News Oct 8, 2009 at 4:00 am

The Nicest Guy in Seattle Is Frighteningly Conservative and Outfundraising His Progressive Opponent, Mike O'Brien


McGinn needs to take O'Brien everywhere with him. Get his name out there so he can garner support.
Ironically, O'Brien did get the King County Labor Council endorsement, because he wasn't a dope like McGinn - he actually made an effort to talk to labor unions. Maybe he should be taking McGinn around...
There too hard on Robert. Some of Mike O'Brien's views are just absurd.
Seattle can retain those businesses and prosper into the future "by having traffic mobility that allows them to move efficiently throughout the city," he said in September on KUOW.

Well, he's right about that, as far as it goes. He's wrong about methodology -- more roads will only solve the problem temporarily, until traffic grows to fill the new capacity. But he's right that we need to make Seattle more manufacturing- and shipping-friendly. Otherwise we're building an economic monoculture that will be more susceptible to market fluctuations.

In Yesler Terrace (across the freeway from downtown on First Hill), the Seattle Housing Authority is considering mixed-­income housing up to 24 stories. Rosencrantz calls that "pretty darn high," while O'Brien says, "We have to do that."

Assuming he actually opposes this plan (the quote is ambiguous) Rosencrantz's views may ultimately be more progressive than O'Brien's. Jane Jacobs used Chicago's Cabrini Green as a case study in bad urban development for a number of specific reasons relating to the height and capacity of the buildings. Her basic contention was that the buildings created too many places that were publicly accessible (hallways, elevators, etc) that did not have windows facing them or support enough incidental foot traffic for neighbors to police them. Consequently, the infrastructure of the buildings was prone to misuse by various criminals and people who simply wanted to exploit the space for their own purposes (dumping garbage, for example). High density development is the best kind of development, but it has to be densely integrated rather than giant blocks or it tends to break down in a number of ways.

As far as all that goes, the fact that O'Brien doesn't qualify his "We have to do that," is worrisome.

And while Rosencrantz has served on the board of the Interfaith Task Force on Homelessness, his views on panhandling are severe.

Yeah, you know, as someone who's lived on Capitol Hill for about 30 years, I can't get too worked up about this. It's not that I don't think people should be allowed to panhandle at all, but panhandlers can -- and have -- had a meaningful negative impact on the economic stability of commercial districts on Capitol Hill. I've worked in social services for homeless youth for five years, and Rosencrantz's view on the role panhandling plays in keeping people on the streets is more or less correct. If you knew more about the research in this area, you'd probably agree.

None of this is to say that Rosencrantz's is gong to get my vote, but this article is poorly reasoned and researched.

None of this is to say that Rosencrantz's is gong to get my vote, but this article is poorly reasoned and researched.

Always a good idea to work a typo into a sentence like that.
I got a lot of flack for reminding people of his prior KCDCC questionnaires (since I reviewed them at the 43rd for a few times he ran before), but it is true.

People have a funny way of assuming I work for specific candidates and seem to forget I've been doing this for a long time and remember all these things, even without wikipedia to lie to me about what happened.
Wow, if it wasn't for the Stranger I wouldn't know who the moderates are to vote for. Count one more for Rosencrantz .

...and that treats its citizens (not just its businesspeople) humanely.

Even by Stranger standards this is a cheap shot.
Title's unfair- O'Brien's one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet.
I have a hip condition very similar to Leg Perthes Disease (I was mistakenly diagnosed with Perthes for the first 13 years of my life).

As of yet, it has not granted me any special political or managerial powers. Fingers (painfully) crossed!
We're all hoping you'll win a Gold Medal, Karla.
i typically tend to vote in line with the stranger endorsements; however, i've personally met rosencrantz and believe that he would be a good fit for seattle city council. his opponent believes that instead of putting money into alternative energy and once again putting seattle on the map as a leader in this country, we should all just pay more taxes on our(already high) current services. building more bike lanes is not going to solve seattle's traffic problems. building light rails will help, yes, but will not solve the problem. i'm all for public transportation, but like many people have to have a car for my job as i travel a lot.
is rosencrantz big business oriented? sure. but he is also someone who will listen to his constituents and do what he is elected to do.
he's got my vote.
got your paragraphs too, I see.

Oh well.
Many people are personally uncomfortable with abortion, and have every right to say so. If he had answered the questions with candor I would have respected him, even if I didn't vote for him.

Abortion shouldn't be an issue for a city council member. Access and/or funding may become an issue for city governments, but probably won't. My concern is that many city council people aspire to higher office. I will only vote for someone who loudly, clearly states that she or he supports access and funding for safe, legal abortions.
Seattle is not an island in Canada. Threats and violence against abortion doctors are on the rise nationwide. Seattle has several abortion providers. Any city council candidate who understands the relationship between the city government and the police department should get why abortion IS an issue in a council race.
how can anyone bankrolled by the real-estate lobby be a nice guy?
Sorry number 18 for not being clear. Ignored by conservative city councils and police departments nationwide, anti-abortion goons have driven doctors out of business and conservative city councils have successfully prevented family planning clinics from opening. Basically, with out support from local governments family planning clinics tend to close or not open where they are needed, which is any place where people with functioning reproductive organs live. Seattle has many people with fully functional reproductive organs.

For more on the importance of the issue in local politics please go to:…

And for anyone with free speech concerns on the issue please go to:…
Seattle is a little liberal island and I like it that way. When any candidate for public office is exposed as a pro-lifer, I vote them off the island. Bye-Bye Robert.
Robert Rosencrantz would be a good addition to the Seattle City Council. He's pragmatic, highly intelligent, and measured.

Somehow Seattle politics have turned pro-business candidates into evil corporate conservatives. We need to support businesses so we can pay for services necessary for our community. Get a grip Stranger.

What do Robert's views on abortion have anything to do with the job description of Councilmember? He's not running for Congress for chrisakes. Btw, he's pro-choice. As if it matters anyway.


I don't know if I understand about racewalking. Why "shameless" about racewalking and someone being athletic while dealing with a disability?

Agree with bigyaz@9... this is a bizarre cheap shot and needs revision.
75% crap article. The 25% that's good to your readers: putting a light on Rosencrantz's crazy, irresponsible moderate-leaning-hard-right take on abortion / the right to choose. Why in the world would he be taking Susan Hutch's meds like this??

Prochoicers, the real, deep-down-in-their-souls believers aren't *pro-abortion* per se.
They know the basic abortion argument comes down to bigger themes than a damn medical procedure. It has to do with much longer-reaching precedents: Like faith in democracy.
Do you believe in democracy? Democracy is choice. The liberty to make your own Choices is what the nation was founded on, what the revolutionary army bled for. Patrick Henry: look him up. Even if you somehow think life begins with sex (and not infant viability), Liberty still trumps, because Liberty is more important than life.

It is, at it's root, unamerican to be anti-choice. Regardless of the procedure, or even the subject (gays in military? a personal choice; health care? Should come down to reform so everyone can have a choice; Progressive vs fundie/repressive candidate? Who's platform provides me and fellow citizens with more choice? Whoever does gets my vote.)
To have a person running for elected office who has a toxic attitude about liberty, would be anti-productive to the city's heart and soul, and hypocritical to the democratic process.
He could work for sierra club, recycle his block's food, leave his property to the Parks Dept in his will, ride the bus everyday, and lobby for solar chimneys in eastern washington, and I STILL WOULDNT VOTE FOR HIM IF HE CANT REMOVE HIS HEAD FROM THE ASS-FLAVORED SAND OF HIS HINDQUARTERS AND SEE THAT PRO-CHOICE IS THE ONLY REASONABLE STANCE.

So, yeah, thanks for that 25% of goodness.

What Dom missed out entirely was a chance to report more thoroughly on Obrien's redeeming qualities. Instead, we're left to read between the lines that Obrien is a 'hold your nose and vote' lesser-evil candidate. If that's the case, just come out and say it. If not the case, do the hard work like you did on Robert, dig up the facts, and report them for us to take a look at. Neglecting to report just looks like unfinished writing.
And .. Even us longtime lefty progressive seattlites know that "business" is a good thing, a necessary thing - even bad smelling maritime and icky industrial. Even ambitious whoring IPO-driven corporations have their place in any truly urban environment; they just need a new kind of 'social services', ...not unlike our transient friends. [Insert comparison between bank bailouts and hobo handouts here ]
" 'That raised concerns for us,' says Haslam. 'When we heard that there was someone running for Seattle City Council who is not 100 percent pro-choice, we wanted to endorse Mike O'Brien and let voters know that there is a very clear choice in positions.' "

That's disgustingly black and white. I'm disgusted as a liberal and a pro-choice advocate that this is how my groups are portrayed- as whiny, "poor us," persecution-card-playing narcissists with nothing better to do than bitch and agree with shit like this article. I've had diseases with more common sense than the writer.
As a pro-choice, long-time Democratic activist, i encourage The Stranger to keep your powder dry on Rosencrantz and focus on a real problem: Susan Hutchison.

I've encountered Rosencrantz throughout all of his campaigns, and know renters in his buildings who sing his praises. He has always struck me as a thoughtful, smart and principled guy. My take on his refusal to answer questions on choice is an assertion of his right to privacy. I think it's a dicey strategy when you're seeking Democratic endorsements, but there is no question in my mind that he's a progressive Democrat.

The Stranger also does itself no favors when it puts down the very sensible issue of preserving the industrial base of the city. Where exactly do you think the revenues of the city come from? Any candidate who thinks that "better transit" is the solution to preserving and strengthening the city's industrial base is painfully ignorant about how the city works (I'm looking at you, O'Brien and McGinn).

This liberal pro-choice Democrat is going with Rosencrantz.
Wait, this was in the news section? I'm all for the freedom of the press, but when a newspaper's campaign position ends up in the news section and not the editorial section (Blogs, in the Stranger's case), something's wrong.
You haven't read much Stranger, have you, Pidgey? It isn't a newspaper, it's a free magazine full of editorials, since there is no actual news about which it reports. It is a paper written by idiots, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
Yet again the stranger is way off base... go figure. Seattle is going down the shitter, and the Stranger's leading the way: both from a journalistic, but also from a political viewpoint.

What about liberal values such as protecting working families. I read that O'Brien wants to toll all of our streets. On my just-above minimum wage job, my entire paycheck will go to getting to and from work.

I'm not voting for an idiot who would do something like that... Screw O'Brien, no way.
Dominic's piece makes a travesty of thoughtful research and reporting. Robert Rosencrantz is a person of enormous compassion and civic commitment. He has an abiding dedication to those who have been left out of the high-tech growth that has fueled our City for the past 20 years.

Robert has worked as hard as anyone to bring affordable housing to our region, doing it in creative ways that reflect a whole lot more dedication and effort than simply jumping on a bandwagon to support housing levies. While Robert is an effective businessman, he is far from the myopic business booster Dominic portrays in his article. He, in fact, was the first candidate to propose taxing businesses that will benefit from the deep-bore tunnel, so that we have a source of funds for the inevitable cost overruns we will experience. (The state legislation enabling the deep-bore tunnel calls for the City of Seattle to fund cost overruns.)

Regarding the charge that Robert is anti-choice and would work to resist funding reproductive health programs, this is just absurd. Many of us who know Robert well and support him are long time progressives and have even worked in the trenches of the pro-choice movement. We support Robert because we know he will be the hardest working, most-effective member of our City Council, looking out for the things that really matter to the everyday lives of Seattleites.

Walter Sive and Cheryl Ellsworth
I met Rosenkrantz at more than one recent function.

Regardless of his nice guy demeanor, he is a despicable liar regarding O'Brien's positions. His deliberately misleading mailer that warps beyond recognition O'Brien's comments on tolling shows a deep disrespect for Seattle voters. Next time I see him he will get a fucking earful.

Please wait...

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