With just hours notice, Council Appointee Tanya Woo rejected our invitation to The Stranger Election Control Board (SECB) endorsement meeting with her opponents for the citywide Position 8 council seat. She declined to give a reason for canceling the meeting she agreed to back on June 10, leaving us to assume she fears media scrutiny. 

Her cowardice reflects a larger trend with the new Seattle City Council. They routinely ignore media requests, spread falsehoods about dissenting colleagues, belittle the communities they betray, and, in extreme cases, call for the arrest of people who dare disagree with them too loudly. 

But Woo’s progressive opponents represent an openness to conversation, disagreement, and criticism. City Council Position 8 candidates Alexis Mercedes Rinck, Saunatina Sanchez, and Tariq Yusuf all attended The Stranger’s meeting, and earlier this week they also attended an endorsement meeting with the Seattle Times Editorial Board, who supported Woo in her first failed election.

“I am disappointed that [Woo] chose to opt out of an endorsement interview today with The Stranger and the other candidates in this race,” said Rinck, who her competitors said sat in the hot seat for the Seattle Times endorsement meeting. “On the campaign trail, I haven’t shied away from meeting with the media or engaging with my critics–that’s part of the job. I’ll be proud to continue this commitment when elected.”

Woo’s opponents expressed different levels of surprise to The Stranger. In a video that will air on Instagram later, Yusuf described vibes of “comradery” at the Seattle Times meeting just a day before. Woo gave him the impression that she would attend The Stranger meeting, too. 

“All of us candidates hope to represent our respective communities—and Seattle as a whole—which means that it is essential that we meet with folks regardless of whether they are community organizations, publications, or average Seattleites—even if they don’t share our views,” Yusuf told The Stranger in a written statement. “After all, isn’t that why we’re here? To advocate for a better Seattle for everyone and that starts from the campaign trail.”

In the same video, Sanchez said she was “pleasantly surprised” that Woo seemingly planned to attend as of Wednesday. It seemed more on brand for Woo to skip, so the last minute rejection didn’t shock Sanchez much. 

"It's unfortunate when those in public office decide to ignore a group of people they're supposed to be serving," Sanchez said in an email to The Stranger. "Being accountable to the people who hire us to do a job is part of the job, so [Woo] canceling on the SECB endorsement interview clearly shows how she values the points of view of The Stranger readers. If you can't handle the heat of a challenging conversation where you have to defend the policies you're championing, you shouldn't be in a position to push those policies onto the people who are going to be affected by them. #Recused."

The SECB was annoyed for sure, but we saw it coming.

On May 15, The Stranger invited Woo and her three opponents to meet at our office in the Chinatown International District (CID) on June 27 at 1 0am. Woo’s campaign manager confirmed receipt of the email and said he would “be in touch.” 

On May 20, The Stranger asked, “Any update?” The campaign manager said, “Looks like we might have a conflict with that date...will check with Tanya and, if so, suggest some alternatives.”

After several business days with no suggested alternatives, The Stranger said on June 5, “Hey! Any update on this? Everyone else can make this time work!” The other candidates, who have jobs, confirmed the time right away, and the longer Woo dragged her feet the fewer options we would have to reschedule and accommodate all four candidates. No response. 

On June 10, The Stranger texted her campaign manager and asked, “Can Woo make it to the meeting June 27 at 10am?” To which he replied, “Hi Hannah from The Stranger, the interview is on her schedule.” 

Any reasonable person would read that as accepting our invite. But at 5 am today, hours before The Stranger would film with the candidates for Instagram, Woo sent an email saying, “Thank you for your invitation to meet with you and my fellow candidates. Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend today, but I look forward to working with you in the future.” 

She did not respond when The Stranger asked why she would not come. 

But as many chud Twitter users told me, it’s because we are big meanies. To that I say, thank you. It is my job to hold elected officials to account, not be their fan club. 

I did my job when I put her nonsensical platform into words when she ran in 2023. I did my job when I exposed the fact that she had not voted in a local election until 2021 despite her nearly 30 years of voter eligibility because she doesn't “have staff.” I did my job when I predicted that big business would coalesce behind her and then reported the dollar amounts when they did. I did my job when I broke news that she sought a “second opinion” when the Executive Director of Seattle Ethics and Elections told her to recuse herself from a vote that could benefit her financially. I will continue to do my job, and it will probably seem a little less mean when Woo starts doing hers.