A Pictorial History of Public Campaign Financing in Seattle

Comments

1
Goldy, you mean left to right from top left, or swap the bottom pictures.
2
Yea you can totally tell someone’s political policy by looking at their skin color.

Go back to the Least Coast you racist scumbag.
3
I love you dude, but you're starting to sound panicked about district elections. Is there some other reason you're opposed? I'm not casting aspersions, but it's just weird.
4
Great post, thanks for putting this together.
5
I like the women's hair in the 1975 picture.
6
@1 Yup. Fucked up the picture layout. But easier to just change the caption. Thanks.
7
@3 I prefer the reform that has proven results. Why is that so hard to believe?

@2 It's not perfect, but diversity of race and gender tends to reflect diversity of experience. So honestly, you can just go fuck yourself.
8
So why is Goldensteinemberg voting for Whitey McWhitey, Mike O'Brien, instead of Albert Shen, person of color?
9
Washington Citizens for Proportional Representation says it best:
"If you like gerrymandering, Districts are for you! Those who draw the lines play a more important role in selecting the
winner than the voters who cast the ballots!"

10
@7 I believe you, but it just seems like it works OK for the majority of cities that have district/ward/whatever systems, where the representation is consistently "left". In my own fondest dreams we get both systems, because that would mean each corner of the city would have a dedicated representative AND it would be more accessible for anyone to run, opening the door for people beyond just self-made wealthy and independently employed lawyers to run for City Council.

How many JDs are held between the mayor and the City Council?

Before anyone says the trite old "lawyers should be the ones writing laws," bullshit. That's what the advisory people, assistants, and staff are for in many cases. If you have a panel of nine representatives who are just A) wealthy, B) self-employed before winning the election, and C) lawyers, you've got an extremely homogeneous group of individuals.

Forget race and gender for a moment; you've got a group of nine people who likely have similar thought processes because of their training and professional experience. That's extremely limiting -- you need other mindsets, to roil and stir the pool; to add new ways of looking at, researching, approaching, and dissecting issues and problems. Three lawyers; two teachers; a doctor; a couple engineers; a small business owner not related to any of the above. You know what you'd get out of that? Class and ideological diversity.

It's an always overlooked aspect, and it's what I think district elections can get us, especially if paired with public financing.
11
I'd like to point out that the system Goldy is so critical of is the At-Large system he insists on keeping. If he doesn't like the look of '75 why keep its politics?
12
Is there any evidence that this is more than just correlation?
13
BTW since Seattle is 70% white and getting whiter, the 9 person council should be about 6.5 whites, 1.5 Asians, one black…or just Bruce Harrell. Two blacks is clearly OVER representation for just 8% of Seattle. One Asian, one half Asian/black would look more like Seattle.

Or just take mike o'brien out and the council will look 99% less white.
14

Seems like now more than ever there is absolutely no reason to spend any money at all on a campaign.

Any position can be stated in a web page.

Any question can be answered on Facebook.

Is a 30 second video going to say any more than that?
15
Any position can be stated in a web page. Any question can be answered on Facebook. Is a 30 second video going to say any more than that?


You're assuming that all people are online. Yes, you'll say next, "but anyone can buy a smartphone, they're $80," and blah blah, probably with a dash of anti-Seattle. 20% of the USA still no possible Internet. Yes, all of Seattle CAN get Internet. But then you have generational and cost issues. Poor people, immigrants, old people who are both or who are simple of a generation where the Internet is just a thing on television. Seattle speaks like 20~ languages. Is each campaign going to maintain 20 versions of a website?

So yes, you need mailers, and events, and calling, and doorbelling, and commercials, and all of the above.
16
@10 The people who make the "geographical representation" argument for districts don't understand the history of Seattle and it's lingering legacy of racial restrictive covenants. Racial segregation and race-based housing patterns are still sadly apparent in Seattle neighborhoods. So, instead of a bunch of white self-made "wealthy and independently employed lawyers to run for City Council", you'll have a few more white middle class business owners? I don't see districts bringing any ideological diversity or any diversity for that matter.
17
the charter amendment 19, for a 7-2 district at large system, is supported by:
King County Democrats
Metroplitan Democrats
46th District Democrats
62% of pcos in 36th district
Frockt
Frank Chopp
Jessyn Farrrell
Jeanne Kohl Welles
Gayle Tarleton
Mary Lou Dickerson
Sharon Nelson
and many other liberals and Democrats. None of them have the fantastical fears opponents have that somehow Seattle voters will become raving tea party greedy idiots if voting in districts. Seattle voters vote in districts today for the state leg. They elect a bunch of liberals. If we vote yes on the city council, the Seattle voters will elect a bunch of liberals.

oh wait, I mean 8 liberals and one socialist.

and no repubs don't got no chance at all.

vote yes on 19. If Frank Chopp likes it and Jeanne Kohl Welles like it, it's the liberal thing to do!
18
i for one appreciate the great racial diversity in the 15 or so main writers of Slog posts
19
@16 the odds of passing incremental changes seems more likely than anything major, wholesale, or terrifying in it's newness. 7 districts plus 2 at large phased in over several elections is somewhat gradual process. Layer in some public financing. By 2018-2020 you to go 8-1 district vs at-large, then maybe by 2024-2026 to 9-0 at large. Along the way you'll have the boundaries shifting with every change on districting as each district contracts to give landmass to it's new peers. That's when you make the final, clinical adjustments for absolute right districts, leaving study time to do it truly right, and with another census worth of data on top of it all from 2020.

I've got nothing to do with the district campaign for Amendment 19, but the intent of where they're going is obvious. Like I said in another post, it's a genie or Pandora's box. Once opened, it cannot be closed again, and it will severely disrupt and blow up the current centers of political power in the city.
20
I'm going to re-post what @17 wrote, because it shouldn't be missed:

the charter amendment 19, for a 7-2 district at large system, is supported by:
King County Democrats
Metroplitan Democrats
46th District Democrats
62% of pcos in 36th district
Frockt
Frank Chopp
Jessyn Farrrell
Jeanne Kohl Welles
Gayle Tarleton
Mary Lou Dickerson
Sharon Nelson
and many other liberals and Democrats. None of them have the fantastical fears opponents have that somehow Seattle voters will become raving tea party greedy idiots if voting in districts. Seattle voters vote in districts today for the state leg. They elect a bunch of liberals. If we vote yes on the city council, the Seattle voters will elect a bunch of liberals.

oh wait, I mean 8 liberals and one socialist.

and no repubs don't got no chance at all.

vote yes on 19. If Frank Chopp likes it and Jeanne Kohl Welles like it, it's the liberal thing to do!
21
minorities can do better in districts because they don't need as much money to run!

in Austin, TX, with at large? the powers that be chose one latino and one AA each year to let those groups get two councilmembers. The same thing happens here in a more subtle, softer way. Harrell is minority, but he did not go around condemning police brutality. the only candidate using the words police brutality was Sawant! She is for districts because districts are the lefty liberal thing to have!
22
Question is what did those more diverse councils achieve? Were they any better in terms of accomplishments than the goobers we have now? I don't recall them being great shakes, but I could be totally wrong.

So. What did they DO that made them so great?
23
“Harrell is minority, but he did not go around condemning police brutality.”

There you have it folks, liberal racism in a nutshell. “You're only black if you act black”
24
So how many people here are voting for Albert Shen and how many for the white guy?

Crickets.....
25
@7

"Go fuck yourself"

Ah the kind of well thought out intelligent arguments we have come to expect from David Goldstein.

Tell us more about your sucessful journalism career.

Sorry to inform you but skin color does not denote the personal experiences of an individual. But what else can we expect form a racist transplant that uses words like "goy" to describe his fellow citizens.
26
So what you're saying, Goldy, is you want more Republicans on the City Council? I don't.
27
We have a perfect chance to remove a white guy from the council and replace him with a person of color, Albert Shen. Who will join me and vote for diversity?

[sound of crickets]
28
@16 Actually, the At-Large system is from 1910 so it predates the covenants you refer to. Actually, the covenants you speak of were written during and upheld during the At-Large system. Actually, the At-Large system just happened to exclude minorities for decades and decades because their neighborhoods could never out vote the rest of the city. It just worked out that way. A lot of people who pretend to know Seattle's history oppose Districts. For starters they ignore recent history when being from a minority was not a deal breaker. What part of Seattle was going to vote for Romney?
29
So why aren't any of you diversity-mavens voting for Albert Chen? Must be nice to be so cozy, self righteous yet racist.
30
I guess no one on slog will vote for Albert Shen because they expect coloreds to only think a certain way.
31
It's an interesting theory but the work is incomplete.

Goldy, I suggest you get photos of every year from 1970 onwards (the City has them) and create a spread-sheet (e.g "Asian Female", "White Male" etc etc) and take a look.

Then correlate the years in which elections had public financing. (Photo, for example, for 2004 is result of election for which year?)

I am not saying you are wrong but you haven't made a convincing case. Yet.

I put together a spread-sheet of my own for the 5 years you show and it's not clear whether you are correct. Maybe so, maybe not. For one thing, I am not positive whether the photo ties to an election public financing. Also, the variations are not really huge. For example, do you really think that Cheryl Chow (1991) needed public financing? That's dubious. (She came from a very connected family.)
32
ADDENDUM:

In fact take a look at 1985.

That's a year with high diversity (really not different from 1991) but Uh...there was no public financing in 1989 (per you post.)

Plus you'd need to actually find out how much money the candidates received from the public PLUS who won.

You may in fact be totally wrong. Who knows with some good research.

Maybe good idea to look into it in detail, year by year, before you make any further claims?
33
And btw, Goldy, the fact that your post _may_ be seriously flawed has nothing to do with whether public campaign financing is a good idea or not. I agree that it is a good idea but not because of racial or ethnic diversity but because I'd like to see talented but poor people get a chance to play in the political sandbox.

More importantly, if you go back to 1975, it was actually a pretty-good council...not all that different from the one in 1991. (And if you count, while the number of white _males_ went down by ⅓, the 1991 council had the same total number of _whites_.)

I hope you will do the work to show a serious analysis and see what happens. I think you'll have to eat your words but then again...
34
"e.g "Asian Female", "White Male" etc "

What about Asian female midgets? Or black-indian giants? Or trannies in wheelchairs? Or cisgendered Asian female midget trannies in wheelchairs?

Surely the politics of oppression knows no limits?

No doubt you'll all be voting for Whitey McWhitey Mike O'Brien rather than the actual person of color, Albert Shen. You know, to show that "race" matters…or doesn't.
35
What point did you prove? David Sucher is right, you lack the necessary proof. At best, you have a theory.
36
Here's the diversity we have now:

One aging white heterosexual aging man who doesn't seem to care about human beings, although he likes goats

One definitely aged white heterosexual female whose thoughts, if existent, are indecipherable

One young white lesbian who is devoted to making no decisions whatsoever

One aging white heterosexual woman whose experience lies in corporate law

One aging white gay male who doesn't seem to care about human beings (or goats)

One aging white heterosexual male ex-cop who intends to be mayor by talking about street disorder

One aging doubly-minority heterosexual male who intends to be mayor by talking about unruly cops

One relatively young white heterosexual male who cares about people and is therefore distrusted by his "elders"

One aging white heterosexual male who cares about people and is ghettoized because of that

Diversity doesn't guarantee a damn thing.
37
I'm pro-public financing and I'm not a Goldy hater, but this post is just stupid.

From 1986 until 2003 the Seattle City Council had at least four (and as many as seven) female Councilmembers. Why that number has dropped in the past decade, I do not know, but pointing to the lack of public financing seems like a stretch.
38
Sally Bagshaw didn't need any public financing to get elected, nor did Jean Godden, nor did Sally Clark. Also, as their records have demonstrated, being female does not mean anything in particular once the person is in office.
39
@37

I agree that this post _appears_ stupid but Goldy's experiment is interesting. He just needs to do the work to do a complete analysis. Sometimes experiments fail and that is OK and we shouldn't condemn it.

Of course it might be nice for Goldy to be less triumphalist when his work is so incomplete, so flimsy and in facts appears to be wrong in its conclusion simply on the face of his own data.
40
@36: We're all aging, Sarah.
41
I don't understand Seattle voters some times...

1) Public financing has not achieved the desired results elsewhere. This was even confirmed by the consultants Council brought here as part of the background on this proposal. And Council's own staff admit that it won't meet the goals initially outlined in studying the proposal. Yet 8 of 9 Councilmembers voted for it, and countless so-called progressives support it.

2) On the other hand, 22 of the 25 largest cities in the U.S. have at least some Council seats elected by district, and yet scores of people are utterly convinced that it can't possibly work here, that it's a crackpot idea, that it's a rich Republican scheme, or that there's no evidence to back it up.

Really?
42
I really hate saying this, because it sounds so awful, but a mostly-white city council isn't lacking diversity. The city is mostly white. If we wanted to play unidimensional representation-by-ethnicity (note: actual representation by demographics is impossible, due to cross-cutting demographic characteristics, but whatever), we'd most of the time but not always have an African-American, have one or two Asians, once in awhile have a Latino, etc. We'd always have 6 white-non-hispanic types. And even if you assume we've got triple the average gay queer population, we should have one queer on the council.

In other words, you can't really say the current council is lacking diversity.

Now, this is a fucking ASININE way to think of either diversity or representative government, and I certain'y don't endorse it myself... but this is a Slog post by Goldy, so we can't expect much more.

43
WOW there is some dude in the comments doing some serious race-baiting. If you want people to vote for Shen, maybe say why he'd be a good council member.
44
who cares if these folks are all white.

they are thinking citywide!

they are thinking regionally!

and by the same logic of those who say districts will create zombies who think selfishly only about their own district, won't a POC councilperson only think of their own race?

geez, this is sure getting dumb...