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Two City Council seats and KC Executive also up for vote in Aug. 6 primary

Dow Constantine at 2011's Capitol Hill Block Party with producer Dave Meinert (Image: CHS)

Dow Constantine at 2011’s Capitol Hill Block Party with producer Dave Meinert (Image: CHS)

Primary ballots are in the mail, and this summer’s voting fun won’t stop with the mayor’s race. In addition to choosing among the Seattle mayoral candidates, Capitol Hill voters will have the opportunity to vote on four other races and one ballot measure. Exciting, right?

Please feel free to make your endorsements in the CHS comments, below.

City Council
It’s largely an incumbent’s race in this year’s City Council battles. Council member Mike O’Brien and Council president Richard Conlin will both appear on the Aug. 6 primary ballot. Conlin is a 16-year incumbent who was behind the city’s plastic bag ban and one of only two elected officials to cast an opposition vote to a new SODO arena.

Socialist Alternative candidate Kshama Sawant is going after Conlin’s seat in a campaign with strong ties to the Occupy movement. Sawant has taught at Seattle Central Community College and describes her self as a union activist and “tireless fighter for the 99%.” She strongly advocates for a $15/hour minimum wage and has chastised Conlin for being the only Council member to vote against last year’s paid sick leave ordinance. Last year Sawant challenged state Rep. Frank Chopp.

Amazon employee Brian Carver is also running with endorsements from the King County Young Democrats and the UW Young Democrats.

Incumbent Mike O’Brien is running his first reelection campaign since being elected to council in 2009. The former attorney and Sierra Club leader was the only council member to join mayor Mike McGinn in opposing the Alaskan Way deep-bore tunnel.

Albert Shen poses one of the few real threats to unseat an incumbent this season. Shen is a Capitol Hill resident and engineering consultant who calls himself a “back-to-basics progressive.” He served on President Obama’s National Finance Committee and on the Seattle Community College Board.IMG_9931


The race between Shen, above, and incumbent O’Brien, top, could be close. Times chooses Shenthe Stranger, O’Brien. (Images: CHS)

Also in the race is native Seattleite David Ishii who has this groovy website and supports the city having its “own public search engine.”

King County
Dow Constantine faces three opponents in his first reelection campaign as King County Executive, but none of the challengers will likely pose much of a threat.

Constantine was elected in 2009 and has captained a relatively smooth ship as head of the county government. Despite his efforts to lobby state legislature, he was unable to stave off cuts to King County Metro or get the authority to levy license fees to pay for the difference. Last year an email slip-up revealed “no drama Dow” was having an “affair” with a communications consultant, but no official misconduct took place. Constantine is not married, but has a long time girlfriend.

Constantine’s main opponent in the race is Alan Lobdell, who Constantine is still handily out-fundraising in the campaign. As the Seattle Time’s editorial board points out in their endorsement of Constantine, Lobdell is “a civil engineer who has worked in various cities and counties, has been once fired, twice bankrupt and never elected to public office.”

Everett Stewart, who says he supports a county-wide free “Internet utility,” has also entered the race. And anti-minimum wage crusader and Dwight Schrute lookalike Goodspaceguy is making yet another run at elected office.

Port of Seattle
The final race is for one of five commissioner seats at the Port of Seattle. Incumbent Stephanie Bowman was appointed in April by the other commissioners to fill a vacant seat. She spent several years at the Port of Tacoma in government relations. Opponent Michael Wolfe is director of sales at a local start-up and says he has a background in tourism. Andrew Pilloud is a software engineer who vows to push commissioner meetings to the evening so more people can attend.

School Board
Aside from residents in a northern sliver of the neighborhood, most Capitol Hill voters will be able to vote to elect a new member to the Seattle School Board. Kay Smith-Blum, the current board president, is stepping down at the Director of Seattle School District 5 after one term.

There are three candidates vying for her seat. Stephan Blanford is an educational consultant with a daughter in Beacon Hill International School. Smith-Blum has endorsed Blanford to be her successor. LaCrese Green is a former teacher who ran for the board eight years ago and has a strong interest in reopening the African American Academy. She has no children in school. Olu Thomas is an unemployed social services worker and chair of Cherry Street Development Coalition.

Parks Levy
The only ballot measure up for a vote is the King County Parks levy. The measure is essentially a 6-year continuation of the levy that continues to fund general maintenance and operations of the parks. It’s estimated that the levy would cost $56 annually to a homeowner in a $300,000 house.  The county does not run any parks in Capitol Hill, but they do operate 26,000 acres of regional parks including the Woodland Park Zoo.

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4 thoughts on “Two City Council seats and KC Executive also up for vote in Aug. 6 primary

  1. Why does Kshama Sawant keep running for various city offices? With her radical views, she obviously has no chance of winning, even in liberal Seattle. There are other ways to have some influence and express your opinions.

    It seems like kind of a “vanity thing” to me. But, hey, if she wants to waste her time in a losing cause year after year, that is her right.

    • Sawant & Socialist Alternative use her campaigns as a bully pulpit to force mainstream candidates to take seriously larger progressive issues. And while her chances of winning are slim, it wouldn’t be the first time an outsider ran and lost until they ran and won. Saying that she has “no chance” seems to suggest that the political climate never changes, which just isn’t true.

  2. This is actually the first time Kshama Sawant has ever run for a city-wide office, and only the second time she’s run for any elected position. Harvey Milk ran 4 times before being elected. Just as The Stranger (which just endorsed her) said, what’s so radical about calling for a minimum wage increase to far below the min. wage’s purchasing power in the 70s, tax breaks for small businesses (and increases for the super-wealthy), and actually following through on desperately needed investment in public transportation? The right-wing Seattle Times says she is too hard left for Seattle, but in reality, Richard Conlin (snake-oil sweating charlatan, according to The Stranger), is too much of a green-washing corporatist for our city. It’s time we stop accepting full of it politicians just because that’s what we are used to. How about supporting someone actually worth it, not just standing behind the guy in the suit who drones on about “progress” or whatever without actually saying anything because that’s what we have been told “viability” means.

    • I don’t like Richard Conlin either, so I’m going to not vote for this office.

      Calling the Seattle Times a “right-wing” newspaper is a bit of a stretch. Sawant IS too far left even for Seattle. And, by the way, Washington State already has the highest minimum wage in the country.