the needs of having this movement today.”

Yarce talked with CHS Thursday after coming to Capitol Hill for his big announcement — and the start of this movement he’s talking about. He is running for the District 3 seat on the Seattle City Council currently held by Socialist Alternative leader Kshama Sawant.

Back in his early days in Seattle, Yarce wasn’t thinking about public office. Working as a busser, and then a waiter, and, then, eventually the manager at Broadway’s dearly departed Mexican restaurant and lounge Galerias, Yarce began his life in America as an undocumented immigrant from Guadalajara.

“Today, you see me wearing a jacket — but it was not like this all the time,” he told CHS Thursday. “I lived here, I struggled. I worked as a busser. I worked 12 hour days.” Continue reading

Yarce to make 2019 run for Sawant’s City Council seat

UPDATE: Here’s a report on the Yarce announcement and our CHS interview with the candidate:

‘Beto for Seattle’ — from Capitol Hill’s little pink house to a run for City Hall

Original report: Nonprofit director and former Capitol Hill business owner Beto Yarce will challenge for the District 3 seat on the Seattle City Council representing Capitol Hill and the Central District currently held by Kshama Sawant.

Yarce’s campaign describes the candidate as an “award-winning community leader and advocate for women and community of color owned businesses” —

Entrepreneur, immigrant, and award-winning community leader Beto Yarce will announce his campaign for Seattle City Council at El Cuento Preschool on Thursday, November 29th at 11:00am.

Yarce will run for the Seattle City Council in District 3, which includes the Capitol Hill, Leschi, Central District, Madison Park, Madison Valley and Montlake neighborhoods. Yarce, making his first run for office, is the first candidate to announce they will challenge Councilmember Kshama Sawant.

Continue reading

In search of a District 3 candidate at mayor’s Capitol Hill ‘community celebration’ — UPDATE: Yarce is in

Mayor Durkan chats with Rachel’s Ginger Beer owner Rachel Marshall during Monday’s “Capitol Hill community celebration” (Image: CHS)

If there was a prospective District 3 candidate inside Rachel’s Ginger Beer on 12th Ave Monday night at the mayor’s Capitol Hill stop on her “community celebration” tour to mark her first year of office, they weren’t talking.

Neither was Mayor Jenny Durkan.

“I can’t get distracted by that,” Durkan said. “We proved this year and in the budget that Seattle gets things done when we work together.”

Ok, Mayor Durkan, but what about the lone council member who voted against your $5.9 billion budget package? Surely, you have to be thinking about District 3 in 2019.

“Every city needs different voices,” Durkan said. Alas, the mayor wasn’t on Capitol Hill Monday night to back a horse in a race for the seat currently held by Socialist Alternative leader Kshama Sawant. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

Election 2018 | No surprises for Capitol Hill’s incumbent contingent but celebration for the House

Capitol Hill’s Fred Wildlife Refuge hosted Pramila Jayapal’s Election Night party as the incumbent headed for a sure victory after a weekend of get out the vote activity in the neighborhood

Hopes for a repudiation of the Trump administration and a Democratic “Blue Wave” hit modest heights Tuesday as election results rolled in around the country and at a handful of Election Night parties on Seattle’s Capitol Hill.

The neighborhood and the city joined strong voter turnout in the area. The Broadway ballot drop box was full by 9 AM Tuesday morning. King County Elections has projected a turnout above 70% among its 1,289,482 registered voters. Officials said some 660,000 ballots would be counted on Election Night — a record total. You can track your ballot here.

WA-07 incumbent Rep. Pramila Jayapal celebrated Tuesday night at a party in Capitol Hill’s Fred Wildlife Refuge. Her victory over her Republican challenger was never in doubt but her seat will add to the newly won Democratic majority in the nation’s House of Representatives. Continue reading

CHS Pics | A steady flow of democracy fills Broadway’s ballot drop box on Election Day

There was so much democracy going on along Broadway Tuesday morning that King County Elections had to come clean out the ballot drop box in front of Seattle Central — it was full by 9 AM.

Expect a few more visits through the day — you have until 8 PM to be in line to drop your ballot. Continue reading

With races nearing finish line, Capitol Hill hosts busy Seattle Democratic HQ, roster of Election Night parties

Seattle Democrats get ready for a “get out the vote” push Sunday at Capitol Hill’s Odd Fellows building (Image: Washington Democrats)

With the Seattle Democratic Headquarters running full speed on E Pine, you can find any energy you need to complete your ballot — and plenty of company to help you make it through Election Night 2018 on Capitol Hill.

“Our district has really good turnout, but because in this district we don’t have deeply competitive races, people might not always understand how important their vote is,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal said Sunday morning inside Capitol Hill’s Odd Fellows Building where the Seattle Dems have set up their 2018 campaign headquarters and dozens gathered before heading to the streets for a final “get out the vote” push.

“We do not want to wake up on the morning after the election and think to ourselves, ‘I could have done more. I should have done more. I could have knocked on 10 more doors. I could have talked to 10 more neighbors,'” Jayapal said.

Similarly, it might be best to not have any regrets about your Election Night party choices this year. After the traumas of 2016, you probably want to be with like-minded friends and allies. Fortunately, you have a lot of choices this year around Capitol Hill. Continue reading

Town Hall Seattle Election Night Viewing Party

Town Hall invites you to a traditional viewing party for the November midterm elections. After you cast your vote, bring your friends and family to The Summit and witness the process of democracy in action. Track each development in real time and discuss the results with other civic-minded members of our community. Enjoy thoughtful discussions over drinks from the bar as you chat with your friends and neighbors. Come together to remain an active part of the electoral process—on the ballot and beyond.