Someone spotted her crossing the street. Another person saw her shopping at a grocery store. It turns out Seattle can easily recall this embattled council member.
The recall campaign against Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant, the only socialist on the council, could appear on District 3 ballots if over 10,000 people sign a petition to remove her from office. Both the recall campaign and the campaign against the recall have raised over $500,000. That means the campaigns have been busy stuffing District 3 mailboxes with flyers and creating canvasser minefields outside the light rail stations and the Trader Joe's on Madison.
Suffice it to say, we've all heard a lot about Seattle recalling Sawant. What I haven't heard is Seattle recalling Sawant. Seattleites must've run into Sawant just being a person in the world at some point during the seven years she's held office, right??? It's a question ripe for a Stranger investigation.
As it turned out, seven and possibly eight people—11 or 12, if you count children—had seen her in public. Here are their stories.
Former chair of Seattle Sierra Club Dan Schwartz said he saw Sawant crossing 23rd Avenue East. "Can confirm she looked both ways."
A self-described "Gal About Town" who gave her name as Kathryn H. told me that she was stoned one night in the Central District and "standing guard over a dazed bird" when a woman, a man, and two dogs approached.
"I was like 'GIVE HIM [the bird] SPACE!," Kathryn wrote on Twitter, "and the woman was Kshama and as I was explaining the situation the bird immediately flew off and I seemed insane. She was of course incredibly nice."
Kathryn then elaborated on the situation.
"Basically, the bird was like, face down on the sidewalk and slowly recovering for like 20 mins (I even called a bird rescue at one point for advice) 'til [Sawant] showed up and then it immediately flew off," she wrote. "I don't even know if they saw the bird or just a crazy woman babbling about a sick bird."
Sawant listened to Kathryn's bird concerns while her partner kept walking. He "yelled 'KSHAMA LET'S GO' from the corner," she wrote.
welp he just needed time to recover
— i can't believe it's not bog butter (@jessicapancakes) November 28, 2020
Tim Keck, the co-founder of The Stranger, took his daughter and her friend to a nail salon on 15th Avenue in Capitol Hill. Sawant was there, Keck said. "I recall she was reading Allure mag."
Someone claimed to have seen Sawant at the University Village Apple store a couple of years before that ostentatious remodel. (Seriously, who needs an Apple store that large?) He said she was with her kids. To my knowledge, Sawant does not have kids. I do not know if this man truly recalled Sawant.
In the 2015-era, a man named James Mitchell said he saw Sawant at Macrina Bakery on 1st Avenue in Belltown. "She was with a man," he wrote. He did not reply when I asked whether she was eating a pastry.
One Sawant voter, who identified as "James Connolly's Thick Mustache" on Twitter, messaged me to say that his only IRL interaction with Sawant occurred "before we all got the spicy spray" on Pine Street last summer. Sawant joined one of the early June protests that preceded the Capitol Hill Organized Protest. The police teargassed Sawant and the rest of the protesters. "12/10 would vote for her again," he wrote.
A person named Tyler said, "Two or three years ago I sat near Kshama Sawant on the light rail leaving Sea-Tac. She was coming back from supporting a labor action of airline/airport workers. I am pretty sure Kshama was riding part of the way with a young worker who invited her to the action, and then an aide and her sort of went through emails and appointments aloud the rest of the way. No one else on the light rail seemed to be aware who she was/notice lol she was pretty low-key."
Suresh Chanmugam saw Sawant at Central Co-Op right as he pulled up with his cargo bike and his twins to get groceries. Chanmugam asked Sawant for a photo with his twins and their "$15 Now" buttons, but one twin was too shy to show his face.
"That twin redeemed himself a few years later by founding the group 'Salamanders for Sawant'," Chanmugam wrote. "After all she supports a Green Newt Deal." Salamanders for Sawant only had one member.
If YOU can recall Sawant, my inbox is still open.