By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
“We all knew it was coming down to this anyway, so let’s give them a dual (endorsement) and take it to the streets.”
So said former 34th District Democrats chair Ivan Weiss – with current chair Marcee Stone-Vekich declaring it “the quote of the night” – just before the group took its third vote on an endorsement in the first-ever City Council District 1 race, resulting in dual endorsement of Shannon Braddock and Lisa Herbold (L-R photos above).
The voting had started with five of the race’s nine official candidates nominated for potential endorsement on the first ballot. No one ended up with 60 percent or more – Herbold received 63 votes, Braddock 60 votes, Chas Redmond 18 votes, Brianna Thomas 9 votes, Phillip Tavel 6 votes.
That sent the top two vote-getters to a second ballot, the results of which were Braddock 77, Herbold 70. And that set up the motion and the vote for a dual endorsement.
The other big vote was an endorsement in the West Seattle/South Park Seattle School Board race, which has three candidates, two of which were nominated for potential endorsement – incumbent Marty McLaren and challenger Leslie Harris. The results:
— West Seattle Blog (@westseattleblog) May 21, 2015
Harris declared herself “speechless.”
10:16 PM: The meeting has just wrapped up – endorsement votes for the two at-large City Council seats were delayed because the candidates were coming from earlier meetings to the north. Both of those races also resulted in dual endorsements – for Position 8, Tim Burgess and Jon Grant; for Position 9, Bill Bradburd and Lorena Gonzalez.
ADDED 7:51 AM MONDAY: Here’s our video (and embedded above) of the heart of the meeting – the hour and a half that involved the two aforementioned votes, among other business, and that started with the endorsement of King County Councilmember Joe McDermott, who is unopposed.
And ahead – play-by-play from the meeting, through the final District 1 results:
157 credentialed members of the group filled The Hall at Fauntleroy as the endorsement voting began.
First endorsements were “block nominations”:
King County Council District 8 (in which incumbent Joe McDermott is the only candidate – he was endorsed by acclamation)
King County Superior Court (no candidates present)
Seattle City Council District 1
Nominated: Shannon Braddock, Chas Redmond, Lisa Herbold (loud cheers followed), Phillip Tavel, Brianna Thomas – those are the only ones Stone-Vekich said were eligible because they returned their questionnaires and identified themselves as Democrats. (Note: You can read the questionnaires in links from the 34th DDs’ website – go here.)
*Speaking for Braddock, Les Treall, who pointed out she’s been active in the 34th DDs. Braddock then spoke, saying she supports “progressive values” and appreciates that the group does. “I have the experience to go to work for you at the City Council,” she declared. Seconding her nomination was her boss, County Councilmember Joe McDermott.
*Speaking for Redmond, Pete Spalding, who quickly ceded his time to Redmond, who said, “I know what you want for transportation … I know how to keep people out of distress,” lauded his problem-solving skills, and noted he had joined the 34th DDs shortly after arrival 12 years ago. He concludes, “I will do an awesome job for you.” Seconding his nomination, Michael Taylor-Judd, who pointed out how much work Redmond had done with neighborhood organizations.
*Speaking for Herbold, Michele Thomas, who said she has long worked for affordable-housing issues, but that Herbold has worked on those longer, and that she has “bold and seasoned leadership” that can help solve that problem. “Lisa will work for the highest possible linkage fee,” she said. Seconding was a supporter who said Herbold is going to make Seattle more affordable. Herbold said the district “deserves strong, principled leadership that’s not afraid to lead,” saying she’s “earned my reputation working inside and outside of city government. … If I am elected … I will fight to make sure developers build with affordable housing for everybody who needs it.” She also promised “developer impact fees” to fund transportation.
*Ed Dupras nominated Phillip Tavel and turned over the microphone immediately. He remarked that the turnout (standing-room-only by this point) was “amazing” and asked, “Who do you want to be your voice” on the City Council – vowing to be the loudest voice advocating for District 1 (West Seattle/South Park). Lois Schipper seconded the nomination and said she’s interested in electing a councilmember who knows how the justice system works and thinks Tavel’s experience as an advocate for children in the system is part of what qualifies him for that.
*Jamila Johnson spoke for Brianna Thomas, pointing out that she is an award-winning activist. Thomas herself said she has been “humbled” by what has happened so far and spoke of the importance to maintain party unity, with the presidential year advancing, regardless of who gets endorsed. She alluded to conflict in other legislative-district organizations and said she hopes that won’t happen to the 34th.
Ballot collection and tallying ensued. Elected officials in attendance (in addition to McDermott) including State Reps. Eileen Cody and Joe Fitzgibbon were pointed out by Stone-Vekich, as was Seattle City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen.
Then, as the counting for District 1 continued, they proceeded to nominate candidates for School Board Position 6. (West Seattle/South Park). Nominated were two of the three candidates who will appear on the ballot – Leslie Harris and incumbent Marty McLaren.
Councilmember McDermott spoke in favor of Harris, calling her a “tenacious advocate” who has been “watchdogging Seattle Public Schools.” He said he doesn’t always agree with her, but knows she’s “watching carefully, is passionate, and engaged,” and is ready to approach board election as a policy-maker rather than as a micro-manager.
Her seconder said the School Board election “has to be about change … unfortunately we have a school administration that thinks everything is just fine, thank you. Well, it’s not.” He said she will be “confrontational when necessary and appropriate.”
Harris promised to “work really hard for you” if elected.
Les Treall spoke for McLaren, who he said could not be here because she’s at the School Board meeting. He said he is McLaren’s next door neighbor and knows that she is a good listener, among other attributes. Jonathan Knapp, president of the Seattle Education Association, was allowed to speak in her favor though his membership had lapsed (he had to promise to re-up before the night was out). He said that McLaren is not flashy but is the one person on the school board who “will listen to educators,” noting that she was a teacher. He said she’s the one person on the board who can help get to consensus to fix problems, instead of “grandstanding.”
Chris Porter was the first person of the night to speak against any candidate. He said he had presented McLaren with information about a problem with the Genesee Hill school-construction project and said her reply was “we’ll do better next time”; he also said that he was concerned about her vote on the proposed downtown school project.
Cecilia Palao-Vargas spoke next, also in opposition to McLaren, who she said had told her she had listened to the loud voices but now is “listening to the quiet voices.” She said that all voices need to be heard, and said she’s supporting Harris.
Then, the first ballot on District 1 was announced – and it meant a second ballot was needed:
Herbold 63 votes
Braddock 60 votes
Redmond 18 votes
Thomas 9 votes
Tavel 6 votes
To get an outright endorsement, a candidate/position would have to get 60 percent on the first ballot.
Next: The group voted on whether to endorse initiative signature-gathering campaigns. Proposed for endorsement:
*I-735 – seeking to amend U.S. Constitution regarding corporate personhood – signature-gathering was endorsed.
*I-732 – seeking a state carbon tax – signature-gathering was endorsed.
*City initiative 122 – Honest Elections Seattle (signature-gathering was endorsed later in the meeting)
At that point, the results of the School Board endorsement vote were announced – Leslie Harris won overwhelmingly, 123 votes to 12 for Marty McLaren, 4 for “no endorsement.” Harris spoke again and said she was “speechless.”
Lloyd Hara, incumbent, spoke, followed by John Arthur Wilson.
While those votes were counted, it was announced that the second ballot in the City Council District 1 race still didn’t turn out with a 60 percent winners, so it would go to a third ballot. This time, it was Braddock 77, Herbold 70. Susan Harmon spoke in favor of a dual endorsement, saying the results seemed to suggest there were two ‘really valuable” people. That’s when Ivan Weiss, a Herbold supporter, said “We all knew it was coming down to this anyway, let’s give them a dual and take it to the street.”
So with credentials held aloft, the 34th District Democrats did just that.