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Lester Black

Who wants to be the chamber candidate? The Chamber of Commerce is trying to flip the council this election and make it more friendly to big businesses. It’s not a secret—Amazon has already given $200,000 to the cause. The real mystery is who the chamber is going to fund. Which one of Sawant the Socialist's challengers will they fund? Will they find receptive candidates in this year’s open races? My colleague Nathalie Graham and I tried to unravel some of this mystery so we asked every single candidate running for office if they wanted the chamber’s support. We found 14 candidates already lining up to say “yes daddy!” to Bezos. Read our story to see where candidates in your district stand.

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One candidate who answered our questions asked me after we published the story why we didn't also publish our questions. “I just saw some dang pretty evasive answers that seemed like perfectly reasonable answers if you didn’t know what the specific questions were,” the candidate said. After they brought it to my attention I kind of agreed so, drumroll please, here were our two questions:
1) Do you want help from Civic Alliance for a Sound Economy (CASE) in your race for city council?
2) Would you reject any spending by CASE in your district (including independent expenditures) to help you get elected?

District 3 candidates talk housing and transportation: My colleague Rich Smith visited a forum last night for District 3 candidates. Check out this thread from Rich to find out how the candidates stack up against incumbent Councilmember Kshama Sawant.

New state law brings more transparency to local PAC funding: A new state law will make it harder for Political Action Committees (PACs) to obscure how they get their funding. PACs already have to disclose their top five contributors on their ads, but what if one of their biggest donors is another PAC, which itself is funded by another PAC? This loophole allows PACs to just list a word soup of other PAC names instead of clearly showing where their funding is coming from. The new law changes this by requiring PACs to list the donors of any PACs that are in their top five donor list, according to the Seattle Times.

Why is NBC news writing about Seattle’s single-family zoning? When I saw this headline from NBC News this week, “Housing crisis has Seattle weighing end of single-family zoning” a burst of joy ran through my body. Had NBC scooped all of us local reporters and uncovered some new development about how the city was getting serious about ending our apartment ban (aka single-family zoning)? Does this mean the biggest barrier to affordable housing in my city was about to crumble? Could my friends who grew up here and have been forced out of the city because of housing prices finally get a chance to move back? Nope.

That catchy headline is followed by a story that just regurgitated our own recent history, where even upzoning a small piece of the city's single-family zoning (6 percent) took a massive amount of political capital and many years. So there’s no end of single-family zoning in Seattle anytime soon, unless voters elect a City Council full of people ready to take on Seattle’s landed gentry and upzone the hell out of this city. Logan Bowers might be one such candidate.

Young Democrats snuff Sawant: Incumbent politicians didn’t get any love from the King County Young Democrats this week, according to a story from Joel Connelly at the PI. The young democrats endorsed two of Sawant’s challengers, Zachary DeWolf and Ami Nguyen, and the challengers in two county council races. The group endorsed Abigail Doerr, a 29-year-old candidate running against incumbent County Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles, as well as Girmay Zahilay, a 31-year-old attorney challenging incumbent County Councilmember Larry Gossett.

A climate change denier skeptic “not an expert” is running in south Seattle: South Seattle bouncy house magnate and cemetery manager Ari Hoffman took to Facebook last year to brag that he avoided Seattle’s soda tax by driving to Renton in a V8 Hemi Charger so he can also “contribute to global warming.” Hoffman told my colleague Nathalie that he believes there’s science behind climate change but said he doesn’t necessarily believe it’s human-caused. “I see how much volcanoes put out, I see how much humans put out," he said.

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If you’re in District 2 (International District, Beacon Hill, Rainier Valley, Georgetown, and environs) and you believe humans are causing climate change you might want to check out some of Hoffman’s opponents, like Tammy Morales, Phyllis Porter, or Christopher Peguero.

Rice on Rantz: I don’t know much about District 6 (Ballard) candidate Terry Rice, but when I saw that he agreed to go on Conservative snowflake Jason Rantz’s radio show I figured he’d probably be some kind of Seattle is Dying ideologue. But guess what, he’s not! He had the courage to tell Rantz, one of the louder conservative voices in Seattle, that “we can’t arrest our way out of homelessness,” that we need to hire more cops and that he wants to build more bike lanes, more crosswalks, and that we need to make buses more attractive than driving a car.

Seattle’s new hate crime bill gets pulled: Councilmember Lisa Herbold (who is also running for reelection this year) acknowledged concerns from the community and pulled her proposed hate crimes bill. The city doesn’t currently really have a hate crimes statute, so Herbold’s bill would add a new list of protected classes to an existing “malicious harassment” charge. But the city’s own analysis of the bill showed that it might add to the criminalization of black and native people, so after an uproar, Herbold pulled back her bill so more analysis can be done. Rich Smith wrote about the whole thing in great detail and received comment from City Council candidates about what the city should do in the face of a surge in hate crimes.