Meeting holder.
Meeting holder. KELLY O

If you're voting in District 3, you've likely received a big-ass yellow and black and red mailer, paid for by the Seattle Chamber of Commerce's PAC, claiming that Council Member Kshama Sawant should be "FIRED" for canceling 47% and 44% of the "scheduled meetings" in two of the committees she chaired.

You may also have received a busy green and yellow mailer, paid for by Egan Orion's campaign, claiming that Sawant canceled "24 of 52 committee meetings since January 2018." And if you've been to several of the candidate forums, you've heard lazy moderators repeat a similar statistic in their questioning.

These claims constitute one of the major lines of attack against Sawant, and they're 100% percent bullshit.

They Think You're Dumb

These claims hinge on a quirk of the legistar, which is the system the city uses to track legislation, agendas, meeting times, and all sorts of fun stuff. If a council member reschedules a meeting, legistar creates a new "canceled" entry in the database.

So, if you follow the links the mailers tell you to follow, you will indeed see many "canceled" meetings for the Energy & Environment Committee and the Human Services committee. However, if you look closer, you'll see that several of those meetings were simply rescheduled to a later time or a different day, and you might also notice that Sawant scheduled a few extra meetings in there, too.

Sawant staffer Ted Virdone says her office "shifts many meetings to evenings and even weekends" to make it easier for the public to attend, which makes sense. Human Services is scheduled to meet on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays at 2 p.m. The Energy and Environment Committee was scheduled to meet on those same dates at that same time. Both of those days and times are inaccessible for 9-to-5 workers.

These mailers also deceptively include meetings canceled due to winter recess, summer recess, and the budget period, when all committee meetings save the Budget Committee are canceled.

If you include in Sawant's meeting tally all rescheduled meetings, plus all the meetings that are regularly canceled for every committee, plus all the extra meetings, you get a much different picture of the number of meetings she has actually held. But, because the money in this race thinks you're dumb, they're betting you won't do that.

But I did! Below is a breakdown of all the misleading cancelations listed on legistar, all the actual meetings Sawant canceled, and the total number of meetings she held in the committees referenced in the deceptive mailers.


Misleading cancelations: Nine. Four meetings were rescheduled, two were canceled for summer and winter recess, and three were canceled during the budget season.

Actual cancelations: Two. But Sawant scheduled extra meetings on Feb 25 and Sept 27, so she made up for those two there.

Total scheduled meetings held: 17/19, plus 2 extra meetings.


Misleading cancelations: Seven. One meeting was rescheduled, two were canceled for summer and winter recess, and four were canceled during the budget season.

Actual cancelations: Five.

Total scheduled meetings held: 13/18.


Misleading cancelations: Six. One meeting was rescheduled, two were canceled for summer and winter recess, and three were canceled during the budget season.

Actual cancelations: Seven.

Total scheduled meetings held: 12/19


Misleading cancelations: Eight. One was rescheduled twice (Feb 12), six were rescheduled (all for different dates at later times), and one was canceled for summer recess.

Actual cancelations: Three, but earlier this month Sawant held an extra meeting on Oct 17, during the budget committee meetings, so she makes up for one there.

Total scheduled meetings held: 16/19, plus 1 listed special meeting.

So Here Are the Real Percentages

CASE claims Sawant canceled 44% of her Energy and Environmental Committee meetings from 2016 to 2017. That's false. She held 30 of 37 meetings during that timeframe, which means she canceled 19% of them. If you add the two extra meetings listed on legistar, that percentage drops to 14%.

CASE claims Sawant canceled 47% of her Human Services Committee meetings from 2018 to 2019. That's also false. She held 28 of 38 meetings, which means she canceled 26% of them. If you add the one extra meeting listed on legistar, that percentage drops to 24%.

On average, if you include the extra meetings, over those four years, Sawant has canceled 23% of her meetings, or nearly 4 per year. Scandal.