The ten signees include former mayoral candidate and state legislator Jessyn Farrell, the C is for Crank's Erica Barnett, Transportation Choices executive director Shefali Ranganathan, former state representative Brady Walkinshaw, former Ed Murray speech writer and PubliCola founder Josh Feit, Sightline's Keiko Budech, poet and writer Elisa Chavez, political consultant Nicole Willis, The Washington Bus executive director Emilio Garza, and former director of King County's Human Resources Division David Sarju.
The group formed in direct opposition to The Stranger and the Seattle Times editorial boards, who both endorsed Mosqueda’s opponent, Jon Grant, in the race for City Council Position 8. Their mindmeld produced a convincing case for Mosqueda, highlighting accomplishments that have undoubtedly made Seattle and Washington State a better place for workers and low-income families.
Unfortunately, they also mischaracterize the Stranger’s case for Grant, claiming we “in large part” endorsed him because of his opposition to the Housing Affordability and Livability agenda (HALA). That’s bunk. Our general election endorsement does not mention Grant's opposition HALA. In fact, everybody on the Stranger Election Control Board believes in increased density.
Here is what we wrote in support of 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 as we said during the primary: You know what's better than one socialist (Kshama Sawant) on the city council? Two.
We also wrote this:
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.
In case that’s not clear enough, the Stranger Election Control Board voted to support Grant because we want another unrestrained activist on the city council. We believe that Grant, like Kshama Sawant, won’t hesitate to call bullshit on the mayor and other council members. We believe he will listen to the city’s most vulnerable residents and give them a direct line to City Hall. And we support his focus on redistributive policies like taxing large business to fund housing and homelessness services.
Yes, Grant’s skepticism of HALA aligns with NIMBYs and the Times editorial board. But while the Times wants to preserve Blethenian lawn islands for rich people, Grant wants to protect low-income communities from displacement and see more affordable units built in this city—something developers have not yet done on a large enough scale simply out of the goodness of their hearts. That’s an important distinction. It’s not “knee-jerk provincialism” to make those considerations.
In our primary endorsements, we acknowledge that Grant’s proposal to mandate 25 percent affordability is a pie-in-the-sky position—a bargaining tactic emblematic of his radical approach to politics.
Reasonable people can disagree on whether Grant’s approach is the right one. In fact, three members of our editorial board don’t think it is, and they made their opinion known last week. But it’s possible to disagree with someone on these issues without misrepresenting them.
A previous version of this post misidentified David Sarju as the current director of the King County Human Resources Division. In fact, he resigned his position on October 20.