I’ll be rolling out my remaining city council candidate interviews, with Phil Tavel, Mark Solomon, and Debora Juarez, this week. (Kshama Sawant and Alex Pedersen did not respond to repeated requests to sit down for an interview, and Ann Davison Sattler canceled our interview and has not yet responded to a request to reschedule.)
In the meantime, a quick roundup of campaign news from the past week:
• Heidi Wills, the former city council member who’s running to represent District 6, held a fundraiser last week that was hosted by a who’s who of anti-Burke Gilman Trail, anti-transit, anti-authorized encampment, and anti-worker interests, along with some elected officials and neighborhood activists.
Among the sponsors:
Pacific Merchant Shipping Association director Jordan Royer, who was a spokesman for Save 35th, the group that fought to kill a planned bike lane on 35th Ave. NE in Wedgwood;
Sonja Foster, the former vice president of Enterprise Washington and current Seattle director of the Associated General Contractors, which gave $25,000 to the Seattle Metro Chamber of Commerce’s political action committee. AGC is currently suing to overturn the state’s new prevailing wage law;
Ballard Alliance director Mike Stewart, who once called on Ballard residents and businesses to flood the city’s Find It Fix It app with reports of homeless encampments; and
Former Seattle Times reporter Marty McOmber, who organized a meeting for people opposed to a city-authorized encampment in Ballard and created a petition blaming current District 6 council member Mike O’Brien for homelessness and crime in Ballard.
Both Wills and her opponent, Dan Strauss, oppose completing the Missing Link of the Burke-Gilman trail as originally planned; Wills wants to go back to the drawing board and build an elevated pathway, while Strauss supports a plan, endorsed by the business-backed group whose court challenges have stalled the trail’s completion for years, to add a bike lane to Leary Way in lieu of the trail.
• As I mentioned above, District 4 council candidate Alex Pedersen did not respond to my repeated requests to sit down for an interview. Turns out I’m in good company: Pedersen has failed to appear at a number of events, and respond to a number of questionnaires by, groups ranging from the Seattle Human Services Coalition to the Seattle Police Officers Guild. Laura Loe Bernstein of Share the Cities has been keeping a running tally.
The groups Pedersen has failed to respond to also include the MASS Coalition (Pedersen skipped their forum); Citizens for a Progressive Economy, sponsored by Working Washington, OneAmerica, and other progressive groups (Pedersen did not respond to their questionnaire); Rooted in Rights and Disability Rights Washington (Pedersen skipped their forum); and Seattle Subway and the Urbanist (Pedersen did not respond to their questionnaires).
• As Crosscut reported last week, Stranger digital editor Chase Burns filed a complaint with the state Public Disclosure Commission about an ad for District 3 candidate Egan Orion that ran on the biweekly paper’s cover without a required disclaimer saying who funded the ad. (The ad ran just under the headline “ENDORSEMENTS,” making it appear that the paper had endorsed Orion; a snarky “letter from the editor” in the print edition preemptively mocked Stranger readers for not getting something that “should be obvious.”)
Page 2 of the 68-page paper featured a second ad for Orion, which did include the required notification.
I reached out to the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission and the PDC independently last week and asked them whether the ad was kosher. SEEC director Wayne Barnett said Seattle elections law “differs slightly from the state law” in that the required sponsor ID needs to be on the front of the ad or “on [the] fold,” and because “in my time here the Commission has never considered” what “the fold” means, “I can’t say definitively whether this complies with our law or not.”
Kim Bradford, a spokeswoman for the PDC, told me that state law requires a sponsor ID on each individual ad. “These appear to be two separate political advertisements that would each need sponsor identification,” she said. However, the commission itself has to determine whether the missing sponsor information constitutes a violation, and whether to impose any penalty; their next scheduled meeting is on October 24, and no agenda has been posted yet.