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Capitol Hill Community Post | Egan Orion: I believe he aims to deceive

From Alex Kostelnik, Owner 20/20 Cycle

Egan Orion says he is a champion for small businesses. Well, I’m a small business owner in the Central District, have been for the last 14 years, and I’d like to issue a warning to you. I believe he is not. I am heartily supporting Kshama Sawant.

Kshama is an activist.  And people either hate it, ignore it, or they don’t get it.  She is also a politician, a left one in a very right wing, corporate world.

Throughout my life I have been surrounded by powerful women. My mom raised three kids by herself, and she was a feminist and an activist.

Seattle has been my home from birth.  I went to TT Minor, Meany Middle School, and Garfield. I grew up going to Capitol Hill in the late 70s and put on shows at Oddfellows for our anti-nuclear war organization before there were any restaurants or retail in the building at all. Nonprofit storefronts proliferated.

When I opened my bike shop on East Union St. in 2006, I was thoroughly acquainted with the Central District and Capitol Hill.

20/20 Cycle was the store of my dreams, and we’re still here today. But as I watched my business take hold, and even thrive, I felt we were on a gentrification conveyor belt going backwards. We were thriving, and yet to us, the City was declining. My friends started moving away, and expensive restaurants started moving in – with corporate landlords to boot.

Money was rolling in and my community was rolling out. And now in the age of Trump, things are hitting high gear. Amazon wants my business & they want my town – they want it for themselves. They’re gunning for me.  Perhaps you can feel it, too.

Money in and minorities/punks/LGBTQ/artists out. This isn’t rocket science.  As for the more affluent in D3, a corporate, right wing world will hurt you, too, but it isn’t as imminently threatening as it is with the poor. They are the ones who are the most vulnerable. That’s worth a whole other discussion.

So, Egan Orion. Have you looked at who is funding him? Does the list below register with you?

Orion was endorsed by the CASE PAC — In fact he asked them for it. CASE’s donors include $450,000 from tax-dodging Amazon, $300,000 from hand-out loving Vulcan, $30,000 from fossil fuel burning Puget Sound Energy, $20,000 from anti-$15 Alaska Airlines, and $20,000 from anti-union Hospitality PAC, along with lots and lots of rich Republicans.

Egan says he will not make large corporations pay more tax for homeless shelters and affordable housing. You know what that means, right? He will try to make you to pay it for them. He tried it before. Egan went after tax struggling homeowners and small businesses when he tried and failed to bulk up the Broadway Business Improvement Area (BBIA) when he briefly ran Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce. Egan goes after the weak and he courts the rich. Classic playbook. But in the case of the BBIA, the little folks pushed back and he failed. In the bigger scheme of things, small business owners should get many of those services from the city- and not by paying again and again to try to fill that hole.

Egan ran the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce into the ground and it was swift and breathtaking. Four months, people! Then he jumped ship and now he wants you to put him in our Council Chambers.

Egan wants to work for Amazon and big money and make you pay the taxes they won’t- because they own the key lawmakers that would enforce it. That’s the root of the problem. It’s those people that Kshama is always fighting with!

Egan is supposedly my neighbor. But I’ve never met him. I have met Kshama, though, many times. In fact, we often find ourselves buying coffee together on Union Street and she’s always eager to chat.

But more than that, Kshama helped me find a new tenant when I closed Electric Lady this year. I also want to mention that her staffers Jonathan Rosenblum & Adam Ziemkowski have been there for me innumerable times as I navigated setting up Electric Lady in 2016.

While Orion has tried to portray Sawant as anti-small business, in fact she’s been more attentive to small business needs than you might realize. Here is another example from down the street: Sawant successfully led the fight to win $650,000 in assistance from the city to mitigate against lost business during the 23rd Ave reconstruction. That was right when Electric Lady was opening. Meanwhile, the founder of Alchemy Real Estate, the luxury developers who evicted my friends Saba Ethiopian Cuisine on 12th Ave, gave Saba an ultimatum without adequate notice or compensation. It’s worth mentioning here that Alchemy has given the maximum donation they can give to Egan Orion.

In short, in my humble opinion as a bicycle mechanic, Egan is busy attempting to nakedly leapfrog his way into political power and he’s fueling his campaign on corporate cash. His modus operandi is milking the poor and courting the rich, to put it simply. If he wins, they own him. You know this, right?

So, to the people of D3: We are in this together, and we have a unique mix of wealth and poverty in our little corner of Seattle. It’s late in the day, folks. It’s time again to push back on the corporate tsunami.

Because I, for one, do not want to be one of the “I”s Egan Or!on turns upside down.

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29 thoughts on “Capitol Hill Community Post | Egan Orion: I believe he aims to deceive

    • Thank you Stefan, it seems so nutty that people can not see that Egan is going to represent big money.

      And then there’s probably folks in D3 that do indeed see that- and they are stoked!


      What to do.

      • @Alex, where did you come up with these numbers?

        I’m not seeing anything like that here –

        Itemized Contributions $295,544.83
        Unitemized Contributions $565.00
        Anonymous Receipts $70.00
        Contributions from Candidate $325.00
        Transfers from Previous Committee $0.00
        Miscellaneous Receipts $223.09
        Grand Total $296,727.92

        Contributors $374,533.00 5344 $70.08
        Candidate $0.00
        Other Income $13,197.00
        Total $387,730.00

      • Hello RayL.

        I don’t want to assume what you know or don’t know about the hocus-pocus of campaign finance. So I won’t!

        But if I were to take a guess, based on what you wrote, are you wondering why the numbers you pulled off of the Seattle.Gov website do not look like corporate, conservative, tax-dodging interests are supporting Egan Orion?

        Let me know if I’m interpreting you wrong. But If I guessed right, the best place to start is to look at the PACS that will serve Egan in his all-out attempt to oust Kshama. For example, they just launched an anti- Sawant flyer that likens her to a Communist witch. (Insert your own adjectives if you wish). It will attempt to scare you into Orion’s arms. Egan Orion doesn’t have to do anything but sit back and let that campaign unleash a calculated attempt to deceive and divide.

        Joel Connely just wrote about it today.

        Here are links to most of the subjects I discussed in my Op Ed paragraph on Egan Orion’s anti-homeless, anti-small business money that he will use to try to oust Kshama Sawant.

        CASE PAC


        Alaska Airlines



        Anti-Union Hospitality PAC

        And finally, did you see Orion’s fake endorsement he “bought” on the cover of the Stranger’s endorsement edition?

        That was clever but so cynical. The Stranger is very important in this race. By pretending that they endorse him, Orion hopes you only glance at the surface. Because The Stranger endorses Kshama Sawant.

        The Stranger is under serious pressure from their conservative and corporate advertisers to tone down their gleeful support of Sawant. It must have been one hell of a night in the Stranger’s advertising section when they laid out that Orion ad and sent it off to the printers.

        Anyway, let me know if I read your comment correctly. If I didn’t, I promise I’ll try again.

        Sincerely, Alex

      • Ahh — the Seattle PI. I was just merely wondering how you came up with those specific numbers. It sounded as if you were saying he received those exact amounts — which is clear he didn’t (i.e. — but it wasn’t clear that you meant that, or understood that, to me.

        No doubt corporations just like individuals have a vested interested in influencing how elections go, no debating that.

        Any opponent other than Sawant would get funding from that group. It’s really got nothing to do with the challenger. This whole “aims to deceive” thing is just way too much of a conspiracy theory — its much simpler. Some people want the in-combatant out, some don’t.

        On a side note, I hope you realize Amazon could really care less about this election. If they did, they would certainly be throwing much more money in then any of those amounts listed above. 450k (which goes to multiple candidates) — what is that, one senior dev salary?

        @Alex, thanks for the reply.

      • Hi again RayL

        This just in from GeekWire:

        “Amazon gives $1M to group seeking to upend Seattle City Council in upcoming election”

        As for conspiracies, I have not been talking about the Illuminati & secret handshakes. And I really don’t have a foil hat on… I prefer my bike helmet! It’s all right here in plain sight.

        RayL, this is actually an unprecedented local election.

        And no, I don’t think poor Egan is anything special in this race. He’s winging it. The most important thing he has going for him is that he is not Kshama Sawant.

        They want her out because she jabbed them in the eye. From my point of view, she was very effective indeed in what she set out to do. That’s why they’re gunning for her. Anyone will do.

        RayL, Seattle is poised here, on a world stage. And I think it does indeed matter what happens. I think it matters a lot.

      • Yeah that article was posted today — I read that too, more changes are surely to come. I’m more referring to your original post and the numbers, especially the 450k one. Sorry I’m a numbers, nuts, bolts and numbers guy and you really haven’t broken down what you think amazon has directly paid him, because its clearly not 450k — anyway I can resign from that because I won’t actually go look myself and dig that deep, so I certainly wouldn’t expect someone else to.

        So this “Poor Egan who is just winging it.” is the same guy who’s “modus operandi is milking the poor and courting the rich and is owned by this big corporation”? Which one is it?

        I don’t mind that you say these things, just admit it when you are wrong or are talking in circles.

        @alex You are absolutely right, Seattle is on a poised stage, and it matters what happens. But again, I’d offer to say we shouldn’t flatter ourselves, Amazon knows the result of this election won’t change things very much for them. They have much bigger fish to fry.

      • Hi RayL

        I do not think there can be a tidy numbers roundup like you are wishing for. CASE can run parallel to Egan. No $ need ever be exchanged.

        This is the “circle” I’m running in: The poor guy is winging it by milking the poor and courting the rich. It’s what you do for lack of a better idea.

        And no Egan isn’t owned by a big corporation yet, because he does not sit in Kshama’s D3 City Council seat.

        I don’t know how you misinterpreted: “Orion was endorsed by the CASE PAC — In fact he asked them for it. CASE’s donors include…..” (Scratching my head.)

        BTW RayL, I have been appreciating your attitude.

        We’ve kept it civil while batting this back and forth in a godforsaken comments section!

  1. After 23 ave. Small businesses did the footwork, and it was clear there was relief in sight I remember Alex Kostelnik showing up to my coffee shop, 701 Coffee, where the fight for 23rd Ave. small businesses was born, and trying to work his way in.

    The whole time I couldn’t help but think about how he shut me down months prior when I walked in with the flyer that got all of our small business to the table to discuss taking Kshama, and Murray to the mat.

    It was a cordial conversation, but we were both clear what was going on at the table.

    I want to remind people about the hard fact that it was only when I tied Kahama, and Mayor Murray together through our social media campaign as a team of indifferent self-serving politicians that she came to the table.

    During the fight she had me meet with her, and the leader of the NAACP, both of them wanting to use that political momentum to railroad anything Mayor Murray. The meeting was clearly an ultimatum that I’m either onboard with her political ends outside of the 23rd Ave. small business fight, or they weren’t going to be in our corner. So I danced, what else was I supposed to do, say screw you, and railroad relief for everyone.

    The moment Kshama dumped me overboard was after the 23rd Ave. small business campaign was finished she had me attend as a panelist a community meeting where Ian Eisenberg happen to be sitting in the audience. An attendee/small business owner turned to Ian Eisenberg, and started swearing at him, telling him he had no right to be there.

    I jumped on it quick. I told the audience about behind the scenes Ian Eisenberg helping us navigate through the legal hell that lay ahead in our fight. Ian got us a straight up boss of an attorney, without charge to any of our small businesses, to hit the city of Seattle where it counted. We upheld our end of the deal publicly by applying more than enough pressure.

    Kshama dropped me quick from any community engagement because I wasn’t going to prostrate myself to her self-serving agenda.

    Kshama’s cronies tore me up publicly about Ian Eisenberg paying 701 Coffee light bill when Seattle Light showed up out of the blue, before the mitigation settlement with the city, and with customers in the shop told me I better tell everyone to leave because they’re shutting our power off for being late on our bill of somewhere in the neighborhood of $400.00. Somehow reaching out to Ian for financial help during a tough time was me selling the legitimacy of 701 Coffee to gentrification.

      • @Sara,

        I haven’t always seen eye to eye with your perspective but I think you hit this spot on. I actually remember you leading the campaign for small business on 23rd. I think Alex is a cool guy, well spoken and clearly bright – but a beacon of knowledge on what’s to come in the future he is not. This just sounds all very misguided, opinionated and dismissive. He’s just trying to get traction for whatever reason and whatever his cause is. I’ll take this as an opportunity to endorse her challenger. Vote Egan 2020!

    • Hi Sara, I enjoyed meeting you way back when, especially hearing your story on the arduous journey that led to opening your own coffee shop on 23rd & Cherry.

      I’m still up on E. Union St. if you get to where you want to talk to me personally- I’m game because I remember it being a joy to share stories with you.

      • Alex, I wasn’t sure if to be sad to see you shut down your bike shop at 23rd, happy about it, or likely what closing 701 Coffee had been for me which is a emotional rollercoaster of both. Sometimes the greatest blessings we receive are the adversity of rolling up our stakes and moving on.

        I want to be clear my post isn’t to cast anything negative towards you, just offer my perspective on what was, and seems to be persistent struggle for family owned businesses along 23rd, and politics aside our interaction.

        We certainly don’t agree on everything, but I do agree the conversations we had over the years have been friendly, and genuine.

    • Thank you for the clarification Sara. I have never met you but I saw how you we’re one of the very few people who spoke out against the blatant anti-semitism that was going on. Did Kshama? Nope. I’ll always remember that. She should be held accountable for refusing to condemn racism when it’s towards Jews and happening in her own district but having no problem condemning Jewish wrongs halfway across the world.

      • It’s one of the most telling things about Kshama’s response to the blatant anti-semitic rhetoric from her loyalists. It wasn’t only that, the racist rhetoric against Ike’s black employees was stomach turning.

        The thing is all of the hate, and fear-mongering coming from Kshama is intentional political design. She’s a communist. She’s resentful. Above all else she wants to be the one standing at the top of the heap if the system collapses, to control each and every one of our lives under the guise of the greater good.

  2. This is laughable. Alex Kostelnik is a known Sawant/Marxist supporter. I live in the neighborhood saw a couple of rallies he held for her at his store the Electric Lady. Can’t believe CHS is even printing this BS. Whatever.

    • Hi Marcus, I hosted Kshama to celebrate our joy at getting the Post Office back on the block after a long absence. I can’t remember any marxist rallies, though.

      Jonathan brought cookies and I got to meet some really dear folks who have been organizing for fair rent in the CD since before I was born.

      That was particularly amazing.

      The win for the PO was great for Kshama, and it was a lifesaver for me- it was pretty straightforward!

      It was awesome.

  3. How is this person’s opinion any more (or less) valid than anyone else’s, save knowing someone at CHS who will give it a platform? Sigh.

    I for one am sick to death of trump/Sawant-style meanness. It’s the same sh*t they’re slinging, just different flavors.

    • Hi FNH, It’s true- you can write something just like I did.

      And I don’t think my opinion is more important than yours.

      What is your story?

      Sometimes the chasm seems big between folks as they get to yelling at each other- but outside of the comments section it is often a relief to see that it’s not as bad as it seemed.

      It’s true, I am bummed about many of the changes that have been happening in the CD and Cap Hill- it feels heartbreaking at times.

      Sorry I seemed just like Donald Trump to you.

      FNH, I don’t know who you are.

      But you know who I am, though, so maybe that’s a start!

      • You lost me at “Cap Hill”
        Anyone who lived on Capitol Hill before it went Tech Bros should know better. In my 20+ years living there it’s been either Capitol Hill or just The Hill, never “Cap Hill”

      • Shoot! So many hurdles. You’re making it a special challenge for me to connect with you, FMH.

        I’ve been living, loving and doing business on Capitol Hill since 1977.

        Is there a special universal protocol I missed?

        Sounds like you’re alluding to a faux pas like calling San Francisco “Frisco”. I -do- know to avoid that one.

        I’m Innocent. I’m simply a dork- I swear!

  4. This entire thread needs to be flushed, in my Capitol Hill opinion.
    Tension is a bit too high. When politics enter the door; civility exits.