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Monday, December 17, 2012

Kate Martin Is Running for Mayor

Posted by on Mon, Dec 17, 2012 at 12:26 PM

Kate Martin doesn't talk in political platitudes. Right off the bat, Martin takes the strongest stance of any mayoral candidate when she talks about the Seattle Police Department. “I think that we need a new chief,” she says, making an obvious, and likely popular, statement about her priorities for reforming our beleaguered department. “That’s as blunt as I can put it,” she says.

“I think that going back to the root of who we hire—we need to hire people who don’t have that penchant for racism and excessive force,” Martin says.

A former president of the Greenwood Community Council, who’s carved out a niche as an advocate for neighborhood organizing and education reform, Martin tells The Stranger that she’ll file paperwork this week to run for mayor. A Seattle resident since 1979, Martin runs her own design firm after getting a BA in landscape architecture at the State University of New York.

If she wins, Martin would be the city’s first female mayor in 85 years. “I think it’s time—it’s definitely time,” she says. Martin isn’t running on a ticket simply as a woman, naturally, but as someone who envisions a platform aimed at making the city friendlier to raising kids. She says, “I don’t think that anyone can champion the type of priorities that I am looking to add to the mix besides a woman.”

Not to dwell on Martin’s XX chromosomes—and she didn’t stress them in our interview—but competing against several high-profile men in the top-two primary election, every distinction could help her stand out and squeak through. After all, the vote will be sliced into slivers that could allow someone with just over a quarter of the vote to advance to the November ballot. Where the incumbent mayor, Mike McGinn, along with Seattle City Council member Tim Burgess and state senator Ed Murray certainly bring profiles of civic accomplishments, Martin may further distinguish herself as a plain-spoken community leader. She believes her neighborhood bona fides—and a platform that includes everything from building sidewalks in north and south Seattle to augmenting the school district—could win the allegiance of parent groups, neighborhood groups, education reform groups, and environmental organizations.

“I think I have a pretty nice menu of supporters… I take time to analyze issues and understand both side of the argument,” says Martin, eschewing the policy briefings she says her competitors rely on. “I think that people know that. I have a conscience. And I also have a spine.”

But realistically, Martin has never won an election (and the aforementioned men in the race all have).

Martin ran for the Seattle Public Schools board in 2011, losing to incumbent Sherry Carr. Martin is undaunted. She points out that she won 47 percent of the vote in that race despite being outspent by more than three-to-one (Martin raised only about $12,000, which isn’t even enough to blanket the city with a single mailing, while Carr’s $43,000 hit mailboxes around the city with oversized glossy postcards of shiny red apples).

“I only lost by a little. I am more prepared this time,” Martin says.

This time around, her plank relies partly on augmenting the Seattle school district, which is a separate government body from the City of Seattle. First, Martin envisions a student mentorship program run by the city—at a cost of up to $10 million—that would help kids from the time they enter kindergarten right through rough patches in high school and on to college. Second, as schools are rebuilt and renovated, they should be partially financed by the city to serve as community centers for all sorts of uses, she says. “These schools are open only six hours a day and closed in summer—that's an underuse of facilities.” The city of Tukwila and many schools in Oregon’s Multnomah County have adopted the model, Martin says, and the city should collaborate, for instance, when the district rebuilds the Wilson-Pacific School in north Seattle.

In our interview, Martin was supportive of light rail throughout the city—while calling streetcars "nostalgic"—and believes the city can do more to mandate new housing construction to have more "charm." She also floats the idea of major infrastructure improvements. In downtown, she envisions sidewalk enhancements that promote more retail uses and a “friendlier atmosphere.”

“From a woman’s perspective, you see how many places you are not comfortable going or comfortable with children,” Martin says. She doesn’t support civility measures that further penalize aggressive panhandling, but rather says attracting more families has a synergistic effect: “The more women and children downtown, the less we have to worry about aggressive anything. The drug dealers? There’s nothing that scares them away more than children. We can go in that direction. I don’t think we need to throw everyone in jail.”

And in far-flung neighborhoods, Martin says we need to finally build sidewalks, a cost-prohibitive dream of neighborhood leaders and political candidates for years. She imagines that homeowners could pay the roughly $10,000 needed to build them in front of their properties, in part with zero-interest loan programs, while the city could can coordinate and construct the intersections.

All of these cost money—and Martin freely admits that they may require going to voters for money. And she insist it would require the buy-in of business, nonprofits, and private investors.

But Martin’s immediate challenge isn’t raising money to pay for civic improvement. It will be raising money for her campaign—and climbing to the ranks of a serious contender will be particularly tough as entrenched politicians like Burgess (who has reported $26,000 in donations), McGinn (who has reported $95,000), and Murray (who has reported $120,000) all seek to tap the relatively few reliable campaign donors in Seattle. She’ll need far more than the $12,000 she raised for school board to be viewed as a serious contender. What is her plan? “I am starting out in the traditional way with my 100 fundraising letters work from there, just like I did last time.“

“I know a lot of people," she adds.


Comments (18) RSS

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Will in Seattle 1
If women could be mayor of Seattle, we would have had one before.



Posted by Will in Seattle on December 17, 2012 at 12:30 PM · Report this
Fnarf 2
I think Martin is terrific, but she's going to get creamed by the Ed Murray machine.
Posted by Fnarf on December 17, 2012 at 12:53 PM · Report this
Oh great, Skate Park In My Front Yard Kate wants to run for Mayor. Hopefully she's more well-informed on how the City works now.
Posted by tiktok on December 17, 2012 at 12:57 PM · Report this
MrBaker 4
You can't attempt to tell part of the city to borrow $10,000 to build a sidewalk in front of their home, while at the same fucking time offer to promote:In downtown, she envisions sidewalk enhancements that promote more retail uses and a “friendlier atmosphere.”

Are you going to tax people without sidewalks to pay for downtown "enhancements" to existing sidewalks?
If so then you should take a close look at the electoral map of the death of Streets for All.

Everybody outside of downtown is tired of downtown sucking the levy money while having shit like that sold as Bullshit for All.

Sidewalks going in to the rest of the city is cost prohibitive, but a waterfront promenade isn't?
Posted by MrBaker on December 17, 2012 at 1:02 PM · Report this
I have loved Kate Martin's ability to cut through the media bullshit McGinn spread about himself. While the Stranger was busy lapping it up, she'd drop little bombs where she could:
McGinn has been a disaster in Greenwood and his years of activism usually meant being carried around in Nickels’ front pocket. He has no vision. Whenever something that had to do with vision or long range planning or planning at all came up in Greenwood or beyond he’d turn up the volume on whatever project he had the city funding within 100′ of his house. He can criticize Mallahan all he wants about voting, but McGinn (for the 10 years I’ve worked around him) couldn’t even get to a meeting on time or often even get there at all. He gets appointed by Nickels for this and that committee and doesn’t show or comes 5 minutes before the meetings over, barges in rudely and then proceeds to monopolize the floor while he blathers about his latest travels in Nickel’s front pocket. He had no leadership nor management qualities and pretty much likes to jump from issue to issue with an inability to focus or create strategies. He is a complete disaster.…
Well, the blond North Seattle mom was the "Renee" that made the recording for the robo-lies about guns I'm sure. Safe Walks and all are cool but lies? No thanks. And that robo-lie was very typical McPrick. Whatever it takes to win. Lies and all. I've even seen him do it to win in a community council council election. Hell, I've seen him do it just to control the chair position for the Pedestrian Master Plan Advisory Group. Please don't for a moment think that all ped activists, all bike activists or all environmentalists support McPrick. Many of us has suffered his BS for years and years. He's not new to us and we're sick to death of his crap. And on top of it all we get Mike and Miker. Beer buddies like most of the supporters. Wonderful, huh? Mike is a prick. And an ineffective one at that. He's real good at gimicks though and viral campaigns are his thing. He has no second act. Never has.…
Posted by gloomy gus on December 17, 2012 at 1:21 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 6
Good point, @4, how come "downtown" gets more cops while the rest of the neighborhood retail centers get less?
Posted by Will in Seattle on December 17, 2012 at 1:28 PM · Report this
Uh, yeah, no. Absolutely not.
Posted by wmdb on December 17, 2012 at 1:36 PM · Report this
Supreme Ruler Of The Universe 8

Does she like bridges...tunnels...200-story high apodment spires...anything large..with steel reinforced concrete?


Then fuggedabouddit!
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe on December 17, 2012 at 2:09 PM · Report this
Fnarf 9
When the city builds these neighborhoods new sidewalks, are they going to send me a check for ten grand to cover the cost of building mine -- which was not built by the city but the homebuilder, and the value of which is still reflected in my sale price and tax assessment?

Seems only fair.
Posted by Fnarf on December 17, 2012 at 2:16 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 10
Kind of depends what you make your sidewalk out of, though.

Rubber makes for great green roof fill, but if that's what you made your sidewalk out of, or if it's ended it's useful life, who's to say?

Good point, @8, we need someone - like, say, SLOG - to ask the hard questions.

Massive taxpayer-financed private vanity tunnels that are free to use for plug-in electric limos owned by non-profit billionaires might be a bit too much for the rest of us to pay for.
Posted by Will in Seattle on December 17, 2012 at 2:37 PM · Report this
Shame about that little problem about building her million dollar home out illegally onto public property and then refusing to remove the illegal structure when ordered by the City.

Kate Martin makes McGinn look reasonable.
Posted by 73rd St Skate Punk on December 17, 2012 at 2:40 PM · Report this
Will Kate be another green living in a million follar, 4000 sq foot McMansion with multiple cars for her, her husband and her pot smoking sons lecturing us about living sustainably?
Posted by 73rd St Skate Punk on December 17, 2012 at 2:46 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 13
Well, sounds like all those houseboats on Lake Union, @11 @12.

I'm just glad we have two choices from Greenwood.

Should be fun at debates!
Posted by Will in Seattle on December 17, 2012 at 3:00 PM · Report this
MrBaker 14
9. . . FTW!
Posted by MrBaker on December 17, 2012 at 3:33 PM · Report this
Kate would sell you her modest home for a million dollars in a heartbeat.

Yes, she built a skate area that she paid a fee for until the great Tom Carr cracked down and threatened her with retroactive $100 per day fines.

Look around and you'll see people illegally using their planting strips for all kinds of uses.

Perhaps, a better target for your venom might be SDOT the fools ruining mobility for all in Seattle.

from the old PI - "Of course, not everybody is going to spend $15,000 and get permits to turn their front yards into skateboard parks, she said. So Martin also has become an advocate for more skate parks in Seattle."

Permits - get it.

Posted by TaDa on December 17, 2012 at 3:46 PM · Report this
I hope Kate's run draws attemtion to the fact that Burgess did NOT take a position on I 1240- the initiative that allows a simple majority of teachers or parents to sign a petition which will essentially "gift" a public property to a private entity, eliminate local control of tax payer dollars and siphon dollars from an underfunded system to serve a few.
Posted by Hoping on December 17, 2012 at 8:28 PM · Report this
She has a BA in landscape architecture and runs her own design firm. She lives in Greenwood. She's a woman. To me, that says: mayor material.
Posted by Billy Chav on December 18, 2012 at 10:07 AM · Report this
Here is a picture of Kate's front yard skatedot:…

Here is a current list of skateparks in Seattle:…

Thanks for your support!
Posted by Scott Shinn on January 7, 2013 at 11:07 PM · Report this

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