In a closed-door meeting tonight at the Seattle Labor Temple in Belltown, over 100 delegates representing local unions convened to make endorsements before the primary election. The AFL-CIO-affiliated M. L. King County Labor Council—the central body of labor organizations in the county—is credited with helping to push Greg Nickels over the top in his bid for mayor in 2001, and the group forcefully advocates for the candidates it endorses. But they'd banned candidates, press, and the public from attending tonight—even pushing City Council Candidates David Bloom and David Miller onto 1st Avenue when the meeting started. So I did what any curious person would do: Waited outside and grilled delegates on their way out.
The executive committee had recommended a sole endorsement of incumbent City Attorney Tom Carr. But a delegate from the stagehands' union reportedly stood up, and said that Carr’s involvement in Operation Sobering Thought, a bar and nightclub sting, “really hurt our members and he was too punitive," said one of the delegates, on the condition of anonymity. Several delegates spoke against Carr, according to another man exiting onto the street, who said, “They think Carr could have been more fiscally responsible” and “he has cost the city a lot of money for his decisions.” The man added, “In the past, delegates spoke up for Carr, but they didn’t like what he has done his last years in office.” Several other members spoke in favor of Carr’s challenger Pete Holmes. Carr didn't get a sufficient number of votes for an endorsement; in fact, Carr's was the only executive recommendation that the group didn't ratify. The executive committee may recommend dual endorsement—or a sole endorsement of Holmes—after the primary election.
In another surprise vote, members upheld the executive committee’s recommendation for a sole endorsement of Nickels, delegates said. Several delegates had expected a pitched fight over Nickels because he crossed a picket line in Providence, R.I. at a meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors last month; however, the local union council hadn't officially sanctioned the picket, so Nickels was off the hook. In the end, more than two-thirds supported Nickels, concluding that his administration has supported worker-friendly policies.
Other endorsements from the M. L. King County Labor Council: Dual endorsement for Dow Constantine and Larry Phillips for King County Executive; dual endorsement for Sally Bagshaw and David Bloom for City Council Position 4; a sole endorsement for Nick Licata for City Council Position 6; and a sole endorsement for Max Vekich for Port Commissioner Position 4. The group will not issue an endorsement in City Council Position 8 until after the August primary.