I’m not a big fan of incumbent Lisa Herbold. The second line of her voter guide statement proudly boasts of killing bike share in Seattle, and she flip-flopped on her vote on the head tax. She is, however, a friend of public transit and expanded affordable housing.

Her opponent, Phil Tavel, has a resume of experiences only slightly less diverse than Forrest Gump’s: physics teacher, video game company founder, public defender, and trivia host. An impressive list, but I can’t support someone who proudly lists Tim Burgess and the Seattle Chamber of Commerce as endorsers.

Since Kshama’s on the ropes, let’s keep at least one liberal-leaning incumbent on the council.


Tammy Morales rides a bike to work, and with the retirement of Mike O’Brien and Sally Bagshaw, she could be the only councilmember in 2020 who actually pedals the pavement on a regular basis. Not surprisingly she supports the Bicycle Master Plan and isn’t pleased that SDOT is dragging their feet on implementing it. She supports progressive taxation on wealthy investors and large businesses, and using that money to invest in low-income schools and low income housing.

Mark Solomon is a Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force, which is cool, but Amazon and the Seattle Chamber like him so much they’ve thrown over $160,000 his way...which is not cool. He was also a crime prevention coordinator at SPD for 30 years and, while a cop, founded a private security staffing firm named “Obsidian.” Sounds a little shady.


In the words of Kshama Sawant, “Seattle is becoming a playground for the wealthy.” And the biggest kid on that playground is Jeff Bezos.

For eight years now Sawant has been the loudest and most active voice is demanding Bezos and his pals pay their fair share to a city that has provided them so much. Unfortunately her efforts have been stonewalled by a city council kowtowed by Jeff, the playground bully. The most notable example was the flip-flop on the unanimously passed Amazon tax last year, which only Sawant and Teresa Mosqueda voted not to repeal. Sawant has guts and sticks to her word.

Sawant’s opponent, Egan Orion might be a decent choice—in another year or in another district. He supports rapid bus lines and protected bike lanes (so does Sawant), wants to implement a vacancy tax on empty housing units (so does Sawant), and believes that shelter is a human right (so does Sawant). He also organizes PrideFest (Sawant does not).

But Amazon and the Chamber have spent nearly HALF A MILLION DOLLARS to support him and defeat Sawant. Amazon sells just about everything, but don’t let Bezos buy your vote. Push back at the playground bully.


Alex Pedersen is a phony. His campaign revolves around on single word, “accountability,” yet he has failed to show up at multiple candidate forums (including ones on transit, police accountability, and disability rights). He talks big on climate change, but prioritizes parking over bike lanes and opposed Sound Transit 3. He deleted a blog he ran for several years because it outlined positions that hardly aligned with the “Progressive” he claims to be. Even the main photo on his campaign website is weird (it’s several years old).

Alex Pedersen cannot be trusted.

His opponent, Shaun Scott, is pretty great. He supports a Seattle Green New Deal, and knows that to slow the effects of climate change, public spaces need to be reclaimed from the primacy of automobiles. He supports mass structural changes in how our streets and sidewalks are configured, and he wants to see the Bicycle Master Plan implemented and public transit expanded.

He wants to tax developers and big corporations to fund housing and mental health services, starting by reimplementing the head tax on big businesses. And while he gets painted as some sort of radical socialist, he is a charming, thoughtful, and funny guy whose personality and intelligence would be welcomed on the city council.

Finally, the dude wore a Black Lives Matter hoodie to an Seattle police union forum (a forum his opponent skipped), which takes commitment to an issue and shows a willingness to stand up to power.


I feel sorry for the folks living in North Seattle’s District 5. They don’t have sidewalks or a decent candidate for city council. Debora Juarez is backed by the anti-tax crowd and the anti-bike lane crowd. Ann Davison Sattler is backed by Seattle’s Worst Person® and Trump donor Suzie Burke. It’s a lose/lose. Cover your eyes and flip a coin.


This race is a Citizen’s United wet dream come true. Heidi Wills is backed by almost $800,000 in PAC money (two-thirds of which is coming from the Amazon PAC, the Burgess PAC, and the Moms for Seattle Living on the Eastside PAC). Dan Strauss has the much more modest backing of $73,000 in PAC money, much of it from labor unions.

There’s no doubt that big money is ruining elections, but what I want to know is which candidate is going to stand up to the dirtbags at Salmon Bay Sand & Gravel and, after 25 years of planning, finally build the Missing Link of the Burke Gilman Trail, which runs right through District 6?

Probably neither of these folks, unfortunately.

Heidi Wills wants to build an elevated bike trail through Ballard. When it’s impossible to get simple bike lanes striped onto existing streets due to pushback from the rabid anti-bike crowd, getting funding for this cool-sounding project will be impossible. Dan Strauss wants to backtrack on the suggested placement of the trail (the plan that something like 90% of respondents to a recent poll support), which will set the project back five years.

In effect both Wills and Strauss are punting on the Ballard Missing Link, so I guess I’ll support the guy who hasn’t had nearly a million dollars of anti-tax, anti-bike, anti-progress PAC money thrown his way. Hold your nose, and...


This is another million dollar PAC race. Andrew Lewis is pulling it in mostly from labor unions, while Jim Pugel has the backing of the Amazon/Burgess/Moms axis of evil. That’s a lot of money spent on two uninspiring candidates.

Pugel is an ex-cop (and interim Chief of Police). Not only is he vague on steps he’d take to make housing more affordable and alleviate the homelessness crisis, he’s vague on pretty much every issue expect for “public safety,” which has a bit too much of a “lock ‘em up” vibe but is consistent with his resumé. Can an ex-SPD Chief hold our sketchy police union accountable? Doubtful.

Lewis went to UC Berkeley law school where he was a TA for Robert Reich (cool!). He’s an ex-prosecutor who wants to hire more cops (not as cool!). He does, however, want to have more cops “walking the beat,” which I could get behind. His plans for housing and homelessness are far more thought out than Pugel’s, and he wants to reform the homeless navigation teams (which need it). He supports an Interbay light rail route, expanding RapidRide bus service, more protected bike lanes, and creating “green streets.” He also rides his bike to breweries on the weekends.

Reich + Beer > Amazon + SPD.



In 2018, King County’s EMS (Medic One) responded to a 911 call every three minutes. EVERY. THREE. MINUTES. What the hell are you people doing out there? Get off the ladders, put down the chainsaw, and stop running with scissors. Jesus.

The price we pay for all that action is actually pretty sane—just 44 cents a day for the average homeowner. This levy replaces the one we’ve been paying for emergency medical services for the past 40 years.

People are gonna keep doing stupid stuff. Let’s help them out.


I miss polling places and voting booths. Mail-in voting has no sense of community. That said, it’s very convenient, and Julie Wise made it even more convenient during her first term as King County Director of Elections by implementing prepaid postage for our ballots. Buying a stamp isn’t THAT hard...but, face it, it is actually kind of hard.

During Wise’s four years in office elections for King County (population 1,931,249) have run smoothly and fairly. People in Washington’s smaller counties do complain about how long it takes for us to count our votes, but we have a few more people than say, Garfield County (population 2,266), so accurate vote counting takes time. And I trust Julie Wise to get our votes counted accurately.

But the best reason to vote for Wise is that her opposition is kind of creepy. Mark Greene’s website tagline is “Old Enough to Vote for Mark Greene,” but the pouting young women pictured there don’t necessarily look old enough to vote, and hopefully aren’t hanging out with creepy Mark Greene.


Larry Gossett is a living legend in the Seattle civil rights movement (starting with founding the Black Student Union at UW in 1968) who has sat on the county council since 1994. Gossett has run unopposed every election since then, but that’s changed in a big way this year.

Girmay Zahilay is rising star with an impressive background story (son of refugees, grew up in public housing, Stanford undergrad, Penn Law, Obama White House intern, practicing attorney...damn!), who scored 56% of the vote (to Gossett’s 37%) in the August primary.

Zahilay is running an impressive grassroots campaign, focusing on building more affordable housing, eliminating youth detention centers, increasing public transit to poorer communities, and getting PAC money out of elections,

24 years is a long time to serve on a county council. It’s been a great run for Gossett, but it’s time for a fresh face and some new energy.



In 1998, Tim Eyman and his band of goons put I-200 on the ballot. Cynically named the “Washington Civil Rights Act,” it passed with 58% of the vote and killed affirmative action in public employment and education in Washington state. Since that time underrepresented communities (namely Native Americans, African Americans, and women), have become even less represented in education and public employment. To remedy this trend the state legislature passed I-1000 in 2019, which would restore affirmative action rights consistent with 42 other U.S. states (including liberal strongholds like Idaho, Kansas, and Mississippi).

Some folks didn’t like I-1000, so they filed a referendum to put the law on your ballot. And while Tim Eyman’s toxic name is nowhere to be found on Referendum 88, some of his band of pasty goons from 20 years ago remains (hello, John Carlson).

(CREEPY SIDENOTE: The number 88 is racist skinhead code for "Heil Hitler" because H is the 8th letter of the alphabet, so it's kind of weird that 88 is the number assigned to this referendum.)

Despite what the fear mongers on the “reject” side say, I-1000 and Referendum 88 do not establish racial quotas or make race a sole qualifying factor in hiring or enrollment. It does allow the state to remedy court-verified, documented discrimination or underrepresentation of certain groups in education and employment. Factors that could be considered in fair hiring and enrollment are race, sex, national origin, age, physical disability, and military status.

The 1998 Civil Rights Act was neither civil nor right. It’s time to restore a level playing field. Don’t be a reject.


Back in the 2000s I used to call Tim Eyman “Osama tim Eyman” because he was an environmental and social terrorist who wanted to blow up our tax base, cause fiscal chaos, and poor riches upon himself. I let that moniker go after bin Laden and Eyman faded from the headlines—one because he was dead, the other because he was embroiled in multiple scandals and failures. Bin Laden remains dead, but Timmy is back for blood.

The goal of I-976 is to put a flat fee of $30 a year on car tabs, eliminate licensing fees, and take local taxing authority away from cities and counties. This has been Eyman’s goal ever since he filed I-695 in 1999, that was ultimately ruled unconstitutional.

If I-976 were to pass, it would be a disaster for Washington state. It would kill transit, snarl traffic, and destroy infrastructure, just so Jeff Bezos can pay as much for his car tabs and license fees as you do (to Bezos' credit he opposes this intiative...and Jeff Bezos hates paying taxes).

Even if you think car tabs are too high, I-976 is not the way to reduce your costs. It’s a statewide initiative that would repeal the local authority to impose transportation benefit district fees (which are currently used by 62 municipalities across the state). Why should Spokane be able to tell Seattle what to do? Why should Seattle tell Spokane what to do? What should anyone in Ferndale tell anyone else what to do?

Tim Eyman stole a chair from an Office Depot in February. Tim Eyman is a scumbag, a criminal, and a terror to our state's infrastructure, and his ideas for how to run a government suck even more than he does.


Speaking of Tim Eyman...I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Advisory votes are stupid. They are only on the ballot because professional fraudster Tim Eyman sponsored an initiative back in 2007 that required advisory votes on tax increases that were not subject to citizen referendum.

These 12 advisory votes use up 13 double-sided pages in the Washington state voter’s pamphlet, a copy of which is distributed to every household and public library in the state. That’s around 2.5 million pamphlets, which means these non-binding, useless advisory votes are wasting THIRTY MILLION SHEETS OF PAPER.

Not only does Tim Eyman steal chairs, he kills trees too. Don’t validate his destruction.


Buried deep in your ballot is Senate Joint Resolution No. 8200, which is kind of a big deal. If passed, SJR 8200 will amend the Washington State Constitution and grant the state government extra power during times of “catastrophic incidents.” Those powers could include moving the state capital out of Olympia, appointing a new Governor if Jay Inslee died in an earthquake, and pass emergency legislation to keep the government running.

Because of a law passed in 1962 (at the height of the Cold War), the state already has these emergency powers, but only if we are under “enemy attack,” not if there was a natural disaster.

Generally I’m not a person who fears my government, but I’m reluctant to give up some of my constitutional rights because an emergency has been declared. I saw a glimpse of this during the WTO conference in Seattle in 1999, when we had the National Guard on our streets and regular citizens were not allowed to go downtown because Mayor Paul Schell declared himself Seattle’s daddy and told us we couldn’t be there.

I’d like to think that if (when) the Big One hits, our current laws will be sufficient enough and stable enough to keep the government running.



I didn’t vote for Sam Cho in the primary, but he was definitely my second choice. Cho has a Master’s Degree in International Political Economy from the London School of Economics, and a ton of experience in state and federal government, having worked in the Obama administration, the Inslee administration, and as a legislative aide to U.S. Representative Ami Bera (CA-7). He also runs an export business, so probably knows a thing or two about working with the Port.

His opponent, Grant Degginger is the former Republican Mayor of Bellevue. For a Republican, he ain’t so bad. He’s pro-light rail and used to be a legislative aide to Joel Pritchard, the "Rockefeller Republican" Congressman who introduced a bill in 1970 which ultimately legalized abortion in Washington state (three years before Roe v Wade). Oh how that party has changed.

Degginger also wants to implement remote luggage checks for folks flying out of Sea-Tac, allowing you to drop your bag somewhere in downtown Seattle or Bellevue so you can travel to the airport luggage-free. Kind of a cool idea. Maybe Commissioner Cho can steal it.


The incumbent for this position, Fred Felleman, is an environment-loving killer whale biologist, whose achievements prior to becoming a port commissioner included banning offshore drilling and eliminating cruise ship waste discharge off Washington state’s coast. As a commissioner for the past four years he’s worked to successfully reduce the port’s greenhouse gas emissions. He’s endorsed by hippies, moderates, union folks, firefighters, and more.

Felleman's opponent, Garth Jacobson, is an attorney with no relevant experience for serving on the port commission beyond being a frequent flyer out of Sea-Tac. He is concerned about the “plastic bottle waste” at TSA lines (which is a totally legit complaint) and wants more bottle filling stations in the airport. Jacobson also creates pottery, so perhaps his time is better spent making TSA-approved ceramic water bottles than sitting on the Seattle Port Commission. Sksksksksk.



Both these candidates are good.

Liza Rankin is an artist who wants more arts funding in public schools. She’s a member of the PTA and PTSA and has supported Black Lives Matter at Schools. Eric Blumhagen is an architect and engineer who crunched a bunch of numbers and, by tweaking school start times, figured out a way for high school students to get an extra half hour sleep each night. He’s also served on the PTA and was a volunteer spokesperson against the initiative that legalized charter schools in Washington state.

I’m super pro-arts-in-public-schools, but I like sleep even more. Sweet dreams, bud.


Rebeca Muniz has a Master’s Degree in Education Policy from UW. She is the daughter of Mexican immigrants, raised by a Spanish-speaking single mom who, when a kid, she had to translate for at school events. She understands the challenges that immigrant families have when navigating public schools, and the opportunity gap (which is huge in Seattle) that results from those challenges.

She now works at UW, overseeing budgets and coordinating research projects. How does she get there each day? By bike!

Chandra Hampson has a BA in Art from Stanford University (cool), but her major campaign donors include the folks who opposed the 35th Avenue NE bike lane and formed an anti-safe cycling PAC (not cool), as well as anti-cyclist and anti-light rail city council candidate Alex Pedersen. If you don’t think getting to school is a big part of going to school, then you’re not the candidate for me.


The Seattle School Board has seven members. They are elected to four year terms on a staggered basis. Of the four candidates whose term ends this year, only one, Leslie Harris, filed for re-election. I'm guessing that's because sitting on the school board is a thankless task.

Harris has served on the board for the past four years, two of those as Board President. Her opponent, Molly Mitchell, seems eager and competent, but as far as I can tell, Harris is doing a fine job.

With at least three-sevenths of the Seattle School Board turning over this year, maybe having some more continuity going into the next term is a good thing.