By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
With eight weeks until the August 6th primary election -and five weeks until ballots go out – our area’s largest political organization made its endorsement decisions tonight.
We start with the marquee race:
SEATTLE CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT 1: Incumbent Lisa Herbold and challengers Phil Tavel and Brendan Kolding were all nominated for endorsement in the West Seattle/South Park race. The endorsement went to Herbold with 76 votes; Tavel got 19, Kolding got 5. Here’s the announcement:
Here’s what happened before the voting:
Councilmember Lorena González (above, with Herbold) spoke in support of Herbold, calling her a strong colleague and a voice for “those who need our representation the most.” She called Herbold a champion for democratic and progressive values, and received loud cheers and applause. She also said Herbold has “delivered directly for District 1 … she is our champion, she deserves to be re-elected.” Herbold herself asked for support so she could continue to fight for equity and justice.
A speaker opposed to Herbold, Jordan Crawley, said Herbold has not achieved enough. He alleged she had not “take(n) the fight” on tough issues far enough, and urged endorsement of Tavel.
Then Sen. Joe Nguyen spoke in favor of Herbold.
He said he was impressed that she contacted him to talk about major local issues, and praised her ability to “rally local folks.”
Next, Tavel spoke. He mentioned running four years ago (he finished third in the 2015 primary) and said he thinks that Seattle “can do better” than the years since. “The city isn’t doing enough … Every four years we get the chance to say are we going in the right direction or not …” and he believes they’re not. “We need to be able to understand what we’re spending (city dollars) on and what we’re getting for that.” He also said the city isn’t doing enough to support businesses and says local businesses asked him to run. “We need to work on fixing the city.”
Speaking against Tavel, a woman said she hadn’t heard anything about continuing “the good work” that had already been done, only about change.
Pete Spalding then spoke for Tavel, calling him thoughtful, smart, educated, and citing his experience as a business owner, lawyer, and educator. “Phil is tireless in his pursuit of knowledge about” what’s going on in the city,” and Spalding touted Tavel’s problem-solving skills.
Brendan Kolding said he’s running because he believes the city is in crisis “and I want something better for my family.” He said homelessness must be solved because it is “completely unacceptable to continue to let people live and die on the streets.” He said he had traveled to San Diego for firsthand research on the “FEMA-style tents” he believes could be deployed to house and deliver services to more people. He also talked about the need for better police staffing and mentioned his experience as an SPD lieutenant.
One opponent said she hadn’t heard anything from Kolding about where the money would come from for his proposals. He replied by saying he had worked for the city and believes it wastes a lot of money, so he is confident the money exists.
Side note: Four years ago, the 34th DDs endorsed both Herbold and her eventual general-election opponent Shannon Braddock (here’s our 2015 coverage).
KING COUNTY COUNCIL DISTRICT 8: Incumbent Joe McDermott, who has two challengers on the primary ballot, was the only nominee for endorsement and was endorsed by acclamation (voice vote).
SEATTLE SCHOOL BOARD DISTRICT 6: Leslie Harris, the West Seattleite who is also board president, said via a video speech (she couldn’t be present because of a board meeting), said she’s running for re-election because “we’re not there yet.” Also nominated for endorsement, one of her two opponents, Molly Mitchell; a supporter cited Mitchell’s experience as an educator and battles in which she’s fought. Harris was endorsed with 41 votes to Mitchell’s 18 (this was the last vote of the night and the room had half-emptied).
SEATTLE PORT COMMISSION POSITION 2 Sam Cho just missed 60 percent on the first ballot, 60 of 101 votes, but got the endorsement over Nina MartinezSEATTLE PORT COMMISSION POSITION 5 – Incumbent Fred Felleman was the lone nominee (he has two challenges in the primary) and was endorsed by a show of credentials.
SEATTLE PUBLIC LIBRARY LEVY: A rep for the pro-levy campaign Yes! Seattle Libraries made a presentation: “The libraries are the heart and soul of our neighborhoods.” This is a followup to the 2012 levy, seven years and $123 million, which “currently supports 24 percent of the (SPL) budget.” This one would raise $219 million, “maintain(ing) hours and staffing from 2012 plan” and adding 10,000 operating hours, among other things. The controversial proposal to eliminate fines was part of the pitch. “What we don’t want to do is create artificial barriers” to library use and learning, the levy supporter said, noting that dozens of other library systems around the country have made that move. The measure was endorsed by a show of hands.
KING COUNTY PARKS LEVY: The 6-year, $810 million levy was pitched by Christie True, director of the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks (and a 34th District resident, she said – Maury Island, to be specific). 15 percent of it will go toward expanding habitat and open space. The “typical homeowner” pays $5/month for the current levy and will pay 50 percent more for the new one, about $7.60/month. The measure also was endorsed by a show of hands.
P.S. In case you’re interested in the Burien City Council races, endorsed were Kevin Schilling for Position 4 with 62 votes (over Omaha Sternberg with 30 votes). Sofia Aragon unanimously for Position 6.
Other notes from tonight’s meeting:
FUNDRAISER: The group’s recent annual party “met (its) goal” with more than $17,000, said chair Gina Topp.
MEMBERSHIP: The group’s current membership is 262, it was reported during a budget update.
DEBATE PARTY: King County Executive Dow Constantine is hosting a debate-watch party on the second night of the presidential debates, June 27th, at Endolyne Joe’s (9261 45th SW; WSB sponsor).
LIGHTHOUSE TOURS: Debra Alderman of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary reminded the group that the Alki Point Lighthouse tours are happening every Sunday afternoon this summer (with a few exceptions, as noted in our weekly event-calendar listings).
The 34th District Democrats meet second Wednesdays most months, 7 pm at The Hall at Fauntleroy. Check 34dems.org for updates between meetings.