VIDEO: 34th District Democrats make key endorsements

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:

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.

Added: Video from the Position 8/9 City Council speeches.

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)

Second round:
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.

21 Replies to "VIDEO: 34th District Democrats make key endorsements"

  • List Maker May 20, 2015 (9:38 pm)


    Is it irrelevant at this point to ask what candidates (Lisa and Shannon, included) think about any issue or is all wrapped up with a bow and over with because the machine has spoken?

    I wonder if those who do not attend 34th Dems meetings know what any candidates think about:

    1) Annexation of White Center by city of Seattle;
    2) Impact fees immediately applied toward transportation;
    3) Working and/or pregnant mothers and competing demands of high-level decision making (ref. Christine Gregoire on missed critical Port Commissioner meetings)
    4) Current DPD position and Mayor’s position on T-5;

    Anybody know who has more money contributed between them?

    Ready. Set. Go.

  • onion May 20, 2015 (10:18 pm)

    Not interested in voting for Nick Licata v2. Lisa wraps herself in the mantle even though it has become a liability.

  • Parent of a young child May 20, 2015 (10:31 pm)

    So happy for Leslie Harris. She will do a fantastic job on the school board. Marty McLaren had her chance and proved she is not up to the task.

  • Captain Dave May 20, 2015 (11:12 pm)

    For those of us who are no longer enthused about the achievements of the democrat party, it would be great to know whom the 34th most opposes.

  • Nick May 20, 2015 (11:16 pm)

    I’ll pass on all of there endorsements would like to see new faces

  • CandrewB May 21, 2015 (6:03 am)

    They picked the two insiders; no surprise there. How anyone can still identify as a Dem or Rep is completely mystifying to me.

  • Ivan May 21, 2015 (8:11 am)

    Candidates identify as Democrats because we turn the votes out, as “mystifying” or unpalatable as that reality might be for you.

    Maybe in some fantasy world candidates gain support just by opening their mouths, or by starting a blog or a website, but in the real world, it takes a whole lot of hard work by a whole lot of people to build a political organization that is capable of winning elections and promoting qualified people into public service. Even “new faces” have to put in the time and effort.

    Nobody becomes an “insider” without putting in years of effort, and without undergoing a whole lot of examination. Lisa and Shannon didn’t just walk in off the street, you know. Most people respect what they went through to earn these endorsements. Too bad for you that you don’t.

  • AlkiBeach May 21, 2015 (8:22 am)

    Insider vs outsider is meaningless, really. AS soon as anyone becomes a council member, they are instantly “insiders.” The other candidates (Chas and Amanda) are district council insiders. Everyone who has a life is an insider to something, and an outsider to other things. That Lisa Herbold is a city council insider is a big plus, in my book, and the reason I am fully supporting her. She knows the nuts and bolts of city council, and will hit the ground running. That makes her the most effective candidate, because there will be no learning curve; she already has developed relationships, which is a good thing. I haven’t seen it mentioned yet, but it’s clear that the city council position is not a stepping stone to some higher elected position for Lisa, unlike some other candidates.

  • wscommuter May 21, 2015 (9:10 am)

    @Ivan … well said.

  • Melissa Westbrook May 21, 2015 (9:23 am)

    I agree with Ivan; to run for office you need to have put in the time to know the issues, the office and the people currently elected to that office. For anyone to put in that kind of time, I have respect for them, no matter their politics.

    It’s a different thing than “will he/she be good at the office?” but at least you know they are prepared.

    As a public education activist, I can say, with confidence, that Leslie Harris has put in BOTH the time to know the issues and the office AND has the ability and temperament to be a great School Board director.

    I think the overwhelming vote of the 34th backs that up.

  • neighbor May 21, 2015 (9:30 am)

    @ List Maker…

    You’ve got me wondering now about item #3 on your list.

    I may regret asking this, but what do *you* think about that?

  • Gordon Glasgow May 21, 2015 (10:00 am)

    @List Maker
    “Anybody know who has more money contributed between them?”

    Go do a PDC search on them and answer the question yourself. Don’t expect other people to do your research for you.

  • tedb310 May 21, 2015 (10:08 am)

    List Maker,

    Just for full disclosure I’m First Vice Chair of the 34th District Democrats. You list (I guess that’s were your screen name comes from :) ) some important issues in the D1 City Council race. I don’t think either candidate has been dodging them. For starters each has filled out and submitted the King County Dems’ questionnaire. It is a good starting point for research on their positions. The 34th has posted these on our website at:

    Also, many organizations (including ours) have held forums where these type of questions have been addressed. I’m sure there will be more forums, but if you can’t make one just attend an event where either of the candidates will be at and ask them. These candidates are not remote people hiding behind large campaign organizations communicating through just press releases. They are our neighbors, and approachable.

    Campaign contributions are no mystery either. Follow this link and you can find out how much they’ve raised, from who, where they’ve spent it, etc.:

    Hope this helps.

  • dsa May 21, 2015 (10:09 am)

    They pick people they think will win. I hope they are wrong. We do not more insiders.

  • pjmanley May 21, 2015 (12:57 pm)

    Leslie Harris for School Board, hands down. I like Marty but we need more power from our West Seattle rep, and Leslie has it.

    For City Council, I want someone very different. Mostly what I hear from the top two picks is more of the same. You can’t cure homelessness by fertilizing it, but that’s all we’ve done to date. Murray’s Seattle is turning filthy and depressing right before our eyes, traffic doesn’t move, public safety is at risk, and all we’re hearing is “we need to do more” and “we need to find ways.” That’s not a platform of ideas I can embrace. It’s just more of the same.

  • owen May 21, 2015 (1:37 pm)

    The Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission shows Herbold having raised $33k and Braddock at $27.5k. Here’s a link to a chart showing funds raised by all candidates.

  • Disappointed May 21, 2015 (3:14 pm)

    Is Jonathan Knapp always so unprofessional? His comments about “one” board member listening to teacher concerns is absolutely incorrect, and I’d go so far as to say inflammatory. SEA is the largest teachers union in the state and it is sad to see this type of behavior from Knapp.

    McDermott gives a great introduction to Harris. She is the gal for this race.

  • ridiculous May 21, 2015 (5:26 pm)

    Knapp is like the moth to the flame. He flies where-ever he sees advancment for himself. MAP test boycott? Late to the game yet eager to grab the bullhorn and the limelight. Downtown rally? Poo pooing it until he finally recognized that, yes, pressing for full funding of public education was an unstoppable force.

    Suddenly, last night he casts himself as single-handedly delivering strong union action. BS. There are MANY teachers (members of the 34th) who call BS on Knapp.

  • Not Cool May 21, 2015 (6:59 pm)

    Knapp falsely accuses and publicly disparages the school board, and the union is about to enter into contract negotiations with the district. Cool or stupid?

    Knapp did not lead the teacher walk-out. Surrounding districts led the effort and SEA jumped after the fact. Talk about grand-standing.

  • SGreer May 22, 2015 (4:43 am)

    Lisa Herbolds’ background of community activism has long proven her priorities- she cares about her neighbors, and her community, and has the chutzpah to make things happen. As Nick Licata’s legislative aid for 15+? years, Lisa has also proven her dedication to the City Counsel- and her vast experience there, gives her the knowledge and the tools to craft feasible solutions to our cities’ issues.
    I believe she is the “nuts and bolts” candidate, as she knows what it takes to get it done- EFFECTIVE representation for district 1.

  • Donebe May 22, 2015 (10:38 am)

    Were any candidates there for Burien City Council???

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