Nguyen makes run for District 3 with focus beyond Capitol Hill

(Image: Elect Ami)

The boundaries of District 3, of course, extend well beyond Capitol Hill. And the candidates to represent the district also extend beyond the names you might think of first.

Ami Nguyen, a public defender who calls Yesler Terrace home, sees her role as running for the Seattle City Council to represent people across the entire district — the Central District and Capitol Hill, yes, but Yesler Terrace, Mt Baker, Madrona, Leschi, Madison Park, and Montlake, too.

“When I set out to do this campaign, I told myself that’s the definitely the neighborhood I want to reach out to.” Continue reading

CHS Pics | Faces from the District 3 campaign kickoffs

It is early, so very early in the race for District 3. The primary won’t be held until August and we won’t even know the final roster fo candidates for months. But the race is taking shape. It is most definitely not a two candidate show — meet Ami Nguyen, a public defender dedicated to representing all the people of District 3, not just Capitol Hill — but two of the strongest contenders — incumbent Kshama Sawant and challengers Logan Bowers —  held their campaign launches last week. CHS stopped through to see who showed up and ask why they support the candidates. Click through the galleries to see their answers. Continue reading

Bowers steps up effort to unseat Sawant with ethics complaint over Socialist Alternative influence

Allegations from the new complaint

Reporting by CHS and SCC Insight has led to a Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission complaint against Kshama Sawant from a political opponent seeking to unseat the Socialist Alternative veteran from her seat on the Seattle City Council.

“Kshama is using her office to do work on behalf of the Socialist Alternative organization and she appears to be attempting to shield that work from public disclosure laws,” Logan Bowers tells CHS about the new complaint.

In it, Bowers alleges Sawant “permitted the use of city funds and personnel by the Socialist Alternative party” and that she and staff “have been using 3rd party communications services to conduct City of Seattle business,” a violation of state law.

“While I expect that these apparent violations of city and State law will ultimately be adjudicated at the ballot box, I believe for the health our democratic institutions the voters of District 3 and Seattle deserve to know definitively the extent and legality of council member Sawant’s actions during her tenure in office,” Bowers writes. Continue reading

Sawant plays density ‘swing vote’ as Seattle’s Mandatory Housing Affordability plan finalized

District 3 rep Kshama Sawant played the swing vote Monday afternoon and into the evening as the Seattle City Council’s legislative tinkering on the city’s Mandatory Housing Affordability plan was finally completed.

The plan that ties upzones in 27 of the city’s densest neighborhoods to the creation of affordable units and will transition a reported 6% of Seattle’s current single family-zoned property will go to the full City Council for a final vote on March 18th. But that vote is mostly symbolic — all nine of the council’s members have been part of the MHA committee’s two years of meetings.

Sawant, Monday, took a swing at the overall legislation’s shortcoming despite joining her companions in unanimous committee approval of the plan.

“Those small affordable housing payments are the only part of this so called Grand Bargain that mitigates the rampant displacement and gentrification driven by the for profit real estate investment of big developers and other larger investors,” Sawant said. Continue reading

22 projects that could make Seattle District 3 streets and sidewalks safer

You have until Friday to help winnow the field of Neighborhood Street Fund community proposals for improving streets and sidewalks across District 3.

The annual process allocates funding to projects identified by citizens and often includes efforts with relatively significant budgets of $100,000 or more. Work to make John/Thomas intersections safer from Capitol Hill Station to Miller Park is one recent example of a Neighborhood Street Fund-boosted project. Continue reading

Yarce suspends Seattle City Council campaign, won’t challenge Sawant for District 3

Beto Yarce, seen by many as the likeliest serious challenger to incumbent Kshama Sawant, made a surprise announcement Tuesday morning that he is suspending his run for the Seattle City Council.

In his statement, Yarce said his decision was based on his dedication to his work with his nonprofit Ventures,  economic development organization he has led since 2014

“One of the things that I learned on the campaign trail is that small businesses need additional support,” he writes. “I can be most effective supporting entrepreneurs in our community by remaining at Ventures.”

Yarce was one of the recipients of the mayor’s Pride awards last summer for his work as executive director of the 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. He is also a member of the mayor’s Small Business Advisory Council.

Yarce’s decision leaves first-time candidate and marijuana retail entrepreneur Logan Bowers and his housing first message as the front runner to challenge Sawant into August’s primary and beyond into November.

Sawant, meanwhile, launched her reelection bid in January saying the election “will be a referendum on one vital question: Who runs Seattle? Amazon and big business or working people?” Continue reading

In race for District 3, Bowers puts housing first

Bowers says it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand Seattle’s lack of affordable housing (Image: Vote for Logan)

Covering an election as if it were a horse race is frowned upon when it comes to journalism ethics. It puts the focus on things like polling data and popularity — not policy. So, how about a Solowheel race?

It’s true. Logan Bowers rides an “electric unicycle” — he Solowheeled to our meeting with the candidate around the holidays at 15th Ave E’s Victrola. But while he was rolling across Capitol Hill, he was thinking about housing — housing policy.

“I think the thing to remember is that we had a huge win when we got $15 an hour minimum wage, but all of the gains from that wage — or nearly all of them have been eaten up by rent,” Bowers said. “So folks aren’t better off if we can’t control the price of housing.” Continue reading

Madison Park resident considers ‘centrist independent’ run for president

Schultz inside the 23rd and Jackson Starbucks for a 2015 forum on race and policing (Image: Casey Jaywork for CHS)

Could America elect a president who probably couldn’t even win a race for his own district’s City Council seat?

Probably not.

But former Starbucks CEO and longtime Madison Park lakefront mansion resident Howard Schultz is apparently passing up his opportunity to challenge socialist incumbent Kshama Sawant for her seat representing his District 3 on the Seattle City Council in 2019 and, instead, gearing up for a “centrist independent” run for president in 2020. Continue reading

Opponents criticize Sawant for decision to forgo Democracy Vouchers in District 3 race

During her campaign announcement Thursday, Kshama Sawant said she supports the “progressive” Seattle program but won’t be participating in the city’s Democracy Voucher in the race for her District 3 seat on the City Council. Her opponents are questioning the campaign’s explanation.

“The Democracy Voucher program ensures every Seattleite gets a voice in our elections,” candidate Beto Yarce said in a statement Thursday. “Public financing of campaigns means community needs comes first—not special interests.” Continue reading

‘Who runs Seattle?’ — Sawant bracing for million dollar battle for District 3

Sawant embraces Ubah Warsame, a Seattle East African community leader, during Thursday’s press conference at 12th Ave’s Saba restaurant

With promise of tens of thousands of volunteers and support of the Socialist Alternative movement, Kshama Sawant kicked off her 2019 re-election campaign Thursday morning inside Saba, the 12th Ave Ethiopian restaurant she has committed herself to help save as it searches for a new location in the face of planned redevelopment.

“This year will be a referendum on one vital question: Who runs Seattle? Amazon and big business,” Sawant declared. “or working people?” Continue reading