Post navigation

Prev: (07/09/19) | Next: (07/09/19)

Speak Out Seattle’s pick in District 3: neighborhood activist Murakami — UPDATE

CHS hasn’t reported a lot of good things about District 3 candidate Pat Murakami, the Beacon Hill small business owner and slow growth-style neighborhood activist. She got tied up in a weird North Capitol Hill neighborhood Valpak campaign and some of the things she has said during the campaign so far have been disappointing and sometimes a little bizarre — in May, Murakami told the crowd at a candidates transportation forum held in the Central District that she had to drive to the event because of concerns for her “personal safety” and this spring called for a used cruise ship to be commissioned to house the city’s unsheltered population.

But depending on how you feel about crime, safety, homelessness, and “street disorder” in Seattle, you might take note that Murakami received the highest rating among D3 candidates from the pro-policing, anti-crime, slow-growth group, Speak Out Seattle:

First Place: Pat Murakami is a small business owner (tech) and longtime community advocate for public safety. She has been president of the South Seattle Crime Prevention Council for many years. Murakami is fully aligned with SOS’ positions on crime, homelessness and addiction/mental illness solutions. She is data-oriented and will be a strong advocate for improved public safety across the city.

North Capitol Hill above Lake Union is also Murakami country

SOS dubbed Egan Orion, PrideFest organizer and formerly the director of the now shuttered Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce, as its second pick. Orion, meanwhile, beat out Murakami for support from the Vulcan, Amazon, and Expedia-powered CASE, the political arm of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.

SOS’s lowest rating in the D3 race didn’t go to the candidate you might expect, by the way. Instead SOS saved its harshest criticism for school board member Zachary DeWolf. “DeWolf opposes most SOS advocacy positions and does not appear to be focused on data or good governance,” the SOS voter guide spits.

CHS reported on the conservative group’s inroads into Seattle politics in May as SOS hosted a D3 candidates forum attended by each of the contestants in the race. The local organization has opposed drug-consumption sites, the head tax, tiny house villages, and encampments, and come under scrutiny for its views and some shared early connections with Safe Seattle, an online group that has mapped where homeless people live, spread fake news about a beheading in a homeless encampment and posted videos of people in crisis.

UPDATE 10:15 AM: A representative for SOS tells CHS the group is not “slow growth” —

Most importantly, SOS takes positions on public safety, homelessness and addiction/mental health issues. It has never taken any position on density, HALA or zoning. The inclusion of the term “slow-growth” appears to be an assumption and should be removed. It is not supported by the facts. On a side note, most of SOS’ leadership do support density in their individual capacities and most live within the city’s urban village zones.

“Secondly, SOS is not conservative,” the representative writes. “That is a dog whistle.” —

SOS is a moderate group that is nonpartisan and focused on solutions to issues, not political parties. Co-chair John Wisdom was a delegate for Bernie Sanders and most of SOS’ leadership have never been active in politics before, only becoming involved in the past few years.

Murakami has challenged for a seat on the council before. She was defeated in her 2017 run against Lorena González for the council’s Position 9 citywide seat, The D3 area south of I-90 is Murakami’s home turf. Described as a “neighborhood activist,” Murakami’s neighborhood focus and small business won her the Seattle Times endorsement in her 2017 race against González. She has also opposed the city’s Mandatory Housing Affordability zoning changes.

Of the D3 candidates, Murakami had injected the most personal money into the campaign when we checked in late June.

You can view all of CHS’s Election 2019 coverage here.

BECOME A 'PAY WHAT YOU CAN' CHS SUBSCRIBER TODAY: Support local journalism dedicated to your neighborhood. SUBSCRIBE HERE. Join to become a subscriber at $1/$5/$10 a month to help CHS provide community news with NO PAYWALL. You can also sign up for a one-time annual payment.

Subscribe and support CHS Contributors -- $1/$5/$10 per month

41 thoughts on “Speak Out Seattle’s pick in District 3: neighborhood activist Murakami — UPDATE” -- All CHS Comments are held for moderation before publishing

  1. Speak out Seattle is hardly a conservative organization as you describe it. It is certainly more conservative than is average for Seattle, but to describe it as you do is disingenuous. And don’t discard Pat Murakimi so casually with veiled references to potential racism. She has plenty of common sense ideas and approaches, along with a couple of not well thought out positions, such as the cruise ship idea. She is a credible candidate for city council and doesn’t deserve to be treated like a sideshow by this publication.

    • I agree. I have been leaning towards Egan Orion, but now I am going to give Murakami a careful look. She seems to have some no-nonsense positions on certain issues, and I think that City Council action on these positions would make Seattle a better place.

      Only here would a moderate like Murakami be called a “conservative.”

  2. “As head of the Mount Baker Community Club and president of the South Seattle Crime Prevention Council, Murakami opposed efforts to locate Casa Latina, the day-labor center that serves primarily Spanish-speaking immigrant workers, to a site on Rainier Avenue; unsuccessfully fought El Centro De La Raza’s plans to provide services and affordable housing at the Beacon Hill light rail station; and led efforts to prevent transit-oriented development out of the Rainier Valley.”

    She’s a wealthy bigot whose co-option of social justice language belies her distaste for policies that prioritize poor folks and people of color. She has no business representing the interests of the people of D3. Even with the Seattle Times endorsement, Gonzalez wiped her butt 71%-29% citywide in 2017.

  3. SOS has no position on growth (their support of the no golf course conversions seemed to be more about poor governance as it was pitched as a cheap way to build more housing but there’s a law against it and it would be very expensive to overturn + it would allow Seattle to convert any park land to other use). Also, they are only conservative if you are very, very, very, super far left, where regular democrats are conservative and all conservatives are alt-right fascists (I’m not making a joke here, this seems to be the genuine position of many Seattle people.)

    • And I’m sure you’re not joking about your feeling that Seattle is so super crazy far left and it’s not fair to call you guys conservative, but your sincerely held beliefs are still laughable.

      • I guess the difference between me and you is that I listen to people and don’t laugh at them. I personally am very left of center, I just find the handful of loud and rude people like you really obnoxious and not productive in terms of actually accomplishing any meaningful and positive change.

      • Tom – you know the discourse has been pushed far to the left when the city has vocal groups of activists branding people who actively campaigned for Clinton and Obama as conservative/”republikkkan”/whatever because they’re in favor of rebuilding the youth justice center, continuing the homelessness sweeps, against injection sites, not immediately jumping on board with the social justice issue of the week, etc.

      • Brian, the news like to focus on the fringe and the unusual. Those activists are few and far between but you keep thinking they are big and powerful. It is like those people who live in small towns with 95% White population and think the Blacks and the Muslims will be invading their homes soon.

      • That people will equate being annoyed with activists groups to being fearful of minorities just reinforces where we’re at these days… 🤯🤯

      • It is not Seattle’s fault that your understanding of politics is so simplistic that you read “conservative” and think “Trumplike”. It actually means a desire to maintain the status quo – don’t increase housing density, don’t admit that homelessness is anything but a character fault, don’t admit that more people are going to move here, don’t change the city from the way it was in the happy memories of the people who literally came from the conservative Neighborhood Councils (Jai) or out of Safe Seattle (Elisabeth) to form Speak Out Seattle with the help of their mentor David Preston and their invited buddies from Safe Seattle (Angie, many more).

    • The way some people here focus on and choose to be annoyed by a very small percentage of people on the left and think it represents the majority of the party says it all about them.

      Your line of thinking is what right wingers use to attack Democrats and minorities.

      • Again, not really helping your case here.

        Me: I actively campaigned for Clinton and Obama, advocate for ACA, consumer rights, pro-choice protections, etc. However, I find activists annoying and often toxic/counterproductive.

        Tom: You get annoyed by activists?! You’re a right winger!

        Me: Well fuck, this is obviously going no where.

      • Since you have done all those things, do you realize you are an activist yourself?

        I am not annoyed by these activists even though some of their views may be on the left of mine because they hold theirs with good intention. The same can’t be said about right wingers.

  4. thanks for the reminder that the ST endorsement doesn’t matter sometimes – she did lose big time last time although it was a completely different context.

  5. A couple of things stood out to me about this “article”:

    ‘depending on how you feel about crime, safety, homelessness, and “street disorder” in Seattle’

    you put “street disorder” in quotes, but it’s the only thing *not* included in the SOS endorsement, which goes

    ‘Murakami is fully aligned with SOS’ positions on crime, homelessness and addiction/mental illness solutions. She is data-oriented and will be a strong advocate for improved public safety across the city.’

    So you basically invented this hysterical-sounding “street disorder” accusation, and then implied it was an SOS invention to mislead readers.

    ‘the SOS voter guide spits.’

    The choice of word here is telling. “Spits”, really? Just continuing editorialization to make SOS sound hysterical.

    ‘come under scrutiny for its views and some shared early connections with Safe Seattle, an online group that has mapped where homeless people live, spread fake news about a beheading in a homeless encampment and posted videos of people in crisis.’

    The only “scrutiny” I’ve seen has been trumped-up charges from Seattle’s own notoriously mean-spirited paragon of yellow journalism, Erica Barnett. Instead of actually providing any justification for this accusation, you used your space to write a bunch of accusations about SAFE Seattle and, by implication, attack SOS. Once again, you’re editorializing to try to make SOS seem hysterical.

    This is the cheapest of cheap shots, straight out of the Erica Barnett playbook. I expected better from CHS but maybe I shouldn’t have.

    `CHS reported on the conservative group’s inroads into Seattle politics`

    Once again, you call them “conservative” which is a pretty severe accusation for Seattle, but instead of providing any justification for this, you just get in your drive-by cheap shot and move on.

    Shame on you for this article. You are deliberately misleading your readers to achieve your own ideological goals under the veneer of “journalism.”

    • You must be a new reader. This blog is wonderful for news around the hill, but when it comes to anything political it’s like reading the far left version of fox news.

  6. If she walks like a racist and talks like a racist…Murakami has a pretty well documented track record and she continues to use very troubling coded language about the people that she claims to want to serve. She has said that she won’t take the light rail because her prized necklace will be snatched from her neck. She has submitted the most mileage reimbursements of any candidate because she can’t even get out of her car. You can’t be an effective leader when you refuse to connect with your constituents. And PS: the headphones, iPhones and sneakers you see on the light rail are likely worth a lot more than your silly necklace.

    • All those people concerned about the stabbing downtown, a dude with 22 prior arrests wandering around with a knife in broad daylight stabbing three random people in front of Nordstrom, is it racist to be afraid of this? Is it racist to want to drive instead of walking through all the crazies, knowing you might be next?

      I guess you’d better call up the convention organizers who wrote this letter and let them know they’re all racist too.

      The letter asked the leaders of Visit Seattle for extra security for their convention, after they said 14 members of their advanced planning team were accosted by people on the streets, saw open drug use, and witnessed people urinating and even defecating near the convention center or the team’s hotel, during a planning visit in April.

      The letter stated, “Seattle has been among our top picks as a convention destination, and unfortunately, due to our city experiences, we may need to remove Seattle from future consideration.”

      American Pharmacists Association had booked a convention to bring 6,300 pharmacists and their families from around the country to the Washington State Convention Center in March of 2019. The organization told Visit Seattle their convention could bring $8.5 million into the local economy next year.

      “We want convention attendees to feel safe and welcome in Seattle,” said David Blandford with Visit Seattle, who said currently the convention and tourism business in Seattle is thriving, pumping billions into the local economy.

      “Business is great for sure,” Blandford said. “But business may not always be great, because the time frame we’re working on is not just 2018. We’re working as far out as 15 to 20 years in advance.

      “We’re concerned that if the (public safety) problems were to become worse, more prolific, that could affect our business. Conventions could either cancel or threaten not to come back again.”

    • By the way, Murakami’s comment about driving to an event out of fear for personal safety was for an event in the CD on May 23. Just prior to that, we had several shootings in that very neighborhood. An article on this very blog detailed the spree of CD gun violence in May. Perhaps after reading this you can understand why Murakami chose to drive:

      Friday’s homicide and the overnight shootings follow a string of gun violence across the Central District and Capitol Hill. Last Friday, May 3rd, a female victim was reportedly hit in the leg in the crossfire of a shootout at the gas station at 23rd and Cherry. The day before that, an early Thursday morning shooting sent a male to Harborview with non life-threatening injuries after a round of gunfire in an alley at 17th and Mercer.

      The 17th Ave E incident was the third time a person had been shot on Capitol Hill in recent weeks. A man was shot in the leg in a Melrose alley Tuesday, April 23rd. Early on April 20th, a male victim suffered a grazing wound after being shot in the head in a shootout in a Pine parking lot.

      Recent Central District shootings have included a Saturday night, April 20th shootout that injured one at 23rd and Jackson and an afternoon shootout in the same area earlier that week.

      In March on Capitol Hill, a 21-year-old was gunned down in a deadly shooting at the basketball court in Cal Anderson.

      • I was at that event, and no, I can’t understand her nonsense about personal safety. I got there on a bike, personally.

      • The 17th Age E shooting was DIRECTLY caused by an extension of bad city policy and Sawant, Capitol Hill Housing’s Berneva. Capitol Hill Housing COULD HAVE ENTIRELY prevented this shooting, single handedly, had a PLETHORA of their incompetent staff taken responsible action on this unit openly selling drugs out of this building. If you own property next to a CHH building, you need to be aware that their buildings are slums, for Seattle, and dangerous for their tenants and the surrounding area and still no one over at CHH is doing one dammmmm thing about it; especially their executive director, Chris Persons.

    • The anti-car, pro-cycling crowd seems to be jumping on Murakami’s choice to drive her car to a campaign event. Why is that choice considered an abomination? She has a perfect right to drive her car whenever she wants, and she doesn’t have to give a reason.

      • Actually Bob she does have to give a reason for driving her car when she’s charging it to her campaign. The biggest mileage charges of any candidate, BTW. So when she layers on her golden necklaces and jumps into her pope mobile to wave at her grateful potential constituents, she has to account for every single mile. Every mile, Bob.

      • Response to Blinding:
        I have a business to operate while also running for office. Until I opened an office in the Central District – it took me forever to find something affordable – I had to drive from Georgetown to every event and meeting in D3 because I was using my business office as a campaign office. I have very complete records of all my travel and charged the campaign as directed by the SEEC. I would have preferred to have charged less per mile, but had to follow their guidelines. Now that I have a campaign office in D3 I don’t have the ridiculous number of miles. If I wanted to make money off the campaign I would have charged myself rent for the use of my Georgetown business office, which was very disruptive to my business, but I didn’t because I’m running to help make your life better, not make a few pennies from a campaign. Running for office is coming at a huge cost in lost business, but I’m committed to our city as I have been for decades in all my community service work – ALL volunteer work by the way.

        Who said anything about gold? I have one silver necklace that my husband gave me for our 25th wedding anniversary that means a great deal to me. ONE. And I don’t want to lose it. I might have mentioned that women wearing gold necklaces in SE Seattle are frequently targeted after disembarking from public transit, which is sadly very true. That comment is about women in general, not me personally. Please don’t make statements about someone as though you know them personally and intimately, when you clearly know nothing about me.

        Yes, I may be more concerned about safety issues than the average person but that is because I am far more informed about what crime takes place in Seattle than the average person. I never identified the race of potential thieves, but in case you were wondering, white drug addicts are my single greatest fear on Seattle streets right now.

        Pope mobile? Hah! I drive a 2003 auto. I never buy new cars because it is better for the environment to reuse.

        I always post over my name because i do extensive research and/or fact check and I don’t falsely disparage others under the cloak of anonymity. I try to keep my comments to the issue and not comment personally on an individual.

        I know, as a candidate, one is open to criticism and ridicule. I could be in a room full of people and say ‘Snow is cold.’ and I guarantee someone would argue with me. Oh well, making Seattle a better place for all of us is more important to me than fretting about the negative.

  7. I’m voting for anyone to clean up the streets; no injection sites; prosecute crime according to the law; and enforce nuisance laws. The opposite of everything we have now. I’d rather vote for a left of center candidate, but will vote conservative if necessary. This city is not a trash can. I’m disgusted by the group think I see here and it will end.

    • Murakami is a left of center candidate so you’re in luck. In virtually any other city in America she would be too far left to even consider running, but here we’ve gone so far overboard that she’s labeled a “conservative.”

      • Virutally any other city in where? Red states? If you are going to do comparison, many other developed countries would consider Democrats as conservatives there. They have universal health care, we don’t.

  8. I would like to clarify on the cruise ship suggestion – this is NOT intended to be a residence for the homeless. And it isn’t intended to segregate those in need from the rest of us. Folks would be free to come and go.

    I intend it as clearing house to get people to centralized services and into respectable living conditions. A used cruise ship would cost less than FEMA tents and port-a-potties (which some electeds and candidates suggested) to house the same number of people, would be more cost effective to operate and be an asset we could resell after the crisis is averted. The ship would be docked and hooked up to shore services (water, sewer and electric). It would provide instant rooms, restrooms, privacy for individuals, kitchen and laundry facilities, meeting rooms and private rooms for counseling.

    The important point to take away from this – I am always looking for workable solutions. I want to help the homeless and the drug addicts on our streets with solid results, rather than spending your ever increasing tax dollars on overhead, discussion, the wringing of hands and nothing changing. If anyone has other suggestions I will always be open to better solutions.

    • I like the idea Pat. At least it’s a start. But here’s my concern: I believe most of the people living on the street need full time institutional care and are not able to live on their own. Have you thought about this?

      • One or more of the decks (floors) would be devoted to a residential drug treatment program. I want to start a volunteer mentor program (similar to the CASA model) for one-on-one mentoring of those with mental health issues. The mentor would guide them through the maze of services, advocate for them and eventually help get them off the ship and into permanent, stable housing. Some folks will require mentoring and drug treatment.

        I know this is a difficult task – to help everyone on our streets that needs help – but we must do everything we can as quickly and as expediently as possible. The current system is not working. We have a moral responsibility to get people out of their current subhuman living conditions and into clean, respectable facilities.

    • Hi Pat. Just want to give you props for responding to some of these comments and clarifying things. You have some interesting ideas.

      I would like to hear your response to a previous comment though:
      ‘ “As head of the Mount Baker Community Club and president of the South Seattle Crime Prevention Council, Murakami opposed efforts to locate Casa Latina, the day-labor center that serves primarily Spanish-speaking immigrant workers, to a site on Rainier Avenue; unsuccessfully fought El Centro De La Raza’s plans to provide services and affordable housing at the Beacon Hill light rail station; and led efforts to prevent transit-oriented development out of the Rainier Valley.” ‘

      • The issue with Casa Latina was how they wanted to run their program at that specific location. It didn’t work logistically. It wasn’t about the day laborers; it was that Casa Latina wasn’t going to let the gentlemen remain inside the building while they waited for work.
        I defy anyone to find an actual quote or recording of me ever, in my entire life, making a racist statement. If a person claims I said something, that doesn’t magically make it true. Some in power in this city love to call white people racist in an attempt to intimidate them and silence them when they stand in the way of bad planning or proposals.
        I was never, ever opposed to El Centro de la Raza’s plans. I was opposed to the global, out-of-scale upzone of the Beacon Hill Light Rail station area. Go to that area right now and see just how many minority-owned, long standing businesses are being displaced by new development. That is what I was opposed to, and I was spot on – that is precisely what is happening. Affordable brick duplexes that could likely be standing 200 years from now, are being demolished to build un-affordable new apartments. Long-term residents are being displaced. El Centro’s development was never at issue. Nothing will ever be accomplished when people falsely jump to the wrong conclusions.
        And yes, I was opposed to ridiculously out-of-scale proposals for development along the Light Rail line in the Rainier Valley. The per square acre density they were proposing, without amenities or infrastructure would have exceeded Light Rail’s passenger capacity many times over at a single station area alone. You have to understand this was at a time when Light Rail was losing so much money they were desperately scratching around to increase ridership regardless of the price or decline in standard of living for those impacted by bad development decisions.
        Seattle has a history of stomping on low-income and or minority communities to the benefit of the wealthy. It’s ironic that they like to call me racist for being opposed to racist policies.

      • That makes a lot of sense and I appreciate you responding.

        I agree with everything you’ve had to say. I think you won my vote!

    • Thank you, Pat…..I was initially put off by your “cruise ship plan,” but your explanation makes it sound like something that should be considered.

      However, there are some real-world concerns with your plan. What would be the cost to lease a cruise ship? Where would it be moored? (addicts like to pitch their tents in areas with easy access to sources of cash to support their habit, whether it be panhandling or through criminal activity….so they wouldn’t be likely to live on a cruise ship which presumably would be in an area away from downtown). Would you require residents to be drug and alcohol-free? Would they be required to undergo an addiction evaluation and enroll in a treatment program if indicated? What about the mentally ill (who make up a significant percentage of the homeless population)? How would they be helped? And at what cost?

      I’m sure you mean well with your plan, but I’m not sure it’s realistic if we are to truly turn around the lives of those on our streets.

      • Bob,
        Sorry for delay in response. Wild day.
        2 years ago there was a decent cruise ship available for $15 million. Haven’t checked latest listings.
        It would be moored somewhere on the Seattle waterfront. I know there are spots available. This wouldn’t be a monster ship, just a modest-sized, old school, affordable ship.
        Yes, everyone would undergo evaluation. All residents should be supporting the success of all other residents in getting their lives back on track. Will there be missteps and relapses? Of course. So you give them another chance to get clean, and several more after that if necessary. It is a hard, painful journey to sobriety for some. We can provide the support and safety net to make that happen.
        To make it work we have to start enforcing laws and use a residential treatment program as a diversion instead of jail time and a criminal record. And so yes, folks would have to be drug and alcohol free except for 1. legal medication to assist with withdrawal or 2. methadone or suboxone for those that require medicated treatment.
        For the mentally ill I would like to create a one-on-one mentoring program staffed with volunteers (based on the CASA model) who will help these individuals navigate services, appointments, provide encouragement, etc. Until I’m elected and become privy to the hidden details I have absolutely no idea how far-reaching the problem is, and therefore can’t predict cost, but I’m hoping volunteers will go a long way to keeping costs down.

    • “A used cruise ship would cost less than FEMA tents and port-a-potties (which some electeds and candidates suggested)”

      What would the cost of these two options be?

      • FEMA tents, as suggested by one council member, without amenities will cost roughly $5 million each. Two years ago there was a used cruise ship available for $15 million which would accommodate more people than 3 tents in nicer circumstances. Hookup to shore services would be an added expense I don’t have the costs for, but the city should be able to absorb those costs because city staff would perform the work.