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2023 Main Election Endorsements – The Urbanist

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The Seattle skyline view that the Urbanist Election Committee took in because it voted on its 2023 Main Endorsements. (The Urbanist)

It’s that point of the 12 months. Summer season is virtually half over and we’re plotting the right way to squeeze one other seaside getaway, climbing journey, stress-free staycation, or yard barbecue into our itineraries. However wait! There’s an necessary main election about to occur that calls for our consideration in-between hammock siestas and sunny summer time slacking.

The Urbanist Elections Committee devoted three beautiful June afternoons to interviewing about 30 candidates working for native workplace to search out the cream of the crop. The digital interviews supplemented our questionnaires, which turned up loads of fascinating nuggets in their very own proper. All-day, candidate-carousel video conferences pushed us to the brink of madness, however, by George, we realized issues and bought a bit of deeper than the consultant-coached candidate veneer. The races we tracked included Seattle Metropolis Council, Bellevue Metropolis Council, King County Council, and the Seattle Port Fee. 

Having sufficiently pushed the candidates to outline themselves and their coverage imaginative and prescient, we’re excited to current to you an urbanist slate of candidates that features some stellar leaders. These are individuals worthy of the a number of minutes it takes away out of your summer time revelry to fill out the bubbles, seal your envelope, signal and date that sucker, and drop it within the mail or dropbox earlier than 8pm August 1.

Some candidates have been fortunate sufficient to run uncontested or face just one challenger, that means they robotically advance by the top-two main to the Basic Election. On this group are some wonderful leaders who’ve gained our endorsement however is not going to be listed right here because you don’t must vote for them within the main. King County Councilmembers Girmay Zahilay and Claudia Balducci — two of our favorites — are on this bunch, as are Bellevue Metropolis Councilmember Janice Zahn and Seattle Port Commissioner Sam Cho.

Different races ended up being logjams, with extra candidates than we are able to recount right here. Some races have been a tragedy of riches and others felt a bit empty even of their crowdedness. Whether or not wistfully, enthusiastically, or reluctantly, the necessary factor is we finally arrived at the most effective chief of the bunch to advance the urbanist trigger. With out additional ado, right here is The Urbanist’s 2023 Main Slate.

The Urbanist’s 2023 Main Slate Cheat Sheet

  • Seattle Metropolis Council, District 1 – Maren Costa
  • Seattle Metropolis Council, District 2 – Tammy Morales
  • Seattle Metropolis Council, District 3 – Alex Hudson
  • Seattle Metropolis Council, District 4 – Ron Davis
  • Seattle Metropolis Council, District 5 – Nilu Jenks
  • Seattle Metropolis Council, District 6 – Dan Strauss
  • Seattle Metropolis Council, District 7 – Andrew Lewis
  • King County Council, District 4 – Becka Johnson Poppe
  • King County Council, District 8 – Teresa Mosqueda
  • Port of Seattle Seat 5 – Fred Felleman

Seattle Metropolis Council, District 1 – Maren Costa

The Urbanist endorses Maren Costa for Seattle Metropolis Council in District 1. (Graphic by Hannah Sabio-Howell)

Operating with a robust give attention to local weather justice and employees’ rights, Maren Costa is the  candidate that urbanists ought to assist on this race. A former tech employee with strong organizing expertise, Costa impressed us along with her understanding of how land use, constructing codes, and transportation coverage influence our area’s greenhouse fuel emissions. She is the one candidate on this race to explicitly assist housing abundance through the Different 6 development choice for Seattle’s Complete Plan replace, and it was clear from her interview that she understands the urgency of the housing disaster that Seattle and our area are presently dealing with. 

By Costa’s personal admission, she is mild on specifics relating to concrete transportation initiatives or sources of progressive income. Nonetheless, her values and clear assist for equitable local weather coverage, labor rights, and public transportation present her with a strong framework by which to guage choices. And on the advanced situation of homelessness, she expressed a nuanced perspective underpinned by the conviction (which we share) that sweeps are basically ineffective and counterproductive in the direction of the aim of getting individuals housed.

Her opponents don’t come near matching her {qualifications} or imaginative and prescient. Stephen Brown, a Capitol Hill enterprise proprietor, appears to be employer and an concerned group member, however lacks political and policymaking expertise. Preston Anderson’s expertise as a social employee appeared like a promising basis, however we have been upset by his assist of criminalizing drug possession despite inadequate remedy sources. And, maybe unsurprisingly, we have been underwhelmed by Rob Saka’s frequent sports activities metaphors and lack of coherent coverage positions. From his self-proclaimed “the entire above” strategy to governance (which might nonetheless lead to sweeps of unhoused neighbors despite insufficient providers) to his lack of awareness of present municipal coverage (like Seattle’s Obligatory Housing Affordability program), his absence of enough imaginative and prescient for our metropolis was abundantly clear.

Seattle would profit from a climate-focused chief who understands simply how each situation of urbanist import is expounded to this defining problem of our time. Vote Costa.

Seattle Metropolis Council, District 2 – Tammy Morales

Tammy is a Latina in glasses with dark hair and she crossed her arms and smiles in this photo.
The Urbanist endorses Tammy Morales for Seattle Metropolis Council in District 2. (Graphic by Hannah Sabio-Howell)

4 years in the past, we endorsed Tammy Morales due to her assist for investments in transit and reasonably priced housing, dedication to our most susceptible group members, and progressive imaginative and prescient. We now have not been upset. Morales has confirmed herself to be an impressive councilmember for urbanists. She has been a champion for secure streets and pedestrian security, was an early supporter of social housing, and has extensively defined her assist for Complete Plan Different 6 in an op-ed within the Seattle Instances

Her competitors, Tanya Woo, is a small enterprise proprietor and CID Neighborhood Watch, nightwatch organizer, who just lately organized a protest towards a deliberate shelter growth adjoining to the CID. In her interview, Woo’s coverage positions have been both unclear or unpalatable to us – for instance, she indicated that she would have voted to assist Seattle’s invoice criminalizing drug possession, but in addition that she doesn’t assume carceral approaches are an efficient strategy to substance abuse. On lots of the points which can be most necessary to us, we have no idea with certainty the place Woo stands. On others, we’re certain the place she stands — and we disagree.

Even when Woo wasn’t such a disappointing opponent, we’d stand with Morales. We don’t agree along with her on each situation — her unwillingness to make use of her apparent management abilities to push for a win-win resolution to the CID siting mess was irritating to us, to say the least — however we’re nonetheless impressed time and time once more along with her mixture of imaginative and prescient, ethical readability, and talent to translate each into coverage wins on the bottom. Social housing wouldn’t be heading in the direction of implementation with out Morales. Protected streets wouldn’t be progressing to the diploma they’re in South Seattle. And the comp plan can be in far worse palms. 

In sum, we expect the selection on this race is obvious: Vote Morales. Morales has proven us precisely how her progressive values translate into motion, and we might be fortunate to have 4 extra years. She greater than deserves re-election. 

Seattle Metropolis Council, District 3 – Alex Hudson

Alex Hudson has brown hair and wears a scarf and a green blazer.
The Urbanist endorses Alex Hudson for Seattle Metropolis Council in District 3. (Graphic by Hannah Sabio-Howell)

In comparison with another district races we might identify (see beneath), Seattle’s District 3 race has a robust discipline of contenders to exchange lefty firebrand Kshama Sawant. However for us, it wasn’t arduous to decide on amongst them by selecting the individual almost certainly to have the ability to ship on progressive urbanist insurance policies from day one: Alex Hudson.

We’ve been followers of Hudson since her days pushing the agenda of one of many metropolis’s finest and but typically neglected neighborhoods on the First Hill Enchancment Affiliation, gathering a coalition of transportation and housing advocates collectively to push the developer of the Washington State Conference Middle growth to offer $83 million in public advantages for the substantial quantity of public house they have been set to realize. Whenever you have a look at the brand new protected bike lane buffers alongside eighth Avenue or Pike and Pine Streets or Freeway Park enhancements which can be on the best way, they’re the results of Hudson’s efforts.

Since taking the reins as govt director at Transportation Decisions Coalition in 2018, Hudson’s monitor file of being concerned in a very powerful discussions round transportation has continued. From being front-and-center within the negotiations across the final statewide transportation package deal, which delivered free transit for teenagers on each transit company in the whole state, to the push to reform Sound Transit’s punitive fare-enforcement regime, Hudson has proven she will ship.

After 4 years of Alex Pedersen as transportation committee chair, we want somebody who can are available and reverse the injury. Hudson has been an outspoken critic of latest choices by the Sound Transit board to review choices that deviate wildly from what the voters authorized in 2016 with ST3: We are able to’t consider anybody working within the citywide discipline who can be a greater alternative for Debora Juarez on the Sound Transit board. Given her breadth of expertise, it might be arduous for King County Govt Dow Constantine to disclaim her this posting — though there are not any ensures.

The District 3 discipline is stuffed with candidates with a optimistic imaginative and prescient for town which can be well-aligned with the course that The Urbanist elections committee desires to maneuver (we notably appreciated listening to from Efrain Hudnell, Andrew Ashiofu, and Pleasure Hollingsworth). However Hudson is the one we belief to get us there. Vote Hudson.

Seattle Metropolis Council, District 4 – Ron Davis

The Urbanist endorses Ron Davis for Seattle Metropolis Council in District 4. (Graphic by Hannah Sabio-Howell)

Ron Davis is the clear urbanist alternative in D4. He has not shied away from taking a stance on this race, which might have been simple to do in a district that picked up some wealthier, Whiter zip codes within the latest redistricting. Greater than another new candidate this cycle we all know what Davis is meaning to do if voters ship him to metropolis corridor and it’s music to our ears.

Davis believes in a extra walkable, bikeable, transit-rich, and simply Seattle with a house for everybody. He’ll vote to lift progressive income to fund reasonably priced housing and social infrastructure that may really grapple with the dimensions of the homelessness disaster. He’ll vote to permit extra housing throughout town as evidenced by his op-ed on this very periodical arguing for a bolder Different 6 to the Seattle Complete Plan. He’ll vote to dedicate extra sources to sidewalks, transit, and bike amenities, and we don’t anticipate him to cover behind course of and funds austerity like so many councilmembers have up to now.

That is way over we are able to say about his opponents, who’ve hidden key coverage views and did not articulate visionary plans to fulfill mobility and housing wants. Kenneth Wilson is working to observe in Alex Pedersen conservative crank footsteps, whereas Maritza Rivera offers us “large speak, little follow-through” vibes. Seattle wants progressive urbanist management of the type Davis can ship. Vote Davis.

Seattle Metropolis Council, District 5 – Nilu Jenks

Nilu smiles in this picture and has brown hair and a flowery scarf.
The Urbanist endorses Nilu Jenks for Seattle Metropolis Council in District 5. (Graphic by Hannah Sabio-Howell)

For the final eight years, D5 has been represented at Metropolis Corridor by Debora Juarez, who has combined occasional advocacy for urbanist priorities with a irritating allegiance to the conservative bloc on council and a single-minded hyperfocus on the a hundred and thirtieth Road station as Metropolis Council’s lone consultant to the Sound Transit Board of Administrators, at the same time as different initiatives have been mired in delays and indecision. Juarez declined to run for re-election, which leaves us with an open race for her seat.

We predict there are mainly two candidates urbanists ought to take into account voting for on this race: Nilu Jenks, who we’re endorsing, and Tye Reed. Reed, a former member of The Urbanist Elections Committee and a well known organizer round housing and transportation justice, has demonstrated actual chops in group organizing as one of many major forces behind the passage of I-135, the social housing poll measure which The Urbanist endorsed. Reed additionally had a much less profitable flip because the marketing campaign supervisor for Nicole Thomas-Kennedy’s marketing campaign for Metropolis Legal professional, which we additionally endorsed however which failed by slightly below 4%.  

Jenks is much less well-known citywide however distinguished herself in our questionnaire by pushing arduous for Different 6 to the great plan, figuring out a number of particular sources of progressive income she’d advocate for, making clear that she’d have voted towards the incarceration-focused drug criminalization invoice that just lately failed in council, and talking convincingly about enhancing bike and pedestrian infrastructure throughout town and in D5, which is lacking sidewalks in lots of components of its northern reaches. Jenks additionally stood out to us for her clear dedication — pushed by a devastating private expertise — to ending gun violence in our metropolis.

Each Reed and Jenks have their liabilities. Jenks flummoxed us by focusing her reply in regards to the subsequent police contract round a want to create extra SPD officers like “Officer Cookie,” a detective who was the face of many a public relations marketing campaign for SPD — and who can also be at present suing SPD for discrimination. Answering a query about systemic injustice by cherry-picking an instance of a preferred particular person advised an assumption of excellent religion on the a part of SPD that we see valuable little proof of.

Reed, in the meantime, did not persuade us that the combative and adversarial fashion that has served her nicely as an advocate would translate nicely to both successful election or attaining progressive outcomes when in workplace. Whereas this fashion of politics does mobilize advocates, it typically doesn’t persuade.

This was a detailed name, however we finally really feel that urbanist voters in D5 can be best-served by voting Jenks on this main — and by voting for both Jenks or Reed within the normal, ought to solely one of many two make it by the first.

*Election Committee member Maya Ramakrishnan recused herself from deliberations on this race as a result of a battle of curiosity.

Seattle Metropolis Council, District 6 – Dan Strauss

Dan Strauss is a White man with dark hair and his hands in his jean pockets in this photo.
The Urbanist endorses Dan Strauss for Seattle Metropolis Council in District 6. (Graphic by Hannah Sabio-Howell)

4 years in the past, this committee declined to endorse within the main in District 6 as a result of we have been so unimpressed with the state of the sector. 4 years later, our place hasn’t actually modified; there are not any robust urbanists on this race. Nonetheless, this time round, given the Seattle Instances’ endorsement of Pete Hanning — a pro-sweeps, anti-tax candidate straight out of the Chamber’s desires — we have to state for the file that Dan Strauss is clearly the higher candidate on this race. You must vote for him. However District 6 deserves higher. 

Our interview with Strauss was probably the most disappointing interviews we carried out — which is notable, as we interviewed over 30 candidates. He was clearly studying canned responses for a lot of our dialog and did not persuade us of his dedication to take critical motion in response to the issues of urbanists, inside or exterior of his district. 

This sort of low-effort strategy is especially irritating as a result of Strauss is land use committee chair, a strong place that he has typically squandered due a penchant to tug out proposals in course of. Metropolis Council sorely wants a robust land use chair as it really works to move a “Main Replace” to its Complete Place by the tip of 2024. Whereas we recognize his dedication to visitors security and liberalizing road cafe guidelines, the few adjustments he has labored to implement have been plodding and comparatively minor. The elections committee additional vehemently disagreed with Strauss’s vote in favor of giving Republican Metropolis Legal professional Ann Davison the ability to prosecute drug possession, for which he gave no coherent rationalization. To us, urbanism doesn’t imply “streateries for the wealthy and jail for the poor.” 

It’s secure to say we’re annoyed by our choices on this district. District 6 deserves a champion for a very expansive and impressive imaginative and prescient of urbanism. As a substitute, we’ve bought a comparatively weak councilmember who appears most motivated by a number of pet points. Once more, the selection of the right way to vote right here is obvious: Hanning is horrible and all urbanists ought to vote for Strauss. We’ll subsequently finish this writeup with a problem to Councilmember Strauss: do higher. Show us flawed. Change into a champion in your district and impressive in your imaginative and prescient and we’ll eat our phrases (and again you enthusiastically!). To our readers from D6, our condolences. Vote Strauss.

Seattle Metropolis Council, District 7 – Andrew Lewis

Andrew Lewis smiles, a White man in a suit.
The Urbanist endorses Andrew Lewis for Seattle Metropolis Council in District 7. (Graphic by Hannah Sabio-Howell)

4 years in the past, you’d have been forgiven for considering there wasn’t a lot daylight between Dan Strauss and Andrew Lewis, two younger white dudes representing majority white, majority house owner districts. 4 years later, the distinction is obvious: Strauss has adopted, Lewis has led. And in a 12 months during which we’re electing the Council that’ll undertake the 2024 complete plan, Lewis’s urbanist imaginative and prescient and willingness to take robust votes will likely be essential to our means to upzone town, pedestrianize plazas, assist social housing, construct bike infrastructure, and customarily ship on our targets.

Re-electing Lewis additionally protects towards backsliding on Council. He’s considered one of two incumbents that voted towards giving our extraordinarily punitive metropolis lawyer Ann Davison the ability to prosecute drug possession. We respect Lewis for doing the suitable factor regardless of stress from inside his district to do in any other case. He has additionally proven that he’s keen to alter his thoughts in response to the group by voting to amend laws geared toward defending renters from late charges. (For these not watching at house, Lewis initially voted in committee for an modification to the laws that may increase the cap to the lesser of 1.5% or $50, then listened to good people who work to maintain individuals housed and realized that the $10 cap was the suitable option to go. Yay, Lewis.) 

Nonetheless, even when Lewis hadn’t taken some good votes this 12 months, this is able to be a straightforward alternative. The competitors is past unserious. Bob Kettle has traditionally held a public security function on the Queen Anne Neighborhood Council that has not at all times instilled a dedication to group. It’s unclear who his base is. Aaron Marshall has been flying beneath the radar by not having any political presence in any respect, past his extraordinarily Google-able OPA file (In the event you choked on tear fuel in 2020 he was most likely concerned.) Olga Sagan’s base is KOMO and Fox watchers. All can be dangerous for The Urbanist’s agenda and people who care about this metropolis

Vote Lewis. 

King County Council, District 4 – Becka Johnson Poppe

Becka smiles and has auburn hair and a plaid shirt on.
The Urbanist endorses Becka Johnson Poppe for King County Council in District 4. (Graphic by Hannah Sabio-Howell)

This 12 months’s slate of King County Council D4 candidates stands out as the race that makes us most want for Ranked Selection Voting. All three candidates — Becka Johnson Poppe, Jorge Barón, and Sarah Reyneveld – are considerate group advocates with very good coverage chops. Every of them indicated by their questionnaires and interview solutions that they’d be wonderful King County Councilmembers in numerous methods. Our first-past-the-post electoral system actually doesn’t serve us (ever, however particularly in races like these) when voters have to discern between a number of phenomenal candidates. We discovered final minute entrant Jorge Barón to be very spectacular and are enthusiastic about the entire other ways he’s specializing in progressive income, in addition to the holistic understanding of county providers that he brings as an advocate for immigrant communities. 

In the end, Johnson Poppe is the one who we consider would most successfully and doggedly champion progressive options to our housing affordability disaster, our multimodal transit wants, and our regional public well being and security issues. She earned our endorsement regardless of the stiff competitors due to her confirmed monitor file as a progressive chief on the County stage in her final ten years because the King County Price range & Coverage Supervisor, her means to articulate what else must be performed and her plan for making that occur.

We cherished that Johnson Poppe helps a county-wide transportation profit district and acknowledges the necessity for a devoted funding supply to assist rider priorities equivalent to boosting transit service, growing workforce compensation, ridership expertise enhancements, and security. We additionally know she may very well be an enormous asset to the Sound Transit Board, which desperately wants her rider- and community-led imaginative and prescient as a way to lastly ship on their guarantees, and we have been glad to see she would search such a board place.

Johnson Poppe would step into the county council seat as somebody who already is aware of the equipment and what levers to drag. Our crises require pressing progressive motion, and Johnson Poppe is somebody who can act with immediacy. However extra importantly, she has nice concepts to behave on. For voters on the lookout for probably the most well-prepared, dedicated, progressive urbanist candidate on this race, there are a number of nice decisions, and we encourage voting for Becka Johnson Poppe.

*Election Committee member Hannah Sabio-Howell recused herself from deliberations on this race as a result of a battle of curiosity.

King County Council, District 8 – Teresa Mosqueda

Teresa wears a big smile and a blue shirt. She is Latina with brown hair.
The Urbanist endorses Teresa Mosqueda for King County Council in District 8. (Graphic by Hannah Sabio-Howell)

Teresa Mosqueda has confirmed herself as an extremely efficient chief on the Seattle Metropolis Council over the past half-decade, and we anticipate her to take that very same set of abilities and dogged tenacity to the King County Council this fall, with our full assist. 

Few councilmembers can boast of carrying out greater than Mosqueda has in her one and a half phrases. Within the midst of a pandemic-induced funds disaster, she shepherded the JumpStart Seattle program into fruition, which was most likely the biggest step Seattle has ever taken towards progressive tax reform. JumpStart will fund reasonably priced housing, Seattle’s Inexperienced New Deal, and social service investments for generations to return because of Mosqueda’s work — all whereas decreasing the regressive nature of our native tax code. It took cautious coalition-building work to craft, move, and defend this system, and Mosqueda knocked it out of the park at each step, guaranteeing a sturdy program.

Mosqueda’s distinguished file goes past Jumpstart, as she’s additionally a rock regular vote for zoning reform, housing abundance, employee protections, police accountability, transit enhancements, local weather motion, and growing visitors security. She describes transit, housing, baby care, and well being care “pillars” of her County Council platform. Given her monitor file on the Metropolis, we’d anticipate extra success on these fronts on the County subsequent 12 months.

Mosqueda would assist a countywide transportation profit district as a way to get King County Metro again on the trail to development and dependable service. Sadly, such a countywide measure doesn’t at present have the votes on council, however we’re optimistic that the incoming crop of leaders, who’re extra proactive about transit, would put it excessive.

In the meantime, the primary opposition within the race, Burien Mayor Sofia Aragon, is recent off of taking a performative stand towards her homeless neighbors that ended up costing Burien one million {dollars} in County funding and wiping out a lot of the Burien planning fee within the course of. Any hope of Aragon being an affordable progressive choice has disappeared.

Mosqueda is a rising star in native politics, and she or he has a confirmed file of delivering large wins for the working class. Voters can be smart to ship her to County Council, the place we anticipate her to proceed to grapple with large challenges round housing, transit, baby care, and well being care and deftly ship extra large wins. Vote Mosqueda.

Port of Seattle Seat 5 – Fred Felleman

Fred has glasses and his hair and beard is gray. He wears a suit coat with no tie.
The Urbanist endorses Fred Felleman for Seattle Port Fee, Seat 5. (Graphic by Hannah Sabio-Howell)

This 12 months, voters don’t actually have a sturdy discipline of candidates to select from within the race for 2 Port of Seattle Fee seats. Present Fee President Sam Cho is working unopposed for his second time period. Fred Felleman, working for a 3rd time period, has two challengers, Jesse Tam and Todd Curtis, however neither rises to the extent of a critical challenger for the Port Fee’s most senior member. Filling within the bubble for Fred Felleman is the only option voters have this August.

The dearth of candidates working for this seat is a little bit of a disgrace: the Port faces some critical points, together with systemic issues round oversight of its large capital initiatives, lots of which predate even Felleman. Govt Director Steve Metruck and his employees largely run the desk on the Port, and whereas we recognize Felleman’s acknowledgment of the ways in which the present fee construction places the physique at an obstacle – half time, low pay – we’re not optimistic that reelecting Felleman will put these points front-and-center.

We’re additionally completely happy Felleman is elevating points which can be inhibiting development in passengers at SeaTac taking transit to the airport, although finally it’s on the Port to get critical about mode shift, and candidates have been telling us Airport Method tolling or a broader system of congestion pricing is on the horizon for practically a decade. The Port’s latest hardline positions towards any new housing capability in SoDo illustrate the vary of points that the physique has its palms in, however voters gained’t have a lot likelihood to push that coverage this 12 months. Till they do, vote Felleman.

Endorsed, however by the first

Girmay is a Black man in a dark suit and smiles in this campaign photo. The graphic has a city skyline as the background with The Urbanist logo.
The Urbanist endorses Girmay Zahilay for King County Council in District 2. (Graphic by Hannah Sabio-Howell)
Claudia smiles and has glasses on her head. She is a White woman with gray hair.
The Urbanist endorses Claudia Balducci for King County Council in District 6. (Graphic by Hannah Sabio-Howell)
Janice smiles in this campaign photo. She is an Asian woman with black hair.
The Urbanist endorses Janice Zahn for Bellevue Metropolis Council in District 5) Sabio-Howell)
The Urbanist endorses Sam Cho for Seattle Port Fee in Seat 2. (Graphic by Hannah Sabio-Howell)


The Urbanist was based in 2014 to look at and affect city insurance policies. We consider cities present distinctive alternatives for addressing lots of the most difficult social, environmental, and financial issues. We function a useful resource for selling urbanism, growing political participation, and enhancing the locations we reside. The Elections Committee consists of group volunteers and employees members of The Urbanist and is a standing physique representing the political values of our group.



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