From -$2,000 to Over $15 Million, Here's What Seattle's Mayoral and City Council Candidates Are Worth

Comments

1

I think it is interesting that the two really wealthy people got that way in part because of their marriage. I'm sure Harrell made good money as a corporate lawyer before he went into politics, but it looks like most of his wealth comes from his wife's stock from working at Microsoft. He does own a nice house in Seward Park, but it is quite possible he bought that a while ago, when it wasn't that expensive.

Sara Nelson is co-owner, with her husband, of Fremont Brewing. That is where most of their wealth comes from. That, and the crazy housing inflation of the house they bought. It is possible that she could have done all that by herself, but we'll never know (just like we'll never know if Harrell would be wealthy if he didn't marry a Microsoft executive).

I also find it interesting that the people I want to vote for all have about the same amount of wealth. Not huge, but they aren't scraping by, either. Both Gonzales and Mosqueda own condos. Brianna Thomas may not own a condo, but could afford a down payment (if not a down payment on a house, if she could afford the monthly payments).

2

I think this is a very weird metric on which to evaluate candidates. I honestly don't give a shit what their net worth is, and I find this kind of financial detail of the candidate's lives overly intrusive.

I do care what their policies are on a variety of issues. I do care if they are corrupt. I do care about where their campaign contributions are coming from and who may be influencing them.

I do not care if they are a renter or homeowner or condo-owner. I don't care if they are still paying off student debt. I don't care if they married well. None of that matters.

3

@2: awesome

4

"progressive small business owner" - does that mean the business is progressive? Because the anti-$15, anti-paid-family-leave, pro-sweeps, anti-progressive-taxation owner is definitely not "progressive".

6

So what does their financial status tell us about how or how well they will govern?

7

Any Attorney with a negative net worth must not be very good, or smart.

I'm not a fan of Oliver, nor do I plan on voting for them, but until now I never questioned their intelligence or abilities.

9

@6 Because it gives us an idea of how well they manage their own life and finances.

While it’s fashionable to think being on the SCC is all about pontificating about equity, they are the primary managers of an organization with a $5.5 Billion budget.

Heck even our dear Socialist friend has a worth of $500,000. Sawant might be many things but she isn’t an idiot.

10

For years people in Seattle were bitching about Trump not providing his tax returns. Now when local candidates are asked to provide some very rough financial information the comments are saying how intrusive this is.

11

Oh and Nathalie, reread the SCC insight column. It’s not 4 of the SCC it’s 4 of the 11 Seattle electeds which includes Durkan and Holmes.

12

"Nikkita Oliver, who is $2,000 in debt."

So, how much of her income came from the Taxpayers already? I wonder what she could make on her own in the real world?

Oliver. Why do I think you are far more in debt than that? $2000 is nothing. And if that amount is crushing you, I don't think you can run a City.

13

@10, nice false equivalence, 1-comment sock puppet.

Every president, both Republican and Democrat, has released their tax returns for more than 40 years, so Trump's refusal stood out against the norm.
Trump's excuse, that he couldn't because he was being audited, was an obvious lie.
One of Trump's main campaign points was that people should vote for him because he was such a successful businessman. The tax returns would have either given this claim more credibility, or proven his claim false.
He claims to be a billionaire. But that claim is hotly debated, and he has provided little evidence that he is as rich as he claims. There is plenty of evidence that he owes $300+ million to foreign banks, and that US banks won't lend him money because they consider him a bad credit risk. It is possible he has assets that exceed his debts, or that he is in way over his head. Nobody knows, and he's not telling.
The fact that he owes hundreds of millions of dollars to foreign banks could potentially have led to foreign influence in his decision-making. This would potentially be true of any president who owes a massive debt to foreign interests. So at least part of his financial information was directly relevant to his job.

None of the above is relevant to the Seattle mayor or city council.

14

@13

Actually it kind of is relevant.

Your are correct that "One of Trump's main campaign points was that people should vote for him because he was such a successful businessman." And his tax returns would provide proof that he was neither successful, nor a businessman. Since he lost money running a casino, it is safe to assume his tax returns would not reflect on him favorably.

But it is relevant in Seattle as it can show us if any of these candidate walk their anti capitalist talk.

Make what you will of her statement but it appears on the surface as though Sawant's $500,000 net worth is tied to her real estate.

Oliver is tricky. She is only 35 years old and an attorney. No one graduates law school without significant student loan debt, unless they have independent means,

It is reasonable to assume someone Oliver's age with a JD would have a LARGE student loan debt.

They do not appear to have one. Though they do have a debt to private creditors of "$25,000 and $99,999." Perhaps this is their student loan debt that has been bundled. Perhaps it is a loan not related to her student debt.

This brings a couple of questions.
1. How did Oliver pay for her education.
2. To whom is Oliver indebted to.

Gosh, if only Seattle's local alternative weekly newspaper had an unbiased investigative journalist who could untangle these threads...

But it is obvious one thing the Stranger does not have is unbiased investigative journalists

15

@14, meh, sort of, I guess.

Their finances are relevant if it provides evidence of corruption or financial influence, I'll grant you that. And it would be relevant if any of them claimed that their business or financial interests would make them a better candidate, which none of them have, as far as I recall (with the possible exception of Sarah Nelson).

If Sawant owns a $500k house, that's a cheap house in Seattle these days (according to Zillow, a "typical" single family home currently goes for $950k). I don't begrudge her, or anyone else counting an average house in Seattle as an asset. Sawant is a grandstander and sometimes grates on my nerves, but I couldn't care less if she owns a house.

I absolutely do not care one bit how Oliver paid for their education. Trust fund? Grants? Loans? Turning tricks? Don't care. A loan of "$25k-99K" also doesn't interest me much. That could be a car loan. I don't have much of an opinion one way or another about Oliver, but there is nothing in their financial information that seems remotely relevant to their candidacy.

I have been reading the Stranger almost from its inception. To my knowledge, they have never once claimed to be unbiased. From day one, they have practiced advocacy journalism, and have always been completely upfront with their biases. The Stranger is an unabashedly lefty newspaper, and has never claimed to be neutral. If you want neutral, supposedly unbiased reporting, you'll have to look elsewhere.

16

I don't need my leaders to be multi-millionaires, but can someone explain to me why on earth I should support someone who has a negative net worth?

If you can't manage your own finances, there is no fucking way I'm going to let you run this city.

17

Regarding Nikkita Oliver, with apologies to Johnathan Edwards, who penned the tune 'Sunshine' in 1971:

"And she can't even run her own life,
I'll be damned if she'll run mine..."

18

Just what you want running your government, a debtor. It totally fits the US ethos of being a debtor nation.

Consumer debt is the scourge of our times.

19

I don't think some of you debt purists are thinking this through logically.

A lot of people who rent, and get a large car loan, have a negative net worth, since most new cars devalue so fast after purchase they are a negative asset. Most people who buy a house/condo take on huge debt, which they hope to recoup later. After a few years a house is usually worth more than you paid for it (unlike a car), but not always; see 2007, 2008, for example. Most college students have huge dept in the way of student loans, which can take years to pay off. Obama was still paying off student loans when he was first elected president. It is completely normal and acceptable to have significant debt and negative net worth in this country, at least for some period of our lives. Now that I'm nearing retirement, I have no debts and I have some saving built up, but I had a negative net worth and debt off and on throughout most of my 20s and 30s. That's not uncommon at all, and not a sign of financial irresponsibility.

As long as you have a reasonable expectation of being able to pay it off and get out of debt or increase your net worth later, there is no reason to freak out if someone takes on a bit of debt. It only becomes irresponsible if you take on debt you have no way of repaying.

20

@2- you are forgetting that a Seattle City. Council election is about nothing if not class warfare.

21

@20, thanks for reminding me to vote down the Sawant recall funded by the Seattle hating suburbanites!

22

What does their diet consist of?

23

Nikkita Oliver is 35 years old and still never managed to hold a steady job or get their life in order. What little money they have made has come from either speaking at colleges for paltry sums, or taking advantage of our city council's notoriously wasteful practice of pouring money into activist groups for political purposes.

Why anyone would want Oliver running this city is beyond me. They probably couldn't even run a banana stand. Even if your main goal is to be a Sawant-style firebrand and piss everyone off, instead of getting things done, there are still basic skills one must possess to do the fundamental work required of a city councilmember. Oliver's inability to find gainful employment or achieve any sort of financial stability is one of a great many indications that they do not possess those skills. Sawant, horrible as she is, at least possesses basic organizational and mathematical skills.

24

25,000-99,999,00 is a big range with RE to income. I think they should have narrowed it down more.

I think everyone should have the same cap, too, i.e. on how much money they're allowed to raise and spend. Otherwise, they should lift the cap on the Democracy Vouchers.

Every time I want to donate mine to a promising candidate, so many others have the same idea, they beat me to it. Then the candidate reaches their limit, and I'm unable to use mine, and while I watch much wealthier and corporate-connected candidates raise much more, and because they didn't participate in the program.

I don't want to just give these vouchers to anyone. Same with my vote.