Because he gives a shit about the environment, Seattle Times writes about Mike OBrien like hes a member of ISIS or something.
Because he actually cares about the environment, the Seattle Times practically treats Mike O'Brien like he's a member of ISIS. Kelly O

Do you ever read the Seattle Times and think: Um, does anyone read this before it gets published? Does anyone care? On Sunday, the paper published misinformation about the legality of public nudity, a story they have still not clarified or corrected. Think of the Puritans! Or something.

And then yesterday, the paper got around to publishing their endorsement in the city council position 6, a race that includes incumbent Mike O'Brien, and their "endorsement" begins like this:

Voters in the new Seattle City Council District No. 6—which includes the Fremont, Greenlake, Ballard and Crown Hill neighborhoods—have a difficult decision to make.

It's true—voters in all districts have a difficult decision to make, because voters have never had districts before, not for city council races. (We have legislative districts for state and federal representatives, but this coming election is the first time city council members will be elected by districts.) Endorsements mean more than ever this year, because city hall elections have never operated this way, so Seattle Times readers in District 6 are probably curious to know who among the candidates in their district the paper thinks is most qualified.

So who did the Seattle Times editorial board endorse? No one.

Why? Uhh, you tell me. They write:

O’Brien, a financial manager by training, has been on the council since 2010. He has shown that his hard work and intellectual rigor can be undone by his far-lefty ideological orthodoxy.

No mention of the fact that he used to be the state chair of the Sierra Club. He's a financial manager, okay? And his hard work "can be undone"—huh?—by his "far-lefty"-ness. Okay, Seattle Times, what do you mean? The very next sentence:

The clearest example is O’Brien’s grandstanding as the lead “kayaktivist” against the Port of Seattle’s lease for Shell oil exploration in the Arctic. As a council member, O’Brien must have known the protests would have little practical effect on Shell, which indeed floated a rig right past his kayak.

Oh, yeah, wasn't that a horrible blight on our city? Remember when someone who was a Sierra Club leader before being elected to city council actually turned out to... care about the environment!? Oh God, what a grandstander! Remember that weekend when kayaktivists took to Elliott Bay to use the theater of protest to call attention to what Shell is trying to do in the Arctic? Mike O'Brien was one of them! Yes, he volunteered his own personal time on a weekend to that cause! Can you believe it! That really calls all of his other accomplishments into question, don't you think?!

That is Mike OBriens kayak being confiscated by the Coast Guard. What a horrible, hideous misstep on his part to even participate in protests, dont you think?
That is Mike O'Brien's kayak being confiscated by the Coast Guard. What a horrible, hideous misstep on his part to even participate in protests, don't you think? Kelly O

The Seattle Times says "climate change is a threat," and then they beat up anyone who wants to call attention to climate change. They treat it like a liberal conspiracy intended to undermine their business-owner friends in the maritime industry. For the past six months, the Seattle Times has been publishing ridiculously condescending editorials about kayaktivists. Click on that link for Sydney Brownstone to take you point-by-point through just one of them.

And now they're acting like because Mike O'Brien rode in a kayak protesting Shell, and because his sole kayak didn't somehow take down a multibillion-dollar corporation, he's somehow a problematic figure. Oh God, it's so horrible that when a council member who rode into office on his Sierra Club background and environmental bona fides actually turns out to believe the stuff he says he believes! Can you BELIEVE how much he undermined the maritime industry by riding in a kayak that one weekend? All the city council members who sat at home and did nothing behaved so much more appropriately, wouldn't you say so? Oh, yes, oh, yes. Indubitably.

Even if you strongly disagree with O'Brien's activism on Shell, you can't pretend there isn't a logical problem here. To pretend like O'Brien riding around in a kayak is too damaging to the city for him to be endorsed is asinine, but to simultaneously argue that he didn't do enough damage to Shell? Which is it? You can't simultaneously argue that there's no point in protesting Shell and also that protesting Shell is damaging. Alas, the Seattle Times is just so unspeakably embarrassed about O'Brien's undermining of himself with his "far-lefty ideological orthodoxy" that they can't bother to endorse him, or anyone else.

You want some information about what O'Brien has accomplished and what he stands for? Here you go.

You want to know how O'Brien compares to the other candidates in District 6? Here you go.

You want to know who The Stranger endorses in this race? That will be out next week. Spoiler alert: It isn't "No one."