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.
Instead, the mayor focused her time with the microphone at the “crisscross” whistle stop on her city tour this week marking her first year in office on her administration’s biggest accomplishments in the past year, thanking her supporters from the Capitol Hill business community, and looking ahead at coming milestones like the opening up of the Seattle waterfront after the demolition of the Viaduct.
“We are literally rebuilding Seattle right now. It’s under construction,” Durkan said. “So let’s build the city we want. Let’s really attack systemic racism and make sure people of color can live in every part of this city, their children can have jobs and opportunity, and that we really go at those root causes and tear them down.”
The mayor also talked about her “number one” accomplishment on the year — the passage of the $619 million education levy.
“In one of the toughest times in Seattle, voters voted almost 70% to tax themselves so others can have opportunity,” Durkan said. “So more families will be able to take their kids to daycare that will get them ready to learn and hopefully close that opportunity gap. And for those kids that graduate from high school, we’re going to give them free college… yes, let’s clap for free college!”
During her 10-minute speech, the mayor also managed to nail a “who loves Seattle?” cheer call, praise ginger beer, and, naturally, squeeze in a shout out to how great it will be to bring the Sonics back to the city. Durkan also added a little Sawant-worthy populism. “It’s the workers in Seattle who keep our small businesses going,” she said.
Small business representatives were a major presence at Monday night’s gathering and make up a core of Durkan’s Capitol Hill and District 3 base. She was introduced at the event by Donna Moodie of the Marjorie restaurant and Tracy Taylor of Elliott Bay Book Company. “Mayor Durkan has been on Capitol Hill a lot. And we thank her for that. And thank you for supporting our neighborhood,” Taylor said in her introduction.
Moodie and Taylor are also members of the mayor’s Small Business Advisory Council formed earlier this year and on the slate for an update Friday as part of the mayor’s anniversary week agenda. Taylor said the council has been talking with the mayor’s office a lot about affordability for workers and how to make it easier for employees to find housing in the city.
Rachel Marshall, owner of Rachel’s Ginger Beer where Monday’s event was held, is also a member of the council.
Another member of the council wasn’t in attendance Monday night. But he may be the District 3 name CHS was looking for. Beto Yarce is now in the rumor mill. Yarce was one of the recipients of the mayor’s Pride awards this summer for his work as executive director of Ventures, a nonprofit that “empowers individuals with limited resources and unlimited potential improve their lives through small business ownership.” Last spring, Yarce was also part of more than 300 small business owners who came out against the early recommendations from the city’s “progressive revenue” task force. You might also remember his short-lived project running the Cintli Latin Folklore shop on Broadway. “We have great customers and some big supporters,” Yarce said about the closing at the time. “Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough.”
UPDATE 11/28/2018: Yarce will announce his campaign Thursday:
If he runs, Yarce will be part of what could be a tumultuous political year in Seattle. Part of Seattle’s move to district elections for its city council was a decision not to stagger the terms — all seven of the district seats are up for a vote next year. Already, two incumbents have begged out. Sawant hasn’t yet announced one way or the other.
The mayor, meanwhile, even as she tries not to be distracted by the city council races, might have some work to do on Capitol Hill — at least among people who answered CHS’s survey on the mayor’s first-year job approval.
Fortunately for her, Durkan doesn’t have to worry about reelection for a long time but with seven of the council’s nine seats up for grab, it’s a good time to square up political power and get ready for the busy year ahead.
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