Would you vote for solar-powered presidential candidate Inslee?

Gov. Inslee on light rail for the opening of Capitol Hill Station in 2016

On Capitol Hill, we’ve seen a lot of the latest Democratic candidate to toss their hat into the ring for the 2020 presidential election. This time, we probably won’t find him canvassing for votes while talking about potatoes and jobs at the Capitol Hill Farmers Market. But we might see him hanging around E Madison’s Bullitt Center, the sun-powered, super green office building he helped cut the ribbon on when it debuted in 2013.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee announced his bid for the presidency Friday in a Youtube video and a speech at South Seattle photovoltaic installation firm A&R Solar. “I’m running for president because I am the only candidate who will make defeating climate change our nation’s number one priority,” Inslee says in the video. While Inslee has poor name recognition beyond the Pacific Northwest, his climate change message has attracted powerful backers including billionaire investor and Democratic activist Tom Steyer who Friday called Inslee a “climate champion.”

Inslee isn’t the only prospective Washington State candidate. Former Starbucks CEO and longtime Madison Park lakefront mansion resident Howard Schultz has been kicking the tires on in independent run for president. Would you consider voting for either of them? Let us know in our 2020 candidate ranking survey:


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Hundreds in Volunteer Park rally against Trump’s immigration emergency, another protest on Capitol Hill coming this week

With hippie era protest songs and candles, a Presidents Day crowd of hundreds gathered in Capitol Hill’s Volunteer Park to protest Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency over immigration at the southern border. A rowdier protest is expected on Broadway later this week.

Monday at Seattle’s gathering part of protests organized in cities across the county, the message was about fighting back, hope, and politics.

“We know that there is no national emergency,” Governor Jay Inslee said in front of the chilled crowd that gathered around the Black Hole Sun statue in the ice-cleared park. “There is only a political emergency because Donald Trump’s abusive, hate filled rhetoric has been rejected by the American people.” Continue reading

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

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

‘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

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

Pete Souza

Pete Souza was the Chief Official White House Photographer for President Obama and the Director of the White House Photo Office. His new book, Shade (October 2018), is a portrait in contrasts, telling the tale of two presidencies through a series of powerful visual juxtapositions between the Obama and Trump administrations.

Van Jones

Van Jones is a social entrepreneur, CNN political contributor, and host of The Van Jones Show on CNN. Famous for his heartfelt election night coverage, Jones showed up as “the voice of reason” for people in red and blue states throughout the volatile 2016 political season.