This month's record-breaking snow couldn't stop the City Council election from continuing to heat up. Here's the latest news in the race for the 2019 City Council.
O'Brien Bails: Mike O’Brien told reporters on Wednesday that he will not seek reelection to his Ballard City Council seat. O’Brien has sat on the council for ten years and had become one of the most liberal members of the council, frequently spearheading progressive legislation like Seattle’s $15 minimum wage, attempting to block the piece of shit Alaskan Way Viaduct tunnel, trying to help Uber and Lyft drivers unionize, was one of the original sponsors of the head tax, opposing Seattle’s new youth jail, blocking (after first supporting) the expensive new North Precinct police station, and a bunch of other stuff during his ten years on the council.
His advocacy drew opponents, especially from certain very vocal corners of Ballard. It’s not clear how many O’Brien haters were out there—apparently enough for O’Brien to worry about his reelection chances—but his antagonists were certainly loud. They raged against him on online message boards like Nextdoor and the Safe Seattle Facebook group, a corner of social media that is home to some of Seattle’s most malicious ideas. And they didn’t leave their criticism online. O’Brien has been shouted down at public meetings and was even once physically thrown out of a party
at the celebrating the Ballard Nordic Museum, supposedly because of his support for a bike path.
Then there were three: O’Brien’s departure means that now a majority of the City Council’s incumbents up for reelection are stepping down and there’s now an open seat in Ballard. Who’s the frontrunner to replace O’Brien? Is it the doctor in Fremont who recently got fired from his job running a state healthcare exchange? A former advisor to Councilmember Sally Bagshaw? Anti-density advocate Jon Lisbin? My colleague Katie Herzog described Lisbin as a NIMBY because of Seattle Fair Growth group’s fight against the city’s plan to upzone certain parts of the city, but Herzog tells me Lisbin clarified that he is not a NIMBY (Not In My Backyard), he’s a SIMBY (Sometimes In My Backyard). Ok Jon. We’ll see if a real frontrunner announces next week as the dust settles from O’Brien’s departure.
Is Seattle ready to vote for a spy? Nicole Brodeur of the Times caught up with Naveed Jamali, the self-described double-agent running for City Council in District 7, which includes downtown, Queen Anne, and Magnolia. Jamali told Brodeur a story about his rendezvous with a Russian spy that ended with him at an undisclosed Hooters location. I’m not sure what the moral of the story was but, in Jamali’s reasoning, the FBI trusting Jamali means Seattle voters can trust Jamali.
I am very dubious of anyone who describes themselves as a “former double agent” on their Twitter bio, but then I received an e-mail from Jamali a while back trying to set up an interview. I was curious so, three minutes after receiving his e-mail, I replied and tried to set up a time to chat. But I then received an immediate reply saying Jamali’s e-mail address was undeliverable. He has a vanishing e-mail address, he must be a spy! Jamali, if you’re out there honk twice and we’ll meet at Holy Mountain.
Democracy Vouchers are on their way! The city’s groundbreaking public campaign financing program is sending your vouchers to you in the mail right now. Every registered voter in Seattle gets four $25 vouchers that they can donate to anyone running for City Council that has qualified for the program. Look for your vouchers in the mail or wait till the end of the month when the Democracy Voucher Program’s website goes live.
Ami Nguyen talks to Rich Smith: Rich chatted with Ami at Cortona Café about why she thinks voters should pick her over Councilmember Kshama Sawant to represent Capitol Hill. She’s a public defender (cool) that has a lot of progressive policy ideas (Great) and has lived in Seattle since 2016 (Wait what?). We’ll see if District 3 has an appetite for electing someone who has lived in the district for less time than the Capitol Hill Light Rail Station.