VIDEO: District 1 City Councilmember-elect Rob Saka and counterparts get mayoral welcome

(WSB photo: District 1 Councilmember-elect Rob Saka with Mayor Bruce Harrell)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Two and a half weeks after election results were finalized, the five newly elected Seattle City Councilmembers-to-be – including District 1’s Rob Saka – answered media questions this morning after a mayoral welcome.

We were there for the event on the mayor’s floor atop City Hall. Mayor Bruce Harrell started his welcome speech by explaining staffers have been meeting with the “new cast of characters” for the past week. (In addition to Saka, the “new cast” is District 3’s Joy Hollingsworth, succeeding Kshama Sawant; District 4’s Maritza Rivera, succeeding Alex Pedersen; District 5’s Cathy Moore, succeeding Debora Juarez; , and District 7’s Bob Kettle, the only one to take office by defeating an incumbent, Andrew Lewis. There will be a sixth new councilmember next month, when the council appoints someone to fill the citywide seat Teresa Mosqueda is leaving to join the King County Council.) Here are the mayor’s opening remarks:

Harrell suggested the new councilmembers can’t be put in a “binary box” of political ideology, but instead are “committed to get stuff done.” He also noted their range of “lived experience” with a list of attributes major and minor, from “two veterans” (Saka and Kettle) to “two dog owners.” He also insisted that he and the departing councilmembers “did some marvelous work together,” ticking off more stats, such as the council passing all 344 bills he sent them and that he only vetoed one council bill. “I want to dispel the notion that things were so bad we got nothing done … we got a lot done.”
So what do the newly elected councilmembers-elecct want to do? Each got a turn at the microphone before the floor was opened to questions. Here’s what Councilmember-elect Saka said:

He promised he would “be a servant to the residents of District 1” and assessed the changes as a “once-in-a-generation opportunity to usher in a new culture at City Hall,” promising he and his new colleagues could “disagree without being disagreeable.” When Q&A time came, we noted that he had campaigned on “public safety, public safety, public safety” and asked what he planned to do first to try to improve it:

(It should be noted here that the mayor said a bit later in response to a reporter question that crime rates are going down.) In short, Saka didn’t mention a specific propodal but said he’d “work collaboratively with the mayor” and that more officers had to be hired – the hiring incentives don’t seem to be working – plus the alternative CARE Team must “grow and scale.”

Harrell had more to say about public safety in answering questions about his goals for the year ahead, mentioning “new ideas” – referring to the budgeted gunshot-locator technology as one of those, along with “CCTV cameras” (we’re checking on which cameras he was referring to). He also declared that “crime rates are going down.”

To see what the other councilmembers-elect said, the entire event was streamed by Seattle Channel; we’ll link their recording when it’s available. Councilmember-elect Hollingsworth had a notable observation – “We didn’t just want the job title, we want to do the job.” That will formally start when they’re sworn in January 2nd.

31 Replies to "VIDEO: District 1 City Councilmember-elect Rob Saka and counterparts get mayoral welcome"

  • Mike December 15, 2023 (1:21 pm)

    I wish you the best, Mr. Saka!  Refreshing words and inspiring to maybe even reach out and see what I can do to help with our vision of a better Seattle.  I was born in Seattle, I’ll fight the good fight to make it amazing again.

  • shotinthefoot December 15, 2023 (1:52 pm)

    hey Rob, please come pick up all your garbage campaign signs that are still all over the place. thanks! 

  • Rhonda December 15, 2023 (2:52 pm)

    What a great Christmas present for all Seattle residents: Rob Saka and a shiny new city council.

  • RickB December 15, 2023 (5:16 pm)

    “VIDE0”? Is that a zero instead of a big O?

  • Ben Smith December 15, 2023 (5:21 pm)

    The one thing Mayor Harrell & Saka seem to have in common is they say a lot of words without saying much of anything of substance. No specifics, always just words n political speak. Saka reminds me of Obama in a sense, young, charismatic, promising big changes with improvements without any real substance or specifics on what he will do or how he will do it. I’m cautiously optimistic emphasis on cautiously, that Saka and this new council will do much of anything to truly improve our city drastically which we need now more than anytime in city history! The mayor and each individual city council member should be required to do once monthly live press conferences to answer media questions & once monthly district town halls to hear from their constituents. It seems a trend of this past council and past mayors has been to avoid facing the media questions & being accessible to constituents to hear their concerns via email & out in the district or hosting regular town halls. Actions will speak louder than words here on if they are truly in politics to help this city or just collect a nice paycheck based off false promises. I hope for the former but it’s a long road to recovering this city to what it once was and will take cooperation from prosecutors office, city attorney and most importantly the judges to get dangerous criminals off the streets once and for all! 

    • Anne December 16, 2023 (10:13 am)

      Oh my gosh -almost every single politician does the same- especially when trying to get elected-they say a lot-about what’s wrong -what they want to change -but rarely have any specifics about how to accomplish those changes. Harrell & Saka are not unique at all. So far I’m disappointed in Bruce Harrell -but I’m willing to see just what Saka can/will accomplish.

      • K December 16, 2023 (4:05 pm)

        Bruce Harrell is performing exactly as he did the 12 years he was on city council.  Why anyone thought 1 year out of politics was going to radically change him into a guy that actually, you know, does things, is beyond me.  You knew exactly what you were signing up for, and were willfully blind to it.

  • K December 15, 2023 (5:32 pm)

    Everyone who said incentives were a waste of money and wouldn’t work was accused of “enabling crime” and here, we are wasting money on incentives that didn’t do jack.  And now crime rates are going down without the addition of those officers we “needed” all this time.  What an absolute cluster and waste of taxpayer money.

    • WW Resident December 16, 2023 (1:54 am)
      • @K it’s so weird. I didn’t know that crime going down meant that Seattle is on pace to have the highest homicide rate in 30 years. Or that it was just reported on the news that Seattle is #1 in the nation for porch pirates. Or that we have one of the highest car theft rates. The WSB has been around for about 15 years and I’ve never seen the amount of Crime Watch posts I’ve seen in the past couple of years on here. The car jackings, smash and grabs, stolen USPS trucks, shootings, burglaries, store robberies, street robberies, stolen cars etc. So weird. 
    • Anne December 16, 2023 (10:05 am)

      Do you really believe what you’re saying? You believe  we don’t need more LEO?  I believe that monetary incentives may not be enough to retain or hire LEO -in  Seattle  anyway. Guess I’m skeptical of whatever stats the Mayor is using to back up his claim that “crime rates are going down”. 

      • WS Res December 16, 2023 (11:37 am)

        National data

        • WW Resident December 16, 2023 (5:56 pm)

          Oooohhhhh substack!!! It’s so weird considering Seattle is on pace to have the highest homicide rate in 30 years. And the news just said Seattle is #1 in the nation for porch pirates. Or that the WSB has been around for like 15 years and I’ve never seen the amount of Crime Watch posts with the crimes committed since I’ve been following it since its inception. The car jackings, shootings, store robberies, street robberies, car thefts, smash and grabs, burglaries ,USPS truck thefts etc. are far more common these days

          • JS December 28, 2023 (8:37 am)

            We are definitely not reflective of the national trend on homicides.

  • sakaforlincolnpark December 15, 2023 (5:43 pm)

    Best of luck, Rob. Keep Lincoln Park the sanctuary it is, please. We need it – and so does the natural environment that we all need to survive. No pickleball, not off leash dog area… just trees, birds, otters, whales, walkers, waves, runners, maybe a troll, and kids playing …  We really need someone that will keep SPR in check.  They are steamrolling and ignoring thousands of us here West Seattle.

    • Jeannie December 15, 2023 (11:20 pm)

      100%!!! Sadly, I don’t think Harrell gives a darn about Lincoln Park. He should have gotten rid of clueless Parks and Rec boss AP Diaz, who seems to think parks are mainly for structured recreation, not for walks, wildlife-watching, running, and quietly contemplating nature. I’ve lost all faith in Harrell and I have zero respect for AP.I can only hope Rob Saka has more sensitivity to our concerns – and more foresight and common sense.

    • heartless December 16, 2023 (10:08 am)

      Not this again…

      ” just trees, birds, otters, whales, walkers, waves, runners, maybe a troll, and kids playing”

      Just those things, eh?  I think you forgot: dozens of buildings and truck parking and a zip line and a couple of playgrounds and a swimming pool and a wading pool and picnic tables and staircases and large wooden shelters on concrete slabs and sports fields and paved roads and two parking lots.

      But, yeah, let’s keep it just trees and animals.  Riiight…  You people really are the worst.

      • WS Res December 16, 2023 (11:38 am)

        Don’t forget the ball fields and tennis courts!

  • Derek December 15, 2023 (6:31 pm)

    City’s worst nightmare is this council 

    • Del December 16, 2023 (12:11 am)


    • Thomas December 16, 2023 (5:16 am)

      Which Council 

    • flimflam December 16, 2023 (8:33 am)

      Well, the majority of voters doesn’t think so Derek…

  • Seattlite December 15, 2023 (7:14 pm)

    Harrell says that Seattle’s crime rates are going down?   Hmmm…   Violent crimes, homicides all went up in 2022.  I have not read that anywhere that violent crimes and homicides are decreasing.  In fact, it was reported in September 2023 that Seattle had 57 homicides from Jan to September 2023 which is the highest levels of homicides in thirty years.  Also, Seattle will never no how many crimes go unreported. 

    • It's going DOWN December 15, 2023 (8:00 pm)

      No, no, he means they’re going down as in there are robberies going down all the time all over this city.  Easy misunderstanding!

      • they December 16, 2023 (6:38 am)

        comment of the year…

  • Odd son December 15, 2023 (8:16 pm)

    I hope the new council gets rid of scooters. Too many people ride illegally/dangerously with more than one rider, on the sidewalk, going against the flow of traffic, (all happened to me tonight at CA and Andover), no helmets or lights at night, etc.  I’m surprised there aren’t more injuries or deaths.

    • WarOnCars December 16, 2023 (8:47 am)

      I hope the new council gets rid of cars. Too many people drive excessively over the speed limit, dangerously, not stopping for people crossing, running red lights, drive in the evening without their headlights on or use their brights everywhere (I get blinded all the time walking), don’t look when turning (I’ve almost been hit at Roxbury & Delridge by left-turners when I had the walk signal), parking on sidewalks, etc. There are consistent injuries and even death, so I’m surprised there hasn’t been more action on this to get to “vision zero”.

      • Seattlite December 16, 2023 (8:27 pm)

        Perhaps the answer is not getting rid of cars but getting police officers hired and on their motorcycles to start ticketing the speeders and negligent drivers.

      • JS December 28, 2023 (8:40 am)

        Interestingly enough both things can be true. Pedestrians are the victims in both cases. Seattle desperately needs to see scooters as they are, not some mythic force for good. SDOT is far more willing to take efforts to deal with cars, these days.

    • Derek December 16, 2023 (7:47 pm)

      Maybe cars are the problem bud 

  • Alki gal December 17, 2023 (8:16 am)

    Well, I hope Rob with stand with the Duwamish and not allow the Muckleshoot and Suquamish tribes to mark territory in West Seattle as theirs.  Giving the recognized tribes a platform on the pillars below the West Seattle bridge would show profound insensitivity to Duwamish Tribe whose villages dotted the area, and also show disrespect to the residents in West Seattle who drive through that area.

    • devideetimpera December 17, 2023 (10:41 pm)

      Didn’t know this was an issue, do you have a source?

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