Supreme Court Rules the Recall Against Kshama Sawant Can Move Forward



First they came for the socialists...


@1 Sawant gives socialist a bad name. In truth she's more of an totalitarian, like her fellow travelers Jill Stein and Donald Trump.


This should be super exciting for The Stranger. Think of all the as revenue they are going to make from the Sawant campaign. Charles gonna be making it rain!


Leading the story with the sign and caption shows the same disdain for the courts that the Trumpists had when a decision did not go their way. Disagree with a legal decision? The judges must be wrong!


I love Socialism as much as any Stranger reader, but this lady seems to have made a lot of obvious mistakes.


This is a red letter day for the Seattle Times comments section.


Unfortunately, Sawant has failed Seattle and District 3. She claims to fight for the working people, but what are the results?

-Increased homelessness
-Increased cost of living/rents
-Regressive taxes (soda tax)
-Increased murders--up 74% in Seattle last year alone
-No new public housing units
-Increased crime and violence especially downtown and district three
-jobs leaving seattle
-Failing schools
--filthy parks.
She's been milking the $15/hour thing (which she co-opted from others) for years....but besides that she's been a disaster for working people.


'She claimed that her opponents were seeking a "do-over" for the 2019 election...'

She should learn to read; the three charges certified by the court were all for actions she took after the 2019 election. In court, this legislator pleaded ignorance of the law (!) as her excuse; so, pleading ignorance of the facts becomes her logical next step. Hopefully, her pleading will work as well for her now as it did then.

@8: Not only did Socialist Alternative and CM Sawant co-opt the "$15 Now!" effort, they did so by selling our city's poorest workers out to the bosses, allowing the increase to be implemented in steps, so it became "NOT $15 Now!" (Perhaps they couldn't take enough money from our City Council office funds to update their posters?) Their version also allows for a tip credit (compare to Washington State's minimum wage, enacted by us voters in the '90s, which does not), further lowering the actual minimum wage for hard-working service employees, again by allocating money (tips) from workers to bosses. (To be fair to Socialist Alternative and CM Sawant, Seattle's public opinion was moving swiftly to enact $15 Now!, so they had to jump quickly to get in front of our parade. Luckily, taking advantage of the least fortunate comes easily to them -- and to her.)


@4 If you read the article carefully, you will note that there is no conviction by these judges and that no one is disagreeing with them. They have only ruled that the charges fall into the correct categories for a possible recall. If we believe that Sawant's diverse and dissenting voice on the Council is worthwhile and that these charges are possibly excuses for removing that voice, then we need to think long and hard about doing so.


I can't wait to vote to recall her now that I live in District 3!


I'm not a fan of CM Sawant, but I think recalls are almost always stupid wastes of money.

Let the voters determine who the next representative will be during the regular election.


Funny sign..."right wing" is definitely a pejorative in Seattle, however, Im sure Ive seen an interview where the leader of the recall identifies as an openly gay left of center Democrat.


@4 you don't honestly expect The Stranger to be unbiased with one of their biggest revenue sources? C'mon, we are going to get spoon fed a bunch of propaganda about how this is some sort of out of district, big business, right wing conspiracy. The fun part is with no actual opponent to denigrate Sawant's usual playbook of ad hominem attacks will be useless, I don't live in District 3 but I think this whole process will be great theater.

btw don't be surprised if you see a sudden increase in "new voters" in District 3 leading up to the actual election. They'll be splayed out in tents all over the district courtesy of Sawant's buddy Scott Morrow. Should be a fun summer.


This whole thing is stupid.

First, I don't like Durkan much. I think she badly mishandled the BLM protests last year. But marching a bunch of protesters to her house was a dick move. Maybe not criminal, but it was a truly shitty thing to do.

I'm very mixed on Sawant. She's done some good things. She led the charge for the $15 minimum wage, which has spread nationally. Good for her. She's done some other laudable things. I like having a voice on the far left on the city council, even if I don't always agree with her. But she grates on my nerves, she's a grandstander, she seems to do at least as many stupid things as good things. As time goes on, I'm finding I like her less and less. If I lived in her district, I'd be looking for a better replacement.

But none of that is reason for a recall. The recall is a waste of time and money, and will very likely fail. A recall should be reserved for something truly egregious, not for nitpicky bullshit like this. Is Sawant annoying? Yes. Has she done some dumb things? Yes. But a recall? Come on. That's just petty. If you don't like her, find a better candidate to run against her next time (she's not that popular, and her popularity is waning). That's the whole point of elections in a democracy.


Going to protest outside a residence? That’s sufficient for a recall.

Allowing police to tear gas a whole neighborhood? Factually insufficient.

Washington State Supreme Court is a joke. Can we recall them?


@17 My sentiments exactly. Recalls in my opinion are for Trump/Nixon-level crooks, and Sawant's petty misdeeds and bad judgments don't sink anywhere near that level. (Neither do Durkan's.)


So, the recall proponents are going to need to collect nearly 11,000 valid signatures between now and early August - in the middle of a pandemic when people are being discouraged from getting closer than six feet to anyone. Yeah, I can just see the poor signature-gathering schlubs standing forlornly outside the Harvard Market QFC or the Safeway on 23rd & E Madison desperately trying to entice people to approach them by shoving a cardboard placard and a heavily used pen in their direction. Maybe they'll get lucky and most of us will have gotten our vaccinations by May or June, but until that happens, well - good luck to ya', cuz yer gonna need it.


@20: The entire Washington judiciary to include the Washington Supreme Court has become the handmaiden of the police state and don't mind disregarding due process and the Constitution to do that. They feed off the corpse of respect an earlier generation of jurist earned.

Sawat is a mixed bag. I admire that she was willing to fight for legal representation for those being evicted and helped repeal the "walking while trans" law police used to harass innocent citizens they accused of being sex workers.

There's also a lot I don't like about her, but the police and judges who work for the police, real estate developers and Amazon despise her. It's hard to be against one of the few council members who listens to those who those in power routinely ignore.

If Durkin can't handle a protest at her million dollar condo, she needs to find another line of work. I personally think we need to bring back Guy Fawkes Night and burn an effigy once a year.

If you don't like her, wait for the next election. Take all the money that will be spent trying to remove and not remove her and build some more housing.


I can't stand sawant and many of the too far left of center elected officials in this city, but recalls are stupid. You elect someone to do a job, if they don't do a good job you elect someone else. If she broke the law, that is one thing, but this is politically motivated like almost all recalls are.


Professor Hiztory...are you Sawant's husband?


@24 Just an FYI, you sound like a QAnon believer when you start spouting off about a secret conspiracy involving hundreds of judges and court officials working in concert to undermine the Constitution.

This was a routine matter that was properly decided. As the Supreme Court explained, their role is really limited when it comes to recall efforts:

The reviewing court’s role in a recall petition is limited. The court does not
evaluate the truthfulness of the charges; rather, it verifies that the charges are factually
and legally sufficient on the face of the petition before the charges reach the electorate.
In re Recall of Boldt, 187 Wn.2d 542, 548, 386 P.3d 1104 (2017); see also In re Recall of
Zufelt, 112 Wn.2d 906, 914, 774 P.2d 1223 (1989). The court’s inquiry is designed “to
ensure that the recall process is not used to harass public officials by subjecting them to
frivolous or unsubstantiated charges.” In re Recall of West, 155 Wn.2d 659, 662, 121
P.3d 1190 (2005). It is up to the voters to determine whether the charges are true and, if
so, whether they in fact justify recalling the official. In re Recall of Jenny Durkan, 196
Wn.2d 652, 663, 476 P.3d 1042 (2020); Boldt, 187 Wn.2d at 549.

A reviewing court “must accept the allegations as true and determine whether the
charges on their face support the conclusion that the officer abused his or her position.”
Inslee, 194 Wn.2d at 568. The superior court makes the initial sufficiency determination,
which is subject to review by this court. RCW 29A.56.140. This court evaluates the
sufficiency of a recall petition de novo. Teaford v. Howard, 104 Wn.2d 580, 590, 707
P.2d 1327 (1985).


The hilarious thing about Sawant is she thinks it’s only the right wing that hates her. She barely won re-election in a council district encompassing Capitol Hill. Yeah, comrade, 50% of Capitol Hill voters are right wing and big business.

She’s fucking delusional. But we already knew that.


Sawant is not what democracy looks like. A lot like Trump, but less charismatic.


she is smug and highly irritating - she also hasn't really "done" anything other than talk/yell a lot and try to pack meetings full of her robots to make it appear an issue has the support of "the people" when its really mostly "her people".

extremism in politics doesn't really do much good for the majority of the citizens, either side of the coin.


The recall is idiotic. Council members only have two year terms.

I have voted for Sawant pretty much only because she makes life difficult for developers (or at least tries to) and I mostly despise developers. I'd be happy to vote against her if someone was running who was not such a non-entity as Egan what's his face though. We probably don't need more non-entities on the council (although we could probably use someone who is at least as interested in the tedious mundane issues that matter in our hood as they are in the 'revolution').


@34 -- Nope. Council Members have 4 year terms. 7 district-based members are up together, and then 2 years later, the 2 at-large members are up. staggered, 4-year terms.



City council terms are four years. So, her seat wouldn't come up again for re-election until 2023. What I'm not clear on is: if the recall is successful, who would pick the replacement to serve out the remainder of her term? The Council, the Mayor or her party?


Sawant Solidarity has collected over $426,000 at last count.
I wonder how much of it is out of State?


@37 I stand corrected. Still idiotic.


29, slightly over 20% in King County voted for Trump. Not a stretch to see most in D3 who hate Sawant are also magaturds. They exist.


@37 over 2/3 come from outside the city and only 16% from D3. SCC Insight has a great write up if you want actual journalism and not propoganda and gaslighting from The Stranger staff and Professor Hysterics.


Can I also say kudos to the Supreme Court for releasing this on April Fools. 10/10 for trolling Kshama.


@12, @17: Yes, we have elections so we voters can choose who represents us. Recalls should be rare -- and are, as The Stranger admits in this post. A recall is not for voters choosing who best represents a constituency, but rather for voters to decide if the current representative has behaved badly enough to disqualify him or her from continuing to hold office. Per our laws and process, voters in District 3 have presented evidence sufficient to justify collecting signatures for a recall effort against CM Sawant. That is their right, and they have exercised it.

@20: "Allowing police to tear gas a whole neighborhood? Factually insufficient."

No, the court rejected the recall effort against Mayor Durkan because, under the Consent Decree, the Mayor of Seattle does not have operational control of the Seattle Police Department. Therefore, she could not have "allow[ed] the police" to do anything. (There are few things more unjust than accusing someone of not taking action, when the person was actually powerless to take action.) The recall effort against Mayor Durkan was both factually and legally insufficient, according to our state's Supreme Court.

@19: "I'll tell you what will happen if she DOES get recalled.

"First, that's it. The recall will have been successfully weaponized and EVRY [sic] candidate can get recalled for any fucking reason."

Oh, please wring out your hanky, and give up that death grip on your pearls. As this post itself recalls (ha!), recent efforts to recall office-holders have been rejected by our courts. This recall effort went through exactly the same process as those recent efforts did, but as you happen not to like this particular result, you're wildly throwing around baseless accusations it will lead to chaos. (You're also suggesting you believe voters may indeed recall CM Sawant. Otherwise, why all of your groundless histrionics?)

Mis-using her office to obtain protected information, and then giving that protected information to an organization (Socialist Alternative) who have no right to it, was an abuse of her office, and of the public trust. She knew it full well, too -- once called on her misbehavior, she blatantly lied about absolutely everything she had just done. She ludicrously claimed Socialist Alternative organized an event against one of her successful political opponents without her consent (or even knowledge!), that she JUST SO HAPPENED to tag along, then gosh golly gee-whizzers they all somehow wound up at the Mayor's house, and then fate rudely shoved a microphone into her resisting hand, forcing her to make a speech attacking her political opponent. (Then she was SHOCKED -- SHOCKED, SHE SAID -- that Socialist Alternative's rent-a-mob attacked the private residence of the Mayor's family.) If her premeditated march (and her crowd's subsequent attack) upon Mayor Durkan's private home didn't itself justify a recall, then CM Sawant's cowardly, contemptuous lies certainly did.


@41 & 42,
This is becoming the best April Fools day ever.


@43: Our Supreme Court's deliciously and precisely dry evisceration of CM Sawant's blatant, outright, and cowardly lying may entirely explain why The Stranger didn't provide a link to their decision:

"Councilmember Sawant argues that this charge is factually insufficient because petitioners offer no evidence to support the claim that she knew where Mayor Durkan lived, or revealed this information to the organizers of the protest, or intended to violate any law. [...] Furthermore, Councilmember Sawant states that she did not organize the march.

"...the facts are sufficient for voters to conclude that information shared by Councilmember Sawant led the protesters to Mayor Durkan’s home. Although she says she did not organize the protest, it is no coincidence that the protestors found themselves in front of Mayor Durkan’s house. Further, since the subject of Councilmember Sawant’s speech at the protest was Mayor Durkan, a voter could find that Councilmember Sawant intended to protest at the mayor’s home and went to the mayor’s home to deliver a message to her. This charge is factually sufficient for a recall."

Given that she has now made false claims, in open court, on a matter material to the case, I seriously wonder if she could be charged with perjury.


Professor Hiztory...aka: Sawant's husband.

You have anger management issues. Is it emasculating to work for a horrible woman that treats people like trash?

Does she treat you like her servant, bossing you around her $2M house in Leschi? A limousine socialist preaching about, yet living off of the 'working people'

Does it eat you up that she's a fraud, and you're future is tied to a lie?

I feel sorry for you. You're angry. You're enraged, but who wouldn't be if they were married to a fraud. Don't feel bad.

Sawant's abuse of Seattle is about to end. Perhaps you too should end the abuse?


@41: The issuance of this ruling on April Fools' Day is not the only way in which it trolls CM Sawant. From the ruling:

"Councilmember Sawant’s conduct of promoting and drafting language for the Amazon tax initiative prior to and during the Tax Amazon conference mirrors EFF’s conduct of drafting and encouraging advocates to file a ballot initiative in their local city councils."

"EFF" here refers to the Evergreen Freedom Foundation (which now calls itself simply "Freedom Foundation"), an extremist right-wing, anti-union, anti-LGBT fringe group which is forever trying to force our children's teachers into poverty. In this ruling, our state's Supreme Court agrees with the Recall Sawant folks: her abusive and deceitful actions are identical to those of the very persons she claims to despise.


Are you not entertained? Are you not entertained? Is that not why you are here?


Sawant articles fund 45% of the Stranger revenue nowadays, she drives da clicks and da comments I tells ya, so this is a boon for them regardless of the outcome. We can expect twice-weekly updates submitted by the Sawant campaign in the guise of posts by Natalie.


Professor Hiztory. Kudos to you. You married money. But, your and Sawant's pursuit of wealth and materialistic values are corrupting.

Separately, you are incorrect in your analysis of my post. You, like Trump, blame the pandemic for Sawant's long list of failures. Many on this post have also equated Trump and Sawant.

To review Sawant's record again:
-Increased homelessness--Seattle's homeless population has increased each year Sawant has been in office. We are 18th largest city with the 3rd highest homeless population.
-Increased cost of living/rents--increased property taxes and regulations have made it more difficult for people with average credit to get apartments, and rents have increased dramatically during Sawant's tenure. They have only recently dropped as people leave the crime and violence of Seattle. Sawant also voted to increased the cost of electricity by 30% last year.
-Regressive taxes (soda tax)--She voted for it.
-Increased murders--up 74% in Seattle last year alone, Rapes increased 60%, and you mentioned crime is down. Crime REPORTING is certainly down. I no longer report when my apartment gets broken into/or attempted breakins because I have to take a day off of work and wait for 4-5 hours for the police to say, "theres nothing we can do". It's not worth reporting. Because Sawant and the City Council defunded the police,and it's going to get worse unless she's recalled
-No new public housing units--the units you mention are developer give-aways, not actual public housing units. Developers get massive tax breaks--like no property taxes for 12 years, if they set aside a couple of "affordable" units. these are for people making 60% of the average salary in Seattle. they generally sit vacant as developers don't want to rent to people with average to bad credit. Another Sawant and City council failure. Very good for developers, however.
-Increased crime and violence especially downtown and district three--come'on your eyes are shut. You blame the pandemic, but Seattle is boarded up, people don't go downtown...but Bellevue is booming, no boards up anywhere.
-jobs leaving seattle--160+ business and thousands of jobs have left Seattle this year. They're going to bellevue, kirkland, shoreline. Reason: employees are scared of the violence and crime in Seattle (Seattle times article)
-Failing schools--60% of SPS can't pass basic Math. To be fair, Sawant and the City Council do not control the, she's can't be blamed for failing schools--I take that back.
--filthy parks--the parks are filled with drug-addicts. It's an issue

The net: Sawant has had her time up to bat. She makes a lot of noise, but never hits the ball. She's failed Seattle and abused her office. She's failed as a Socialist. It's time for her to be recalled. Please donate to the People's Movement:


@49 You need to take off the Lil Nas Satan shoes before they corrupt your soul further...


51, you didn't know there are homeless in Bellevue? A temple hosts them. If all the meals and shelters in Seattle move to Bellevue, where do you think all the homeless will go to? You want to raise taxes on the developers to fund public housing? Sure.


@19: "But I will vote for her precisely because she riles the Dipshit Brigade so much..."

Crackers in North Carolina used to say they liked how much Sen. Jesse Helms upset liberals, and how they'd voted for him for that reason. So, congratulations on your wholesale adoption of reasoning originally made by ignorant, racist bigots.

Impressively, that's actually not the worst thing your statement says about you. Among other things (all of them bad), it reveals you hate your fellow citizens so much, you allow their supposed hatred of her to dictate your course of action. Voting based upon hatreds (yours real, theirs as perceived by you, whether real or not) is not the most uplifting possible use of your franchise, to put it mildly. It's hard to see how voting based upon hatreds (real or supposed) will produce better civic policy in Seattle, but you simply don't seem to care about that, either.

Watching you melt further down into a foaming froth of impotent, name-calling fury is just one more of the many benefits of our Supreme Court's ruling.


@28: By citing the case law you ignore how they interpreted it and the point @20 made.

"Going to protest outside a residence? That’s sufficient for a recall.

Allowing police to tear gas a whole neighborhood? Factually insufficient."

There's endless case to support or deny any cause they choose. The court has shown a history of consistently choosing and favorably interpreting that case law which support those in powr over the rights of those who are not.

The courts have been open about selecting case law to always protect those they support and punish those they don't. There can be no conspiracy where the pattern is part of the public record.


@56: As I explained @42, the description given @20 wasn't complete:

'No, the court rejected the recall effort against Mayor Durkan because, under the Consent Decree, the Mayor of Seattle does not have operational control of the Seattle Police Department. Therefore, she could not have "allow[ed] the police" to do anything. (There are few things more unjust than accusing someone of not taking action, when the person was actually powerless to take action.) The recall effort against Mayor Durkan was both factually and legally insufficient, according to our state's Supreme Court.'

"The court has shown a history of consistently choosing and favorably interpreting that case law which support those in powr over the rights of those who are not."

In the recall case against CM Sawant, the courts sided with those who are not in power, Ernie Lou, etc., over the person who is in power, CM Sawant. By your own logic, you should be pretty happy with that outcome.


Did Nathalie go out to her own front yard to take that picture of the pro-Sawant sign?

It's gonna be predictably infuriating watching her essentially turn The Stranger into Sawant's private propaganda outlet. But what's even more infuriating is that readers won't get it.


@57: I'll thank you first for finally moving off the endless "Because Chief Carmen Best quit SPD it proves BLM was wrong about racist policing and all the gratuitous SPD violence over the Summer was therefore totally acceptable" posts. You've established yourself as a staunch defender of government corruption and graft, but it's nice to see you defend different forms of corruption within the system. No one likes a one trick apologist pony.

That ruling on Durkan itself was a biased and corrupt decision designed to shield Durkin from accountability. Yes, there was authority ceded to Judge Robart through the consent decree, but the jump from some power was ceded to Durkin has no responsibility for police behavior during the riots was a jump intended to shield her from accountability, which again is the primary reason we have courts.

I'm actually not a big Sawant fan and wouldn't mind if she were voted out next term, but she is a big fish in a very small pond who doesn't even have much influence with her fellow Seattle council members, let alone Seattle at large. She is despised by big business, the Real Estate lobby and the police groups that dominate Seattle institutions and our courts. If you imagine Sawant represents "the powerful" in Seattle compared to her opponents such as Jenny Durkin you're kidding yourself, or simply being deceptive. Ernie Lou is no one. It's the Real Estate Groups, the Police and big business behind this recall that represent the real power in Seattle and let the courts know what their decision will be.



"Yes, there was authority ceded to Judge Robart through the consent decree, but the jump from some power was ceded to Durkin has no responsibility for police behavior during the riots was a jump intended to shield her from accountability, which again is the primary reason we have courts."

That's actually not the entire reason for our Supreme Court's ruling. As I've twice noted, including in the comment to which you specifically responded, our Supreme Court decided the recall was both factually and legally insufficient. They noted both that she didn't have the authority to do as the petitioners wanted (legally insufficient) and even if she had done so, there is no evidence her doing so would have altered SPD's actions (factually insufficient). (There were other reasons for denying her recall, but we're here discussing the incomplete statement made @20.)

"It's the Real Estate Groups, the Police and big business behind this recall that represent the real power in Seattle and let the courts know what their decision will be."

Voices in your head telling you this? Because, as with your personal attacks upon me (which occupied about one-third of your comment!) you haven't cited any evidence of any kind whatsoever for this claim.


The People's Movement to recall Sawant is gaining tons of momentum. While we have to fight her big money financial backing from the East Coast and billionaires like George Soros, the people can win.

Sawant is scratching to stay in power and throwing out lies that this is a 'right-wing' fight. But, the founder of the Recall Sawant movement is a gay, liberal, person of color. The funding to Recall her comes primarily from District 3--by far the most liberal district in Seattle.

Don't believe Sawant's lies as she desperately tries to stay her removal from office.


What is wrong with having opinions in this chaotic world of rhetoric and half-baked political policies that produce little in the way of tangible results and give hairy bureaucrats tenured servitude to the whimsies of the monied classes? Sawant should be given amnesty from this witch hunt for having the stones to represent the interests of working and middle-income folks who are underrepresented in the Seattle Political Machine, which cow-tows to the Bezos and Gates of this topsy-turvy cow pie we refer to as Seattle proper, although it is improper to filet someone for being an activist on behalf of the interests of leftist working folks. Sawant for Mayor and yes, continue to agitate for the interests of homeless folks and those less fortunate.
Mayor Durkan is the political official who should be recalled and soundly spanked for the most tepid leadership since Bungo McGraw or one those corrupt officials from the era of Prohibition.


@62: It's good to read CM Sawant's supporters are starting to get a little scared of her potential recall. Certain citizens of District 3 have filed for her recall not because of her "having opinions," but for her having abused the powers of her elected office, several different times and in several different ways, just since her recent re-election. Saying she should be "given amnesty" for such calculated, intentional abuses, and implying she's facing persecution for her mere opinions ("witch hunt") shows how desperate some of her supporters are becoming. And rightfully so.

Another 'tell': the claim Sawant should "continue to agitate for the interests of homeless folks and those less fortunate." If she'd actually legislated for those interests, instead of just making noise and abusing her elected office, she might now have a firmer base of support against a potential recall.