Election Crank: Three Weeks Out

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;

Eugene Wasserman, president of the anti-Burke Gilman Trail North Seattle Industrial Association, which sued to stop the Move Seattle transit initiative; 

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.

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• 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.

8 thoughts on “Election Crank: Three Weeks Out”

  1. it would be interesting to know if those paid “shelter” units were formerly designated as transitional housing and when that was phased out from the COC, instead of following HUD guidelines some orgs just switched the title of the unit from “transitional” to “shelter” and proceeded offering what sounds very much like transitional housing. I actually have really mixed feelings about that- good for them and fuck that! It sure is what sounds like is happening.

  2. Alex Pedersen is basically trying to run out the clock on this election. He’s not making many statements or appearances, just touting his endorsements and hoping that the corporate PAC money that backs him can scare mostly-white NE Seattle into not voting for Shaun Scott. For a guy who runs on basically one issue, “Accountability,” he’s been decidedly unaccountable to the voters he hopes to represent.

  3. TRU, Seattle Subway,Seattle Bike Blog, Seattle Transit Blog all endorsed Strauss.

    No bike or transit orgs have endorsed Wills.

    1. pretty close: Sierra Club, Washington Conservation Voters, Dow Constantine, Ron Sims, Tom Rasmussen; Washington Bikes did not endorse in the sixth.

  4. typo in post: “NE 35th Street”; the subject arterial was 35th Avenue NE served by routes 65 and 64. Note that Strauss, Wills opponent in the General Election, also supports an alternative to the SDOT Burke Gilman Trail Extension on Shilshole Avenue NW. Both district six finalists are supported by transit and cycling advocates.

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