Primary ’13: Greg Nickels Has Risen from the Grave
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.