The Year of the Four Mayors.
Okay, okay—it doesn't have the same ring to it as "The Year of the Four Emperors," which you'll know something about if (1) you went to a school that centered on the study of dead white men (like they do at Evergreen, that bastion of white supremacy) and (2) you did the reading in addition to smoking the pot. But for those us who did (have that kind of education) and did (the reading, the pot), things have felt a bit imperial around here lately. By the end of November, Seattle will have had as many rulers in AD 2017 as Rome did in AD 69. Seattle's troubles—Seattle's traumas—can't match the high drama that marked the reigns of Galba (assassinated), Otho (suicide), Vitellius (decapitated), and Vespasian (diarrhea), but Seattle in MMXVII hasn't lacked for drama. Ed Murray resigned in disgrace! Bruce Harrell signed four executive orders! Tim Burgess hired a member of the SECB as a speechwriter! And now we get to elect Seattle's first female mayor since Bertha Knight Landes in 1926!
Historic! Dramatic! Traumatic! Okay, okay—not as dramatically traumatic as civil wars, lopped off heads, or the shitshow that took out Vespasian, but still!
Adding to the drama: Our next mayor—Jenny Durkan or Cary Moon—will assume office THE SAME DAY election workers certify the election results. Seattle mayor-elects typically get a couple of months to recover from campaigning before they start ordering decapitations and assassinations. Not this year! And while Durkan and Moon seem similar enough on the surface—two relatively wealthy white women with progressive bona fides (one worked for Obama, the other fought the tunnel)—big differences emerge when you comb through their platforms.
You'll also be voting for city council members, port commissioners, the city attorney, the King County sheriff, county executive, and schmucks foolish enough to run for the school board. There's a lesser of two evils in every race, which means your vote has the power to make Seattle a little less evil. (For the idiots out there: less evil > more evil.)
Our endorsements are now in your hands/tablet/laptop/phone. Your ballot will be in your mailbox next week. If you've read this far, you are legally obligated to vote for the people we tell you to—please see the SECB's terms of service—so there's no need to think for yourself. You just need to fill out your ballot, get it in the mail or a ballot drop box by November 7, and brush up on your Roman history.
The Stranger Election Control Board (SECB) is Sydney Brownstone, Heidi Groover, Steven Hsieh, Tim Keck, Ana Sofia Knauf, Charles Mudede, Dan Savage, Rich Smith, the bullhorn Omari Tahir-Garrett used to smack Paul Schell in the face, and one of the mayor's speechwriters*. The SECB does not endorse in uncontested races. By reading our endorsements, you accept the SECB's terms of service. SECB endorsements are legally binding.
* JK. We booted the mayor's speechwriter off the SECB.
Advisory Votes No. 16, 17, 18
A long time ago, a troll named Tim Eyman backed an unconstitutional initiative that would have required a two-thirds supermajority in the state legislature to approve any new taxes. The SECB urged Stranger readers—who live in a magical land of whip-its and rainbow crosswalks and fairy drag-mothers—to reject the troll's unconstitutional initiative. But not all Washington voters read our endorsements—and consequently aren't legally bound to vote the way we tell them to—so the troll's stupid fucking unconstitutional initiative passed. But! The state supreme court struck the troll's initiative down! Seattle broke out the whip-its and our fairy drag-mothers stroked their magic wands. But the court failed to strike down the whole fucking thing and now Washington voters are forced to cast meaningless "advisory votes" on new taxes. The legislature doesn't have to act on our "advice," so your vote doesn't matter AT ALL and WE CAN'T BELIEVE WE HAVE TO TELL YOU THIS EVERY FUCKING YEAR BUT HERE WE ARE TELLING YOU THIS AGAIN.
You'll find three fucking meaningless advisory votes on your ballot and you're going to vote "maintained" on all three.
Advisory Vote 16 asks if you want to repeal an increased tax on commercial fishing licenses that will go to the state general fund and the underfunded Department of Fish and Wildlife. Vote maintained. NOT THAT IT MATTERS.
Advisory Vote 17 covers a bill that removed a sales-tax exemption for bottled water, narrowed an exemption for biofuels, and added a new sales-tax requirement for online companies selling products in Washington. This state needs money to fund things like education and basic services. So vote maintained, NOT THAT IT MATTERS.
Advisory Vote 18 asks if you want to fuck over schoolchildren. On June 30, Washington State legislators hastily passed a last-minute budget, which included a plan to fully fund state public schools to comply with the Washington State Supreme Court's 2012 McCleary ruling. Their solution: increasing property taxes to generate about $13 billion for public schools. For the average Seattle homeowner, that means paying more than $400 a year in additional property taxes. Using property tax revenue to fund critical services is a shitty, regressive move—we know that—but we have to do it for the sake of Washington's K–12 students. So vote maintained—NOT THAT YOUR VOTE MATTERS—then demand better funding solutions from our state legislators.
King County Proposition No. 1
You know what's fucked up around here? Besides cream cheese on hot dogs and pro-Trump propaganda on KOMO TV? That our region's social services providers—the people who feed and house our most vulnerable citizens—have to beg voters to please, please, please pay a little more on their property taxes so their neighbors don't die on the streets. And yet, here we are. Voters first approved a countywide levy for veterans and human services—that includes low-income housing—in 2005 and renewed it in 2011. Over the first few years of the current levy, 3,000 people accessed services. The levy helped 800 formerly homeless people per year obtain or stay in affordable housing. Jail costs fell by 40 percent and emergency department costs fell by 57 percent.
Now the county is proposing another renewal and expansion to double the size of the last levy. If passed, this levy will charge a property tax of 10 cents per $1,000 of assessed value and raise $343 million over six years. That works out to $45 a year for a $450,000 home. That money will fund services for seniors, veterans, victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, formerly incarcerated people, and more. In other words, very important shit at the cost of $3.75 a month. City and county budgets are not funding these services anymore (thanks in part to Tim Eyman's bullshit), and so we are left to fund core services through constant levy asks. If this levy fails, people die.
King County Executive
It's easy to forget that Seattle sits in the same county—and hence shares the same county government—with bucolic Enumclaw, a small town best known for horse fuckers getting fucked to death by horses and Trump voters fucking the country to death by voting for Trump. Needless to say, the values of King County residents out in Horsefuckerville often clash with the county's progressive leadership in Seattle. Most recently, we've seen a wave of small cities passing ordinances preemptively banning safe injection sites—something that could literally save the lives of rural folks addicted to opioids. So we're glad that Dow Constantine is at the helm pushing for safe injection sites despite the NIMBY assholery of Trump-voting horse fuckers. Just like we were glad when Constantine championed ST3 and the homelessness levy. We look forward to another term of Constantine as King County executive before he loses to Bob Ferguson when both men run for governor. (But if Constantine runs and wins—which we'd be fine with—the SECB thinks Dow should rename Enumclaw "Constantinople" to show those horsefuckers who's boss.)
Even if you don't love every single thing Constantine has ever done, even if you protested his plans to build a new youth jail (naming activists in your lawsuit against the City of Seattle was a horse-dick move, Dow), ink Dow's bubble. Constantine's opponent, Bill Hirt, is an anti-transit creep who stormed out of our conference room after we entertained the idea that there are more important concerns than blocking Eastsiders from getting light rail.
King County Sheriff
We're not going to lie: King County Sheriff John Urquhart was once a Stranger darling. So we need to break down why our opinion changed and why we think his opponent, Major Mitzi Johanknecht, should take his place.
We once thought of John Urquhart, a 40-year police officer who jumped from the rank of sergeant to sheriff in 2012, as a progressive policing leader. He called out the "blue wall" of silence when he got the chance. The SECB never endorsed him, but our news team once called him a "certified badass" for firing officers he claimed weren't fit for the job. We respected Urquhart's stance on safe injection sites—that he wouldn't arrest people approaching them or leaving them—and his stated support for policies that prevent public employees from inquiring about a person's immigration status.
But we are concerned about the growing allegations against Sheriff Urquhart from former employees, ranging from gender discrimination to retaliation to rape. Prosecutors declined to file charges on the rape allegation, citing the statute of limitations and a lack of evidence. The Seattle Times later reported that Urquhart directed his internal affairs unit not to document a misconduct complaint alleging that he had a consensual sexual relationship with his same accuser; Urquhart also cited his accuser's mental health history in an attempt to defend himself. When the King County Ombudsman's Office looked into Urquhart's handling of the misconduct complaint against him, she concluded that the sheriff had a "conflict of interest" when he decided not to document the complaint.
While the allegations are still just that—allegations—we take them seriously. But the decision to endorse Urquhart's opponent was cemented when we viewed two videos of Urquhart answering questions at a 45th District GOP barbecue on August 24 and at a Ballard community forum on September 12. At the GOP event, Urquhart presented himself as a tough "law and order" sheriff and a businessman who wasn't afraid to personally call immigration officials on people his office had arrested. What. The. Ever. Loving. Fuck. He also boasted of putting handcuffs on Kshama Sawant, called safe injection sites a "horrible idea," referred to an undocumented resident as an "illegal alien," and told local Republicans, "If OJ Simpson was here illegally, I'd call ICE and get him deported." While Urquhart claimed he needed to use different language to advance a progressive agenda with Republicans, that shit sounded like dog whistles to us. (Funny story: When we asked Urquhart the same questions during our own endorsement meeting, he gave us different answers. He even criticized the use of the term "illegal alien," calling it "dehumanizing." You're right, John, it is! Maybe you should have a word with yourself about using that term?)
We disagree with Major Mitzi Johanknecht, a 32-year sheriff's office public servant and now-commander, on some issues. She's against safe injection sites, which sucks, but she also says that she would uphold local laws surrounding those sites if King County or downtown Seattle were to get one. (Our region needs a lot more than one safe injection site, Mitzi.) But her answers during our endorsement meeting were straightforward and consistent with answers she's given in other forums. She said she's never called ICE to report an arrestee. She said she thought restorative justice was important and cited her work in community outreach surrounding gang violence in South King County. She's won the endorsement of Equal Rights Washington, the biggest LGBTQ advocacy group in the state. Johanknecht (pronounced JOE-HANK-NICK, for the record) has 32 years of experience, much of it in leadership.
Court of Appeals, Division No. 1, District No. 1 Judge Position No. 2
Michael S. Spearman
Michael S. Spearman has been a judge for more than 20 years, including seven on the Washington State Court of Appeals. He writes clear opinions and has the respect of appellate lawyers. When he's not on the bench, Spearman spends his time supporting programs for indigent defense, court interpreters, diversifying Washington State's judges, and designing sick outfits for contestants on RuPaul's Drag Race. He's endorsed by Attorney General Bob Ferguson, King County executive Dow Constantine, Bob the Drag Queen, and a metric fuckton of other judges. Spearman also made a fidget spinner joke (up to speed on current events, we see) during his interview with the SECB. It would basically take a challenge from Sonia Sotomayor to unseat him.
Spearman's opponent, Nathan Choi, is no Sonia Sotomayor. Choi appears to have no judicial experience and his website is a hodgepodge of clip art, family photos, and an ode to a dog that reads, "You put paw prints on my heart."
Port of Seattle, Commissioner Position No. 1
Usually, being "good" on creating family wage jobs as a port commissioner just means bowing to powerful industrial interests in the hope that gains made by corporations will trickle down to workers. But political newcomer Ryan Calkins believes "growth comes from the bottom up, and that means supporting fair pay for those at the base of the economic pyramid."
Calkins has said he wants to expand apprenticeship programs in partnership with port industries as well as recruiting workers from South Seattle communities that are most impacted by airport traffic and emissions. He's strong on supporting sanctuary policies and has made direct appeals—¡en español!—to King County's Spanish-speaking community. And when Calkins talks environment, he's not afraid to call out the number of single-occupancy cars on the road. He's also said he wants to improve the design of that horrible schlep from the SeaTac light rail station to the airport itself.
One of the biggest duties port commissioners will have this year is to choose a new port "executive director" (formerly CEO), a position that has been plagued by scandal for years. Port commissioners' values and attention spans have been tested by these CEO scandals and failed. Calkins, a former importer who now works for a nonprofit that helps invest in low-income entrepreneurs, rightly wants the new executive to have an interest in the "greater public good."
The incumbent in the race, John Creighton, has raised twice the amount of campaign cash that Calkins has, and taken donations from Alaska Airlines, Delta, BNSF, and billionaire Trump supporter Martin Selig. The King County Labor Council has endorsed Creighton, but hell, they're also supporting Jenny Durkan. The port needs new blood.
Port of Seattle, Commissioner Position No. 3
The best way to make sure a government is accountable to workers and marginalized communities? Elect leaders from those communities! Ahmed Abdi is a rare candidate in that he's both a community organizer with deep roots in the movement for workers' rights and an advocate for King County's refugee families.
Before Abdi came to Seattle, he spent 19 years in a Kenyan camp for Somali refugees, and then, when he was finally able to come to the United States, worked for $9 an hour at a chicken processing plant in Kansas City, Missouri. He moved to Seattle in 2010, met his wife, went to college, and eventually became an organizer in the fight for $15 at Sea-Tac Airport with Working Washington. Today he's a "know your rights" outreach trainer for low-income and immigrant communities at the Fair Work Center, and he sits on the Seattle Housing Authority board as a commissioner.
Abdi's opponent, incumbent Stephanie Bowman, has worked at two ports—Tacoma and Seattle—but Bowman's MO has been to play it safe, and in the case of Shell's arctic drilling mission, to err on the side of destroying the planet. Bowman's donors? Alaska Airlines, Boeing, the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association, and worse. The port commission needs to be flipped.
Port of Seattle, Commissioner Position No. 4
Preeti Shridhar says she jumped into the race for port commissioner after witnessing the chaos at the airport following Trump's executive travel ban order. After consulting for USAID on water projects in the early 2000s, Shridhar worked at Seattle Public Utilities, then at the Seattle Office of Sustainability & Environment. For the last decade, she's worked in public affairs and communications at the Renton city government, where she's focused on increasing inclusion and diversity. Shridhar also helped launch Seattle's climate protection initiative.
At the port, Shridhar says she wants mandatory cultural competency training for port employees, and wants to make it more affordable for port workers to live close to where they work by having the port work with local governments to increase affordable housing options. She's been endorsed by US congresswoman Pramila Jayapal,
Peter Steinbrueck, a former lobbyist for the Port of Seattle and Seattle City Council member, on the other hand, has fought against upzones in South Lake Union and lobbied on behalf of a group of luxury condo dwellers who want to stop the city's affordable housing requirements—the argument being that too-tall towers with affordable housing requirements make the city less "liveable" for the wealthy.
Steinbrueck talks a good game about the importance of recognizing climate change. But the organizations funding his campaign do not reflect that interest. Ash Grove Cement, which has been one of the top polluters in Washington State, donated $2,000 to Steinbrueck, as did billionaire Trump supporter Martin Selig. The Pacific Merchant Shipping Association, which donated $4,000 to Steinbrueck's campaign, has a powerful lobbying arm that wants to cut back clean air protections and spoke out against reviewing environmental impacts for a proposed coal export facility near Bellingham. Not cool, Peter.
City of Seattle, Mayor
The SECB stands by everything we said about Cary Moon in our primary endorsement. She is a strong leader who is unafraid to call out the powers that be. She's a visionary with the chops to carry out her truly progressive platform. Former US Attorney Jenny Durkan, meanwhile, promises more of the Murray agenda, one that simply doesn't go far enough to meet this city's pressing needs.
Moon, who has a background in urban planning, offers the best approach to Seattle's housing affordability crisis. Her urbanist analysis begins at the root of the problem: We simply don't have enough housing for the roughly 1,000 newcomers who arrive every week, an influx that pushes some people to the margins and others into homelessness.
Set asides for affordable housing marked a first step to address this problem, but it's not enough. Moon proposes going further by loosening zoning requirements to allow backyard cottages, duplexes, and triplexes in areas dominated by single-family homes. In a recent candidate forum, Moon called single-family zoning a "socioeconomic exclusion tool," likening the practice to racist redlining. She's right.
Moon also recognizes that ramping up public housing must be part of the solution. To pay for it, Moon would push for taxing corporations and investment gains. Yes, such changes would likely have to come from Olympia, but this crisis calls for bold ideas.
Moon's signature cause is clamping down on speculation, wherein wealthy people buy property in town without actually living here, driving up costs for everybody else. How bad is the problem? We don't know, because nobody has taken the initiative to collect the right data, as Moon has proposed to do. After months of casting Moon's proposal as discriminatory against Chinese buyers (it's not), Durkan hypocritically proposed her own taxes meant to curb speculation. But don't be fooled. Durkan only brought up speculation because Moon identified a problem and got people talking.
Both candidates recognize the need for more low-barrier shelters (bring your pets and family!) and tiny house villages (exactly what they sound like), but only Moon seems to understand the responsibility we owe unsheltered Seattleites with nowhere to go RIGHT NOW. Most urgently, Moon pledges to end homeless encampment sweeps, the shameful practice that robs innocent civilians of their belongings before displacing them. Durkan says she would continue the sweeps, a position shared by her financial backers at the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce (THE REDDEST OF FLAGS). Moon has also offered support for Council Member Mike O'Brien's proposal granting leeway for people who sleep in cars or RVs, connecting them with social services rather than handing them tickets. Durkan opposes the plan, another sign that she would continue the current administration's criminalization of the homeless.
Finally, Moon took a moral stand as the city underwent its most painful episode in recent memory, calling for Mayor Ed Murray's resignation weeks after the Seattle Times first detailed the sexual abuse allegations against him. Durkan, in contrast, stuck by the mayor's side. Even after he attacked the credibility of his accusers by calling them drug addicts and criminals. Even after the Seattle Times revealed that Oregon state officials previously determined that Murray abused his foster son. Not until Murray resigned did Durkan remove his endorsement from her website. Facing a critical test of both her judgment and humanity, Durkan failed utterly.
Moon isn't perfect. She funded her campaign largely through her personal wealth rather than building a grassroots movement. She's shifted some policy positions. For example, Moon recently changed her support for a "housing is a human right" ordinance to simply supporting the idea in principle. She also lacks experience in key areas, namely criminal justice and police issues. But we're not choosing between Moon and Perfect. We're choosing between Moon and Durkan.
For her bold approach to our housing crisis, decades of city planning experience, and moral clarity during one of Seattle's darkest moments, we urge you to vote Moon. (Oh, and for the record: If you voted for Jessyn Farrell or Nikkita Oliver during the primary, Moon is your candidate. If you voted for Mike McGinn or Bob Hasegawa, Moon is your candidate. If you voted for Durkan, you do you.)
City of Seattle, City Attorney
We hate both these motherfuckers. The SECB would rather hook up with a Trump-voting horsefucker in Constantinople than sit at a conference table with either of these two. Incumbent Pete Holmes is a spineless bore who did a very good and radical thing when he took office in 2010 by dismissing marijuana possession charges, but hasn't done much since. One thing he has done: failed to offer sex buyers the same diversion programs drug users and others are offered. "Unusual and illegal," says Anita Khandelwal, policy director for the Department of Public Defense.
But Holmes's opponent is worse. Scott Lindsay was public safety adviser to former mayor Ed Murray, where he oversaw the mayor's sweeps of hundreds of homeless encampments. Lindsay has sabotaged efforts we support, like reducing sweeps and offering relief to people living in cars and RVs. In 2015, he helped orchestrate the so-called "9 1/2 block strategy" to crack down on downtown crime. In e-mails reported by the Seattle Times, Lindsay blamed King County prosecutor Dan Satterberg for not arresting enough drug users downtown. While he will try to sell you on a gauzy progressive vision, Lindsay's actions reveal him to be the kind of pseudo-progressive bullshitter we want to see less of in local government. (And state and federal government, too.)
So that means—shit barf fuck queef—we're gonna be voting for Holmes. His approach to sex work is ass backward and his work on police reform has alienated reformers. But he has committed to defending important new city laws, like unionization for rideshare drivers, regulations on move-in fees charged by landlords, and the new city income tax. And he recently sued, alongside state attorney general Bob Ferguson, the maker of OxyContin for what he claims were deceptive marketing practices that have exacerbated the opioid crisis.
In his next term, we want Holmes to reverse his approach to sex work. Harsh penalties on sex buyers do about as much to end sex work as cracking down on drug users did to end drug use. And going after buyers of sex, as Amnesty International found, puts sex worker at greater risk of violence and exploitation. The city attorney has the power to radically change the city's approach to sex work and we want to Holmes make that change.
City of Seattle, Council Position No. 8
The city won't fall into the sea if either of these candidates wins. Teresa Mosqueda is a sharp labor leader. Jon Grant is the former head of the Tenants Union. Both have ideas in their platforms that we like, and both have been unfairly attacked by supporters of their opponent. Yes, Mosqueda took a $250 donation from Maria Barrientos, a developer who sat on former mayor Murray's housing affordability committee. That doesn't make her a developer shill. (You know who else sat on Murray's housing affordability committee? Jon Grant.) Yes, Grant is worried about displacement of low-income people and people of color caused by new development. That doesn't make him a NIMBY.
To both camps: Enough with this bullshit. Unlike the city attorney race, we've got two solid progressives in this race and, whoever wins, a solid progressive goes to the council.
But you get to pick only one, and we're picking Jon Grant. Grant has the bold policy ideas this city needs, like increasing taxes on corporations to fund low-income housing, rolling back sweeps of homeless encampments, and reducing maximum sentences for misdemeanors to help prevent the deportation of people who get caught up in low-level criminal proceedings. His platforms were crafted with input from the people actually affected by these policies. His proposals offer a clear-eyed analysis of the ways the free market fails to meet the needs of our city's most vulnerable. And he's worked hard to tamp down the serial killer vibe. And as we said during the primary: You know what's better than one socialist (Kshama Sawant) on the city council? Two.
In a meeting with the SECB, Mosqueda promised she's not going to compromise her progressive values, but pitched herself as a consensus builder. She promised to "not point fingers, not assign blame, [but] actually pull people together." We're not afraid of council members who assign blame. There's plenty of blame to go around in this city—for the wealthy who fight to maintain the most regressive tax system in the nation, for the neighborhood assholes who demonize homeless people, for the businesses who fight new protections for workers, and for whoever decided we can't use our vape pens inside the council chambers. (Fuck that guy.) We're more afraid of self-styled "consensus builders" riding into city hall on bold promises only to disappear into milquetoast centrism.
City of Seattle, Council Position No. 9
M. Lorena González
Back when we endorsed her in the primary, we said we were disappointed that Council Member Lorena González, like other political leaders, had stayed quiet about allegations of sexual abuse against then-mayor Ed Murray. She told us that, if she could go back in time, she'd publicly state her solidarity with survivors and denounce Murray's attacks on their credibility. Soon after, González lived up to her words.
González was the first council member to publicly call on Murray to resign and said her council colleagues should consider impeaching him if he refused. Except for Kshama Sawant, González could not get support from her council colleagues. They either said nothing or defended Murray, and he stayed in office for another two months. For survivors of sexual violence, that silence was deafening. González deserves credit for being willing to stand almost alone in this call. A savvy, independent council member, González has also led on ambitious pro-worker legislation and securing funding for legal aid for undocumented immigrants.
Seattle School District No. 1, Director District No. 4
The SECB wants to see a school board appointed by the mayor, who can then be held accountable for the state of Seattle's public schools, instead of the never-ending shit show that is, was, and seemingly always will be Seattle School Board elections.
Eden Mack would saw off her own arm if it meant fully funding Washington's K–12 public schools. She's the only candidate in this race who has already made it her business to lecture Olympia legislators dragging their feet on school funding, which she has done through her education advocacy group Washington's Paramount Duty and as a legislative aide for the Seattle Council of the Parent Teacher and Student Associations. As a school board member, Mack plans to prioritize bringing more teachers of color into Seattle and encouraging schools to adopt ethnic studies curriculum. Hell fucking yes, Mack, and good fucking luck.
Mack's opponent is Herbert J. Camet Jr., a globe-trotting former school principal and ESL teacher with an unplaceable accent. (We suspect Pennsylvania Dutch.) In addition to sending us way too many e-mails written in Comic Fucking Sans, Camet won't stop complaining about Mack being a corporate politician for taking endorsements from Democratic groups—some of the very organizations fighting to make sure Washington schools are adequately funded.
Seattle School District No. 1, Director District No. 5
Zachary Pullin DeWolf
Zachary Pullin DeWolf—young, progressive, indigenous—should be running for city council or state legislature. But DeWolf has set his sights on the school board, for some mysterious reason, the place where political ambitions go to die. But we need more voices like his, and if he thinks he can create a more equitable education system in Seattle by joining the school board, we're on his side. We've watched DeWolf evolve as a community activist over the last five years. He's served as Capitol Hill Community Council president, a Gender Justice League board member, a Seattle Housing Authority commissioner, and more. If he gets on the school board, DeWolf promises to push for "know your rights" trainings for undocumented students and their families and mandate racial and implicit bias trainings for district teachers and students. We wish DeWolf was running against parent and education activist Andre Helmstetter. Instead, he is running against Omar Vasquez, a tax attorney and former Teach for America high-school calculus teacher. But while Vasquez is happy to share campaign platitudes about closing the achievement gap and promoting equity, he wants to keep his involvement with a board that oversees the state's Summit charter schools under wraps. No thanks.
Seattle School District No. 1, Director District No. 7
Betty Patu is a lifelong educator and fierce advocate for minority students. Before she was elected to the school board in 2009, Patu was a badass, award-winning South Seattle high-school teacher. She made a name for herself in the 1990s by lowering dropout rates and gang violence among Pacific Islander students. She supports implementing ethnic-studies courses and tribal history in Seattle schools and wants to find alternatives to school suspension, which disproportionately affects students of color.
Patu's opponent is Chelsea Byers, a former Teach for America math teacher who worked in Oakland, California. Byers currently serves as the vice president of instruction at Galvanize, an online school seeking to teach adults tech skills, and wants to see more Seattle students enrolled in science-focused courses. Good stuff. But Patu's vision and commitment to underserved communities is what Seattle schools need and we see no reason to turf her out.
Washington State Senate, Legislative District 45
Do you live in a magical land of whip-its and rainbow crosswalks and fairy drag-mothers? Then there's a good chance you don't get to vote in this race, which covers an Eastside legislative district. But we're including an endorsement for Manka Dhingra anyway, because her election would turn Olympia blue.
Right now, Democrats control the state house and governor's seat while Republicans maintain a one-seat majority in the state senate. Fucking Republican shitlords in the state senate have blocked funding for school districts, gun-control proposals, legislation addressing climate change, and election reforms. Electing Dhingra and flipping the state senate would be a huge fucking deal.
The high stakes in this race show in the dollars. Combined, the two candidates running for District 45 have raised more than $3 million. Republican candidate Jinyoung Lee Englund has the edge, money-wise. Let's change that! Support Dhingra by donating money, door knocking, bugging your Eastside friends, or whatever works for you.