Spring is here and election season in Seattle is getting spicy. We’ve got Jayapal vs Scott. Brandi Kruse vs. Erica C. Barnett. And a tidbit about Georgetown. Let’s get to the news:
Larry Gossett goes for number seven: We’ve been hearing persistent rumors over the last few months that King County Councilmember Larry Gossett was going to retire this year, but my colleague Rich Smith broke the surprising news Tuesday that Gossett was planning on seeking a seventh term on the King County Council. Gossett already has a strong opponent in Girmay Zahilay, a local attorney and non-profit leader. Zahilay has raised $46,000 to Gossett’s $17,860.
County Council elections are usually a snooze (Gossett won his last reelection with 98 percent of the vote) but this year it looks like things might get a bit more interesting. Another incumbent, County Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles, is also facing a viable challenge from Abigail Doerr.
Sawant is safe: Capitol Hill Seattle Blog reports that the city’s ethics commission has dismissed two ethics complaints filed against Councilmember Kshama Sawant over her involvement with the Socialist Alternative party. A local blog had published documents showing Sawant appearing to cede much of her power, including council votes and personnel decisions, to the non-elected members of her private political party, Socialist Alternative. One of Sawant’s opponents, Logan Bowers, used that information to file an ethics complaint against the socialist council member, arguing she had misused her office to do work on behalf of her party.
Wayne Barnett, the director of the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission, determined that wasn’t the case, saying Sawant hadn’t violated the law and it’s up to the voters if they want to vote her out of office.
“Fundamentally, I believe that elected officials are free to structure their decision-making process as they wish, subject to the will of the voters every four years,” Barnett said, according to CHS.
Council members caught texting, continued: I wrote about Brandi Kruses’s Reddit-borrowed viral video in last week's roundup, but the video, which appears to show council members not paying rapt attention to a constituent, just won’t die. Former Stranger writer and current independent journalist Erica C. Barnett went after Kruse’s station, Q13 Fox, on Twitter on Saturday and then the whole thing proceeded into a very public shit-throwing match. I’m not sure what to take from the exchange other than more proof that we should stop ceding our public discourse to social media platforms that are designed to cause conflict.
Oh, and you can tag me @ericacbarnett. I know passive aggressiveness is very Seattle, but we can all have an adult conversation (on Twitter). Then again, maybe not. https://t.co/DKPCyW3OQY
— Brandi Kruse (@BrandiKruse) March 23, 2019
Our own Katie Herzog jumped into the fray with what turned into a far more productive series that started with the great post “Constituent Ignored by City Council Has a History of Being Fucking Annoying” and concluded with the even greater post “Correction: Constituent Ignored by City Council Is Not Fucking Annoying.” It turns out journalists get more done when they get off social media and actually write things for real platforms, instead of just producing content for giant tech companies.
Jayapal calls out Shaun Scott: U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal publicly called out District 4 candidate Shaun Scott on Wednesday, claiming Scott was distributing a mailer with “a photo that includes an image of my campaign logo, implying that I have endorsed Mr. Scott.” Jayapal said she has not endorsed Scott and “has no plans to do so at this time.” She said her attorney sent a letter to Scott’s campaign claiming the use of the image was a violation of the Washington State Fair Campaign Practices Act.
I called Scott today and he clarified the situation for me. He said the image was a photo of him in front of a Jayapal sign taken while he was working for Jayapal’s campaign. He said the image was an attempt to “establish me as someone who has been politically active before making the decision to run for office.” Scott said he had not intended to imply that he was endorsed by Jayapal and has since taken the material out of circulation.
“It wasn’t my intent but it’s important for people in public life to be accountable to not just intent but also the impact, so I actually moments ago got back from the printer where we got some new literature printed up. And the old literature containing the offending image is no longer going to be in circulation,” Scott said.
While we’re still talking about Scott, he also wrote a somewhat boring, somewhat long Op-Ed for us yesterday about how Seattle needs a green new deal of its own.
Scott leads the Democracy Voucher race: Oh wait more Shaun Scott news? Turns out the socialist is in the lead for receiving the most amount of Seattle’s public campaign funds. Every voter in Seattle is allocated four, $25 Democracy Vouchers and Scott is getting lots of them. The latest data released today by the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission shows Scott has collected 2,475 vouchers, totaling $61,875. His District 4 opponent, Alex Pedersen, is in second with 2,338 vouchers worth $58,450.
Here’s a chart with the top ten recipients of vouchers. Candidates can start collecting vouchers as soon as they sign up for the program but they can only redeem the money once they have received enough qualifying signatures. I’ve put an asterisk next to candidates that can currently redeem the money.
Let’s learn more about Abel: My colleague Nathalie Graham has a new piece out today profiling Abel Pacheco, a candidate in District 4 who is running for council for a second time. Pacheco was wrongfully arrested in 2015 by a Seattle Police Department cop. He wants to use his experience during that exchange to try to reform criminal justice in Seattle. Read about his ideas over here.
Today in Seattle history: Georgetown voted to be annexed into the city of Seattle 109 years ago today, according to HistoryLink. The formerly independent municipality is arguably Seattle’s oldest non-native neighborhood. It was founded just days after Seattle’s first white settlers landed at Alki Point. Georgetown became a bustling town with a racetrack, train system, and one of the largest breweries in the world, the original Rainier Brewery. It’s now part of District 2 of the City Council.