David Brewster, a founding member of Post Alley, has a long career in publishing, having founded Seattle Weekly, Sasquatch Books, and Crosscut.com. His civic ventures have been Town Hall Seattle and FolioSeattle.
Lorena Gonzalez, the current city council president, has passed her first two key political tests -- keeping labor united behind her so that Jessyn Farrell has not been able to peel off that support; and holding the ethnic coalition on her side, lest Colleen Echohawk carve it away.
The Stranger, like most newspapers, has endured wrenching changes in recent years. It survived all the cuts, particularly in its mainstay entertainment advertising, thanks to a generous amount of federal PPP money and its new pitch for one-time and monthly contributions, now amounting to 35 percent of revenue.
A basic rule in politics is to frame the main issue (or villain) to be addressed in such a way as to position yourself as the best person to fix it. The framing is key. So what are the possible framing referenda, locally?
No center-left candidate has moved to peel off votes from Bruce Harrell, so the primary winners will probably be Harrell and Lorena Gonzalez, with Harrell the likely winner in November. Want more excitement? The open city council seat.
As new mayors come in, often in defiance of their unpopular predecessor, they must learn on the job and unwind previous programs. The high turnover makes it likely that the new mayor will also depart before creating lasting change.
It's hard to imagine that a fluid, authority-suspecting city such as Seattle would ever settle on a theme, a dominant, driving vision for the city emerging from the pandemic's grand recalibration. But I have a few contenders in mind.
Now workers have had an enforced taste of working at home, rebuilding family bonds, and learning to garden. So the appetite for a fuller, more balanced life might come back. Employees might demand such features, and companies might see them as competitive advantages.
It looks like Harrell will survive the August 3 primary election, and a real race is shaping up for the other slot (with Gonzalez the leading candidate). The non-council candidates are too tightly bunched.
Echohawk is positioned as the most likeable of the candidates, but that adds blandness to her liabilities along with inexperience at city hall. Farrell may be the best campaigner (specific programs, candid answers, broadened appeal) of the group, and she is starting to draw differences from the council insiders (Gonzalez, Harrell, Sixkiller) who have failed to solve big problems.