2015 Election: Tom Koch joins the District 1 City Council race

The list of contenders for the new District 1 (West Seattle/South Park) City Council seat has just grown again: The ninth person now in the running is Tom Koch, who describes himself as a “land-use expert(,) former preschool teacher, and current small-business owner.”

In his announcement, Koch says, “Having worked on land use issues for 29 years, I can tell you there is much more we can be doing in our city to protect our neighborhoods. … No one currently in this race has the same level of ‘hands-on’ experience I would bring to the council when dealing with issues of affordability and development. I am not afraid to say that developers aren’t paying their fair share and we can do a better job promoting smart and fair growth in our city. … Currently, we subsidize developers through a combination of higher taxes and degraded services. We can’t afford more massive projects which refuse to pay their own way. Let’s do the right thing, use our authority to mandate development impact fees and end this absurd practice.” Koch says he also has worked for “both a democratic congressman and county supervisor” and “is a seven-time game show contestant including Jeopardy, Sale of the Century, and Wheel of Fortune.” Like the other eight candidates, he is a West Seattle resident.

IN THE DISTRICT 1 RACE NOW: Tom Koch (declared 2/19/15), Dave Montoure (declared 2/17/15), Lisa Herbold (declared 2/11/15), Shannon Braddock (declared 2/11/15), Brianna Thomas (declared 2/11/15), Phillip Tavel (declared 2/4/15), George Capestany (declared 11/11/14), Amanda Kay Helmick (declared 10/20/14), Chas Redmond (declared 12/20/13). Filing deadline is May 15th; primary election is August 4th. Along with voting on the D-1 position, West Seattle/South Park also will vote on the two “at-large” spots, Positions 8 and 9.

15 Replies to "2015 Election: Tom Koch joins the District 1 City Council race"

  • Beef February 19, 2015 (2:58 pm)

    It appears that a lot of people in West Seattle feel we haven’t been represented well in the past. This is good to see. We should get a lot more ideas about what we want out in the open, in front of the council.

  • JayDee February 19, 2015 (3:49 pm)

    I think this calls out for proportional voting where a voter gets 5 votes, and can give all 5 to one candidate, or scatter them amongst the crowd. Then all the votes are tallied.

    I hope they at least give us two votes since there is a two person run-off.

  • kj February 19, 2015 (5:35 pm)

    Is his small business in WS? What is it? Has he lived here all his life? ???

    • WSB February 19, 2015 (5:42 pm)

      KJ, I could not find his business via a variety of online searches so I sent him that question. Have not yet received a reply.

  • Joe Szilagyi February 19, 2015 (6:34 pm)

    A quick Google turned up a few things.
    This lists him as a real estate developer.
    This seems to put him in California around 1998 working for a Shapell Industries of Northern California.
    That leads to this, which says: “Shapell Industries of Northern California, also known as Shapell Homes, engages in building homes and developing neighborhoods for homebuyers. It also offers loan processing and escrow capabilities, and home customization and after sales customer services. The company was founded in 1955 and is headquartered in Milpitas, California. Shapell Industries of Northern California operates as a subsidiary of Shapell Industries, Inc.”
    Searching for the company plus him gives us this, which puts him as a Vice President for this company in 2002.
    Seems like he’s a real estate developer/investor by trade and moved up here sometime after 2002 from California. Assuming it’s the same Tom Koch, but it seems to be.
    Sorry WSB, didn’t mean to step on your toes – I sometimes have to do ludicrously deep online searches for tech issues and this stuff is second nature for me, especially when I start having to throw things like regular expressions and conditions into Google searches. :)

  • Joe Szilagyi February 19, 2015 (6:43 pm)

    Some more stuff around his work here: http://independentnews.com/app/pdf/07-19-12.pdf
    You’d have to ask him about this; that has him doing work in CA circa 2007-2011, unless this is all the wrong guy. A search for his name plus some local words turned up a property sale in West Seattle in 2006 for a house.

  • mr. the horse February 19, 2015 (6:47 pm)

    An encouraging grasp of the obvious here…

    “I am not afraid to say that developers aren’t paying their fair share…”

    The horse is outta the barn on this one, but a cute thought.

  • Tom Koch February 19, 2015 (7:05 pm)

    Hi. After a little glitch with the new website, I was able to reply to WSB. Sorry for the delay. Regarding kj’s question, I have a business license here in Seattle as well as in California. My work is in land use consulting dealing with the planning process. My wife and I moved to Washington in 2006 and have lived in West Seattle the entire time.

    • WSB February 19, 2015 (7:13 pm)

      In addition to the comment, Mr. Koch did just reply to us via e-mail (I lagged a few minutes in posting that here because we’re covering the WSHS basketball game in Bellevue and there is no way to multitask while taking shot-by-shot notes!) – his company is Lelan, Incorporated. And it appears the background Joe S. found is correct, as Mr. Koch says he previously worked for Shapell. – TR

  • Maggie Lindstrom February 19, 2015 (7:33 pm)

    I just had the pleasure of meeting with Tom Koch regarding some of his thoughts about this race. I’m very excited he’s running — even though we already have so many candidates to choose from — because based on his land use experience, I think he actually will have the knowledge and skills to come up with effective solutions to issues surrounding growth in West Seattle. I also think he’s a personable and intelligent guy who will actually be able to work well with other council members to accomplish things, not just talk about ideals – to the benefit of West Seattle.

  • fauntleroy fairy February 19, 2015 (7:42 pm)

    He sounds like a perfect candidate! I’m happy to see someone with a development background and small business experience get into this race!

  • westseattledood February 19, 2015 (10:35 pm)

    Future candidate forums are going to be long. This is awesome!

  • Jim Guenther February 20, 2015 (12:17 am)

    I have known Tom Koch for over 7 years and am impressed with his grasp of the issues that face West Seattle and Seattle as demonstrated in his announcement. He was ideas and suggestion on how these issues may be addressed.He is willing to take stands on issues and has an important message about the interfacing of business with government. I would urge people to get to know him and ask your questions.He has been involved in the government and understands the need to make it responsible to individuals,the community and business. I am excited about his willingness to listen and seek others ideas. He has a vision! Get to know him.

  • Peter February 20, 2015 (11:51 am)

    From the WA Secretary of State Corporations page:
    He is the president and chairman of Lelan Incorporated.

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