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.
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.
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.
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.
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.