District 3 recall: A Better Seattle joins ‘yes’ fight, Kshama Solidarity holds a ‘F%#k The Recall’ Block Party, and how they would replace Sawant

A new group raising thousands to join the “vote yes” fight, a Kshama Solidarity Block Party, media endorsements, and the first votes being cast — here are the latest updates in the December 7th recall election.

  • New political action committee forms: While only District 3 residents can vote in the recall, anybody can throw cash at the political battle. A group calling itself A Better Seattle has registered and is already collecting thousands of dollars to campaign for “yes” votes in the recall of Kshama Sawant. The group is also leaping in with a request to immediately be free from state contribution limits — one of its first expenditures was $3,000 to the Perkins Coie law firm for the work. The group has also spent $500 on a website and $5,000 to retain a firm to aid in fundraising. Early contributors were led by $1,000 from the state PAC of the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, $1,000 from the Washington Multi-Family Housing Association, and $1,000 from Matt Griffin, principal at the Pine Street Group, the developer behind the $2 billion downtown convention center expansion. Consultant Sandeep Kaushik, busy taking victory laps after progressive wins in Seattle’s November General Election, weighed in with $250 of in-kind work for the group. The group has nothing to do, apparently, with Seahawks coach Pete Carroll’s charity effort of the same name. The chair of the group is listed as Chris McLain. We tried checking to see if it’s the same Chris McLain who has led Ironworkers Local 86 union efforts but the phone number he included in filings with the city goes to the PAC’s accounting office. Continue reading

‘Nearly 150 Seattle leaders’ — Mayor-Elect Harrell announces massive transition team

(Image: Bruce Harrell campaign)

Seattle political veteran Bruce Harrell will have quite the entourage as he prepares to staff his administration and begin his four-year term leading the city.

The mayor-elect has announced a record-setting transition team with 150 members helping the incoming administration make key hires and set priorities across everything from “Arts, Culture, and Nightlife” to “Sports and Mentorship.”

Harrell, who grew up in the Central District, handily defeated City Council president Lorena González earlier this month in the most expensive mayor’s race in Seattle history.

“We are building a one-of-a-kind, diverse, and skilled team, filled with the energy and expertise needed to ensure our administration hits the ground running,” Harrell said . “With this transition team in place, we have the opportunity in front of us to thoughtfully develop the urgent and forward-looking agenda that will restore our City and propel Seattle forward. I look forward to taking this team’s input and recommendations and putting them into action as we determine our 100 Day and Year One agenda, rebuild trust in City government, and chart Seattle’s future.” Continue reading

Commission adds affordable housing advocate as process to redraw Seattle City Council borders moves forward

Powered by the latest Census data, the City of Seattle is redrawing its boundaries for its seven City Council districts. The volunteer board convened to lead this process meets Thursday for a special meeting to move forward on the process and introduce the fifth and final member selected to the body.

According to meeting materials for the Wednesday morning session (PDF), affordable housing advocate Patience Malaba is set to join the commission. Rules for the redistricting require two members appointed by the mayor, and two by the City Council. The fifth is selected by the board. Continue reading

Powered by Census population shifts, King County Council redistricting options could unite Capitol Hill

Parts of Capitol Hill could see new King County Council representation under a draft plan by the county’s redistricting committee. The committee is nearing the home stretch and should wrap up within the next two months. Capitol Hill’s place straddling county District 2 and District 8 will be reshaped in the process.

As with pretty much every jurisdiction in the nation, district lines are re-drawn every 10 years after the U.S. Census Bureau releases its head count of how many people live in America, and just where those people live. At the federal level, it often results in congressional seats moving from slower-growing states to faster growing states.

That concept plays out in miniature across the various levels of government. In Washington, the state is busy re-drawing lines for its congressional and legislative districts. The commission drawing those maps, a five-member panel including Capitol Hill’s former state Rep. Brady Walkinshaw, has released a set of proposed maps, but the group still has a way to go.

The commission re-drawing Seattle’s City Council district lines is also working away on its own maps.

At the county level, new maps were recently released which reflect radically different growth rates across the county. Continue reading

Amid endorsement from Seattle firefighters, Harrell also wins Africatown CEO’s support — UPDATE

Tuesday, as Seattle mayoral candidate Bruce Harrell touted a “major” new endorsement from the local firefighters union, there was another endorsement that might be more impactful here in District 3.

Wyking Garrett of the Africatown community group and land trust has also endorsed the campaign of the veteran Seattle politician, Converge Media’s Omari Salisbury reports. UPDATE: Garrett says he has endorsed Harrell “in a personal capacity.”

The endorsement comes as Garrett has joined in a call for community involvement and investment in the neighborhood in response to ongoing gun violence and an incident that frayed nerves as shots rang out during a youth football game Saturday afternoon at Judkins Park. Continue reading

With November election deadline past, Recall Sawant turns in signatures for vote on embattled District 3 councilmember

(Image: Recall Sawant)

The Recall Sawant campaign said Wednesday it has submitted 16,243 petitions to put the vote on the ballot.

CHS reported here on the campaign’s decisions around the signatures and the missed deadline to qualify for November squaring up a likely winter special election in District 3 covering Capitol Hill, the Central District, and neighboring areas to decide whether Kshama Sawant should remain on the Seattle City Council. Continue reading

This Capitol Hill candidate for Seattle mayor can’t make rent — and that’s OK

(Image: Andrew Grant Houston for Seattle Mayor)

A Seattle conservative radio show host’s attempt to take on mayoral candidate and Capitol Hill apartment resident Andrew Grant Houston over unpaid rent has backfired.

Pundit Jason Rantz targeted the “divest SPD” candidate with an article based on email from Houston’s landlord detailing more than $20,000 in back rent at the unnamed Capitol Hill building Houston calls home.

The gist: Houston’s campaign has raised more than $400,000 for his longshot bid for the mayor’s office largely from the success of its efforts to collect Democracy Vouchers while the candidate has reportedly failed to pay rent.

The unpaid rent is just as likely to garner support for Houston as it is scorn. Turns out, Houston is a lot like thousands of other renters in Seattle who have struggled to make ends meet. Continue reading

Recall Sawant dogfight takes to the skies above Capitol Hill

“noisy sunday morning” — @maniftendst via Twitter

The battle over the effort to recall the area’s representative on the Seattle City Council took to the skies above Capitol Hill and the Central District Sunday as a small plane towed around a big sign with a short message: RECALL SAWANT

The noisy display on a bright summer day “was planned weeks ago to get the word out about the recall,” campaign manager Henry Bridger tells CHS, and wasn’t an effort to target a labor-focused rally in support of Kshama Sawant being held below at Cal Anderson Park. Continue reading

Here’s what happened when Recall Sawant asked off-duty cops to join its campaign efforts on Broadway

A recall supporter sent CHS this photo of reported anti-recall vandalism

Campaign organizers working to recall the Capitol Hill and Central District representative on the Seattle City Council asked for some unusual assistance last week for its efforts to get the issue on the ballot.

“The Recall Sawant Campaign will be sign waiving (sic) and signature gathering this weekend and would love any off-duty SPOG members (and friends and family) to join them,” campaign manager Henry Bridger wrote in an email last Friday.

The full invitation is below.

The call for Seattle Police union members to join the campaigning and information table efforts didn’t break any rules. But the call was more than a request for volunteers.

Bridger tells CHS he is also asking for law enforcement support because of safety concerns.

Opponents of the recall effort, meanwhile, say the email is yet another sign that the recall campaign is backed by political forces from outside District 3.

Bryan Koulouris of Kshama Solidarity says the effort to bring out off-duty police to be part of the recall is one of the many “signs of Astroturf” around the campaign.

Continue reading

After more shootings and gunfire, mayoral candidate proposes new ‘Seattle Office of Violence Prevention’

Gunfire rang out near the Central District’s Garfield High School Thursday night in the area where a man was sent to the hospital last week after being shot in the stomach in the parking lot of Ezell’s. There were no reported injuries in the late night bout of gunplay.

The shots fired incident was the latest in a spring series of gun violence across the city, the Central District, and Capitol Hill.

In the increasingly crowded race for Seattle mayor, candidate Jessyn Farrell’s campaign is making a focus on gun violence a center of her effort to draw voters.

This week, Farrell released her plan to address gun violence with a focus on community spending in a bid to make the issue a key factor in the race. Continue reading