Sawant brings her City Council committee to CD for meeting on embattled 12th Ave restaurant, gentrification

Council member Kshama Sawant was in the Central District on Monday as the city council committee she chairs discussed gentrification in her district while a local business sits on the frontlines of displacement.

At the center of the fight recently has been Saba, an Ethiopian restaurant on 12th Ave that has served the neighborhood for nearly 20 years. Saba is emblematic of broader change many longtime residents in the Central District see in which small businesses have increasingly been displaced. Organizer KL Shannon, who says she grew up in the area, said that she can’t think of one black-owned business anymore in the Central District due to rapid development.

“We want the kind of development that would allow small businesses of every origin to thrive here and for working families, regardless of income, to find affordable housing in our city because we go to work everyday and we make our cities run,” Sawant said. “We have the right to our city.” Continue reading

Still undecided? Here’s a reason to vote — or not — for each District 3 candidate

Organizations have made their endorsements, big cash has been doled out to some candidates, and oodles of Democracy Vouchers have been collected, all culminating in the voters finally having their official say, and moving two candidates forward to the November General Election.

With ballots for the August 6 top-two primary election mailed out to Seattleites and drop boxes open, here’s a look at each of the District 3 candidate’s biggest strengths and weaknesses to help if you’re still undecided in the race.


Council member Kshama Sawant

Biggest strength: Name recognition/passionate support

As voters get their ballots in D3, chances are the name that will jump out to many voters is Sawant’s given her position not only as a current councilmember, but as one of the most notable politicians in Seattle. This is partly due to the fact that she is the only socialist on the council, which, in turn, has allowed her to earn both thousands of dollars and many eager supporters. As CHS reported Wednesday, Sawant’s campaign boasts the biggest team of staffers and volunteers, which has surely helped with doorbelling across the district. And as endorsement meetings have shown in multiple legislative districts, her supporters can organize well on her behalf to block other candidates. Continue reading

Who deserves your vote — and who is actually going through to November? Take the CHS District 3 Primary Poll

The ballots have been mailed. You’ve read the candidate answers to the CHS District 3 Primary questionnaire. You’ve pored through CHS’s ongoing Election 2019 coverage. Clearly, it is time for an online poll.

Let us know your thoughts on the D3 race and which candidate you are backing. Yes, “other” is a choice for any of you undecideds. We’ll leave the poll open through Election Day, August 6th but will be poking our head in to check out the results here and there over the coming weeks.

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‘Terrorist’ dog, one candidate comes out as fiction writer, and ‘Seattle is not dying, but compassionate’ — The results of the CHS Reader D3 Candidate Survey are in

“All Candidate (Candidate word clouds created with

We asked, you answered. Our call for questions for the CHS District 3 Primary Candidate Survey, that is. From dozens of reader proposals, CHS distilled 20 questions, including “Favorite D3 Park,” Which D3 areas “are most in need of new transit and transportation infrastructure?” and “What solutions for homelessness have worked in other cities that you’d like to try here?”

UPDATE 9:18 AM: Due to an error on CHS handling of questionnaire answers, we inadvertently missed candidate answers to a handful of questions. This post has been updated and a description of unanswered questions has been removed. We apologize for the error.

Egan Orion, whose campaign has benefitted from financial expenditures by the CASE PAC, answered a question about how to avoid another very expensive D3 race by 2023: “I think the best way to prevent another expensive, combative election is to elect a council member that lives up to their promises and meets the needs of their constituents.” As you might expect, most candidates took aim at Kshama Sawant and/or PACs in their answers.

Before we get to the other answers, here are a couple of quick stats and observations

  • The longest answers came from incumbent Sawant, who leads with just over 4,300 words — 18 of those were either “big” or “business”, a lot more were “most regressive tax system in the country”— while Zachary DeWolf and Ami Nguyen kept it most concise with around 1,700.
  • Logan Bowers kept the mentions of his solo wheel(ing) at “only” twice. Nguyen referred to her job as public defender two times.
  • Orion used the term “data-proven” or “data-informed” “solutions” three times, one time before claiming the data is “far from clear” on safe injection sites. Orion was quoted saying “I’m all for safe consumption sites,” in Madison Park Times last April.
  • Only one candidate used a smiley: Zachary DeWolf, writing he was “rated last place by SOS ;).”
  • Pat Murakami leads with the most mention of dogs, including one time to refer to medical marijuana for her dog Yoshi and her late Jack Russell “Terrorist.” Continue reading

Capitol Hill rally goes off without her but Sawant ready to make another push for rent control in Seattle

Rent control was the topic on everyone’s mind at All Pilgrims Christian Church in Capitol Hill Saturday night as Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant’s office and other local organizations hosted a rally to build momentum for the controversial — and currently illegal — policy.

But Sawant was nowhere to be found.

The Socialist Alternative council member who is facing a contentious reelection campaign for her District 3 seat excused herself from the event because of the threat of an ethics complaint for participating in a political rally after ballots have dropped for the August 6 primary.

Several of Sawant’s challengers for the seat criticized her in the lead-in to the rally for holding council-related events so close to the August 6th Election Day.

“Kshama is clearly using her city office to advance her political campaign by holding a city-sponsored rally and promoting it with her campaign,” entrepreneur and D3 candidate Logan Bowers said Friday, adding “Good policies and good leaders don’t need to resort to unethical tactics when they’re working in the interests of their constituents. We deserve better.”

“If Sawant is using city money to hold an election rally, I find this an egregious breach of trust and another reason why we need a change in leadership,” Broadway Business Improvement Area head Egan Orion said. Continue reading

District 3 challenger adds 6 pound, 10 ounce running mate to ticket

Caitlyn and grandmother Ly Tran (Image: Elect Ami)

District 3 candidate Ami Nguyen has announced a new running mate.

The challenger for Kshama Sawant’s seat on the City Council gave birth Saturday morning, her campaign has announced.

Complete with a press release featuring proud grandma Ly Tran, little Caitlyn joins a race marked by the amazing amount of cashed poured into the battle where her mom has held her own thanks in large part to the city’s Democracy Vouchers program. Nguyen, whose “get out the vote” strategy is centered on meet and greets and “aggressive” doorbelling, Nguyen, a public defender vying to become the first Vietnamese American to serve on the council, has focused her campaign on D3 communities beyond Capitol Hill.

“There’s never a perfect time to have a baby, but I’m excited to be in a position where I have the chance to help build a more inclusive Seattle for Caitlyn to grow up in,” Nguyen said in the announcement. “I want her to feel safe walking our streets, have access to great educational opportunities, and create a city that is affordable so that if she chooses to remain here in the future, that option is available to her. But right now, I’m just happy that she’s here and healthy.” Continue reading

‘Aggressive doorbelling,’ rallies, endorsements, and coffee dates — With ballots heading out, here’s what District 3 candidates are doing for last big push

There are only 20 days left until the ballot drop boxes close at 8:00 PM on August 6th. That means D3 voters and others have less than 500 hours left to choose among the six candidates hoping to make it through the Primary and onto the General Election in November.

As ballots are heading out today, candidates switch into the highest gears to stay top of mind with voters — particularly in a crowded race where five candidates are challenging Kshama Sawant for the District 3 City Council seat.

“Once ballots are out, voters start paying attention, and there’s a mad rush to get in front of them while they’re paying attention, but before they vote,” said Ben Anderstone, a Seattle-based political consultant. “Because not even the liveliest campaign can contact every likely voter in-person, things like mailers become incredibly important.” Continue reading

In Seattle’s most expensive race, District 3 challengers powered by Democracy Vouchers

DeWolf and other challengers in D3 are holding gatherings to collect more support like this “a #DemocracyVoucher / Candidate Meet & Greet” gathering at a home on Capitol Hill (Image: Elect DeWolf)

On a long, wood table at Optimism Brewing Company Thursday night sat a makeshift box decked out in pamphlets talking about Zachary DeWolf and his campaign’s purple stickers, which were also being worn by many of the few dozen supporters that ranged from union members from Teamsters 174 and Ironworkers Local 86 to sitting at-large council members Teresa Mosqueda and Lorena González .

“Put your Democracy Vouchers right in here,” Mosqueda implored, holding up the box.

As attendees sipped beers and ate appetizers, González called out the only candidate in the District 3 race not taking part in the Democracy Voucher program: Council member Kshama Sawant .

“Zachary is going to be accountable to this community in this room and in this district,” González said. “You know who he is going to take his words from? It’s not going to be a committee in New York I can tell you that much.”

“The Democracy Voucher program is a beautiful thing,” she added of the measure held up as constitutional by the Washington State Supreme Court (PDF) earlier in the day after being approved by voters at the ballot in 2015.

In the city’s most expensive city council race where loads of PAC cash are coming into play, the Democracy Vouchers are living up to the ultimate test, powering the D3 challengers and creating even stronger reasons for the candidates to get out into the community and meet constituents. Continue reading

D3 endorsements: Seattle Times backs Orion, Cary Moon says ‘We NEED Kshama’

Cary Moon is backing incumbent — and Mayor Durkan nemesis — Kshama Sawant

While CHS is breaking all sorts of rules around “horse race journalism,” let’s talk about a couple more big endorsements sure to further shape the field in the District 3 race where the candidates can say lots of similar things about homelessness, safety, and development but the proof might just be in what bedfellows they keep. Don’t worry — we’ll get back to the issues soon.

But in the race, the Broadway Business Improvement Area’s Egan Orion is making big gains in the back stretch. Wednesday, the Seattle Times — it’s a newspaper that covers the city of Seattle that a few people around Capitol Hill might still read —  endorsed Orion as their horse — or dog — in the race:

Orion rightly says District 3 needs a council member who is less dogmatic and committed to listening to all sides. “It’s not us versus them; it’s just us,” he told this board. Indeed. Vote Orion in District 3.

Continue reading

With ballots about to head out, District 3 race’s final Primary warm-up laps are all about the money

In the last week before ballots go out, the District 3 race to be fhe top two candidates to go through the Primary and onto the General Election in November appears to be all about the money. One D3 candidate recently got a big boost as the business-friendly Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce doled out its first chunk of cash to its endorsed candidates.

As part of a $307,000 dump, Egan Orion, the Broadway Business Improvement Area administrator who has said he wouldn’t accept campaign contributions from business political action committees (PACs), had $86,750 spent to benefit him by the Civic Alliance for a Sound Economy, the PAC run by the chamber, for a canvassing, telephone, and texting program; $12,450 for direct mail; and, $8,200 for campaign literature, according to late June filings with the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission (SEEC).

These three sums add up to $107,400 in independent expenditures — first reported by journalist Erica C. Barnett — to aid the flagging Orion campaign, which is getting more money than any other in any city council district, so far.

“It’s no surprise that corporate PACs have already spent more on District 3 than on any other in the city,” Council member Kshama Sawant said in an email. “This year, corporate PACs have made it clear that their top priority this election cycle is ‘anybody but Kshama Sawant’ for District 3.”

This money could serve as a much-needed stimulus for a candidate who has struggled to receive endorsements, sometimes finishing last in voting in local Democratic Party endorsement contests, despite strong ties fostered as head of the now-shuttered Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce and as executive director of what Orion is quick to call the biggest single festival day in Seattle, Pridefest.

“I think CASE’s endorsement helps to shape the race,” Orion said in a text message, adding of Sawant: “she’s been demonizing the Metropolitan Chamber for years now and specifically in this election so the fact that I have their support may help the electorate see some strong delineation between my candidacy and that of Kshama Sawant.” Continue reading