D3 candidates to square off on police accountability

Last week, how the candidates for District 3’s seat on the Seattle City Council look at policing and accountability was put on stage in front of the police officer union. One candidate participated and said he wanted to “stabilize” the city’s police force and address concerns of reduced ranks and sinking morale. The other boycotted the event, saying she would stand with activists in the fight for accountability.

This week, in a forum hosted by a wide array of Seattle community organizations including Seattle’s Vietnamese Community Leadership Institute, El Centro de la Raza, and the GSBA, both Egan Orion and Kshama Sawant are expected to attend and have their say on legislating policing in the city in a Wednesday night forum: Continue reading

43rd District Democrats make move to Capitol Hill

Fresh off making “history” with the group’s endorsement choice in the Seattle District 3 race for City Council, the 43rd District Democrats are bringing their monthly meetings to Capitol Hill:

We’re MOVING! Our next general meeting will be on Tuesday, October 15 at 7pm at Seattle Central College.

Enter through the main doors of the college, go to the left, and we’re just down the hall — room BE 1110.

Be sure to RSVP going on our facebook event page! https://www.facebook.com/events/274492786568352/

In recent years, the influential political group has gathered in the University District for its meetings and endorsement sessions. Tuesday’s meeting will include two new resolutions — one a “Rent Control Resolution” and another “End Sex Work Arrests Resolution.”

The group meets every third Tuesday.

The 43rd was also busy in the neighborhood over the weekend canvassing for D3 Socialist Alternative incumbent Kshama Sawant in her race against challenger Egan Orion.

It’s not every election year you’ll find the Democratic-focused group working to get out the vote for someone outside the party.

In September, the 43rd voted to endorse Sawant, the first ever endorsement of a non-Democrat by the 43rd District group.

Ballots are slated to be mailed out Wednesday for the November 5th General Election. Thursday, the drop boxes open. You can find all of CHS’s Election 2019 coverage here.

 

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At public safety candidates forum, Orion makes call to ‘stabilize’ force, Sawant makes statement by passing on Seattle Police Officer Guild event

(Image: @brandikruse)

In mid-May, just six weeks after announcing his bid for the Seattle City Council, Egan Orion moderated a panel on summer safety for the now-defunct Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce. A big topic of discussion that day was the understaffing of the Seattle Police Department.

SPD East Precinct commander Capt. Bryan Grenon noted at the meeting that the department was down several officers on all watches and that in his 28 years on the force, they’ve never had officers to spare.

So Orion came into Wednesday’s candidate forum hosted by the Seattle Police Officers Guild to prove his mettle on one of the biggest issues plaguing the city and the district. And what was the first issue he brought up in his opening statement?

“We’re losing police officers faster than we can hire them on the SPD,” Orion said. “Public safety is an essential part of our every day lives, of course.”

Kshama Sawant, Orion’s competitor and the most vocal Seattle Police critic on the current council, chose to make her statement by not attending Wednesday’s forum that included at least one candidate from all seven council seats up for election next month.

“Far too often, the conversation on police accountability has had to start at the grassroots level in the wake of tragic events, with the political establishment rushing to catch up, and the SPOG standing in opposition,” Sawant said in a statement. “I stand with the Movement for Black Lives, which has called for independently elected community oversight boards with full powers over police departments.” Continue reading

Di$trict 3: Independent expenditures now total more than $1M and favor Orion. Plus: Dale Chihuly, Scott Lindsay, Lyft and Seattle Fire Fighters join the fray

With ballots landing in mailboxes in just a couple of weeks and the November 5 General Election just a month away, campaigns for City Council are heating up — and so is the independent spending from Political Action Committees, which has soared to unprecedented heights.

For the final weeks of the run for the District 3 seat, CHS will keep you updated on the dollars with regular updates dedicated to looking at campaign finances. We’ll report where campaign money — whether from PACs or the candidates’ campaign coffers — comes from, and how it is spent.

With over $1 million raised in total and the two candidates headed to the general election with hundreds of thousands of dollars in their campaign coffers, the District 3 race keeps its top spot as the most expensive in the city. Incumbent Kshama Sawant has raised a total of $374,108; challenger Egan Orion tallied $296,728. 

Some notable recent Orion backers include the famed glass artist Dale Chihuly and his wife who donated $500 each, and Scott Lindsay, a former adviser to Ed Murray and father of the “Seattle is Dying” trope.  Continue reading

In debate over arts and culture in Seattle, District 3 candidates again paint ‘tax the corporations’ vs. ‘pro-business’ contrasts

Homelessness and housing. Gentrification and displacement. Transportation and the climate. Equity and minority rights. Crime and police accountability. Education and the city’s schools. The final weeks of the race for District 3’s seat on the Seattle City Council are filled with topical forums dedicated to specific problems — and opportunities — for the city.

There are so many issues for candidates to discuss ahead of next month’s general election arts, culture, and heritage programming could be easily overlooked. At a Monday night forum at Town Hall, incumbent Kshama Sawant and her challenger Egan Orion got to discuss their approaches to preserving and enhancing the arts community in District 3, a cultural hub for the city. Continue reading

Campaign for District 3 being managed from two different corners of the Central District

As the race for the District 3 seat on the Seattle City Council plays out, challenger Egan Orion’s campaign has picked an unusual headquarters as the organization tries to map out a course to victory in November.

Orion organizers have created a campaign office in the old gas station at 21st and Union where a big Egan Orion campaign mural has joined the streetscape next to Chucks Hop Shop CD and the new home of machine learning-powered — and roasted corn genius — El Costeño.

In a brief conversation on the sidewalk in front of the campaign office, Orion said the location is in the heart of his campaign territory and his home neighborhood and that he was proud to be part of activating the corner lot. Continue reading

Sawant and Orion trade blows on housing and homelessness in Real Change debate

District 3 representative Kshama Sawant repeatedly attacked her Seattle City Council member challenger Egan Orion on housing and homelessness in an online debate, accusing him of using the same tactics as people who are “peddling Republican talking points.”

“He believes that the solution to the housing affordability crisis is to build more market housing,” Sawant said at an online forum on Facebook Tuesday night. The Broadway Business Improvement Area administrator quickly responded that this isn’t what he believes.

The local rent control champion also claimed that he used questionable numbers on rent increases in the city to back up his argument, arguing that he was trying to “minimize the deep affordability crisis we are facing by quoting spurious statistics like rents only went up by 1% last year.” Continue reading

Three weeks before ballots drop, tensions rise as Sawant and Orion square off in Town Hall debate

“Please do not clap, do not cheer, and certainly do not boo.”

Such was the request from Seattle CityClub, the organizer of last night’s City Council candidate debate for District 3 at a packed Town Hall on First Hill.

It turned out an impossible ask, as supporters applauded and cheered when incumbent Kshama Sawant was welcomed to the stage, and fans of challenger Egan Orion seemingly tried to surpass the decibel levels just moments later.

Applause returned soon when Sawant hit the ground running when she called Orion a “poster child for big business” and took aim at the Amazon and Vulcan-backed Political Action Committees’ expenditures on Orion’s behalf, just moments after he made his first pitch.

Orion had said he would be equipped to serve in public office because he had served his “community” with his work at PrideFest and brought “a collaborative style of leadership” to the table.

“Unity and collaboration and coalitions with whom?” Sawant asked. “We know what corporations like Amazon and chamber of commerce are trying to do. They are trying to flip City Hall to the right.”

The comment set the tone for the rest of the debate — and potentially the rest of the campaign through November 5th — with jabs on both sides, either followed by applause or finger-snapping, one thing the organizers had not explicitly discouraged.  Continue reading

Everything you always wanted to know about Sawant’s rent control bid but were afraid to ask

Sawant’s check boxes from 2017 could add another check in 2020 — though “TAX THE RICH” needs more work

Monday night, the Seattle City Council’s Renter’s Rights Committee, chaired by District 3 representative Kshama Sawant, will discuss draft legislation for rent control at City Hall during a public hearing. It’s a cornerstone moment in the final months of her term and in her race to retain her seat in November.

Sawant’s draft legislation follows her six-year-old call for rent control, a 2015 City Council resolution supporting the repeal of a State-wide rent control ban, plus an April letter from the Seattle’s Renters’ Commission urging the council and Mayor Jenny Durkan to pass a rent control ordinance in Seattle.

In the letter, the commission’s co-chairs noted that “the unpredictability and rate of rent increases in the past decade has caused a massive burden on renters which has led to both homelessness and displacement of Seattleites.”

So, what does rent control mean to Sawant?

It’s an umbrella term that can mean different things depending on specific rules and regulations. Overall, rent control, in some cases also called rent stabilization, means limiting rent increases. This can happen in various ways: it can be tied to inflation, the cap can apply only per tenancy or beyond the duration of a tenancy, and come with or without restrictions on evictions. Some include only buildings of a certain age and exempt new buildings.

Here are a few more questions about the whole thing — and as many answers as we have heading into Monday night’s session.

What does Sawant propose? Sawant’s office remained tight-lipped about the details of the draft legislation ahead of the committee meeting on Monday. What is clear: rent increases would be tied to inflation (around 2% or 3% per year), and the legislation will be “free of corporate loopholes.”  Continue reading

‘History’ — 43rd District Democrats endorse ‘non-Democrat’ Sawant

Council member Mike O’Brien speaks in support of Kshama Sawant (Image: Vote Sawant)

In 2015, support for Kshama Sawant could only come in the form of not choosing her opponents. This time around, members of the 43rd District Democrats were able to give the Socialist Alternative incumbent their full backing. Sawant won the endorsement of the influential — if a bit wonky — political group Tuesday night garnering a surprising 69% of the vote. Continue reading