The Stranger asked why I, along with other Democrats, endorsed Mark Sidran for mayor. How could the "gay guy" who represents Capitol Hill endorse the "evil" Mark Sidran?

How could a Democratic legislator like me, who has led efforts for the largest increase in state funding for low-income housing, gotten a dam torn down on the Olympic Peninsula (this is probably news to you, given that the Seattle press doesn't write positive things about legislators), and gotten domestic partnership status for state employees (something the local gay press seem to have missed) endorse Sidran?

Given how some of Sidran's opponents sound like the far Right with their intolerant characterizations of him, I can understand why my endorsement might confuse them. Their portrayal of Sidran as a right-wing Republican--because he supports civility laws that a liberal Democratic city council voted for and Norm Rice signed into law--reflects the unwillingness of Seattle's politically correct Left to accept a diversity of ideas.

What the Sidran stereotype misses is his advocacy for programs such as mental health court and drug court, which move people with mental illness or substance abuse problems into treatment, keeping them out of jail. The stereotype ignores Sidran's ability to build coalitions with progressive Democrats and moderate Republicans (witness his diverse endorsements), coalitions Seattle will need in order to be successful in state politics. It may come as a surprise to the Left, but coalition means building relationships with those different from yourself.

This characterization also ignores Sidran's opposition to Sound Transit's business as usual and his commitment to providing transit to densely populated neighborhoods such as Capitol Hill and the University District.

Over the last decade I have worked with Mark on numerous issues, and have found him decisive, effective, and always open, even when I have strongly disagreed with him. It would be refreshing for the public to actually know where a leader stands on an issue in this state.