Video: 34th District Democrats’ election endorsements

checkbox.jpgA standing-room-only crowd filled the main room at The Hall at Fauntleroy tonight for the 34th District Democrats‘ pre-primary-election endorsement meeting. “Always one of our best-attended meetings,” as the group’s vice chair Sabra Schneider observed. The toplines: 34th DDs member and Seattle School Board incumbent Steve Sundquist did not win the group’s endorsement; the only challenger who has filed, Marty McLaren, was endorsed, with 62 percent support. On the Highway 99 Tunnel city referendum, “approve” – essentially pro-tunnel – was endorsed. And in much-contested City Council Position 1, incumbent Jean Godden and challenger Bobby Forch won a dual endorsement on the third ballot. Full details of the 2 1/2-hour meeting, including other endorsements, and video, are coming up. (11:38 PM NOTE: 34th DDs webmaster Bill Schrier just sent word the list is up on their site – see it here.)

2:02 AM: Here’s our video of the entire meeting (including non-endorsement business at the beginning and the end), in two parts, but none is edited or altered – the 2nd part picks up 2 minutes after the 1st ended, but no speaking was missed (they were collecting votes), and ends a few minutes short of the end of miscellaneous meeting-ending “good of the order” (the camera’s power ran out):

Now, if you want to read highlights of how it unfolded – that’ll be done in a few hours. that’s been added; click ahead:

A sixty percent vote was required for any endorsement to be made on the first ballot. The first race up was the only one that required more than one – but that came after a “block vote” of endorsements made all at once:

BLOCK VOTE: A block vote was proposed and taken at the start of the meeting:
County Councilmember Joe McDermott
County Assessor Lloyd Hara
County Elections Director Sherril Huff
Yes on Seattle Families and Education Levy

It passed overwhelmingly. “That’s a heck of a start,” smiled 34th Dems chair Tim Nuse. McDermott and Hara stepped to the microphone briefly after the bloc vote to thank the group for its support.

Then, to the one-by-one endorsements:

Endorsement: Dual, Bobby Forch and incumbent Jean Godden (third ballot)

Maurice Classen, Godden, Forch, and Michael Taylor-Judd were nominated.

Classen was first to address the group. Among his points: Seeking to return public safety to a position of respect in the city. Marcee Stone spoke in support of Godden, calling her a “true treasure of Seattle,” saying it was time to keep “the strong team” and not bring in “the rookie team.” Karl de Jong spoke in support of Forch, who then took the mike himself: “I want to serve you in the deepest way.” Former City Council candidate Dorsol Plants spoke in favor of Taylor-Judd, the only West Seattleite non-incumbent council candidate. “We need somebody … who is loyal to the community,” he suggested. “He’s been there. He’ll be with us and for us.” Taylor-Judd, a longtime 34th member and former officer, then took the mike. “I know we have shared values, and I am running to bring those values to City Hall,” he said. “I’ve spent 10 years in the city working on issues like equal rights … campaign financing … environmental issues and protecting Puget Sound … and transportation and transit, especially, where we all know what it’s like to be marooned on this peninsula.” No one spoke against any of the four.

With no one taking 60 percent in the first vote, the top 2 vote-getters, Godden and Forch, moved to a second ballot. Neither got 60 percent, so the third-ballot, under the group’s rules, offered either a dual endorsement or no endorsement, and the former was chosen.

Endorsement: incumbent Bruce Harrell

Harrell and Brad Meacham were nominated. de Jong spoke again, as he did several times during the night, this time in support of Harrell, recalling a meeting of Admiral Neighborhood Association leadership (he is ANA vice president) to ask his support for saving the Southwest district’s city Neighborhood Services Center. Harrell then spoke, noting his activism for Democratic candidates, and race/social justice activism: “Our party cares about all people.” Sharon Huling spoke for Meacham, saying “he has the experience and the skill set from the private sector and the volunteer sector to lead Seattle to a brighter future and more secure future for our kids.” Meacham spoke, saying, “My campaign is built around three big issues: Making urban neighborhoods stronger, making transportation better, and economic development.” Susan Harmon spoke against Meacham, saying she’s sure he’s a “very nice man” but Harrell “gets out there and he cares. .. Bruce is there when people need him.”

Endorsement: incumbent Tom Rasmussen

Only Rasmussen, a West Seattleite, was nominated. “He is the Energizer Bunny of city councilmembers,” enthused Ann Martin. He was endorsed by acclamation (instead of by ballot) and said, “I love being THE city councilmember from West Seattle.”

Endorsement: incumbent Tim Burgess
King County Executive Dow Constantine spoke in support of Burgess, who has no announced opponent so far, as Constantine noted. “Tim is a clear and definite leader .. he does his homework and studies hard … he advocates for the things he believes in, passionately.” Burgess won the endorsement on acclamation. He then spoke, thanking the group, saying, “I love my job and I look forward to serving you and serving my city for another 4 years.”

Endorsement: incumbent Sally Clark
Clark and Dian Ferguson were nominated. de Jong, speaking for Clark’s nomination, cited appreciation for Clark’s support for workers’ rights. Clark herself said, “The reason I like serving for you on the City Council is that neighborhoods don’t just happen by accident.” She cited affordable housing, job training, and other priorities she said she would like to work on over the next four years. Jeff Upthegrove spoke in support of Ferguson, calling her “wonderful and dynamic” before handing over the mike. She noted that the 34th backed her when she ran for council in 1997. She said, “We have some real problems and no one is up here talking about it. … I want to make Seattle the envy of every city in America, where we demonstrate how to get things done on time and on budget.”

Endorsement: Marty McLaren
This was the only race in which the incumbent (Steve Sundquist); he and McLaren, the only other candidate to file so far, were nominated.

Walter Sive spoke for Sundquist, saying he is even more impressed with the board president’s work now than he was four years ago when he was first asked for support. “Steve has set the bar for reaching out to constituents,” Sive said, calling him an “incredible individual” and “great listener” who “takes his time to work through the issues.” Susan Harmon spoke against Sundquist’s nomination, saying that he was “completely unaware of things that were happening within the school district and the community” during his first run. She also said “He helped give a raise to a school superintendent that we sent packing back to South Carolina … and it cost us. … Steve Sundquist is part of a failed school board.”

Bill Schrier was the second speaker for Sundquist, saying that in a budget-crunched era, “We need innovation in our school district … and that’s happening in the Seattle school district.” Schrier acknowledged, “We had a failed school superintendent,” but applauded Sundquist for firing her after holding her accountable. He then mentioned the controversial Teach for America, which drew hisses. He said it would help provide diversity to the district’s teacher corps. Then came a second speaker against endorsing Sundquist – past 34th DDs chair Ivan Weiss. “Steve promised us fiscal accountability and responsibility,” but didn’t provide it during the scandal that led to superintendent Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson’s firing, Weiss said. “He voted to lay off 70 teachers when he voted to allow” Teach for America “scab” teachers into the district.

Speaking for McLaren, Seattle Education Association president Olga Addae said the board needs someone who understands education. “I support Marty McLaren because she has been there” as a former teacher, said Addae. “(The board) voted out elementary counselors, career center specialists, a skill center for Seattle that the Legislature was going to give us and build us … and this School Board turned it down. How can we continue to support that?” McLaren was endorsed on the first ballot, with 62 percent. She spoke briefly (Sundquist had not spoken prior to the vote), saying, “”I am absolutely floored,” adding that she believes the endorsement underlines “all the wrong decisions …that have brought (the school district) downward.”

SEATTLE REFERENDUM 1 (Highway 99 tunnel)
Endorsement: Approve
Pete Spalding spoke for “approve.” He said, “As a member of the Alaskan Way Viaduct Stakeholders Group… we came to the conclusion that a deep-bore tunnel plus increased transit represented a unique opportunity.” He claimed opponents of the referendum – tunnel opponents – are “stuck in the past. … Walking away now would cost about $800 million already invested.” (From discussion we could hear around nearby tables, it seemed clear people are confused by what approve and reject means – approve is essentially pro-tunnel, reject is anti-tunnel. Chair Tim Nuse had to explain it.) City Councilmember Rasmussen, who chairs the Transportation Committee, also spoke for “approve,” citing that the council has been provided with ample information “that convinced us this project can be built on time and within budget. … Let’s get this thing done.” Against the referendum was Sharon Huling, who said, When you vote to reject Referendum 1, you’ll be telling your city council representatives that yes, they do need to provide notice to you .. when they implement policy … that they should wait until the environmental impact study is completed before contracting on our behalf on a project of this magnitude.” Also for “reject,” Michael Taylor-Judd said the tunnel will carry less traffic and will increase travel times for West Seattleites. He also mentioned the tolling mechanism that “does not control congestion, but generates funding needed to pay for this project. … Where are our elected leaders and why are they not standing up to represent us … to fix this tunnel project?” The endorsement went to “approve” with 68 percent of the vote.

Those were all the races that were officially scheduled for consideration. After Nuse asked whether anyone wanted to bring up any other races/issues for endorsement, here’s what ensued:

Endorsement: incumbent Gael Tarleton
Tarleton and Michael Wolfe were both nominated.

Endorsement: incumbent Michael Spearman (the lone nominee)

Endorsement: Yes

Endorsement: Liz Giba (lone nominee)

Endorsement: incumbent judge Patrick Oishi (lone nominee)

Endorsement: Susan Genzale (widow of commissioner, and produce-market owner, Tony Genzale)
*Note: There also was an endorsement for Position 1 – our notes don’t show who won it, so we’ll refer to our video and add it later

Other notes from the meeting:



POLITICAL LEADERS’ SOFTBALL GAME: This is coming up at the 34th DDs’ annual picnic at Lincoln Park, Saturday, July 16th – a new twist. “What about cheerleaders?” a voice called out. Chair Nuse recruited players throughout the night, including most if not all of the candidates who were on hand.

WEST SEATTLE SUMMER FEST: The organization is gathering volunteers to work the event, helping register voters and promote the upcoming elections. “It’s one of the places we go to get the word out,” as Schneider put it in an announcement at the start of the meeting.

11TH DISTRICT DEMOCRATS’ FILING WEEK PARTY: 5:01 pm this Friday at the Machinists’ Union Hall in South Park.

WASHINGTON PUBLIC CAMPAIGNS’ ANNUAL DINNER: 6 pm Saturday, June 18th, at South Seattle Community College’s Brockey Center.

JUBILEE DAYS PANCAKE BREAKFAST … was pitched for July 16th at Holy Family School in White Center. (And the fireworks for July 13th!)

PRIDE PARADE DOWNTOWN: There was an invitation to join candidates and activists marching on June 26th.

The 34th District Democrats usually meet the second Wednesday of the month, 7 pm, The Hall at Fauntleroy, but July’s business meeting is replaced by the aforementioned picnic.

9 Replies to "Video: 34th District Democrats' election endorsements"

  • Sue Evans June 8, 2011 (10:42 pm)

    Why not mention the endorsement of Gael Tarleton for her re-election to the Port of Seattle Commission?

    • WSB June 8, 2011 (11:19 pm)

      Sue, they made a very, very long list of endorsements, including Commissioner Tarleton, several other Seattle Councilmembers, judges, other ballot measures, and more. They are all detailed in the rest of the story, which I’ll add as soon as it’s edited. I decided to put up the most newsworthy ones (in my view as editor, and you can certainly disagree) in a short blurb rather than wait till the entire story is done to publish anything. Also, if you use Twitter, we tweeted much of the meeting as it happened at – TR

  • Paul June 9, 2011 (3:24 am)

    ever wonder why a political party would use a jackass as a mascot?

  • Ken June 9, 2011 (5:29 am)

    ever wonder why a political party would use a jackass as a mascot?

    History is pretty easy to find when you use Google.

    Adlai Stevenson provided one of the most clever descriptions of the Republican’s symbol when he said, “The elephant has a thick skin, a head full of ivory, and as everyone who has seen a circus parade knows, proceeds best by grasping the tail of its predecessor.”

  • Krystal June 9, 2011 (8:47 am)

    I’m less concerned about mascots, more concerned why people need a organization of any type to tell them to vote a certain way.

  • Sue Evans June 9, 2011 (8:53 am)

    WSB: I totally get it. You guys do a great job on Twitter too! Thanks!

  • visitor June 9, 2011 (5:24 pm)

    Thank you so much for filming this meeting! I couldn’t attend and was very interested who the 34th would endorse for school board position 6, and why. Other races also, of course, but this is the one I wasn’t sure about.

  • John June 9, 2011 (11:38 pm)

    Watching this makes me so frustrated do people really think that the tunnel will actually solve our transportation issues? Do they realize how much it will cost the potential for screwups and the fact it is 2 lanes each way and doesnt have an exit for downtown. Every westseattlite should be against the tunnel. Have you noticed how hard it is to get downtown with the viaduct down to 2 lanes? The tunnel will be the exact same except you wont be able to go downtown you’l have to use I-5 which as we all know is a dissastor. I will no longer align myself with the 34th district democrats who apparently listen to Gregoire rather than their own local seattle mayor. How are we going to pay for this tunnel when there is no money for it? And at the same time were raising the UW’s tuition by 20%. ITseems like the 34tj district democrats are content with ruining my generations future. (generation 20-30). When the viaduct comes down and the tunnel fails I will not be able to live in this city and you do not know how much that hurts me!

  • Blue Collar Enviro June 10, 2011 (8:28 am)

    The stakeholders’ group did not endorse the tunnel, even with the now-removed transit portion. That was a fallback from their endorsed recommendation: Surface improvements, a major upgrade in transit infrastructure, and capacity improvements on I-5. Of course, the endorsed option was never really studied, making a mockery of the stakeholder process.

    The 34th Dems got told a flat-out lie.

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