This is an historic election for the city of Seattle. Seven of our nine council seats are on the ballot this year, and with the retirement of four incumbents, the council next year will look much different than it does now. Two of the retiring councilmembers, Mike O’Brien and Rob Johnson, were the council’s biggest supporters for biking issues (a third, Sally Bagshaw, was decent as well), and with Jenny Durkan (the most anti-bike mayor we’ve had in decades) in office, I am endorsing the most bike-friendly candidates in this year’s primary election.

But don’t call me a single-issue voter. Biking has benefits that go beyond just having fun weaving through traffic. Biking makes us healthier, keeps the environment cleaner, and helps reduce traffic congestion. And safe biking infrastructure benefits pedestrians as well.

The more people who bike, the better off we are as a society. So these are the candidates who like bikes the most.

Incumbent Lisa Herbold is a little wishy-washy on cycling issues, offering generic statements like “we need to review recommendations” and “revisit prior decisions” rather than answering questions on infrastructure planning more directly. But she is by far the best candidate of the small group of three running for District 1 seat.

Two will advance through the top-two primary and onto the general election. One will be Herbold. Vote for her now, and again in November.


There are three good candidates in this seven-person race to replace Bruce Harrell on the council: Phyllis Porter, Chris Peguero, and Tammy Morales. Porter is the founder of a group called Black Girls Do Bike, created in response to the underrepresentation of South Seattle neighborhoods in bike funding and planning. Chris Peguero supports protected bike lanes, thinks sharrows are a waste of money, and says of the Bicycle Master Plan, “Build the damn thing already!”

But I’m endorsing Tammy Morales, mostly because she actually rides a bike to work, and with the retirement of O’Brien, Johnson, and Bagshaw, she could be the only councilmember in 2020 who actually pedals the pavement on a regular basis. She also says SDOT’s agenda for the Bicycle Master Plan “seems to be ‘design it but don’t build it,’ and I don’t support that.”


District 3 has three candidates who talk a good game on biking issues. One of them, Logan Bowers, won’t make my cut for one simple reason: he rides a solowheel. Ugh. Another, Egan Orion, is somewhat thoughtful on biking issues, especially on the debacle that ultimately killed the bike lane on NE 35th Avenue. But my support goes to Seattle’s Favorite Socialist®, Kshama Sawant.

Sawant, the incumbent, thinks Seattle needs more protected bike lanes, fewer ineffective sharrows, expanded greenways, and (surprise, surprise) wants to tax big business and the wealthy to fully fund them all. Power to the People!


In a lot of ways, voting in this race can be summed up in four words: Anyone But Alex Pedersen. There are 10 candidates for the District 4 seat (which is my district), and several of them are great, namely Shaun Scott, Emily Myers, and Cathy Tuttle. Others are good. Even 19-year-old Ethan Hunter is worth a look. But the one candidate no one should vote for in this race is Alex Pedersen.

Pedersen pretty much opposes funding for bike infrastructure. He opposed the bike lane on 35th Avenue NE, and is questioning other protected bike lanes in District 4, most recently on 15th Avenue NE, which connects parks, playgrounds, a high school, and several existing bike lanes. He has a big smile, but don’t be fooled: he’d be bad news for District 4.

Shaun Scott is awesome. He believes that public spaces need to be reclaimed from the primacy of automobiles, and supports mass structural changes in how our streets and sidewalks are configured. Emily Myers is a scientist and appears to have done a significant amount of research on safe biking infrastructure (i.e. sharrows vs bike lanes; greenways vs arterials). She even thinks she can convince US Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao to give us some federal grants for building bike lanes. What a dreamer!

But my vote is going to Cathy Tuttle. Cathy is the founder and director of Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, so she knows how to get stuff built. She also realizes that having access to safe bike routes puts more cyclists on the streets, which has universal social beneftis—namely healthier citizens and a cleaner environment.

Cathy is also my neighbor, so if I have an issue or a question, I know whose door to bang on!


Ugh. None of these candidates are great. The incumbent Debora Juarez talks a good game, but has hardly been an advocate for bike planning on the council. Still, she’s the best of this mediocre lot.


The sixth district wins the prize for most candidates in a race. A bunch of people smelled blood when current councilmember Mike O’Brien first appeared vulnerable last year, mostly on issues of homelessness. Once O’Brien decided not to run for re-election, more gloves came off, and now THIRTEEN candidates are on the ballot, making it very possible that at least one candidate will advance to the general election with less than 15% of the people’s vote.

There are several bike-friendly candidates in this race, with the top contenders being Dan Strauss, Heidi Wills (kind of), Jay Fathi, Joey Massa, and Ed Pottharst. Of those five, Pottharst makes my cut as the best candidate on biking issues.

Pottharst supports completion of the Burke Gilman Trail’s missing link along Shilshole Avenue. He supports expansion of protected bike lanes. He knows that bike lanes are good for small businesses (hello, Ballard Chamber of Commerce), and cites data to back that up.

But perhaps most impressive to me, Ed is hearing impaired (“profoundly deaf” without cochlear implants he says) and yet he is a daily bike commuter from his house in Ballard to his job in the International District. As someone who rides through Seattle’s congestion, construction, and general chaos with perfect hearing, I’m here to tell you that riding our urban streets while hearing-impaired takes dedication and guts—good qualities in a city councilmember.


With the retirement of Sally Bagshaw, Seattle is losing a decent (but inconsistent) voice on biking issues. The race to replace her is not exactly brimming with great candidates. Of the ten candidates running, Andrew Lewis rises above the mediocrity.

Lewis is not a regular bike commuter but does ride “to breweries on the weekend,” which I can dig. He supports expansion of protected bike lanes, greater funding for localized bike projects, and understands the need to balance greenways, arterials, and even “green streets” in our cycling infrastructure. He is the best option District 7 has.


Seattle Prop 1 would renew an existing levy to help fund the city’s library system. At 12.2 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value, it’s technically a reduction from the levy passed in 2012, which taxed property at around 15 cents per $1,000. However, it will cost the average homeowner about twice as much as the 2012 levy did because, guess what, your house is now worth a lot more than it was in 2012. Yay?

Starting in 2020, my household’s hit will be about $77 per year. This money will go to expand library hours, buy new books, update high speed internet, earthquake-proof buildings, and support early-learning programs for young children.

More controversially, perhaps, this levy will eliminate borrowers’ late fees. That’s right, no more library late fees. The theory behind this move is that late fees disproportionately punish folks least likely to afford them, because once those fees hit a certain mark, a person is no longer able to borrow a book. A middle-class person can pay the fine, a poorer person maybe can’t and is effectively barred from using many library resources.

Seattle would not be the first fine-free library system. Dozens and dozens of systems in the U.S. (big and small) have been fine-free for years, and the ill-effects have been negligible. It turns out that most people will do the right thing (like return a book on time) even if there are no negative consequences for not doing so.

More carrots, fewer sticks.



This is a vote to renew a King County parks levy that has existed since 2003, and which voters have re-approved every four years since. I expect King County voters to approve it once more. Why?

Because for about $100 a year for the average King County homeowner ($115.60 for my household), this levy will fund maintenance and capital improvements to parks, urban green spaces, and public pools, as well as environmental education and habitat restoration programs.

Most exciting for me is the trails aspect of the levy. One trail that this levy will help fund is the 42-mile recreational (bike!) trail that will connect Renton to Woodinville. Work is already being done on this trail, and money from this levy will hopefully get the whole thing built in the next few years.

Let’s ride!


This primary race is kind of a waste of time. Three candidates are running and it’s very clear which two will make it through to the general election—Girmay Zahilay and Larry Gossett (though Stan Lippman does have a fairly fascinating platform that will have us living in “Space Needle Jetson-style homes” and “commuting anywhere fast through mag-pneumatic tubes” by the year 2045).

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. 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!).

Zahilay is running an impressive grassroots campaign. He’s eager to serve and has a lot of energy. Larry Gossett is awesome, but I’m voting for some new blood on the county council (though I guess I could always change my mind in November).



This is another crowded race. Seven candidates are vying to replace mediocre commissioner Courtney Gregoire, who is rumored as a candidate for Attorney General, a position her mom once held (yay, legacies).

The three best candidates seem to be Dominic Barrera, Sam Cho, and Preeti Shridhar. Grant Degginger has gotten a lot of press and endorsements, but don’t vote for him. He is the most corporate-backed candidate in the race, something we do not need making decisions for our area’s ports (unless you want Shell Oil’s drilling rig back in Elliott Bay).

My vote is going to Preeti Shridhar. She’s been a long-time leader on environmental issues, helping launch the Seattle Climate Protection Initiative with "Spotted Al" Gore way back in the mid-2000s. The CPI protected trees, imposed parking taxes, promoted bike lanes, and advocated for biodiesel fleet conversion. She’ll fight for clean energy usage at Sea-Tac, and will work for fair pay and worker retraining for Port employees.

But perhaps most importantly, she’s endorsed by Doug Baldwin. Sea...TAC!


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 two opponents in this primary race are Jordan Lemmon and Garth Jacobson.

Lemmon is a 20-something theater technician whose primary objective for running seems to be to encourage voter turnout. That is admirable (and I hope he makes it through to the general election for that reason alone) but Lemmon pretty much admittedly doesn’t have a platform for running the Port of Seattle.

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 it’s possible he has a secret agenda to sell his ceramic water bottles at the airport. Either way, it’s not quite a big enough platform for me.