Now that the voters have spoken in the summer doldrums, what is a concerned civic voter to do to overcome unwanted cards being dealt? Here are some suggestions for a three-month political party.
Pick a Pendulum Platform. If you agree that Seattle politics needs to swing back from performative radicalism to something broader-based and pragmatic, someone needs to come up with a pledge, a slate, and some buttons to vote this way: The Pendulum Platform.
Sara Nelson for City Council, position 9 (at-large). Nelson, former aide to Richard Conlin on the Seattle City Council, owns Fremont Brewing, and so could be the voice of reviving ethical small businesses in the mega-company economy of Seattle. She’s also a civic nerd who will do her homework and gather information. The Seattle City Council could use a dose of Sally Clark, not more Sawant-Swanning.
Ken Wilson for City Council, position 8. Wilson, a Wallingford engineer running on one big issue (Who Lost the West Seattle Bridge?), recalls the days when engineers like Dan Evans or Boeing employees such as Paul Kraabel anchored the center line and kept attention on basic services. Wilson spent pennies on his campaign, which was thought to be a slam-dunk for Teresa Mosqueda, labor’s choice (getting 60 percent of the primary vote to Wilson’s 16 percent). City Hall badly needs some Mr. Fixits, and Wilson is definitely a fresh face and an infrastructure nerd, daring to use “post-tensioning” in his pitch.
Recall Sawant. Socialist city councilmember Kshama Sawant will probably be on the ballot this winter (just for her central district voters), facing recall for legal missteps, ignoring many in her district, and her my-way-or-the-highway style. She terrifies other councilmembers, much as Trump frightens Republican officeholders, and thus drives leftward many other councilmembers afraid of being out-progressived with the base. Recalling Sawant or at least scaring her with a strong Recall vote would help detoxify the council. If she wins big, as could happen given the inexperience of the Recall effort, the pendulum definitely will swing the other way.
Compassion Seattle Charter Amendment. It may be in a legal tangle, owing to the compromises and squinting language to get a broad base of support from business districts and homeless service agencies, but passage or defeat will be a loud signal. A Mayor Bruce Harrell could lean on the voters’ wishes and use the amendment to make some hard decisions (more housing, fewer encampments). A Mayor Lorena Gonzalez could defy voters who passed the amendment or use the amendment’s defeat to justify her dovish homeless strategy. Once more, the impact will depend on the extent to the margin, yea or nay.
A Write-In Candidate for City Attorney. Gov. Andrew Cuomo may have demonstrated the truism in politics that third terms end badly (exhaustion, impatience, hubris, pressure from other candidates), and so the third-term curse proved for City Attorney Pete Holmes, who finished an embarrassing third in the August 3 primary. On the left, Nicole Thomas-Kennedy (36 percent of the primary vote) is running as a De-Prosecutor. On the right, Ann Davison (33 percent) is that rare bird in Seattle politics, a law-and-order advocate. Either would be likely to be ignored by the next mayor (as Durkan and Gonzalez did with Holmes). So the Pendulum Party has a chance to settle on a write-in candidate who has the legal maturity and political neutrality to restore that office to its old balance-wheel role and trust. Greg Wong? Jessyn Farrell? Jay Reich? Steve Fortney (who almost ran)?
Dream on, Pendulumers!