Primary ’13: Greg Nickels Has Risen from the Grave

By • on July 19, 2013 8:26 am

Seattle, we have a mayor problem.

Among the races in the August 6 primary election — for which we present our endorsements here — the race for Seattle mayor is the most crowded one in
many years. All the candidates in this race have their positive points, including incumbent Mike McGinn. But the current frontrunner-apparent — Washington state senator Ed Murray — troubles us deeply. Why? Because many of the same people who staunchly supported former Seattle mayor Greg Nickels during his 2002-2010 term — and then the abortive run of city council member Tim Burgess (the council’s most conservative member) — are now lining up behind Ed Murray.

We therefore face the prospect of Seattle City Hall returning to the same divisive, Chicago-style politics that marked Nickels’ term — as an “alternative” to the divisive, Green-style politics of McGinn. Not only does Murray’s establishment support make his election more likely, his personal behavior in Olympia has shown him to be just as abrasive and vindictive as Nickels.

Murray has done some truly admirable things in his career — but bringing people together has not been one of them. Let’s not go back there, Seattle.

On to our endorsements.

Seattle Mayor: For longtime ETS! readers, there are two outstanding candidates in this year’s mayoral race. Since this is a primary election, in which the top two victors will go on to compete in November, we feel comfortable presenting a dual endorsement. Peter Steinbrueck should need no introduction here. During his 1997-2007 term on Seattle City Council, he was a consistently progressive voice and vote. Being a Seattle native, he knows our city’s political history as well as any other candidate; he’ll easily make a great Seattle mayor. Joey Gray, although a virtual political unknown, is every bit as outstanding and genuine a progressive as Steinbrueck. Her knowledge of transportation issues is particularly impressive; she’s a fierce advocate for cyclist- and pedestrian-friendly solutions to Seattle’s increasing transportation dilemmas; and she was a co-leader in the 2011 grassroots campaign to stop the deep-bore tunnel. May the best candidate win.

Seattle City Council, Position 2: An obvious choice for longtime ETS! readers. Incumbent Richard Conlin, who painted himself as a progressive when he first ran for council in 1997, has gradually become a classic seat-warming puppet of the Downtown Seattle Association. (The Stranger’s label for him — “greenwashing liberal fraud” — is well-earned.) Kshama Sawant is the genuine progressive who ran for state representative last year; the planks of her platform included progressive taxation, living-wage jobs, protecting social services, and investment in schools, transit, health care, and renewable energy. She’s young, smart, and articulate — and she’s that very rare left-of-liberal candidate who is well-grounded enough to imagine as a serious legislator long after the campaign rhetoric has faded away. Kshama Sawant.

Seattle City Council, Position 8: Another obvious ETS! choice. Incumbent Mike O’Brien has proved himself to be one of the most genuinely and consistently progressive council members of the past twenty-five years, ranking high with longtime ETS! favorites Nick Licata and Peter Steinbrueck. His challengers are the non-candidate David Ishii and the laughably ill-informed — and obviously DSA-friendly — Albert Shen. Just say no to downtown puppetry. Mike O’Brien.

Seattle Port Commissioner, Position 3: While all the candidates here are credible, the incumbent, appointed in May of this year, has the most relevant experience, including five years as a manager at the Port of Tacoma. Stephanie Bowman.

Seattle School Board, District No. 4: Of the three candidates here, one supports charter schools, which automatically disqualifies him from an ETS! endorsement. Both remaining candidates claim to oppose charter schools, but Suzanne Dale Estey has taken donations from charter school supporters. Our choice has a long history of grassroots education activism and appears more genuine in her opposition to the corporate school reform agenda. Sue Peters.

Seattle School Board, District No. 5: Stephan Blanford is the clear choice here, holding a doctorate in Education, among other strong qualifications. Stephan Blanford.

King County Executive: Incumbent Dow Constantine continues to govern King County as a genuine progressive, just as he did during his previous time on King County Council. Among his challengers, the competition is none. Dow Constantine.

King County Council, Position 1: Incumbent Rod Dembowski was appointed to replace the progressive Bob Ferguson after the latter was elected state attorney general last year. Dembowski’s done a fine job filling Ferguson’s shoes as a pro-transit, pro-environment, pro-social-services legislator, and well deserves to keep his seat. Rod Dembowksi.

King County Council, Position 9: Incumbent Reagan Dunn is the archconservative scion of the late Republican US congresscritter Jennifer Dunn. True to his ideological lineage, he’s voted consistently against much-needed new revenue programs, including the parks levy. His best challenger is Democratic community organizer Shari Song.

King County Prop. 1 (Parks Levy): This measure would continue existing funding for maintenance of King County parks. Approved.


By Lauri on July 21st, 2013 at 8:06 am

Any recommendations for Port of Seattle Commissioner Position No. 3? The Port of Seattle officials are a bunch of bandits…..

By Bob on July 23rd, 2013 at 12:08 pm

Port Commission, Position 3:

After reading his campaign site and blog, Pilloud strikes me as a non-bandit with a head on his shoulders.

I’d like to see Bowman vs. Pilloud in the general election. But most likely it will be Bowman and that tourism salesman guy.

By Sally on July 24th, 2013 at 10:35 am

I hope you will reconsider your endorsement of Stephan Blanford for Seattle School Board. Blanford supports Teach for America, opposes the legal challenge of (the unconstitutional) 1240 (charter school legislation) and is getting donations from pro-charter school backers.

By Jon Reinsch on July 26th, 2013 at 12:38 pm

Bowman endorser “Civic Alliance for a Sound Economy” (which is “sponsored by the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce”) is also backing Reagan Dunn, Richard Conlin, Albert Shen, and Suzanne Dale Estey. Do they know something ETS doesn’t?

By Maria Tomchick on July 29th, 2013 at 2:11 pm

Hi, Geov:

Lots of folks think Steinbreuck won’t make it through to the general, and Grey certainly won’t. Can you tell us why you think Murray is so divisive (other than that he has the endorsement of Democratic Party insiders)? My feeling is that he understands state government, and Seattle is going to need to work with the State Legislature and the Feds to get the money to do major transportation projects (like the 520 bridge expansion, I-5 repairs, light-rail expansion, and more transit money). Steinbreuck doesn’t have the connections or experience to do this, in my opinion.

And I’m getting tired of maverick mayors like McGinn and Nickels, who don’t know how to work with a legislative body like the City Council. Yes, sure, Steinbreuck had two terms on the City Council as part of a progressive bloc, but he didn’t prove adept at working with–let alone listening to–other people, especially ordinary citizens.

Just my thoughts.

By Maria Tomchick on July 29th, 2013 at 2:25 pm

Oh, as another aside, in the Port Commission race, I’d go for Michael Wolfe for the following reasons:

1. Stephanie Bowman used to work for the Seattle Chamber of Commerce and was part of the team that tried to get the summer Olympics here in Seattle. She’s endorsed by realtors and business groups, and the deeper I dig into her background, the slicker she seems (and not in a good way). She’s also never held a job for more than five years, which tells me she’s an ardent self-promoter always reaching for the next highter rung on the ladder. Not the kind of person I want in a position that’s known to attract people who like to give preferential treatment in exchange for steak dinners.

2. Andrew Pilloud is super young and has no experience, which shouldn’t disqualify him automatically. Except…his Facebook page (he doesn’t have a website) reveals him to be a proponent of free-market solutions for most problems. He’s way too conservative for the job.

3. Michael Wolfe may be a salesman, but his employer is, which is like Groupon, but with better discounts. Hardly a port, travel, or tourism insider. In fact, I couldn’t find much to support his claim that he has “real-world experience in the travel, tourism and airline industries.” But at least he speaks to the issues: living wage jobs, infrastructure improvements, paid sick leave for port employees…and he’s the only one of the candidates who even mentions opposing coal trains.

Just my two cents,

By Janice on October 26th, 2013 at 10:45 am

Thanks for the Port Commissioner recommend for Wolfe. I (we) depend on you to do the research and give us your opinion. Please keep us informed. It is appreciated!!

Why do we have to pay Port taxes? Don’t they have all the money in the world and if not, don’t they have the means to get it from every container ship company, airline, etc??


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