‘Neighborhood activist’ Murakami, pot entrepreneur Bowers join race for District 3

There are now three challengers for the Seattle City Council District 3 seat held by Kshama Sawant.

And none of them are Kshama Sawant.

Pat Murakami, defeated in her 2017 run against Lorena González for the council’s Position 9 citywide seat, and pot entrepreneur Logan Bowers have joined nonprofit director and entrepreneur Beto Yarce in the race to lead District 3 representing neighborhoods including Capitol Hill, the Central District, First Hill, and, yes, Beacon Hill. Continue reading

‘Beto for Seattle’ — from Capitol Hill’s little pink house to a run for City Hall

Beto Yarce announced his candidacy with supporters and partner Phil Smith at his side

When he first arrived on Capitol Hill in the early 2000s, Beto Yarce’s living arrangements were pretty typical for a young, gay person in their 20s. You may have seen his home — it was hard to miss the little pink house on John just above Broadway.

“I lived with three drag queens and two of my friends were women from Mexico and that’s how it really started, my journey here, you know,” Yarce tells CHS. “I’m seeing the different components of the CD and Capitol Hill and the complex diversity and, now, the needs of having this movement today.”

Yarce talked with CHS Thursday after coming to Capitol Hill for his big announcement — and the start of this movement he’s talking about. He is running for the District 3 seat on the Seattle City Council currently held by Socialist Alternative leader Kshama Sawant.

Back in his early days in Seattle, Yarce wasn’t thinking about public office. Working as a busser, and then a waiter, and, then, eventually the manager at Broadway’s dearly departed Mexican restaurant and lounge Galerias, Yarce began his life in America as an undocumented immigrant from Guadalajara.

“Today, you see me wearing a jacket — but it was not like this all the time,” he told CHS Thursday. “I lived here, I struggled. I worked as a busser. I worked 12 hour days.” Continue reading

Yarce to make 2019 run for Sawant’s City Council seat

UPDATE: Here’s a report on the Yarce announcement and our CHS interview with the candidate:

‘Beto for Seattle’ — from Capitol Hill’s little pink house to a run for City Hall

Original report: Nonprofit director and former Capitol Hill business owner Beto Yarce will challenge for the District 3 seat on the Seattle City Council representing Capitol Hill and the Central District currently held by Kshama Sawant.

Yarce’s campaign describes the candidate as an “award-winning community leader and advocate for women and community of color owned businesses” —

Entrepreneur, immigrant, and award-winning community leader Beto Yarce will announce his campaign for Seattle City Council at El Cuento Preschool on Thursday, November 29th at 11:00am.

Yarce will run for the Seattle City Council in District 3, which includes the Capitol Hill, Leschi, Central District, Madison Park, Madison Valley and Montlake neighborhoods. Yarce, making his first run for office, is the first candidate to announce they will challenge Councilmember Kshama Sawant.

Continue reading

Sawant and the People’s Budget rallies for increased funding for affordable housing, shelters

Socialist Alternative Party community organizer Kailyn Nicholson introduces Council member Kshama Sawant as the first speaker at the People’s Budget 2018 at Seattle City Hall, Saturday, October 6, 2018. This was Sawant’s fifth year hosting the People’s Budget. (Image: Ryan Phelan)

By Ryan Phelan, UW News Lab/Special to CHS

Concerns for affordable housing, homeless shelters, tenants rights, workplace protections and Indigenous Peoples Day stoked criticism of the mayor’s proposed budget at the People’s Budget rally hosted by District 3 representative Kshama Sawant on Saturday.

“This budget that Mayor Durkan has proposed this year is not even a business as usual budget,” said Kailyn Nicholson, a community organizer for Socialist Alternative, Sawant’s political party. “This budget is even worse than that. This budget is flat out regressive.”

The People’s Budget, hosted at City Hall, is a political movement that rallies yearly for progressive change in the proposed Seattle budget. Several speakers and attendees focused on affordable housing initiatives. Less than 1% of Mayor Jenny Durkan’s proposed budget is allocated for affordable housing, Sawant said. Continue reading

‘Coffee with Kshama Sawant’ — District 3 representative holds rare community meeting

(Image: @cmkshama)

Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant met with a standing room only crowd of constituents to discuss issues ranging from affordable housing and gentrification to low internet speeds and privacy at Squirrel Chops, a coffeeshop in Seattle’s Central District, Saturday morning.

“There’s a lot of issues facing us as a district with skyrocketing rents and hypergentrification and we’ve certainly seen the increase in gun violence,” Squirrel Chops co-owner Shirley Henderson said while introducing council member Sawant. “A lot of that is tied to our economic reality and the shifts that are happening.”

Sawant, who came with her husband and dog, opened the event by highlighting her struggles for $15 per hour minimum wage and Friday’s King County Superior Court ruling that upheld a Seattle law that capped move-in fees for renters. She also noted the broad struggles ahead in terms of achieving economic equality and racial justice.

“We are all getting screwed together,” Sawant said. “Ultimately, whether you’re talking about city politics or state level, we’re going to have to build movements to win any of these things.” Continue reading

What we heard at the ‘March on Amazon’ as Seattle business tax fight comes to a head

With reporting and photography by Alex Garland

With its planned vote on a new tax on its largest 3% of Seattle businesses, the city will be up against history Monday afternoon, District 3 representative and Socialist Alternative firebrand Kshama Sawant said Saturday as she prepared to lead her “March on Amazon.”

“This will be a historic victory,” Sawant told CHS. “This will be seen by every city where Amazon is building towers. But also every city in the United States. Because every city is facing a housing and homelessness crisis.”

But first the deals must be struck. Saturday’s march and rally from Capitol Hill on the massive Seattle employer came as Seattle City Hall contemplates two futures for a tax on its largest companies to help pay for affordable housing and homelessness services in a booming city where the problems of people living unsheltered is teetering on disaster. Continue reading

Rising anxiety has made mental health a Capitol Hill area growth industry

Newly opened businesses in the area around Capitol Hill and the Central District might give an indication of one of the growing needs of a booming population.

Mental health care providers have brought their practices to the area to meet the exceeding demand for centrally located counseling services. In 2017, CHS noticed that the City of Seattle recorded counseling offices to be the second highest number of new businesses in District 3.

“I was busy immediately and had as many referrals I could take from the get go,” said psychotherapist Lisa Hake, LMHC GMHS, who moved her practice from Bellevue to Madrona last year.

To be a licensed mental health care practitioner, providers must have a minimum education of masters degree and meet Washington’s licensing requirements. Reported lowered barriers to access and decreased stigmatization has led to overall industry growth, while the rise in business locally is attributed by many we spoke with to a widespread increase of anxiety, spurred by our current socioeconomic and political landscape. “You can’t say to people that this is a safe place anymore, the world. It really wasn’t before, but it’s obvious now that it’s no longer true,” said Jason Franklin, LMHC in Madison Valley. Franklin primarily works with intersectionality. Continue reading

Top 20 new District 3 businesses: Rideshare driver tops the list by a mile… again


Even with growing evidence that driving for companies like Uber and Lyft can be a real grind, the greatest bulk of entrepreneurial energy around Capitol Hill and the Central District continues to be professional drivers.

According to tax information from the City of Seattle, the “transit and ground transportation” category was, again, the single largest category of new businesses started in District 3 ZIP codes last year, topping its nearest rival with nearly six times more companies started in the area in 2017. Continue reading

Time to start narrowing down these 134+ ideas for improving District 3 streets and parks

134 new ideas were submitted in District 3. You can view details of each submission on the Your Voice, Your Choice project map

Citizens across Seattle submitted more than 1,000 pretty good ideas — and probably three or four dumbs ones — in this year’s first phase of the Your Voice, Your Choice neighborhood grant process to divvy up around $3 million for street and parks improvement projects.

134 of those brilliant ideas came from Seattle’s District 3 stretching across Capitol Hill, the Central District, Montlake, and Madison Park. The effort to winnow those ideas down to manageable few begins Tuesday night with a project development meeting for ideas submitted in D3’s northern region from 5:30 to 7:30 PM at the Montlake library: Continue reading

Checking in with District 3 rep Sawant and the 2017 People’s Budget

This Thursday, Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant will host the People’s Budget to create a movement demanding specific funds stay or be added on to city’s final budget.

We’ve heard it before: “The Seattle City budget is a moral document that reveals the values of our city’s elected officials.” That’s an unsurprising opening line from Sawant. As a socialist, she is steadfast in asking for more on behalf of the disenfranchised, low-income and marginalized.

She feels the primary concern in her District 3 is no different than greater Seattle.

“The paramount concern is the same concern with most working people in this city: The cost of existing,” Sawant tells CHS. “It affects families. It affects small businesses.”

People’s Budget 2017

The councilperson points out how Seattle’s rising rent costs are usually discussed in terms of the private citizen. But it also affects the commercial realm. She thus held a business forum and plans to hold one again in the future. Continue reading