15 things CHS heard at the 43rd District Dems D3 forum

You can view video from the debate on the 43rd District Dems Facebook page

The 43rd District Democrats contributed to a rush of candidate forums Saturday afternoon with its event featuring six candidates for the Seattle City Council’s District 3 seat, which includes Capitol Hill and the Central District, discussing issues like homelessness, climate change, and even their favorite mayors in city history. The day also included the most direct political attack by a challenger on the incumbent yet.

While Pat Murakami’s call for a used cruise ship to house the city’s unsheltered population didn’t make a second appearance, Logan Bowers continued his push for a triplex on every block and incumbent Kshama Sawant continued her crusade for rent control and social housing.

The 43rd District Democrats will also be hosting a “Ballots & Bubbly” event Tuesday night at 7 PM at The Riveter, where many of the D3 candidates can talk to voters in smaller settings, and Seattle University will be hosting a marathon of district race town halls on Sunday.

15 things CHS heard at the 43rd District Dems D3 forum

  1. The forum featured one of the clearest rebukes of Sawant’s tenure yet in one of these events from Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce head Egan Orion, who accused the incumbent of being more focused on raising her national profile and money for the Socialist Alternative party: “She’s neglected the people of District 3.” He added moments later: “We need sound policy, not soundbites; we need a council member who will seek out constituents not a camera and a podium.” He said, if elected, he would have office hours in cafes in the district to talk to voters. Continue reading

With District 3 candidates forum season underway, Speak Out Seattle leads with homelessness, displacement in the Central District, and gun violence

The controversial but increasingly influential political group Speak Out Seattle hosted a forum for District 3 city council candidates to discuss issues of homelessness, displacement in the Central District, and gun violence among others over the course of the event that took place Tuesday evening in front of a standing-room only crowd at the Northwest African American Museum.

The first question of the evening from Speak Out Seattle stemmed from an issue that is informing much of this year’s city council races: the failed head tax.

“Look, big business has to do more to pay their fair share,” said Zachary DeWolf, the first out gay Seattle Public Schools board member, also arguing that the head tax has dominated the debate too much. “Everyday we talk about this unsuccessful policy, we have not talked about the other ideas, which are increasing the local estate tax” as well as basing fees and fines on income levels. (DeWolf is the only candidate to have written for CHS)

Council member Kshama Sawant, the Socialist Alternative incumbent, was the sole candidate to voice continued support for the tax. Continue reading

SOS: All D3 candidates to attend forum hosted by Speak out Seattle

Tuesday night will bring a D3 candidate forum to the Central District organized by a group that has drawn criticism but appears to be shaping up as an important player in this summer’s city council races.

The forum, at the Northwest African American Museum Tuesday night, is Speak Out Seattle’s final pre-primary forum after it has hosted a string of forums in other districts in the past months.

All seven candidates currently in the D3 race (Capitol Hill LGBTQIA activist Asukaa Jaxx has withdrawn) will attend the forum, which will be moderated by KIRO 7’s Essex Porter and feature a City of Seattle table with information and a chance for people to fill in or replace their (lost) democracy vouchers.

SOS District 3 Candidate Forum

Among the candidates attending is Zachary DeWolf, who has previously said he wouldn’t attend the debates hosted by Speak Out Seattle. “I’m not really sure that they are completely unbiased and coming to the table in good faith, so my inclination is no,” DeWolf said in April and repeated his position in another interview with journalist Erica C. Barnett.

But he is scheduled to attend Tuesday night.

DeWolf said he talked with the SOS organizers of the forum, who indicated “that they were being misrepresented,” he said. “They communicated to me that they’re interested in solutions, that they’re not for sweeps when there are no resources for people. My understanding from that communication is that they’re not what everybody is saying they are. I don’t have anything else to go off, and I have to take them at their word.”

The local organization, which has opposed drug-consumption sites, the head tax, tiny house villages, and encampments, had 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.

DeWolf’s change of heart might signal a larger shift in views on SOS, which seems to have been putting in work to appear less partisan. Continue reading

With forum and debate season underway, D3 candidates talk homelessness, small biz, and ‘a Green New Deal for ordinary working people’ with some of their youngest constituents

In a Sunday afternoon forum and an early test of their platforms as they speed toward an August primary, four candidates for the Seattle City Council’s District 3 seat — including current council member Kshama Sawant who called for a “a Green New Deal for ordinary working people” — answered questions from some of their youngest constituents on a range of issues from homelessness to small business development.

The event, led by the King County Young Democrats, hosted forums for five of this year’s Council races. The other three D3 candidates were urbanist Logan Bowers, Seattle School Board Director Zachary DeWolf, and public defender Ami Nguyen, while neighborhood activist Pat Murakami and Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce head Egan Orion were not invited to participate due to time constraints.

UPDATE 4/29/2018 9:05 AM: KCYD chair Derek Richards offered this explanation for the invitation decisions:

There are about 57 candidates whom have declared for Seattle City Council, it is literally impossible to have a forum to include all of them and not have the meeting be a 12 hour marathon. With the candidates we had it still took 3.5 hours. It sounds like you are more interested in many of the other great organizations and neighborhood councils that will be hosting district specific candidate forums in the months leading up to the primary vote where you will be able to hear all of their opinions and I would encourage you to attend those.

UPDATE x2: Richards provided some more context on the decision around D3 in a message to CHS:

Since we were fitting 5 different districts in our meeting we had decided 3 candidates per district to keep the forum around 3 hours. For district 3 we did number of individual contributors, which gave us Councilmember Sawant, Logan Bowers and Ami Nguyen. Then the day we were going to send invites Zach DeWolf announced and had 2 city council endorsements and all the school board endorsements so we made an exception for D3 to have 4 candidates. However all candidates are welcome to speak at our endorsements meeting on Sunday May 19th at the WSLC between 5 and 7.

No matter the question, Sawant, a member of the Socialist Alternative political organization, pivoted to affordable housing concerns and her push for rent control. She repeatedly decried the council for its handling of the head tax and its overall lack of political courage. Answering a question on waste management, the council member called for a large-scale climate overhaul led by Seattle.

“The bottom line that we need, in terms of a Green New Deal for ordinary working people, is a massive public works program to expand transit and affordable housing and, primarily, what we need is social housing,” Sawant said, calling for a tax on big business to fund this publicly-funded and -owned housing proposal. Continue reading

Gloves come off in District 3 cash battle as Bowers first to have Democracy Voucher cap lifted

Bowers at a recent “Coffee with Logan” session (Image: Logan for Seattle)

The battle over District 3’s seat on the Seattle City Council is the city’s most expensive. Some of that money — $75,000 of it, to be exact — is why candidate Logan Bowers has achieved a milestone first for the district. Bowers is now the first D3 Democracy Voucher recipient to be released from the program’s fundraising cap.

“With the latest round of Democracy Vouchers currently being processed, I’ll hit the $75k limit,” Bowers explained to CHS. “By raising $76k herself through last month alone, Kshama has pushed the price tag on a fair election even higher.” Continue reading

Can DeWolf win District 3 running against ‘homelessness, rising housing costs, anti-worker values, regressive taxes’ — and not Sawant?


When Zachary DeWolf took the mic at Tougo Coffee on Yesler Way to announce his candidacy for Seattle City Council District 3 Tuesday morning, he made sure to make one thing clear. “I’m not running against whoever is in office,” he said, flanked by his husband, friends, and community leaders including Tunny Vann from the Port of Seattle and Sokha Danh of the Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation Development Authority.

With his candidacy, DeWolf, a citizen of the Chippewa Cree Nation, the first out gay Seattle Public Schools board member, former Capitol Hill Community Council president and program manager for regional homelessness agency All Home King County, joins an already-crowded race to dethrone incumbent Sawant, who is running for a third term.

During his speech, DeWolf posited that his opponent was not Sawant, but rather “homelessness, rising housing costs, anti-worker values, regressive taxes and fees.”

Still, he also said “we need to ask ourselves if any of us are better off than we were eight years ago or if any of our community’s problems have been solved during that time. I also believe we need a leader who is uncompromising and absolute in their commitment to listen to their constituents rather than allow their own personal politics to set their agenda. While it might be easier to deliver soundbites or yell our problems away, we simply don’t have time for that anymore,” which reads as a critique of Sawant, who has been charged by opponents and critics of choosing rallies over results, her Socialist Alternative organization over D3 constituents.

Continue reading

USPS to hold meeting on East Union post office ‘relocation’

Long gone — but maybe coming back? (Image: CHS)

After telling customers their best bet was to head to Capitol Hill for mail services, the United States Postal Service is now talking relocation when it comes to a post office near 23rd and Union.

USPS officials have scheduled a May 2nd public meeting to talk about a new Central District location. USPS real estate specialist Greg Shelton will be in attendance to discuss options.

The session appears to represent big change from the beginning of the year as the post office made way for coming redevelopment at Midtown Center. “We will return once the re-development has concluded,” a spokesperson told CHS at the time. “In the meantime, we are suggesting that our customers go to the Broadway Post Office for their mailing needs.”

It isn’t clear if that timeline has changed but District 3 representative Kshama Sawant, with the 2019 race for her City Council seat heating up, is calling on supporters to join her at the May 2nd meeting. Continue reading

DeWolf, first openly gay person on Seattle school board and former Capitol Hill Community Council president, joins race for Sawant’s District 3 seat

(Image: Elect Zachary DeWolf)

Zachary DeWolfSeattle Public Schools board member representing Central Seattle neighborhoods and former Capitol Hill Community Council president, has announced he will also join the race for Kshama Sawant’s seat on the Seattle City Council.

“I’ve been advocating for my neighborhoods for the past seven years and I think it is time we have a Council member who will also advocate for our neighborhoods and the critical needs of our neighbors,” DeWolf said in his announcement. “I want to continue to meet with people in every area of our district and hear what matters most to them. Those are the voices and memories that I will take to City Hall.”

DeWolf says he is the first openly gay person to be elected to Seattle’s school board. Continue reading

What will it take for Orion to outrace Sawant in D3? Business, bravery, and ‘a queer voice on council again’

Orion was introduced Tuesday by Aleksa Manila, “drug counselor by day, drag diva by night,” before his campaign announcement on Broadway

Walking through the Emerald City chaos of Broadway and its glorious mix of the glamour and the squalor of Seattle on a Tuesday morning is one thing. Holding a press conference to announce your candidacy for City Council at the corner of Broadway and Harrison in the middle of it all is quite another.

There is one thing for certain in the just-starting race for the District 3 seat at Seattle City Hall. The campaign will include two of the bravest politicians in the city. Continue reading

Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce head Egan Orion challenging Sawant for City Council seat — UPDATE

(Image courtesy Egan Orion)

The field challenging Kshama Sawant for the District 3 Seattle City Council continues to grow as newly-hired Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce head Egan Orion joined the race this week.

Orion, who is also the administrator of the Broadway Business Improvement Area, has long been a fixture in Capitol Hill before taking on a role at the chamber. He began working with Seattle PrideFest, where he is now the executive director, in 2007 and has been organizing what he says is the largest volunteer-driven event in the district with PrideFest Capitol Hill since 2017.

When a sudden accident led the city to revoke a Capitol Hill festival’s license in 2017, Orion and his team quickly stepped in with less than two weeks to set up five blocks worth of programming, a seemingly insurmountable goal. Continue reading