By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
Just two days left to vote in the primary election.
But one West Seattleite who’s running for office isn’t on your ballot.
Even before the 2010 election season has kicked into high gear, former Highland Park Action Committee chair Dorsol Plants has declared his intention for 2011.
He turned a lot of heads with his City Council Position 4 run in 2009 (that’s when we snapped the photo at right) – almost 18,000 people voted for him in the primary (third place, so David Bloom made it to the general election ultimately won by Sally Bagshaw) — and cites a still-burning city need for change, so he’s trying again.
He hasn’t had a big campaign kickoff, but word’s gotten around.
A few citywide political journalists have written about his run already – Publicola on July 22nd, and seattlepi.com on July 27th. And to date, according to city records, he remains the only non-incumbent who’s registered to campaign for City Council for 2011.
Registering with the city Ethics and Elections Commission means he can raise money. Plants says that was one of the biggest lessons he learned from his run last year – that money is a key factor, so that’s why he’s starting earlier – it’s also a bid to get a “broad range of support” for his campaign. With a lot of campaign dollars still tied up in this year’s candidates and issues,
The issues Plants cites are big ones. Plants thinks a city law requiring jobs pay a true “living wage” is vital – yet while he says some lip service was paid to it during last year’s council campaigns, it’s nowhere on this year’s council priority list. He places a high value on crime and safety issues – particularly doing what it takes to make true “community policing” possible (recently, Mayor McGinn froze the hiring of additional police officers meant to help facilitate that plan). Not only can community policing improve safety, Plants believes, it also can help rebuild community trust in Seattle Police, marred by recent high-profile incidents.
Transportation advocacy is high on his list as well; he has been advocating for Streets For All, including a pitch at last Wednesday’s 34th District Democrats meeting in Fauntleroy. The group’s goal is to have the city allocate $30 million a year for pedestrian and bicycle facilities – particularly sidewalks in so many places where there are none now. He walks the talk – literally – Plants doesn’t own a car. (He also would like to see light-rail expansion accelerated – right now, he says, it’s a “crazy timeline,” and even though he’s young – turning 26 later this month – the “crazy timeline” feels as if it won’t lead to anything until he’s oh, say, retirement age.)
Lately, he’s balancing advocacy and (low-key) campaigning with studies at South Seattle Community College. When we spoke, he was preparing for an AmeriCorps role helping to transition veterans into college life. (He’s an Army veteran, by the way – two tours of duty in Iraq.)
The AmeriCorps work starts in September. And then – between now and the August 2011 primary – there are decisions to be made, such as, which of five council positions he’ll pursue, from among those that’ll be on the ballot.
Whichever one he chooses, Plants believes: “As long as you have a vision, a message, and can connect, people will listen.” Whether they will move from listening to him to voting to him – we won’t know for a year. And Plants is realistic — the second time around, he observes, you don’t get cut any slack: “There are no accolades for third place this time.”
His campaign website doesn’t reflect the 2011 run yet, but you can keep an eye out: dorsolplants.com.