NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tuesday, October 26th, 2021

In NPI’s hometown of Redmond, voters will decide three 2021 contests for city council

City coun­cils across our region make a lot of impor­tant deci­sions that affect our lives as res­i­dents of Cas­ca­dia, espe­cial­ly with respect to land use, devel­op­ment, trans­porta­tion, and pub­lic safe­ty. We entrust the essen­tial pub­lic ser­vices we rely on close to home to their stew­ard­ship and man­age­ment, so it’s impor­tant that we pay atten­tion to these crit­i­cal local races and make our voic­es heard.

In 2021’s local elec­tions, vot­ers in NPI’s home­town, Red­mond, will elect three at-large posi­tions on the sev­en-mem­ber city coun­cil: Coun­cil Posi­tions #2, #4, and #6. In August, vot­ers elim­i­nat­ed one can­di­date from the Posi­tion #4 race, the only con­test that had more than two can­di­dates, leav­ing two finalists.

Now that we’re in the gen­er­al elec­tion (which serves as the runoff round), vot­ers will make final selec­tions for all three posi­tions. Let’s take a look at each of this year’s races and meet the can­di­dates who are seek­ing vot­ers’ support.

Position #2: Steve Fields vs. Janet Richards

For Posi­tion #2, incum­bent Steve Fields is fac­ing off against Janet Richards.

Fields, the own­er of Down Pour Cof­fee in Bride Trails, was first elect­ed to the coun­cil in 2017 with 55% of the vote, unseat­ing incum­bent Byron Shutz. He also made unsuc­cess­ful bids for may­or in 2015 and 2019.

After tout­ing bipar­ti­san endorse­ments dur­ing the 2017 pri­ma­ry elec­tion, he has bol­stered his pro­gres­sive cre­den­tials for the 2021 elec­tion cycle.

He has gar­nered the endorse­ment of sev­er­al notable pro­gres­sive fig­ures from across the region, includ­ing Shukri Olow and Joe Nguyen.

Fields’ pri­or­i­ties include respon­si­ble gov­ern­ment, envi­ron­men­tal stew­ard­ship, care­ful growth man­age­ment, and sup­port for local businesses.

Janet Richards is Fields’ oppo­nent, sup­port­ed by May­or Angela Bir­ney, who Fields ran against for the city’s top posi­tion two years ago.

Richards has near­ly three decades of expe­ri­ence work­ing in busi­ness man­age­ment for Microsoft and as a consultant.

She is the only Black can­di­date in this year’s Red­mond elections.

After Coun­cil Pres­i­dent Pad­hye retires, the only remain­ing non-white mem­ber of the coun­cil will be Var­isha Khan unless Richards is elected.

As a vol­un­teer con­sul­tant, she led a task force to improve Seat­tle Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal’s secu­ri­ty poli­cies to be more equi­table. She cur­rent­ly vol­un­teers for the City of Red­mond as Human Resources Com­mis­sion­er, and also has a his­to­ry of work­ing with Red­mond’s police depart­ment on com­mu­ni­ty engagement.

Richards is backed by elect­ed offi­cials like Lake Wash­ing­ton School Board mem­ber Siri Blies­ner and for­mer may­or John Marchione.

Fields has raised $12,842.40 for his reelec­tion campaign.

Richards has raised $22,972.47 for her campaign.

Position #4: Melissa Stuart vs. Dennis Ellis

Cur­rent coun­cil pres­i­dent Tani­ka Pad­hye is leav­ing elect­ed office. Three can­di­dates filed to run for the open seat Pad­hye is vacat­ing: Melis­sa Stu­art, Den­nis Ellis, and Jack­son Fields. Stu­art and Ellis advanced through the Top Two elec­tion to the gen­er­al; Fields was elim­i­nat­ed from fur­ther consideration.

Melis­sa Stu­art char­ac­ter­izes her­self as a “non­prof­it leader with deep expe­ri­ence break­ing down bar­ri­ers for youth and families.”

A for­mer Peace Corps youth devel­op­ment vol­un­teer in Moldo­va, she has worked at a vari­ety of well-estab­lished non­prof­its serv­ing vul­ner­a­ble East­side youth, includ­ing the Boys and Girls Club and Youth East­side Services.

The main theme of her cam­paign is reduc­ing car­bon emis­sions. A res­i­dent of the Over­lake neigh­bor­hood, where Link light rail will serve in just two years, she sees the dense, mixed-use area as a blue­print for neigh­bor­hoods that are more walk­a­ble, less car-depen­dent, and more effi­cient for families

This is a time­ly per­spec­tive for the city, as ongo­ing rede­vel­op­ment in down­town Red­mond adds hotels, mixed-use apart­ment build­ings, and mod­ern offices to a once sleepy and spread-out sub­ur­ban city center.

While coun­cil posi­tions are offi­cial­ly non­par­ti­san, Stu­art has suc­cess­ful­ly court­ed local Demo­c­ra­t­ic and Demo­c­ra­t­ic-aligned organizations.

High­lights from her lengthy endorse­ment list include the 45th and 48th Leg­isla­tive Dis­trict Democ­rats, the Sier­ra Club, and Coun­cil Pres­i­dent Padhye.

Den­nis Ellis is a long­time Red­mond resident.

The Seat­tle native is an Air Force vet­er­an who also spent over twen­ty-five years work­ing in the con­struc­tion indus­try. He now works as an ana­lyst at Boeing.

On the issues, he is more con­ser­v­a­tive but not doc­tri­naire. He had staked out a strong posi­tion against “allow­ing the fail­ure of the jus­tice sys­tem to pros­e­cute crime” or any oth­er form of crim­i­nal jus­tice reform. His web­site does­n’t men­tion the cli­mate cri­sis at all, which is espe­cial­ly dis­ap­point­ing in the wake of the record-shat­ter­ing June heat wave that killed hun­dreds across Cascadia.

Ellis sug­gests he is open to cre­ative solu­tions to major issues. On hous­ing, he is open to des­ig­nat­ing small­er parcels and rezon­ing sin­gle-fam­i­ly neigh­bor­hoods to allow town­homes to cre­ate own­er­ship oppor­tu­ni­ties for young families.

He also argues that his expe­ri­ence as a small busi­ness own­er could be help­ful as busi­ness­es face the twin chal­lenges of the post-pan­dem­ic recov­ery and the influx of large cor­po­rate invest­ment into downtown.

Stu­art has raised $21,399.01 for her campaign.

Ellis has raised $12,011.75 for his.

Position #6: Jeralee Anderson vs. Tara Van Niman

The field is sim­i­lar­ly split for Coun­cil Posi­tion 6. Incum­bent Jeralee Ander­son is being chal­lenged by Tara Van Niman.

Van Niman is a career project man­ag­er at AT&T and first-time who is well-con­nect­ed in the Red­mond polit­i­cal scene.

She is active on com­mit­tees that pro­mote school fund­ing levies and has advo­cat­ed for school fund­ing reform in the wake of McCleary in Olympia.

Van Niman has also worked on local cam­paigns, like Man­ka Dhin­gra’s his­toric 2017 spe­cial elec­tion cam­paign for the Wash­ing­ton State Senate.

She has a long list of endorsers: May­or Bir­ney, Sen­a­tor Dhin­gra, for­mer May­or Mar­chione and many oth­ers are behind her.

Jeralee Ander­son, the cur­rent coun­cil vice pres­i­dent, has a doc­tor­ate from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Wash­ing­ton in con­struc­tion engi­neer­ing and sustainability.

She runs her own non­prof­it, Green­roads Inter­na­tion­al, that col­lab­o­rates to devel­op green trans­porta­tion projects worldwide.

A dec­o­rat­ed pro­fes­sion­al, she has received recog­ni­tion from the Oba­ma Admin­is­tra­tion, the State Depart­ment, and indus­try publications.

Her pri­or­i­ties for a sec­ond term include cli­mate action, eco­nom­ic jus­tice, com­mu­ni­ty health pro­grams, and sus­tain­able infrastructure.

Dur­ing her time on the coun­cil, she has been very involved on var­i­ous region­al plan­ning boards, includ­ing as rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Asso­ci­a­tion of Wash­ing­ton Cities on the State Pub­lic Works Board.

Ander­son has her own long list of endorsers, includ­ing State Sen­a­tor Pat­ty Kud­er­er (the oth­er state sen­a­tor rep­re­sent­ing Red­mond), and three Belle­vue City Coun­cilmem­bers: Jan­ice Zahn, Jere­my Barks­dale, and John Stokes.

“I choose not to pur­sue endorse­ments or con­tri­bu­tions from cur­rent Red­mond elect­ed offi­cials,” Ander­son says in a note on her web­site. “I do not offer my endorse­ment or con­tri­bu­tions in Red­mond elec­tions either. I have enjoyed col­lab­o­rat­ing with all of my Coun­cil col­leagues in this past term. I wel­come the oppor­tu­ni­ty to work with any new­ly elect­ed offi­cials in 2022–2025.”

Ander­son has raised $16,075.86 for her reelec­tion campaign.

Van Niman has raised $23,604.86 for her campaign.

One week left until Election Day

With the excep­tion of large cities like Seat­tle (where orga­ni­za­tions like NPI have been com­mis­sion­ing elec­toral pub­lic opin­ion research!), there isn’t usu­al­ly polling avail­able to sug­gest how can­di­dates are doing in local elec­tions, so it’s hard to know where these six can­di­dates stand. Their fundrais­ing met­rics give us some idea of their cam­paign’s capac­i­ty for reach­ing vot­ers, but do not tell us whether their cam­paigns are res­onat­ing in the com­mu­ni­ty in the not.

Local elec­tion years gen­er­al­ly see less than fifty per­cent turnout, even though the deci­sions that get made this year will influ­ence how our cities are governed.

Watch­ers of Red­mond city pol­i­tics are no stranger to close races.

In 2019, Coun­cilmem­ber Var­isha Khan defeat­ed Hank Myers by a mere six­ty-six votes out of 14,659 cast after a recount. That year, there were also recounts for close city coun­cil elec­tions in Both­ell and Mer­cer Island.

Every vote tru­ly does mat­ter! So give some thought to who you’d like to rep­re­sent you and get your bal­lots in by next Tues­day, Novem­ber 2nd.

Bal­lots can be returned to drop box­es at Red­mond City Hall on NE 83rd or the Red­mond Com­mu­ni­ty Cen­ter next to Mary­moor Park. You can also return a bal­lot through the Red­mond Post Office, but it must car­ry a post­mark of Novem­ber 2nd or ear­li­er. If you’re return­ing to a drop box, be sure you get there by 8 PM.

Tuesday, October 26th, 2021

It’s official: Kim Wyman is joining the Biden administration, will resign November 19th

Wash­ing­ton’s Repub­li­can Sec­re­tary of State Kim Wyman con­firmed this morn­ing that she’s decid­ed to take a job with the Biden admin­is­tra­tion and will be resign­ing as Wash­ing­ton’s Sec­re­tary of State in a lit­tle less than a month.

“I am hon­ored to be able to share near­ly three decades of expe­ri­ence and exper­tise at the fed­er­al lev­el to sup­port CISA’s efforts to safe­guard our elec­tion sys­tems from cyber­at­tacks and enhance the public’s con­fi­dence in our elec­tions,” Wyman said in a state­ment. “As I assume this new role, I remain com­mit­ted to pro­tect­ing the integri­ty of our elec­tions, and work­ing close­ly with local and state elec­tions offi­cials nation­wide to bol­ster this foun­da­tion­al pil­lar of our democracy.”

CISA, the Cyber­se­cu­ri­ty and Infra­struc­ture Secu­ri­ty Agency, is an inde­pen­dent com­po­nent of the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty (DHS). Formed in 2018, CISA is the suc­ces­sor to the Nation­al Pro­tec­tion and Pro­grams Direc­torate (NPPD), which was estab­lished in 2007. As its name sug­gests, its prin­ci­pal focus is secur­ing the nation’s infra­struc­ture against cyber threats.

Dur­ing the Trump error, CISA was led by Christo­pher Krebs, who was infa­mous­ly dis­missed by Trump after stat­ing, cor­rect­ly, that the 2020 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion was secure and that there was “no evi­dence that any vot­ing sys­tem delet­ed or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised.”

Trump removed Krebs from his posi­tion short­ly after those com­ments were made.

Nowa­days, CISA is led by Jen East­er­ly, a for­mer bat­tal­ion exec­u­tive offi­cer and brigade oper­a­tions offi­cer in the Unit­ed States Army Intel­li­gence and Secu­ri­ty Com­mand. East­er­ly was con­firmed by the Unit­ed States Sen­ate in July via voice vote, with no sen­a­tor express­ing any opposition.

Here’s the CISA state­ment on Wyman’s hir­ing, with a quote from East­er­ly:

WASHINGTON – The Cyber­se­cu­ri­ty and Infra­struc­ture Secu­ri­ty Agency (CISA) today announced that Wash­ing­ton Sec­re­tary of State Kim Wyman will join the Biden Admin­is­tra­tion as CISA’s Senior Elec­tion Secu­ri­ty Lead. As an expert on elec­tions and expe­ri­enced Sec­re­tary of State, her appoint­ment speaks to the Agency’s ded­i­ca­tion to work­ing with elec­tion offi­cials through­out the nation in a non-par­ti­san man­ner to ensure the secu­ri­ty and resilience of our elec­tion infrastructure.

“Kim’s rep­u­ta­tion is sec­ond to none and I am per­son­al­ly thrilled to have her lead CISA’s elec­tion secu­ri­ty efforts. Her decades of expe­ri­ence, unpar­al­leled exper­tise, and unim­peach­able integri­ty have earned her bipar­ti­san respect at every lev­el of gov­ern­ment. Kim’s deep knowl­edge of state and coun­ty gov­ern­ment will strength­en our part­ner­ships with state and local offi­cials and enable us to expand our out­reach to small­er elec­tion juris­dic­tions and pri­vate sec­tor part­ners.  Free and fair elec­tions are a cor­ner­stone of our democ­ra­cy; Kim and I share a com­mon view that ensur­ing the secu­ri­ty of our elec­tions must be a non-par­ti­san effort. Kim is unique­ly qual­i­fied for this crit­i­cal role, and I can’t wait for her to join the team,” said CISA Direc­tor Jen Easterly.

Kim Wyman is Washington’s 15th Sec­re­tary of State. First elect­ed in 2012, she is only the sec­ond woman to serve as Sec­re­tary of State in Washington’s his­to­ry. Pri­or to being elect­ed to this office, Kim served as Thurston Coun­ty Elec­tions Direc­tor for near­ly a decade and served three terms as the elect­ed Thurston Coun­ty Audi­tor (2001–2013). As head of one of the most mul­ti-faceted offices in state gov­ern­ment, Sec­re­tary Wyman is respon­si­ble for over­see­ing state and local elec­tions, cor­po­ra­tion and char­i­ty fil­ings, the Wash­ing­ton State Library, the Wash­ing­ton Talk­ing Book & Braille Library, and the Wash­ing­ton State Archives. Wyman’s full bio is avail­able here.

“I am hon­ored to be able to share near­ly three decades of expe­ri­ence and exper­tise to sup­port CISA’s efforts to safe­guard our elec­tion sys­tems from cyber-attacks and enhance the public’s con­fi­dence in our elec­tions. As I assume this new role, I remain com­mit­ted to pro­tect­ing the integri­ty of our elec­tions and work­ing close­ly with local and state elec­tions offi­cials nation­wide to bol­ster this foun­da­tion­al pil­lar of our democ­ra­cy,” said Wyman.

And here is Wyman’s full state­ment:

OLYMPIA — Sec­re­tary of State Kim Wyman announced today she will be resign­ing to accept an appoint­ment to serve as the Senior Elec­tion Secu­ri­ty Lead for the Cyber­se­cu­ri­ty and Infra­struc­ture Secu­ri­ty Agency (CISA), the nation’s lead for cyber, infra­struc­ture, and elec­tion secu­ri­ty. She will resign as sec­re­tary of state, effec­tive Nov. 19, 2021.

Wyman, who has served as Washington’s sec­re­tary of state since 2013, released the following:

“When I began work­ing in elec­tions 28 years ago, I resolved to work toward a sys­tem where every eli­gi­ble per­son in our state had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to reg­is­ter, vote, and have their bal­lot count­ed fair­ly and accu­rate­ly. In the past six years, my focus expand­ed to ensure our elec­tions remained safe from for­eign adversaries.”

“Dur­ing my tenure as a state and coun­ty elec­tions admin­is­tra­tor, Wash­ing­ton expand­ed vote-by-mail elec­tions statewide, installed near­ly 500 bal­lot drop box­es, imple­ment­ed same-day and auto­mat­ic vot­er reg­is­tra­tion, enabled 16- and 17-year-olds to pre-reg­is­ter to vote, and more. This growth in access was cou­pled with part­ner­ships that improved elec­tion secu­ri­ty, from cre­at­ing the Vote­WA sys­tem that con­nects elec­tion offi­cials in real-time to ensure elec­tion account­abil­i­ty, to estab­lish­ing the first-of-its-kind Elec­tions Secu­ri­ty Oper­a­tions Cen­ter. We also inte­grat­ed statewide cyber­se­cu­ri­ty train­ing, test­ing, and table­top exer­cise pro­grams in part­ner­ship with the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty, CISA, the FBI, and the Wash­ing­ton Nation­al Guard. All of these enhance­ments, in addi­tion to the tire­less work from coun­ty elec­tion offi­cials, have helped our elec­tions gain nation­al renown.

“I am hon­ored to be able to share near­ly three decades of expe­ri­ence and exper­tise at the fed­er­al lev­el to sup­port CISA’s efforts to safe­guard our elec­tion sys­tems from cyber­at­tacks and enhance the public’s con­fi­dence in our elec­tions. As I assume this new role, I remain com­mit­ted to pro­tect­ing the integri­ty of our elec­tions, and work­ing close­ly with local and state elec­tions offi­cials nation­wide to bol­ster this foun­da­tion­al pil­lar of our democracy.

“For the past nine years, I have had the dis­tinc­tion of serv­ing my fel­low Wash­ing­to­ni­ans in unique ways, includ­ing over­see­ing state elec­tions, cor­po­ra­tions and char­i­ties reg­is­tra­tions, State Archives, State Library, and var­i­ous com­mu­ni­ty pro­grams. It has been my high­est hon­or and achieve­ment to lead the pro­fes­sion­als respon­si­ble for admin­is­ter­ing these crit­i­cal ser­vices and pro­pelling this diverse office into the future. Although I will not have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to ful­fill my term, I know they will con­tin­ue to pro­vide excep­tion­al ser­vice and lead­er­ship well beyond my time in office.”

“Togeth­er, this team has accom­plished some amaz­ing feats — from lead­ing the way on elec­tion secu­ri­ty and devel­op­ing a stream­lined online fil­ing sys­tem for Washington’s cor­po­ra­tions and char­i­ties, to mak­ing progress on a new Library-Archives Build­ing that will con­nect the peo­ple of Wash­ing­ton to the rich his­to­ry and inclu­sive future of our state, and so much more — and I am con­fi­dent that this impor­tant work will continue.”

Fol­low­ing her res­ig­na­tion, Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee will be charged with appoint­ing a new sec­re­tary of state, who will hold the posi­tion until the next gen­er­al elec­tion in Novem­ber 2022.

Washington’s Office of the Sec­re­tary of State over­sees a num­ber of areas with­in state gov­ern­ment, includ­ing man­ag­ing state elec­tions, reg­is­ter­ing cor­po­ra­tions and char­i­ties, and gov­ern­ing the use of the state flag and state seal. The office also man­ages the State Archives and the State Library, doc­u­ments extra­or­di­nary sto­ries in Washington’s his­to­ry through Lega­cy Wash­ing­ton, over­sees the Com­bined Fund Dri­ve for char­i­ta­ble giv­ing by state employ­ees, and admin­is­ters the state’s Address Con­fi­den­tial­i­ty Pro­gram to help pro­tect sur­vivors of crime.

As Wyman’s state­ment says, the vacan­cy cre­at­ed by her res­ig­na­tion will be filled by guber­na­to­r­i­al appoint­ment. The appointee will serve until the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of the Novem­ber 2022 midterm elec­tions in about a year and a month, at which time the indi­vid­ual cho­sen by the vot­ers will assume office unless that per­son is the same per­son that Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee appoints.

Repub­li­cans have held the office of Sec­re­tary of State for over fifty years, but Inslee is under no oblig­a­tion to keep the posi­tion in Repub­li­can hands, and is not expect­ed to. Con­se­quent­ly, as of Wyman’s depar­ture on Novem­ber 19th, there almost cer­tain­ly won’t be any statewide Repub­li­can elect­ed offi­cials left on the Left Coast. Wyman was the last one. And now she’s gone — head­ed to the Biden admin­is­tra­tion for an impor­tant new post­ing at CISA.

“I spoke to Kim ear­li­er today and con­grat­u­lat­ed her on her appoint­ment,” said Gov­er­nor Inslee. “She has remained inde­pen­dent in the face of par­ti­san chal­lenges and has always done what was best for the strength of our democracy.”

“I remem­ber watch­ing Kim cer­ti­fy the 2020 elec­tion results last Decem­ber on the floor of the state Sen­ate. When con­front­ed with the choice of adopt­ing elec­tion lies being pro­mul­gat­ed by pow­er­ful forces in her par­ty, Kim chose to stand by the will of the peo­ple. We are a stronger state because of Kim’s endeavors.”

“She is a great fit to lead these cru­cial efforts at the nation­al lev­el and I have no doubt that her exper­tise, ener­gy and focus will lead to more secure elec­tions and help restore faith in the demo­c­ra­t­ic process.”

“I will appoint her replace­ment in the com­ing weeks, and I believe that regard­less of who it is, they will con­tin­ue the vital work that Kim and her staff have put in place.”

“I wish Sec­re­tary Wyman the best in her new posi­tion,” said Wash­ing­ton State Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty Chair Tina Pod­lodows­ki. “While we haven’t always seen eye to eye, I have a lot of hope for her future work to defend our democ­ra­cy from for­eign inter­fer­ence and keep our elec­tions free and fair.”

“This will be a crit­i­cal spe­cial elec­tion in 2022. We’ve seen how Repub­li­can politi­cians have spent the last year call­ing into ques­tion the integri­ty of our elec­tions and alleg­ing nonex­is­tent fraud. They’ve filed com­plete­ly unground­ed law­suits, includ­ing ones that the state Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty is inter­ven­ing in now to dis­miss in fed­er­al court. They’ve spread con­spir­a­cies and non­sense to try to under­mine con­fi­dence in our elec­tions and our democracy.”

“I wor­ry about how the Repub­li­can [Top Two com­pe­ti­tion] for this seat is going to go next year. We should all want a Sec­re­tary of State who will pro­tect our right to vote and the integri­ty of and pub­lic trust in our elec­tions. The Wash­ing­ton State Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty is com­mit­ted to fight­ing hard to help elect some­one who will defend our democ­ra­cy against the attacks of the Repub­li­can Party.”

Pod­lodowski’s coun­ter­part Caleb Heim­lich float­ed the pos­si­bil­i­ty of Pod­lodows­ki being appoint­ed the new Sec­re­tary of State by Gov­er­nor Inslee dur­ing an appear­ance on Q13 with Bran­di Kruse. How­ev­er, Pod­lodows­ki is com­mit­ted to her work as head of the Wash­ing­ton State Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty and is not seek­ing the appoint­ment. (Pod­lodows­ki was Wyman’s 2016 Demo­c­ra­t­ic opponent.)

Our team at NPI thanks Kim Wyman for her ser­vice. While we haven’t always agreed on the issues, she has been kind and gra­cious to our team every sin­gle time we’ve inter­act­ed, and we hope to catch up with her about her new role once she is set­tled in at the Cyber­se­cu­ri­ty and Infra­struc­ture Secu­ri­ty Agency. 

This post will be updat­ed with addi­tion­al details as we get them.

Monday, October 25th, 2021

Republican Secretary of State Kim Wyman might be joining the Biden administration

Wash­ing­ton’s lone remain­ing statewide elect­ed Repub­li­can is under con­sid­er­a­tion for a job in the Biden admin­is­tra­tion and could soon be leav­ing the state exec­u­tive depart­ment to serve as DHS’ chief elec­tion secu­ri­ty liai­son to the states, CNN report­ed this evening, cit­ing mul­ti­ple sources “famil­iar with the matter.”

Kim Wyman, fifty-nine, has served as Wash­ing­ton’s Sec­re­tary of State since 2013. She has won three con­sec­u­tive elec­tions for the posi­tion, defeat­ing Demo­c­ra­t­ic oppo­nents Kath­leen Drew, Tina Pod­lodows­ki (who is now the Chair of the Wash­ing­ton State Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty) and Gael Tar­leton, NPI’s board dean.

But now it appears that Wyman may be on the verge of step­ping down from that role and step­ping up into a key posi­tion at the fed­er­al level.

“Fed­er­al offi­cials have for weeks been in talks with Wyman, who is Wash­ing­ton state’s sec­re­tary of state, to serve as the elec­tion secu­ri­ty lead for DHS’ Cyber­se­cu­ri­ty and Infra­struc­ture Secu­ri­ty Agency, said the peo­ple, who spoke on the con­di­tion of anonymi­ty,” CNN’s report said. “The sources said Wyman’s selec­tion would not be offi­cial until all admin­is­tra­tive paper­work is cleared with the White House and the admin­is­tra­tion announces her appointment.”

The news instant­ly set Wash­ing­ton State polit­i­cal cir­cles abuzz.

Reporters quick­ly reached out to Wyman’s office for com­ment and were told by Wyman’s staff that they could­n’t con­firm the CNN report. Well, of course not. If the report is what we think it is — a tri­al bal­loon — then con­firm­ing CNN’s report­ing would have defeat­ed the pur­pose of arrang­ing the sto­ry’s pub­li­ca­tion. Impor­tant­ly, Wyman’s office did not deny the rumor. If CNN was total­ly off base, sure­ly Wyman’s com­mu­ni­ca­tions folks would have said so. But they didn’t.

It did not take long for the Asso­ci­at­ed Press to inde­pen­dent­ly con­firm the rumor. The AP char­ac­ter­ized its knowl­edge of the nego­ti­a­tions this way:

She is in talks to serve as the elec­tion secu­ri­ty leader for the Depart­ment of Home­land Security’s Cyber­se­cu­ri­ty and Infra­struc­ture Secu­ri­ty Agency, the agency respon­si­ble for safe­guard­ing U.S. elec­tions, the peo­ple told The Asso­ci­at­ed Press. The peo­ple had knowl­edge of the dis­cus­sions but weren’t autho­rized to speak pub­licly and spoke to AP on con­di­tion of anonymity.

Bring­ing Wyman to DHS could enable the admin­is­tra­tion to make more head­way in its efforts to pre­pare the coun­try for the 2022 midterms. Amer­i­can democ­ra­cy is cur­rent­ly under assault from both for­eign adver­saries as well as domes­tic ene­mies. Wyman could be an ide­al fed­er­al emis­sary to local Repub­li­can elec­tions offi­cials who are under tremen­dous pres­sure to do Trump’s bid­ding and betray the Con­sti­tu­tion they swore or affirmed an oath to uphold.

If Wyman does jump to the fed­er­al lev­el, she’ll have to resign her posi­tion with­in Wash­ing­ton State’s exec­u­tive depart­ment, which means Wash­ing­ton would get a new Sec­re­tary of State for the first time in almost ten years. Vacan­cies in the exec­u­tive depart­ment are filled by guber­na­to­r­i­al appoint­ment in accor­dance with state law, and unlike with leg­isla­tive or coun­ty lev­el vacan­cies, appointees need not be of the same polit­i­cal par­ty as the depart­ing officeholder.

Con­se­quent­ly, Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee would have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to appoint a Demo­c­rat to suc­ceed Wyman fol­low­ing her res­ig­na­tion. The office would then be sub­ject to elec­tion in the 2022 midterms, with the win­ner of the spe­cial elec­tion serv­ing out the remain­der of Wyman’s cur­rent term.

The office is respon­si­ble for admin­is­ter­ing elec­tions, cor­po­ra­tions and char­i­ties, the state library and archives, and the apos­tilles and address con­fi­den­tial­i­ty pro­grams. The Sec­re­tary of State is also the cus­to­di­an of the state’s seal.

If the admin­is­tra­tion does indeed offer Wyman a posi­tion and she accepts, we will cov­er the announce­ment here on The Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate. Stay tuned!

Sunday, October 24th, 2021

Last Week In Congress: How Cascadia’s U.S. lawmakers voted (October 18th-22nd)

Good morn­ing! Here’s how Cascadia’s Mem­bers of Con­gress vot­ed on major issues dur­ing the leg­isla­tive week end­ing Fri­day, Octo­ber 22nd, 2021.

In the United States House of Representatives

Chamber of the United States House of Representatives

The House cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress photo)

HOLDING STEVE BANNON IN CONTEMPT OF CONGRESS: The House on Octo­ber 21st passed a res­o­lu­tion (H. Res. 730), spon­sored by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Ben­nie G. Thomp­son, D‑Mississippi, to find Steve Ban­non in con­tempt of Con­gress for declin­ing to obey a sub­poe­na issued by the House Select Com­mit­tee to Inves­ti­gate the Jan­u­ary 6th Attack on the Unit­ed States Capitol.

Thomp­son said that “unlike oth­er wit­ness­es who have engaged and worked with our team to find a way to coop­er­ate, Mr. Ban­non told us he would­n’t com­ply because the for­mer pres­i­dent told him not to.”

A res­o­lu­tion oppo­nent, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Jim Banks, R‑Indiana, said: “The Select Com­mit­tee despis­es Steve Ban­non’s pol­i­tics, so they are abus­ing their pow­er to put him in jail.” The vote was 229 yeas to 202 nays.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Nay (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Russ Fulcher and Mike Simpson

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (4): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Peter DeFazio, and Kurt Schrader

Vot­ing Nay (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cliff Bentz

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (8): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Mar­i­lyn Strick­land; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Jaime Her­rera Beutler

Vot­ing Nay (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler, Dan New­house, and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Cas­ca­dia total: 12 aye votes, 5 nay votes

REQUIRING GUIDELINES FOR RENTAL CAR COMPANIES: The House on Octo­ber 19th passed the Dar­ren Drake Act (H.R. 4089), spon­sored by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Josh Got­theimer, D‑New Jer­sey, to require the Home­land Secu­ri­ty Depart­ment to issue guide­lines to car rental com­pa­nies on strate­gies for pre­vent­ing acts of ter­ror­ism that use vehi­cles they rent to individuals.

Got­theimer said the guide­lines “will pro­vide rental com­pa­nies and car deal­ers with the vital infor­ma­tion they need to flag and stop poten­tial ter­ror­ist threats in their tracks.” The vote was 379 yeas to 51 nays.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Aye (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mike Simpson

Vot­ing Nay (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Russ Fulcher

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (4): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Peter DeFazio, and Kurt Schrad­er; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cliff Bentz

Vot­ing Nay (1): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Earl Blumenauer

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (10): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Mar­i­lyn Strick­land; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler, Dan New­house, and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Cas­ca­dia total: 15 aye votes, 2 nay votes

ELIMINATING EVENT PERMIT FEES FOR VETERANS: The House on Octo­ber 19th passed the Free Vet­er­ans from Fees Act (H.R. 1029), spon­sored by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Gre­go­ry W. Steube, R‑Florida, to waive spe­cial use per­mit fees for mil­i­tary vet­er­ans events at war memo­ri­als on fed­er­al land in the Wash­ing­ton, D.C., area. A sup­port­er, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Ron Kind, D‑Wisconsin, said: “It is the right thing to do, to try to reduce the cost for a lot of these impor­tant com­mem­o­ra­tive occa­sions hap­pen­ing right here in our nation’s capital.”

The vote was 421 yeas to 3 nays.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Aye (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Russ Fulcher and Mike Simpson

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (5): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Peter DeFazio, and Kurt Schrad­er; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cliff Bentz

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (10): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Mar­i­lyn Strick­land; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler, Dan New­house, and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Cas­ca­dia total: 17 aye votes

IMPROVING DRUG RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT: The House on Octo­ber 19th passed the Nation­al Cen­ters of Excel­lence in Con­tin­u­ous Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal Man­u­fac­tur­ing Act (H.R. 4369), spon­sored by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Frank Pal­lone Jr., D‑New Jer­sey. The bill would have the Food and Drug Admin­is­tra­tion des­ig­nate and fund cer­tain col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties as cen­ters for the devel­op­ment of con­tin­u­ous man­u­fac­tur­ing of phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal drugs.

Pal­lone said estab­lish­ing the cen­ters “will improve the qual­i­ty of our phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, reduce drug short­ages, and help to pro­duce more nim­ble and effi­cient man­u­fac­tur­ing process­es that could be repli­cat­ed through­out the nation.” The vote was 368 yeas to 56 nays.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Aye (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Russ Fulcher and Mike Simpson

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (5): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Peter DeFazio, and Kurt Schrad­er; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cliff Bentz

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (10): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Mar­i­lyn Strick­land; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler, Dan New­house, and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Cas­ca­dia total: 17 aye votes

OPIOID PREVENTION GRANTS: The House on Octo­ber 20th passed the State Opi­oid Response Grant Autho­riza­tion Act (H.R. 2379), spon­sored by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive David J. Trone, D‑Maryland, to reau­tho­rize through 2027 the fed­er­al gov­ern­men­t’s opi­oid response pro­gram for send­ing grant mon­ey to states, and expand the pro­gram to include both opi­oid and oth­er forms of sub­stance abuse. Trone said the bill sought to give states “the con­sis­tent, nec­es­sary fund­ing they need to meet their spe­cif­ic needs” for pre­vent­ing abuse.

The vote was 380 yeas to 46 nays.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Aye (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mike Simpson

Vot­ing Nay (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Russ Fulcher

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (5): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Peter DeFazio, and Kurt Schrad­er; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cliff Bentz

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (10): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Mar­i­lyn Strick­land; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler, Dan New­house, and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Cas­ca­dia total: 16 aye votes, 1 nay vote

WAIVING DRUG-FREE COMMUNITIES SUPPORT PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS: The House on Octo­ber 20th passed the Drug-Free Com­mu­ni­ties Pan­dem­ic Relief Act (H.R. 654), spon­sored by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive David P. Joyce, R‑Ohio, to pro­vide for waiv­ing require­ments local gov­ern­ments must meet to receive fed­er­al match­ing fund­ing under the Drug-Free Com­mu­ni­ties Sup­port Pro­gram. Joyce said the waiv­er was need­ed because “with more Amer­i­cans dying from drug over­dos­es than ever before, it is crit­i­cal that we do every­thing we can to sup­port and empow­er those work­ing on the front lines in our com­mu­ni­ties to reduce and pre­vent addic­tion among our children.”

The vote was 395 yeas to 30 nays.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Aye (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Russ Fulcher and Mike Simpson

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (5): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Peter DeFazio, and Kurt Schrad­er; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cliff Bentz

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (10): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Mar­i­lyn Strick­land; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler, Dan New­house, and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Cas­ca­dia total: 17 aye votes

BETTER EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS FOR MEDICAL EMERGENCIES: The House on Octo­ber 20th passed the Strength­en­ing Amer­i­c­as Strate­gic Nation­al Stock­pile Act (H.R. 3635), spon­sored by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Elis­sa Slotkin, D‑Michigan. The bill would change oper­a­tion of the fed­er­al gov­ern­men­t’s stock­pile of equip­ment and drugs for use in med­ical emer­gen­cies, includ­ing set­ting out required stock­pil­ing lev­els and plans for distribution.

The vote was 397 yeas to 22 nays.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Aye (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Russ Fulcher and Mike Simpson

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (5): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Peter DeFazio, and Kurt Schrad­er; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cliff Bentz

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (9): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Mar­i­lyn Strick­land; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler, Dan Newhouse

Not Vot­ing (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Cas­ca­dia total: 16 aye votes, 1 nay vote

HELPING SMALL TELECOMMUNICATIONS FIRMS ROLL OUT 5G RIGHT: The House on Octo­ber 20th passed the Open RAN Out­reach Act (H.R. 4032), spon­sored by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Col­in Z. Allred, D‑Texas, to require the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment to work with small telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions providers on their deploy­ment of Open Radio Access Net­work (O‑RAN) wire­less tech­nol­o­gy to their cus­tomers. Allred said the bill sought to help the providers shift away from reliance on Chi­nese equip­ment man­u­fac­tur­ers and instead use Open RAN sys­tems that have a more diverse and com­pet­i­tive set of manufacturers.

The vote was 410 yeas to 17 nays.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Aye (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Russ Fulcher and Mike Simpson

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (5): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Peter DeFazio, and Kurt Schrad­er; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cliff Bentz

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (10): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Mar­i­lyn Strick­land; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler, Dan New­house, and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Cas­ca­dia total: 17 aye votes

IMPROVING U.S. TECHNOLOGICAL STRATEGY: The House on Octo­ber 20th passed the Infor­ma­tion and Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Tech­nol­o­gy Strat­e­gy Act (H.R. 4028), spon­sored by Rep. Bil­ly Long, R‑Missouri, to require the Com­merce Depart­ment to cre­ate a gov­ern­ment-wide strat­e­gy for improv­ing the U.S. infor­ma­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tions tech­nol­o­gy sec­tor. Long said of the need for a strat­e­gy: “With all the sup­ply chain dis­rup­tions we have seen this past year, it is impor­tant to know how our domes­tic pro­duc­tion of this cru­cial equip­ment can be strength­ened in the future.” The vote  was 413 yeas to 14 nays.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Aye (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Russ Fulcher

Not Vot­ing (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mike Simpson

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (5): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Peter DeFazio, and Kurt Schrad­er; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cliff Bentz

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (10): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Mar­i­lyn Strick­land; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler, Dan New­house, and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Cas­ca­dia total: 16 aye votes, 1 not voting

In the United States Senate

Chamber of the United States Senate

The Sen­ate cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress photo)

SENATE FAILS TO BREAK A FILIBUSTER OF THE FREEDOM TO VOTE ACT: The Sen­ate on Octo­ber 20th reject­ed a clo­ture motion to end debate on a motion to con­sid­er the Free­dom to Vote Act (S. 2747), spon­sored by Sen­a­tor Amy Klobuchar, D‑Minnesota.

The bill would make numer­ous changes to vot­ing and elec­tion pro­ce­dures, includ­ing declar­ing Elec­tion Day in Novem­ber as a fed­er­al hol­i­day, stip­u­lat­ing that only felons cur­rent­ly under sen­tence can be deemed inel­i­gi­ble to vote due to crim­i­nal offens­es, and estab­lish­ing new crim­i­nal offens­es for hin­der­ing peo­ple from vot­ing. Klobuchar said the bill was need­ed “because the free­dom to vote is fun­da­men­tal to all of our free­doms, and it is cur­rent­ly under attack.”

A bill oppo­nent, Sen­ate Minor­i­ty Leader Mitch McConnell, R‑Kentucky, said it was a wrong­ful attempt to have the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment usurp states’ author­i­ty over elec­tions and vot­ing law. The vote was 49 yeas to 51 nays.

Sen­ate Major­i­ty Leader Chuck Schumer tac­ti­cal­ly vot­ed with the Repub­li­cans so that he could bring the bill back up again at a lat­er date. Because Schumer sup­ports the bill, there were actu­al­ly fifty votes for it rather than forty-nine.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Nay (2):
Repub­li­can Sen­a­tors Jim Risch and Mike Crapo

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Maria Cantwell and Pat­ty Murray

Cas­ca­dia total: 4 aye votes, 2 nay votes

GUSTAVO GELPI, APPEALS COURT JUDGE: The Sen­ate on Octo­ber 18th con­firmed the nom­i­na­tion of Gus­ta­vo A. Gelpi to serve as a judge on the U.S. First Cir­cuit Court of Appeals. Gelpi has been a fed­er­al dis­trict judge in Puer­to Rico since 2006. A sup­port­er, Sen­a­tor Dick Durbin, D‑Illinois, said of Gelpi: “Lead­ers on both sides of the aisle trust that he will rule impar­tial­ly and with­out regard for par­ti­san­ship.” The vote was 52 yeas to 41 nays.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Nay (2):
Repub­li­can Sen­a­tors Jim Risch and Mike Crapo

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Maria Cantwell and Pat­ty Murray

Cas­ca­dia total: 4 aye votes, 2 nay votes

CHRISTINE O’HEARN, NEW JERSEY U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE: The Sen­ate has con­firmed the nom­i­na­tion of Chris­tine P. O’Hearn to serve as a judge on the U.S. dis­trict court for New Jer­sey. O’Hearn has been a pri­vate prac­tice lawyer in Cam­den since 1993, spe­cial­iz­ing in labor and employ­ment law. A sup­port­er, Sen­a­tor Robert Menen­dez, D‑New Jer­sey, said O’Hearn’s “pro­fes­sion­al cre­den­tials, com­bined with her com­pas­sion and com­mit­ment to the fair and impar­tial admin­is­tra­tion of jus­tice, will make her an out­stand­ing judge.”

The vote was 53 yeas to 44 nays.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Nay (2):
Repub­li­can Sen­a­tors Jim Risch and Mike Crapo

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Maria Cantwell and Pat­ty Murray

Cas­ca­dia total: 4 aye votes, 2 nay votes

CHATHERINE LHAMON, ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR CIVIL RIGHTS, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION: The Sen­ate on Octo­ber 20th con­firmed the nom­i­na­tion of Chather­ine Lha­mon to be assis­tant sec­re­tary for civ­il rights at the Edu­ca­tion Depart­ment. Lha­mon served in the same post dur­ing Pres­i­dent Oba­ma’s sec­ond term, is a for­mer chair of the U.S. Com­mis­sion on Civ­il Rights, and, since 2019, has been Cal­i­for­ni­a’s legal affairs secretary.

A sup­port­er, Sen­a­tor Pat­ty Mur­ray, D‑Washington, said Lha­mon “has a long track record that proves she is a cham­pi­on for stu­dents through and through, and that is exact­ly what our stu­dents need.” The vote was 51 yeas to 50 nays, with Vice Pres­i­dent Har­ris cast­ing a 51st yea vote.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Nay (2):
Repub­li­can Sen­a­tors Jim Risch and Mike Crapo

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Maria Cantwell and Pat­ty Murray

Cas­ca­dia total: 4 aye votes, 2 nay votes

TANA LIN, WASHINGTON U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE: The Sen­ate on Octo­ber 21st con­firmed the nom­i­na­tion of Tana Lin to serve as a judge on the U.S. Dis­trict Court for the West­ern Dis­trict of Wash­ing­ton. Lin has been a pri­vate prac­tice lawyer at a Seat­tle law firm since 2004. A sup­port­er, Sen­a­tor Pat­ty Mur­ray, D‑Washington, said Lin “will bring integri­ty, inde­pen­dence, and com­pas­sion to the Seat­tle cour­t­house.” The vote was 52 yeas to 45 nays.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Nay (2):
Repub­li­can Sen­a­tors Jim Risch and Mike Crapo

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Maria Cantwell and Pat­ty Murray

Cas­ca­dia total: 4 aye votes, 2 nay votes

PRISON CAMERA REFORM ACT: Along with this week’s roll call votes, the Sen­ate also passed the Prison Cam­era Reform Act (S. 2899), to require the Direc­tor of the Bureau of Pris­ons to address defi­cien­cies and make nec­es­sary upgrades to the secu­ri­ty cam­era and radio sys­tems of the Bureau of Pris­ons to ensure the health and safe­ty of employ­ees and inmates.

Key votes ahead

This week, the Sen­ate is sched­uled to con­sid­er more of Pres­i­dent Biden’s judi­cial nom­i­nees, includ­ing judges for the Dis­trict of Colum­bia, Vir­ginia, Con­necti­cut, and New Jer­sey. The Sen­ate may also recon­sid­er the Free­dom To Vote Act. The House will con­sid­er sev­er­al bills, includ­ing the Finan­cial Exploita­tion Pre­ven­tion Act of 2021 and the Fam­i­ly Vio­lence Pre­ven­tion and Ser­vices Improve­ment Act of 2021. The House may also con­sid­er The Build Back Bet­ter Act.

Edi­tor’s Note: The infor­ma­tion in NPI’s week­ly How Cas­ca­di­a’s U.S. law­mak­ers vot­ed fea­ture is pro­vid­ed by Tar­get­ed News Ser­vice. All rights are reserved. Repro­duc­tion of this post is not per­mit­ted, not even with attri­bu­tion. Use the per­ma­nent link to this post to share it… thanks!

© 2021 Tar­get­ed News Ser­vice, LLC. 

Friday, October 22nd, 2021

NPI, Change Research discuss how to read and assess this year’s Seattle electoral polling

This past week, our team at the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute released the ini­tial results of our sec­ond 2021 sur­vey of the Seat­tle elec­torate, which was con­duct­ed for us by Change Research of Cal­i­for­nia. We found Bruce Har­rell six­teen points of Lore­na González for May­or, Ann Davi­son nine­teen points ahead of Nicole Thomas-Kennedy for City Attor­ney, Tere­sa Mosque­da eight points ahead of Ken­neth Wil­son for Coun­cil #8, and Sara Nel­son four points ahead of Nikki­ta Oliv­er for Coun­cil #9, with sig­nif­i­cant num­bers of vot­ers still unde­cid­ed. We also found huge majori­ties of vot­ers unde­cid­ed in the school board races.

As of today, one or more of our find­ings have been men­tioned dur­ing the evening news­casts of all four of Seat­tle’s local tele­vi­sion sta­tions and have also received exten­sive radio and online cov­er­age. The Seat­tle Times’ Daniel Beek­man wrote an excel­lent sto­ry sum­ma­riz­ing the find­ings that appeared in print and on seattletimes.com. Last­ly, our find­ings have received quite a bit of atten­tion and dis­cus­sion on social plat­forms like Face­book, Red­dit, and Twitter.

We’re heart­ened that so many peo­ple are inter­est­ed in our research.

We know that try­ing to fig­ure out how to read and assess poll data can be chal­leng­ing. Our sur­vey was one of only a few inde­pen­dent sur­veys to be con­duct­ed in Seat­tle dur­ing this gen­er­al elec­tion, and the only one to have field­ed this month (the oth­ers field­ed in Sep­tem­ber). Since oth­er recent polling in Seat­tle con­duct­ed for inter­est­ed par­ties has not been pub­licly released, our data is basi­cal­ly stand­ing alone on its own instead of being one sur­vey among many.

When you’ve got only one poll to look at in a giv­en time peri­od, you can­not make com­par­isons with oth­er polls to ascer­tain trends and com­mon­al­i­ties. All you can do is judge whether the one poll in front of you is cred­i­ble or not.

Today, to address some of the ques­tions and com­ments we’ve got­ten about our poll since Tues­day, we are delight­ed to wel­come Ben Green­field to NPI’s Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate. Ben is the Senior Sur­vey Data Ana­lyst at Change Research respon­si­ble for the field­ing of our sur­veys along with his col­league Ben Sullivan.

We hope you enjoy this Q&A and find it help­ful for putting our results in context.


Andrew Vil­leneuve, NPI: Ben, thanks for join­ing me to dis­cuss our work togeth­er this year! We’re delight­ed to have had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to launch our research polling part­ner­ship with Change Research in Seat­tle. It’s been a fas­ci­nat­ing elec­tion cycle and we’re not even to the end of it yet!

Ben Green­field, Change Research: Work­ing with you and the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute team has been a great plea­sure for us — and I can’t dis­agree with you on it being a fas­ci­nat­ing elec­tion cycle!

Andrew Vil­leneuve, NPI: Our Seat­tle polling this year con­sist­ed of two sur­veys: one in July that pre­ced­ed the Top Two elec­tion and one this month pre­ced­ing the Novem­ber gen­er­al elec­tion. We don’t know what the results of the gen­er­al elec­tion will be, but we know that our first sur­vey was able to antic­i­pate a lot of the dynam­ics we saw in the Top Two elec­tion, with sev­en of the eight can­di­dates who advanced to the runoff round hav­ing placed first or sec­ond in our polling.

Ben Green­field, Change Research: Indeed. While it’s always impor­tant to remem­ber that polling pro­vides a snap­shot of where vot­ers are at a giv­en moment before they cast their bal­lots — and not a pre­dic­tion of where they’ll go — we were pleased to see that the poll we con­duct­ed togeth­er accu­rate­ly cap­tured some of the key dynam­ics and vot­er pref­er­ences in the Top Two election.

Andrew Vil­leneuve, NPI: After we released our gen­er­al elec­tion poll find­ings this week, we start­ed get­ting inquiries and com­ments about our sur­vey’s method­ol­o­gy and sam­pling. One of those ques­tions per­tained to the diver­si­ty of the sam­ple: 82% of the sur­vey tak­ers iden­ti­fied as white, which is a high­er per­cent­age than in oth­er sur­veys of the Seat­tle elec­torate this year, like the Strate­gies 360/KOMO poll from last month. But dif­fer­ent sur­veys are mod­eled on dif­fer­ent uni­vers­es. We chose to poll like­ly vot­ers instead of reg­is­tered vot­ers, and con­se­quent­ly, our sam­ple is mod­eled on the last sim­i­lar elec­tion, which occurred in Novem­ber 2017. How is polling like­ly vot­ers dif­fer­ent from polling reg­is­tered vot­ers or even sur­vey­ing the pop­u­la­tion of a city like Seat­tle as a whole, and what ram­i­fi­ca­tions did our choice have for the sur­vey’s ethnic/racial composition?

Ben Green­field, Change Research: Poll­sters have dif­fer­ent meth­ods for pro­ject­ing who’s like­ly to turn out in a giv­en elec­tion and who’s less like­ly, and that can dif­fer from elec­tion to elec­tion. Our turnout mod­el took into account both past vot­ing pat­terns in Seat­tle munic­i­pal elec­tions and sur­vey respon­dents’ self-stat­ed like­li­hood of vot­ing. Both turnout his­to­ry and self-stat­ed like­li­hood of vot­ing are imper­fect pre­dic­tors of turnout, but both have some rela­tion­ship to actu­al turnout, and we believe our com­bi­na­tion of these fac­tors leaves us with a view of the elec­torate that approx­i­mates what we’ll actu­al­ly see.

As far as the ethnic/racial com­po­si­tion of the sur­vey, our pro­jec­tions are again based on each group’s his­tor­i­cal turnout rate. In munic­i­pal elec­tions, turnout has his­tor­i­cal­ly been high­er among white vot­ers than vot­ers of col­or, and as a con­se­quence of that, the his­tor­i­cal elec­torates, and our sur­vey, have been whiter than the entire pop­u­la­tion of Seattle.

Andrew Vil­leneuve, NPI: In our sur­vey, 7% of respon­dents iden­ti­fied as Asian or Pacif­ic Islander, 5% of respon­dents iden­ti­fied as His­pan­ic or Latino/a, 3% of respon­dents iden­ti­fied as Black or African Amer­i­can, and 1% of respon­dents iden­ti­fied as Amer­i­can Indi­an or Alas­ka Native. Since the like­ly elec­torate next month will be over­whelm­ing­ly white, you opt­ed to cre­ate a com­bined “peo­ple of col­or” sub­sam­ple. Can you explain why it isn’t fea­si­ble to break out each group of vot­ers sep­a­rate­ly, and why you chose this approach instead?

Ben Green­field, Change Research: Essen­tial­ly, the small­er a sam­ple is, the larg­er the mar­gin of error — mean­ing that if we sur­vey five ran­dom Seat­tle res­i­dents, we can be much less con­fi­dent that they rep­re­sent the entire pop­u­la­tion than if we sur­veyed 5,000. We nev­er pub­lish break­downs of respons­es from groups small­er than fifty, because the mar­gins of error are just so high. Since none of these indi­vid­ual racial/ethnic groups had at least fifty respons­es, we couldn’t pub­lish any of their break­downs indi­vid­u­al­ly. In order to ensure we were not just sin­gling out the views of white vot­ers, we cre­at­ed a break­down of all peo­ple of color.

Andrew Vil­leneuve, NPI: Seat­tle and oth­er cities like New York hold their city-lev­el elec­tions in odd-num­bered years. Turnout is typ­i­cal­ly much low­er in odd-num­bered years. In fact, in Novem­ber of 2017, the last time Seat­tleites elect­ed a may­or, few­er than half of the reg­is­tered vot­ers turned out. And that was high com­pared to oth­er cities. If Seat­tle were to switch to hold­ing its elec­tions in even-num­bered years, as NPI has been advo­cat­ing all cities in Wash­ing­ton do, do you agree we’d see a more diverse elec­torate vot­ing on these city positions?

Ben Green­field, Change Research: Yes, because we tend to see more diver­si­ty in even-num­bered years, not only along racial/ethnic lines, but also across dif­fer­ent socioe­co­nom­ic and age groups.

Andrew Vil­leneuve, NPI: Our gen­er­al elec­tion sur­vey con­sist­ed of 617 inter­views, the same as our Top Two sur­vey. This was improp­er­ly char­ac­ter­ized on Twit­ter by a cou­ple folks as a low sam­ple size. In fact, it’s the high­est sam­ple size of any of the sur­veys con­duct­ed in Seat­tle this cycle with pub­licly released results. Lore­na González’s poll­ster GQR uses sam­ple sizes of 400; Elway/Crosscut also use a sam­ple size of 400, and Strate­gies 360/KOMO had a sam­ple size of 450. Hav­ing a high­er sam­ple size does­n’t nec­es­sar­i­ly mean a sur­vey is more accu­rate, but it does mean that our sur­vey has a low­er mar­gin of error. For those unfa­mil­iar with accept­ed polling prac­tices, can you explain what a typ­i­cal sam­ple size is and why the com­po­si­tion of the sam­ple is far more impor­tant than the size?

Ben Green­field, Change Research: Sam­ple sizes can dif­fer by geog­ra­phy. For exam­ple, it’s not uncom­mon to see 1,000-person polls nation­wide, but you’d rarely see a sam­ple that large in a city like Seat­tle. Though a larg­er sam­ple size will result in small­er mar­gins of error, a poll is only as good as its sam­ple. For exam­ple, a sur­vey of 800 peo­ple who show up at a Trump ral­ly is not going to reflect the views of vot­ing Seat­tleites. But a 617 per­son poll with a rep­re­sen­ta­tive sam­ple of vot­ers across all areas and all back­grounds in the city can.

Andrew Vil­leneuve, NPI: As we have dis­closed through the pub­li­ca­tion of our sur­vey method­ol­o­gy, some of our sur­vey par­tic­i­pants were recruit­ed to par­tic­i­pate in part using ads placed on Insta­gram and Face­book in addi­tion to text mes­sage. It might seem illog­i­cal that a poll con­duct­ed online with respon­dents recruit­ed from Face­book and Insta­gram could be cred­i­ble or trust­wor­thy, but as we like to say, it’s the method that mat­ters, not the medi­um. Can you speak to how Change Research builds its sam­ples and ensures that they are representative?

Ben Green­field, Change Research: While many polling firms recruit their par­tic­i­pants by call­ing their phones, where response rates are incred­i­bly low and call screen­ing is high, we reach vot­ers where they are, and allow them to take sur­veys on their own time. Between social media tar­get­ing and SMS [SMS stands for Short Mes­sage Ser­vice] mes­sages to any­one with a cell phone on record, we are able to reach the vast major­i­ty of vot­ers, and ensure that we are receiv­ing a pro­por­tion­ate response rate from vot­ers of every age, gen­der, race or eth­nic­i­ty, polit­i­cal per­sua­sion, region of the city, and so on.

Andrew Vil­leneuve, NPI: Anoth­er com­ment we saw ques­tioned whether the gen­er­al elec­tion sur­vey’s results had any valid­i­ty giv­en that Coun­cilmem­ber Tere­sa Mosque­da received 39% in the poll after get­ting 59% in the Top Two elec­tion, with 26% unde­cid­ed. Still anoth­er com­menter argued that it was absurd that so many peo­ple could be unde­cid­ed this close to Elec­tion Day. But, in fact, it’s not  uncom­mon for sig­nif­i­cant per­cent­ages of vot­ers to be unde­cid­ed in “non­par­ti­san” local elec­tions like this in the days lead­ing up to an elec­tion, or for some of the sup­port a can­di­date pre­vi­ous­ly received to be tepid, is it?

Ben Green­field, Change Research: Not at all. Espe­cial­ly in munic­i­pal elec­tions, a large per­cent­age of vot­ers tend to make up their minds in the final days before they cast their vote. What’s more, par­tic­u­lar­ly in non­par­ti­san elec­tions, it’s com­mon for peo­ple to give the can­di­dates a fresh look in a gen­er­al elec­tion, and not always default to the can­di­date they vot­ed for initially.

Andrew Vil­leneuve, NPI: In our statewide polling, we con­sis­tent­ly see a high­er num­ber of unde­cid­ed vot­ers in races where no par­ty pref­er­ence is pro­vid­ed on the bal­lot, like State Supreme Court races. (Wash­ing­ton elects its jus­tices to six-year terms, unlike at the fed­er­al lev­el, where they are appoint­ed and serve for life.) Oth­er local­i­ties around the Unit­ed States have par­ti­san local elec­tions instead of “non­par­ti­san” elec­tions. Change Research does work all around the coun­try. Do you find that in par­ti­san local elec­tions, there’s typ­i­cal­ly few­er unde­cid­ed vot­ers than in “non­par­ti­san” local elec­tions like those Wash­ing­ton’s cities have?

Ben Green­field, Change Research: Yes. It’s very com­mon in par­ti­san local elec­tions to see vot­ers cer­tain about who they’ll vote for even if they indi­cate zero famil­iar­i­ty with the can­di­dates — they’ll just choose based on the candidate’s par­ty. Since this is obvi­ous­ly not pos­si­ble in non­par­ti­san races, there are often many more unde­cid­ed voters.

Andrew Vil­leneuve, NPI: Seems like it’s also worth not­ing that Tere­sa Mosqueda’s oppo­nent Ken­neth Wil­son did not poll any high­er than the per­cent­age all of her chal­lengers col­lec­tive­ly received in the Top Two elec­tion (he got 31%). Tere­sa Mosque­da could still end up with most or near­ly all of the unde­cid­ed vot­ers in the gen­er­al elec­tion. We have char­ac­ter­ized her as the favorite. But a vic­to­ry for Wil­son is also a pos­si­bil­i­ty. Polls such as our sur­vey can’t pre­dict the future, as you not­ed, but they can help us guess more effec­tive­ly what could hap­pen by pro­vid­ing evi­dence sup­port­ing one or more plau­si­ble outcomes.

It’s impor­tant to remem­ber that a whole week has already tran­spired since our sur­vey fin­ished field­ing. We can pre­sume the elec­toral dynam­ics have already changed a bit. It’s an elec­tion in progress. Last time, we saw two can­di­dates get big surges of sup­port after our last sur­vey field­ed. One was the can­di­date we’ve been dis­cussing, Ken­neth Wil­son, who polled at 1% and end­ed with over 16%. The oth­er was Sara Nel­son, who polled at 11% and end­ed with 39.47%.

Ben Green­field, Change Research: Exact­ly. So many dynam­ics can change in an instant: a can­di­date receives a key endorse­ment; a video goes viral, etc.

Andrew Vil­leneuve, NPI: Ben, thanks so much for this dis­cus­sion. As I said, we’ve enjoyed work­ing with you this year and look for­ward to con­tin­u­ing to do so. Any con­clud­ing thoughts for our read­ers as we approach the gen­er­al election?

Ben Green­field, Change Research: I’ll say what I said at the begin­ning: polls are just snap­shots, not pre­dic­tions. Any­thing could hap­pen between now and when the final bal­lots are cast, and none of these races have been won or lost.

So if you’re eli­gi­ble, vote!

Thanks again to Change Research for join­ing us to talk about the sci­ence behind our polling! If you have a ques­tion or con­cern we did­n’t answer here, you can leave a com­ment or reach out to us pri­vate­ly using our con­tact form.

And, as Ben said, remem­ber to return your bal­lot by Novem­ber 2nd at 20:00 (8:00 PM) if you’re a Wash­ing­ton State vot­er. We have guid­ance on how to vote on those “advi­so­ry votes” you’ll see at the top of the bal­lot at VoteMaintained.org and there are many orga­ni­za­tion­al endorse­ment guides avail­able if you’d like to take your research beyond the voter’s pam­phlet statements.

Friday, October 22nd, 2021

Tana Lin joins David Estudillo, Lauren King as a new judge on Washington’s federal bench

The Unit­ed States Sen­ate has con­firmed Seat­tle civ­il rights attor­ney Tana Lin to become a U.S. Dis­trict Court Judge for the West­ern Dis­trict of Wash­ing­ton. She will be the first for­mer pub­lic defend­er, and first Asian Amer­i­can, to serve here on the fed­er­al bench. The Sen­ate vote to con­firm her Thurs­day was 52–45.

All 45 nay votes came from Repub­li­cans. Sen­a­tors Susan Collins, R‑Maine, and Lisa Murkows­ki, R‑Alaska, broke ranks to sup­port the nomination.

The roll call from the Pacif­ic North­west was oth­er­wise along par­ty lines:

Vot­ing Aye: Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Pat­ty Mur­ray and Maria Cantwell (WA), Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley (OR), Jon Tester (MT), Repub­li­can Sen­a­tor Lisa Murkows­ki (AK)

Vot­ing Nay: Repub­li­can Sen­a­tors Jim Risch and Mike Crapo (ID), Dan Sul­li­van (AK), Steve Daines (MT)

Lin is the third judge con­firmed this year to a dis­tin­guished but late­ly deplet­ed fed­er­al court that sits in Seat­tle and Tacoma.

Grant Coun­ty Supe­ri­or Court Judge David Estudil­lo was con­firmed in Sep­tem­ber, and, with her con­fir­ma­tion ear­li­er this month, Lau­ren King became the first Native Amer­i­can to serve as a fed­er­al judge in this state.

The three judges were nom­i­nat­ed by Pres­i­dent Biden on rec­om­men­da­tion from U.S. Sens. Pat­ty Mur­ray and Maria Cantwell, D‑Washington.

A trio of con­fir­ma­tions, in five weeks’ time, is unusu­al in the slow-mov­ing Sen­ate, par­tic­u­lar­ly with sus­tained opposition.

Sen­ate Repub­li­can lead­ers Mitch McConnell, R‑Kentucky, and John Cornyn, R‑Texas, vot­ed against clo­ture on the Lin nom­i­na­tion, and opposed con­firm­ing the nom­i­nee. Vice Pres­i­dent Kamala Har­ris had to appear as Pres­i­dent of the Sen­ate on Wednes­day to break a tie on anoth­er nomination.

“As an Asian Amer­i­can woman, the bar­ri­ers Ms. Lin has faced have inspired her to fight for equal jus­tice and access to pro­mote diver­si­ty with­in the legal field,” Cantwell said in a statement.

Soon-to-be Judge Lin is a grad­u­ate of Cor­nell Uni­ver­si­ty and the NYU Law School. She worked as a pub­lic defend­er in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., and in the Civ­il Rights Divi­sion of the U.S. Jus­tice Depart­ment. She has served as board chair of the Amer­i­can Civ­il Lib­er­ties Union of Washington.

“It mat­ters, quite a bit I think, when a fed­er­al judge has rep­re­sent­ed clients who can’t afford to hire their own lawyer,” Mur­ray said in a Sen­ate floor speech.

“It mat­ters that Ms. Lin has rep­re­sent­ed Wash­ing­ton State farm­work­ers deal­ing with wage theft. It mat­ters that Ms. Lin stood up for refugees and immi­grants against uncon­sti­tu­tion­al exec­u­tive actions.”

The West­ern Wash­ing­ton dis­trict is one place where the Trump Admin­is­tra­tion did not pack the fed­er­al bench.

It began the year with just two active judges – Chief Judge Ricard Mar­tinez and Judge Richard Jones – while rely­ing on work of nine senior judges.

The local bench has deliv­ered far-reach­ing rulings.

Judge James Robart deliv­ered an injunc­tion, lat­er upheld by the U.S. 9th Cir­cuit Court of Appeals, that halt­ed the Trump Administration’s first Mus­lim trav­el ban. A nasty Trump tweet decried what he called “a so-called judge.” Robart lat­er appeared on “60 Min­utes” to dis­cuss the hate mail and threats he received.

A 1974 rul­ing by U.S. Dis­trict Judge George Bolt upheld the right of treaty Indi­an tribes to half of Puget Sound’s salmon catch.

U.S. Dis­trict Judge William L. Dwyer, in 1992, ordered a halt to U.S. For­est Ser­vice tim­ber sales on spot­ted owl habi­tat in Wash­ing­ton, Ore­gon and North­ern Cal­i­for­nia. At the time, old growth forests were being cut down on fed­er­al land at a rate of 60,000 acres a year. A rul­ing by Dwyer, which threw out Washington’s term lim­its ini­tia­tive, was echoed in a lat­er deci­sion by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Judge Boldt was a nom­i­nee of Pres­i­dent Richard Nixon. Judge Robart was nom­i­nat­ed to the fed­er­al bench by George W. Bush. Judge Dwyer was nom­i­nat­ed by Ronald Rea­gan, at the insis­tence of Sen­a­tor Slade Gor­ton, R‑Washington. Gor­ton would lat­er become a bit­ter crit­ic of Dwyer’s spot­ted owl ruling.

Thursday, October 21st, 2021

Jaime Herrera Beutler votes to hold Steve Bannon in criminal contempt of Congress

As expect­ed, the Unit­ed States House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives vot­ed today to hold Don­ald Trump’s pal Steve Ban­non in crim­i­nal con­tempt of Con­gress for attempt­ing to blow off a sub­poe­na recent­ly issued by the Select Com­mit­tee to Inves­ti­gate the Jan­u­ary 6th Attack on the Unit­ed States Capitol.

The Depart­ment of Jus­tice will now decide whether to pros­e­cute Ban­non, a deci­sion that Attor­ney Gen­er­al Mer­rick Gar­land says will be based on the law. Not pros­e­cut­ing Ban­non, of course, would set a ter­ri­ble prece­dent and would be at odds with the law, so there is only one course of action for the DOJ to take.

Just nine Repub­li­cans were among the two hun­dred and twen­ty-nine rep­re­sen­ta­tives who vot­ed to hold Ban­non in con­tempt, and one of them was the Pacif­ic North­west­’s own Jaime Her­rera Beutler.

Her­rera Beut­ler (R‑WA-3rd Dis­trict), as read­ers may recall, was among a sim­i­lar­ly small group of Repub­li­cans who vot­ed to impeach Trump for incit­ing the insur­rec­tion at ral­ly that pre­ced­ed the attack on the Capitol.

Her­rera Beut­ler has not, to our knowl­edge, com­ment­ed pub­licly on the vote yet. Her most recent posts on social net­works are about oth­er matters.

Her­rera Beut­ler was pre­vi­ous­ly joined in vot­ing for impeach­ment by fel­low Repub­li­can Dan New­house (R‑WA-4th Dis­trict) of Cen­tral Wash­ing­ton. How­ev­er, New­house has since switched back to hav­ing a pro-Trump stance, owing to his fear of los­ing reelec­tion, and he did not vote to hold Ban­non in con­tempt today.

The oth­er Repub­li­cans who vot­ed for con­tempt were:

  • Liz Cheney of Wyoming (a Select Com­mit­tee member)
  • Adam Kinzinger of Illi­nois (a Select Com­mit­tee member)
  • Antho­ny Gon­za­lez of Ohio
  • John Katko of New York
  • Nan­cy Mace of South Carolina
  • Bri­an Fitz­patrick of Pennsylvania
  • Fred Upton and Peter Mei­jer, both of Michigan

Asked why it was impor­tant that Repub­li­cans vote to hold Ban­non in con­tempt, House Speak­er Nan­cy Pelosi said: “Because they take an oath to pro­tect and defend the Con­sti­tu­tion of the Unit­ed States.”

“The genius of our Con­sti­tu­tion, and of our Founders, was the sep­a­ra­tion of pow­er – checks and bal­ances,” the Speak­er added. “If, in fact, you want to negate the abil­i­ty of one check of anoth­er branch of gov­ern­ment over anoth­er, then you are under­min­ing the Con­sti­tu­tion. So, this goes beyond Ban­non in terms of its impor­tance. And you would think that if they take an oath to pro­tect and defend the Con­sti­tu­tion, they would vote for that sys­tem of checks and balances.”

Sad­ly, most Repub­li­cans are more inter­est­ed in doing what Don­ald Trump wants than uphold­ing the Con­sti­tu­tion. Kevin McCarthy believes his future is tied to Trump’s, and is act­ing accord­ing­ly. So are most of his members.

Frus­trat­ed Democ­rats bemoaned that uncon­ceiv­able, inde­fen­si­ble posi­tion today in floor speech­es pri­or to the vote on find­ing Ban­non in contempt.

“We live in an age where appar­ent­ly some put fideli­ty to Don­ald Trump over fideli­ty to the Con­sti­tu­tion. I find that dis­gust­ing,” said Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Jim McGov­ern of Mass­a­chu­setts. “He is so feared that my Repub­li­can col­leagues are going to keep deny­ing what hap­pened that day.”

But not all Repub­li­cans. Not quite. While Dan New­house has lost his back­bone, Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler has con­tin­ued to occa­sion­al­ly buck her par­ty. She did it again today know­ing that it will con­tin­ue to fuel efforts to defeat her next year by the Trump-aligned appa­ra­tus­es that now dom­i­nate Repub­li­can politics.

It’s tru­ly refresh­ing when a Repub­li­can like Her­rera Beut­ler votes with­out regard to their reelec­tion and instead votes based on the good of the country.

Thank you, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Her­rera Beut­ler, for help­ing make this vote bipar­ti­san and show­ing that at least one Repub­li­can from the Pacif­ic North­west believes that the Con­sti­tu­tion mat­ters and the truth about Jan­u­ary 6th matters.

Tuesday, October 19th, 2021

Most voters are undecided for Seattle School Board; Song Maritz, Sarju, Hersey have leads

In addi­tion to choos­ing a new May­or and City Attor­ney and decid­ing who should fill the City Coun­cil’s two-at large posi­tions, Seat­tle vot­ers will have the respon­si­bil­i­ty this autumn of select­ing three indi­vid­u­als to serve on the Board of Direc­tors of Seat­tle Pub­lic Schools, which is a sep­a­rate local gov­ern­ment that nev­er­the­less shares the same bound­aries as the City of Seattle.

Board­mem­bers of Seat­tle Pub­lic Schools are elect­ed from dis­tricts using a two-step process. In the Top Two/elimination round, if there are more than two can­di­dates for a direc­tor posi­tion, the field is win­nowed by just the vot­ers who live in the dis­trict that the field of can­di­dates are from. Then, in the gen­er­al election/runoff round, the two final­ists from each dis­trict com­pete citywide.

Because the can­di­dates for school board are now run­ning city­wide, as opposed to just in their dis­tricts, we were able to include all three races in our gen­er­al elec­tion sur­vey of the Seat­tle elec­torate, which fin­ished field­ing a few days ago. While majori­ties or near majori­ties aren’t sure who they are vot­ing for in each of the three races, there is a clear fron­trun­ner in each contest.

  • For Direc­tor Dis­trict #4, Vivian Song Maritz received 23% sup­port in the sur­vey. She has a ten point lead over Lau­ra Marie Rivera, who received 13% sup­port, with 53% of vot­ers not sure.
  • For Direc­tor Dis­trict #5, Michelle Sar­ju received 36% sup­port in the sur­vey. She has a twen­ty-six point lead over Dan Hard­er, who received 10%, with 49% of vot­ers not sure.
  • For Direc­tor Dis­trict #7, Bran­don Hersey received 37% sup­port in the sur­vey. He has a thir­ty-three point lead over Gen­e­sis Williamson, who received 4% and isn’t active­ly cam­paign­ing. 57% of vot­ers are not sure.

The oth­er four school direc­tor posi­tions are not on the bal­lot this year.

Findings in the Seattle School Board races, October 2021

A visu­al of NPI’s gen­er­al elec­tion poll find­ings for the three Seat­tle School Board races on the Novem­ber 2021 ballot

Our gen­er­al elec­tion poll, which was con­duct­ed for the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute by Change Research, has a mod­eled mar­gin of error of 4.1% at the 95% con­fi­dence inter­val. All 617 respon­dents par­tic­i­pat­ed online. The poll was in the field from Tues­day, Octo­ber 12th, 2021 through Fri­day, Octo­ber 15th, 2021.

Fol­low this link if you’re inter­est­ed in a detailed primer on the survey’s method­ol­o­gy along with infor­ma­tion about who took the poll. 

Here are the exact ques­tions that we asked, and the respons­es that we received:

QUESTION: The can­di­dates for Seat­tle School Dis­trict No. 1, Direc­tor Dis­trict No. 4 are list­ed below in the order that they will appear on the Novem­ber gen­er­al elec­tion bal­lot. Who are you vot­ing for?

[See list as it was shown to respon­dents]

INITIAL ANSWERS:

  • Not sure: 73%
  • Vivian Song Maritz: 17%
  • Lau­ra Marie Rivera: 9%

FOLLOW-UP QUESTION ASKED OF UNDECIDED VOTERS ONLY: If you had to choose, who would you vote for?

ANSWERS FROM UNDECIDED VOTERS:

  • [Still] Not sure: 78%
  • Vivian Song Maritz: 7%
  • Lau­ra Marie Rivera: 5%
  • Would not vote: 11%

COMBINED ANSWERS, BOTH QUESTIONS:

  • Not sure: 57%
  • Vivian Song Maritz: 23%
  • Lau­ra Marie Rivera: 13%
  • Would not vote: 8%

QUESTION: The can­di­dates for Seat­tle School Dis­trict No. 1, Direc­tor Dis­trict No. 5 are list­ed below in the order that they will appear on the Novem­ber gen­er­al elec­tion bal­lot. Who are you vot­ing for?

[See list as it was shown to respon­dents]

INITIAL ANSWERS:

  • Not sure: 59%
  • Michelle Sar­ju: 32%
  • Dan Hard­er: 9%

FOLLOW-UP QUESTION ASKED OF UNDECIDED VOTERS ONLY: If you had to choose, who would you vote for?

ANSWERS FROM UNDECIDED VOTERS:

  • [Still] Not sure: 83%
  • Michelle Sar­ju: 7%
  • Dan Hard­er: 2%
  • Would not vote: 8%

COMBINED ANSWERS, BOTH QUESTIONS:

  • Not sure: 49%
  • Michelle Sar­ju: 36%
  • Dan Hard­er: 10%
  • Would not vote: 5%

QUESTION: The can­di­dates for Seat­tle School Dis­trict No. 1, Direc­tor Dis­trict No. 7 are list­ed below in the order that they will appear on the Novem­ber gen­er­al elec­tion bal­lot. Who are you vot­ing for?

[See list as it was shown to respon­dents]

INITIAL ANSWERS:

  • Not sure: 71%
  • Bran­don K. Hersey: 26%
  • Gen­e­sis Williamson: 3%

FOLLOW-UP QUESTION ASKED OF UNDECIDED VOTERS ONLY: If you had to choose, who would you vote for?

ANSWERS FROM UNDECIDED VOTERS:

  • [Still] Not sure: 81%
  • Bran­don K. Hersey: 9%
  • Gen­e­sis Williamson: 1%
  • Would not vote: 9%

COMBINED ANSWERS, BOTH QUESTIONS:

  • Not sure: 53%
  • Bran­don K. Hersey: 37%
  • Gen­e­sis Williamson: 4%
  • Would not vote: 6%

Here’s on a primer on each of the matchups.

District #4 (Magnolia, Queen Anne, Ballard)

The incum­bent Direc­tor, Erin Dury, lost her cam­paign for reelec­tion back in August. Dury was appoint­ed to take the place of Eden Mack, who resigned sev­er­al months ago. Two of Dury’s chal­lengers are now in the runoff and hop­ing to win a full term: Vivian Song Maritz and Lau­ra Marie Rivera.

Maritz is a child of work­ing-class immi­grants, start­ed school as an Eng­lish as a Sec­ond Lan­guage stu­dent, and was helped by a pub­lic school teacher to iden­ti­fy and address her hear­ing dis­abil­i­ty. She is the first woman in her fam­i­ly to grad­u­ate from col­lege. She has a degree from Har­vard, works in the finance indus­try and serves on the Superintendent’s Par­ent Advi­so­ry Council.

Rivera has a Master’s in Edu­ca­tion and has worked in edu­ca­tion and the per­form­ing arts for thir­ty years. She is a PTA vol­un­teer and wants more trans­paren­cy about the pol­i­cy and gov­er­nance of the school dis­trict. She also advo­cates for acces­si­bil­i­ty for stu­dents of all abil­i­ties and pri­or­i­tizes Black, Indige­nous and peo­ple of col­or voic­es in school com­mu­ni­ca­tions. She advo­cates for both col­lege prep and career-based edu­ca­tion. She has four chil­dren in school.

District #5 (Capitol Hill, International District, First Hill, Leschi, Madison, Downtown and Central Area)

Michelle Sar­ju came in first in the Top Two elec­tion back in the sum­mer. Her oppo­nent is Dan Hard­er, who has run for a num­ber of oth­er offices and lost. Who­ev­er wins will suc­ceed Zachary DeWolf, who chose not to run again.

Sar­ju is Black and has worked as a social work­er and mid­wife and is cur­rent­ly man­ag­ing a children’s health­care pro­gram for King Coun­ty Pub­lic Health.

Sar­ju has a Mas­ters of Social Work and has trained and worked as a mid­wife. She now works for Pub­lic Health — Seat­tle and King Coun­ty and is focus­ing her cam­paign on edu­ca­tion­al equi­ty. She says that while COVID-19 has pushed stu­dents and fam­i­lies into sur­vival mode, the defi­cien­cies in Seat­tle Pub­lic Schools, par­tic­u­lar­ly for Black stu­dents and oth­er stu­dents of col­or, go back a lot fur­ther. She wants to see the dis­trict invest in anti-racist cur­ricu­lum and employ evi­dence-based ways of mon­i­tor­ing stu­dent suc­cess. She also wants to work to sup­port SEL (Social-Emo­tion­al Sup­port) and men­tal health issues, phas­ing out stan­dard­ized test­ing and elim­i­nate the edu­ca­tion­al oppor­tu­ni­ty gap.n.

Hard­er is a mechan­i­cal engi­neer who thinks Seat­tle Pub­lic Schools’ approach to teach­ing anti-racism will offer stu­dents a “gross mis­char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of past dis­crim­i­na­tion and cur­rent dis­par­i­ties,” and will spread lies through­out the pub­lic school sys­tem. He argues the prob­lems in Seat­tle Pub­lic Schools can be traced to bad pol­i­cy as opposed to mass oppres­sion and sys­temic racism.

District #7 (South Seattle, encompassing neighborhoods south of I‑90, not including West Seattle)

Bran­don Hersey is the only can­di­date left in all three races to be seek­ing reelec­tion. He was appoint­ed to the Board about eigh­teen months ago after direc­tor Bet­ty Patu stepped down. At that time, he beat out about fif­teen oth­er can­di­dates for the appoint­ment. But at the con­clu­sion of Fil­ing Week, Hersey end­ed up with just one oppo­nent, who did not launch an active campaign.

Hersey is a res­i­dent of Rainier Beach and an edu­ca­tor in the Fed­er­al Way School Dis­trict. He is the only edu­ca­tor on the school board and says that gives him insights into the impact a school sys­tem can have on a child’s life.

Hersey says COVID-19 has widened Seattle’s “already stag­ger­ing oppor­tu­ni­ty gap” and is call­ing on the dis­trict to do bet­ter for Black and Brown chil­dren and for those from oth­er mar­gin­al­ized com­mu­ni­ties. He has also said that he would like to end the abil­i­ty for indi­vid­ual PTAs to fund staff posi­tions and wants to shift resources with­in the dis­trict as part of address­ing sys­temic inequality.

Gen­e­sis Williamson did not sub­mit a biog­ra­phy or pho­to­graph for inclu­sion the voter’s pam­phlet and, accord­ing to the state Pub­lic Dis­clo­sure Com­mis­sion, has filed a “dis­con­tin­ued cam­paign” report.

Concluding notes

If all three fron­trun­ners win their races, Seat­tle Pub­lic Schools will have a board con­sist­ing of two African Amer­i­cans, one Asian Amer­i­can, one Mex­i­can Amer­i­can, one Native Amer­i­can, and two White/Caucasian directors.

Hersey would be the only male director.

The dis­trict is cur­rent­ly in the midst of an exec­u­tive lead­er­ship tran­si­tion. The cur­rent board opt­ed against keep­ing Denise Juneau as Super­in­ten­dent, and select­ed Dr. Brent Jones to serve as the inter­im Super­in­ten­dent while it search­es for a per­ma­nent suc­ces­sor. The search is expect­ed to con­clude next spring and a vote on select­ing a new Super­in­ten­dent will be held by the end of the school year.

Who­ev­er wins will be seat­ed on the board by the end of the cur­rent cal­en­dar year.

NPI is not aligned with any of these school board can­di­dates and does not have an endorse­ment for any of these posi­tions, or any involve­ment in an inde­pen­dent expen­di­ture sup­port­ing or oppos­ing anyone.

Vot­ing in the Novem­ber 2021 gen­er­al will end on Novem­ber 2nd. Bal­lots must car­ry a 11/02/2021 post­mark or be in a drop­box by 8 PM to count.

Tuesday, October 19th, 2021

A close race for Seattle City Council #9: Sara Nelson leads Nikkita Oliver by just four points

Eight years ago, vot­ers in Seat­tle decid­ed to amend the city’s plan of gov­ern­ment to pro­vide for a most­ly-dis­trict based City Coun­cil instead of one with nine at-large seats. Since 2015, the Coun­cil has con­sist­ed of sev­en dis­trict-based seats and two at-large seats, with one of the two seats being held by M. Lore­na González.

González opt­ed to run for may­or this year instead of seek­ing anoth­er term on the Coun­cil, so, for the first time since the Coun­cil shift­ed to a hybrid archi­tec­ture, vot­ers will be choos­ing a new coun­cilmem­ber to serve in Posi­tion #9.

The final­ists vot­ers select­ed for the job in the sum­mer are Sara Nel­son, a small busi­ness own­er who co-owns Fre­mont Brew­ing, and Nikki­ta Oliv­er, a lawyer, author, and activist who has sig­nif­i­cant expe­ri­ence build­ing nonprofits.

Both Nel­son and Oliv­er have pre­vi­ous­ly run for office in Seat­tle before, and both have come up short: Nel­son for Coun­cil and Oliv­er for Mayor.

This year, though, one of them is going to be head­ed to Seat­tle City Hall as one of the Emer­ald City’s newest elect­ed offi­cials. But we like­ly won’t know which one until sev­er­al days after Elec­tion Day. That’s because the con­test between Nel­son and Oliv­er is the clos­est of Seat­tle’s four city­wide races this year.

Just four per­cent­age points cur­rent­ly sep­a­rate Nel­son and Oliv­er from each oth­er in our Octo­ber 2021 gen­er­al elec­tion sur­vey of Emer­ald City vot­ers — a dif­fer­ence that is almost equal to the pol­l’s 4.1% mod­eled mar­gin of error.

41% of 617 like­ly 2021 vot­ers in Seat­tle said last week that they were vot­ing for Nel­son for Coun­cil Posi­tion #9, while 37% said they were vot­ing for Oliv­er. 21% said they were not sure and 2% said they would not cast a vote.

The ten­u­ous Nel­son lead mir­rors the dynam­ic we saw on Elec­tion Night back in August, when Nel­son was in first place. How­ev­er, Nel­son sub­se­quent­ly gave up that lead and Oliv­er climbed into first place thanks to a surge of sup­port in the late bal­lots, a posi­tion they held onto through cer­ti­fi­ca­tion. Nel­son end­ed up with 39.47% of the vote in August, while Oliv­er fin­ished with 40.18%.

Seattle City Council #9 poll finding, October 2021

A visu­al of NPI’s gen­er­al elec­tion poll find­ing for Seat­tle City Coun­cil Posi­tion #9, 2021

Our gen­er­al elec­tion poll, which was con­duct­ed for the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute by Change Research, has a mod­eled mar­gin of error of 4.1% at the 95% con­fi­dence inter­val. All 617 respon­dents par­tic­i­pat­ed online. The poll was in the field from Tues­day, Octo­ber 12th, 2021 through Fri­day, Octo­ber 15th, 2021.

Fol­low this link if you’re inter­est­ed in a detailed primer on the sur­vey’s method­ol­o­gy along with infor­ma­tion about who took the poll. 

Here are the exact ques­tions that we asked, and the respons­es that we received:

QUESTION: The can­di­dates for City Coun­cil Posi­tion #9 this year are list­ed below in the order that they will appear on the Novem­ber gen­er­al elec­tion bal­lot. Who are you vot­ing for?

[See list as it was shown to respon­dents]

INITIAL ANSWERS:

  • Sara Nel­son: 39%
  • Nikki­ta Oliv­er: 35%
  • Not sure: 26%

FOLLOW-UP QUESTION ASKED OF UNDECIDED VOTERS ONLY: If you had to choose, who would you vote for?

ANSWERS FROM UNDECIDED VOTERS:

  • [Still] Not sure: 82%
  • Nikki­ta Oliv­er: 7%
  • Sara Nel­son: 3%
  • Would not vote: 2%

COMBINED ANSWERS, BOTH QUESTIONS:

  • Sara Nel­son: 41%
  • Nikki­ta Oliv­er: 37%
  • Not sure: 21%
  • Would not vote: 2%

In our July 2021 sur­vey of the Seat­tle elec­torate, Oliv­er was the best per­form­ing can­di­date, a tes­ta­ment to their orga­niz­ing prowess and ear­ly com­mu­ni­ty out­reach, with 26% sup­port. Nel­son received less than half that in the poll (11%), but prompt­ly expe­ri­enced a surge in sup­port as vot­ing got underway.

On Elec­tion Night, thanks to robust back­ing from ear­ly vot­ers, Nel­son jumped out to a first place lead. But it did­n’t last. As men­tioned, Oliv­er over­took Nel­son in the late bal­lots, end­ing up in first place just as our research had indi­cat­ed they might.

Could that same sce­nario play out again next month?

Our team thinks it very well might. Unlike in the may­oral or city attor­ney races, where the lead­ing can­di­dates have dou­ble dig­it leads, Nel­son’s lead is pret­ty small. That’s the kind of lead that can be over­come in late ballots.

Cru­cial­ly, Oliv­er has sup­port that nei­ther Lore­na González nor Nicole Thomas-Kennedy have in those oth­er races. Oliv­er leads Nel­son (41% to 34%) among vot­ers of col­or, unlike Gon­za­lez or Thomas-Kennedy, and also has an advan­tage with vot­ers who iden­ti­fy as female (40% to Nel­son’s 35%).

Oliv­er is also ahead with two age brack­ets instead of just one.

They have the sup­port of a slight plu­ral­i­ty of vot­ers ages thir­ty-five to fifty (40% to Nel­son’s 37%) in addi­tion to a huge lead among young vot­ers between the ages of eigh­teen and thir­ty-four (55% to Nel­son’s 25%).

That base of sup­port will be vital in the home stretch, keep­ing Oliv­er competitive.

Nel­son’s strongest sup­port comes from old­er vot­ers and vot­ers who iden­ti­fy as male. 50% of vot­ers ages six­ty-five and up are back­ing her, while 25% sup­port Oliv­er. Vot­ers between the ages of fifty and six­ty-four also pre­fer Nel­son: 46% of them say they’re vot­ing for her ver­sus 32% for Oliver.

If Nel­son can expand her lead between now and Novem­ber 2nd, she might be able to hold off Oliv­er instead of falling to sec­ond place in the late ballots.

Accord­ing to our geo­graph­ic crosstabs, there are sig­nif­i­cant num­bers of unde­cid­ed vot­ers in two coun­cil dis­tricts: Dis­trict #1 (which encom­pass­es West Seat­tle) and Dis­trict #7 (which includes the finan­cial dis­trict, Queen Anne, Mag­no­lia, and near­by neigh­bor­hoods). 34% of vot­ers in each “like­ly” coun­cil dis­trict are not sure who they are vot­ing for, fig­ures that were twice as high as in any oth­er district.

Whichev­er can­di­date can most effec­tive­ly appeal to the vot­ers in West Seat­tle, down­town, Queen Anne, and Mag­no­lia in these last two weeks may wind up with the edge when all of the bal­lots have been counted.

Oliv­er’s strongest dis­trict is #2 (which encom­pass­es the Rainier Val­ley and adja­cent neigh­bor­hoods, like Bea­con Hill), while Nel­son’s strongest dis­trict is #5 (the north­ern­most dis­trict, which includes neigh­bor­hoods adjoin­ing Shoreline.)

Oliv­er has 65% sup­port in “like­ly” coun­cil dis­trict #2 and Nel­son has 49% sup­port in “like­ly” coun­cil dis­trict #5. (Note that our geo­graph­ic seg­men­ta­tion is based on zip code, not respon­dents’ spe­cif­ic address­es, which is why these crosstabs are char­ac­ter­ized as “like­ly” coun­cil districts.)

Both Nel­son and Oliv­er have proven that they can con­nect with vot­ers. We’ll be fas­ci­nat­ed to see who vot­ers pick to rep­re­sent them on the Coun­cil next month. The race may or may not end up in recount ter­ri­to­ry, but regard­less of whether it does or not, it looks like it will be the clos­est of the four city­wide races.

NPI is not aligned with either Nel­son or Oliv­er and does not have an endorse­ment for Seat­tle City Coun­cil Posi­tion #9, or any involve­ment in an inde­pen­dent expen­di­ture sup­port­ing or oppos­ing either candidate.

Vot­ing in the Novem­ber 2021 gen­er­al will end on Novem­ber 2nd. Bal­lots must car­ry a 11/02/2021 post­mark or be in a drop­box by 8 PM to count.

Tuesday, October 19th, 2021

Teresa Mosqueda still leads for Seattle City Council #8; Kenneth Wilson gaining ground

Though Seat­tle has four city­wide races on the bal­lot this year, there’s only one with incum­bent vs. chal­lenger dynam­ics: Seat­tle City Coun­cil Posi­tion #8. Cur­rent Coun­cilmem­ber Tere­sa Mosque­da is squar­ing off against bridge engi­neer and first time can­di­date Ken­neth Wil­son in the gen­er­al elec­tion, in a race that so far has received far less atten­tion than the city’s oth­er three races.

But per­haps that will change in the final two weeks of vot­ing, because our gen­er­al elec­tion sur­vey of the Seat­tle elec­torate finds Mosque­da with just an eight point lead over Wil­son, despite hav­ing cap­tured near­ly 60% of the vote in August.

39% of 617 like­ly 2021 vot­ers in Seat­tle said they were vot­ing for Mosque­da for Coun­cil Posi­tion #8, while 31% said they were vot­ing for Wil­son. 26% said they were not sure and 3% said they would not cast a vote.

In our July 2021 sur­vey of the Seat­tle elec­torate, Mosque­da received 26% sup­port, while Wil­son received only 1%. It appeared, at the time, that Kate Mar­tin could be Mosqueda’s like­ly gen­er­al elec­tion oppo­nent, with 6% support.

But then some­thing very inter­est­ing hap­pened: vot­ers across the city col­lec­tive­ly took notice of Wil­son after check­ing out the voter’s pam­phlet state­ment, and decid­ed to back his can­di­da­cy. Wil­son surged past Mar­tin dur­ing the vot­ing peri­od, cap­tur­ing 16.21% of the vote for the sec­ond place spot in the August election.

Now that Wil­son is Mosqueda’s gen­er­al elec­tion oppo­nent, vot­ers appear to be tak­ing even more notice of his cam­paign… and they’re very intrigued. Mosque­da is still the favorite to win in Novem­ber, but a Wil­son vic­to­ry is also a possibility.

Seattle City Council #8 poll finding, October 2021

A visu­al of NPI’s gen­er­al elec­tion poll find­ing for Seat­tle City Coun­cil Posi­tion #8, 2021

This new poll, which was con­duct­ed by Change Research for the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute, has a mod­eled mar­gin of error of 4.1% at the 95% con­fi­dence inter­val. All 617 respon­dents par­tic­i­pat­ed online. The poll was in the field from Tues­day, Octo­ber 12th, 2021 through Fri­day, Octo­ber 15th, 2021.

Fol­low this link if you’re inter­est­ed in a detailed primer on the sur­vey’s method­ol­o­gy along with infor­ma­tion about who took the poll. 

Here are the exact ques­tions that we asked, and the respons­es that we received:

QUESTION: The can­di­dates for City Coun­cil Posi­tion #8 this year are list­ed below in the order that they will appear on the Novem­ber gen­er­al elec­tion bal­lot. Who are you vot­ing for?

[See list as it was shown to respon­dents]

INITIAL ANSWERS:

  • Not sure: 37%
  • Tere­sa Mosque­da: 35%
  • Ken­neth Wil­son: 27%

FOLLOW-UP QUESTION ASKED OF UNDECIDED VOTERS ONLY: If you had to choose, who would you vote for?

ANSWERS FROM UNDECIDED VOTERS:

  • [Still] Not sure: 73%
  • Tere­sa Mosque­da: 8%
  • Ken­neth Wil­son: 10%
  • Would not vote: 9%

COMBINED ANSWERS, BOTH QUESTIONS:

  • Tere­sa Mosque­da: 39%
  • Ken­neth Wil­son: 31%
  • Not sure: 26%
  • Would not vote: 3%

As men­tioned, Mosque­da is the only incum­bent appear­ing on this gen­er­al elec­tion bal­lot, with May­or Jen­ny Durkan hav­ing decid­ed not to run again, Coun­cil Pres­i­dent Lore­na González hav­ing left the Coun­cil to run for May­or, and Pete Holmes hav­ing been oust­ed in his bid for a fourth term as Seat­tle City Attorney.

Mosque­da was first elect­ed to the Coun­cil four years ago with a big mar­gin of vic­to­ry and is run­ning on sev­er­al key accom­plish­ments, chiefly the city’s Jump­Start rev­enue plan, which has so far held up in court and which is backed by a robust major­i­ty of Seat­tle vot­ers, accord­ing to NPI’s research.

Mosque­da also cites pub­lic safe­ty invest­ments and equi­table, afford­able hous­ing invest­ments as major accom­plish­ments of her first term.

“In the face of grow­ing unaf­ford­abil­i­ty in Seat­tle, I chaired the Hous­ing Com­mit­tee and passed bills and bud­get pri­or­i­ties to build more hous­ing options and afford­able homes through­out Seat­tle, and am proud of the impor­tant progress we have made to improve afford­abil­i­ty across Seat­tle, and know that there is much more to do in terms of fund­ing and zon­ing changes to build the 418,000 new afford­able units our region needs,” Mosque­da writes on her web­site.

“I am proud that Jump­Start secured an addi­tion­al rough­ly $135 mil­lion per year for afford­able hous­ing, shel­ters, home­own­er­ship oppor­tu­ni­ties and more to address the hous­ing and home­less­ness declared states of emer­gency by build­ing more hous­ing, pre­vent­ing dis­place­ment, improv­ing access to ser­vices, and pro­tect­ing pub­lic land for pub­lic good.”

With respect to pub­lic safe­ty, she writes: “Safe com­mu­ni­ties are healthy com­mu­ni­ties. That’s why I have pri­or­i­tized health, safe­ty, and well-being over invest­ments in sys­tems that have proven to cause dis­pro­por­tion­ate harm, espe­cial­ly to our Black and Brown com­mu­ni­ties. I am so proud of our accom­plish­ments towards stronger com­mu­ni­ties, but there is much more to be done to reverse harm caused, invest in com­mu­ni­ty solu­tions, and move fund­ing upstream to invest in pub­lic safe­ty and infra­struc­ture that saves lives.”

Wil­son is a first time can­di­date who bare­ly raised or spent any mon­ey in the elim­i­na­tion round. Nev­er­the­less, he put togeth­er a voter’s pam­phlet state­ment that clear­ly appealed to vot­ers who look­ing for an alter­na­tive to Mosqueda.

Draw­ing on his expe­ri­ence as a bridge engi­neer, Wil­son is cham­pi­oning what he says are prac­ti­cal trans­porta­tion solu­tions for the city along with caus­es that often don’t get top billing but nev­er­the­less are strong­ly sup­port­ed by Seat­tle vot­ers… like tree pro­tec­tion, which NPI’s research has found mas­sive enthu­si­asm for.

“Enforce­ment by Seat­tle Depart­ment of Con­struc­tion and Inspec­tions (SDCI) of [the] passed Tree Pro­tec­tion Ordi­nance sounds straight­for­ward and obvi­ous, but it is not work­ing to cre­ate the smart City-wide Plan we need,” Wil­son writes on his web­site. “Fee-in-lieu of options and lim­i­ta­tions to three trees a year per lot are not pro­vid­ing actu­al account­ing and val­ue for trees lost nor meet­ing our goals nec­es­sary to main­tain crit­i­cal green canopy.”

“It is also false to assume that even at 6 to 1 replace­ment of new to mature cre­ates a real­is­tic alter­na­tive to the mature trees’ ben­e­fits. Count the leaves on six tiny new trees or con­sid­er­ing the fact that small trees die or require replace­ment with­in three years, which makes them unequaled to a crit­i­cal mature tree.”

“The tree ordi­nance must be clar­i­fied to pro­tect all mature trees, except in des­ig­nat­ed arte­ri­als and urban devel­op­ment zones, includ­ing and espe­cial­ly those on pub­lic prop­er­ty,” Wilson’s com­men­tary goes on to say.

“The val­ue of the trees with­in the allowed zones to be removed must be inven­to­ried, retained if prac­ti­cal, but again val­ued in a track­ing sys­tem for mon­i­tor­ing our area’s crit­i­cal green canopy. Pro­tect­ing Seattle’s urban trees is a pri­or­i­ty. Envi­ron­men­tal impacts begin in our own back­yard. Crit­i­cal green space and tree canopy needs to be pro­tect­ed from poor­ly planned development.”

These kinds of spe­cif­ic, rich sub­stan­tive analy­ses are rare on a can­di­date’s web­site. But then, Wil­son is not a con­ven­tion­al candidate.

That could explain why he’s get­ting all this traction.

To go from 1% to 30% in polling in three months is a pret­ty incred­i­ble accom­plish­ment. Wilson’s rise has been noth­ing short of mete­oric. And if it con­tin­ues into the final days, Mosqueda’s once com­fort­able lead could evap­o­rate, cre­at­ing a close con­test that few peo­ple could have ever anticipated.

Our team and the ana­lysts we work with at Change Research believe that Wilson’s Top Two surge was­n’t detect­ed in our last round of polling because it hap­pened after our July sur­vey had field­ed. We know that the poll cor­rect­ly antic­i­pat­ed near­ly every dynam­ic in the Top Two elec­tion, and we know that Wil­son was an unknown who spent no mon­ey to reach vot­ers, so it’s log­i­cal to con­clude that Wil­son did not catch fire until peo­ple sat down at the kitchen table with their voter’s pam­phlets, where they final­ly had an oppor­tu­ni­ty to be intro­duced to him.

Three months lat­er, Wil­son is no longer an unknown and cur­rent­ly has about the same lev­el of sup­port that Lore­na Gon­za­lez has in the may­oral race… which is some­what incred­i­ble giv­en that Gon­za­lez has very high name recog­ni­tion and has (along with her allies) invest­ed huge sums in vot­er outreach.

The bot­tom line? Wil­son has become a cred­i­ble can­di­date even with­out hav­ing a big cam­paign war chest. A few months ago, Tere­sa Mosque­da faced a large field of for­get­table chal­lengers. Now, she faces a sin­gle chal­lenger who has man­aged to attract atten­tion and inter­est. This race has sig­nif­i­cant­ly changed, and it’s one worth pay­ing atten­tion to. A win for Mosque­da remains the most like­ly out­come, but it’s not the only pos­si­ble out­come: as stat­ed, Wil­son could also pre­vail. He’s nice­ly posi­tioned for a stun­ning vic­to­ry if he can con­tin­ue his surge.

NPI is not aligned with either Mosque­da or Wil­son and does not have an endorse­ment for Seat­tle City Coun­cil Posi­tion #8, or any involve­ment in an inde­pen­dent expen­di­ture sup­port­ing or oppos­ing either candidate.

Vot­ing in the Novem­ber 2021 gen­er­al will end on Novem­ber 2nd. Bal­lots must car­ry a 11/02/2021 post­mark or be in a drop­box by 8 PM to count.

Tuesday, October 19th, 2021

Ann Davison pulling away from rival Nicole Thomas-Kennedy in Seattle City Attorney race

Back in August, after NPI’s polling fore­shad­owed that his cam­paign for a fourth term was in trou­ble, vot­ers oust­ed incum­bent City Attor­ney Pete Holmes as Seat­tle’s chief law enforce­ment offi­cer, opt­ing instead to send two lit­tle-known chal­lengers on to the Novem­ber gen­er­al elec­tion runoff: three-time can­di­date Ann Davi­son and first-time can­di­date Nicole Thomas-Kennedy.

While it ini­tial­ly appeared that the race between Davi­son and Thomas-Kennedy could be close (based on the returns in the Top Two elec­tion and oth­er indi­ca­tors), our gen­er­al elec­tion sur­vey of the Seat­tle elec­torate shows that the dynam­ics in this con­test have now sig­nif­i­cant­ly changed. Davi­son’s can­di­da­cy is get­ting lots of trac­tion among vot­ers, while Thomas-Kennedy’s isn’t.

Davi­son has the biggest advan­tage of any can­di­date in any of Seat­tle’s four city­wide races right now, with a nine­teen point lead over Thomas-Kennedy.

43% of 617 like­ly 2021 vot­ers in Seat­tle said last week that they are vot­ing for Davi­son for City Attor­ney, while just 24% said they were vot­ing for Thomas-Kennedy. A sig­nif­i­cant per­cent­age, 30%, are not sure, and 2% would not vote.

Thomas-Kennedy won the August 2021 Top Two elec­tion with 36.39% of the vote, sur­pass­ing Davi­son in late bal­lots to claim the first place spot.

Davi­son came in sec­ond with 32.72%; incum­bent City Attor­ney Pete Holmes placed third with 30.64%, and was, as men­tioned, eliminated.

NPI’s July 2021 sur­vey of the Seat­tle elec­torate had indi­cat­ed it was a three-way race, with Holmes at 16%, both chal­lengers at 14%, and a major­i­ty unde­cid­ed.

Now the race is look­ing like it could be an increas­ing­ly lop­sided runoff.

Seattle City Attorney poll finding, October 2021

A visu­al of NPI’s gen­er­al elec­tion poll find­ing for Seat­tle City Attor­ney, Octo­ber 2021

Our new poll, which was con­duct­ed for the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute by Change Research, has a mod­eled mar­gin of error of 4.1% at the 95% con­fi­dence inter­val. All 617 respon­dents par­tic­i­pat­ed online. The poll was in the field from Tues­day, Octo­ber 12th, 2021 through Fri­day, Octo­ber 15th, 2021.

Fol­low this link if you’re inter­est­ed in a detailed primer on the sur­vey’s method­ol­o­gy along with infor­ma­tion about who took the poll. 

Here are the exact ques­tions that we asked, and the respons­es that we received:

QUESTION: The can­di­dates for City Attor­ney this year are list­ed below in the order that they will appear on the Novem­ber gen­er­al elec­tion bal­lot. Who are you vot­ing for?

[See list as it was shown to respon­dents]

INITIAL ANSWERS:

  • Ann Davi­son: 39%
  • Not sure: 39%
  • Nicole Thomas-Kennedy: 22%

FOLLOW-UP QUESTION ASKED OF UNDECIDED VOTERS ONLY: If you had to choose, who would you vote for?

ANSWERS FROM UNDECIDED VOTERS:

  • [Still] Not sure: 78%
  • Ann Davi­son: 10%
  • Nicole Thomas-Kennedy: 6%
  • Would not vote: 6%

COMBINED ANSWERS, BOTH QUESTIONS:

  • Ann Davi­son: 43%
  • Not sure: 30%
  • Nicole Thomas-Kennedy: 24%
  • Would not vote: 2%

Notably, there are more not sure vot­ers than Thomas-Kennedy supporters.

While Davi­son has a big lead, it’s sev­er­al points under fifty per­cent, and only a plu­ral­i­ty are com­mit­ted to her can­di­da­cy at this point. So while it’s not over for Thomas-Kennedy, her path to vic­to­ry looks much, much tougher than Davison’s.

Last year, after run­ning unsuc­cess­ful­ly for Seat­tle City Coun­cil in 2019, Davi­son pub­licly renounced the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty, joined the par­ty of Trump, and sought office again, this time for Lieu­tenant Gov­er­nor as a Republican.

As in 2019, she was elim­i­nat­ed in the August Top Two elec­tion, with both gen­er­al elec­tion spots in that con­test going to Demo­c­ra­t­ic hope­fuls for the first time (State Sen­a­tor Marko Liias and U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Den­ny Heck).

Davi­son now says that she vot­ed for Joe Biden in last year’s pres­i­den­tial elec­tion as opposed to Trump, the Repub­li­can nominee.

Thomas-Kennedy, mean­while, has come under fire for a series of awful tweets she pub­lished pri­or to becom­ing a can­di­date, espe­cial­ly mes­sages cel­e­brat­ing and con­don­ing prop­er­ty destruc­tion and taunt­ing the Seat­tle Police Department.

The Seat­tle Times has seized on those tweets to bash Thomas-Kennedy on an extreme­ly fre­quent basis while pro­mot­ing Davi­son’s candidacy.

Davi­son has been fre­quent­ly retweet­ing those edi­to­ri­als and pil­ing on.

“ ‘Reject the evi­dence and refuse to apply the law’ is the approach of self-pro­claimed nihilist, abo­li­tion­ist, and lawyer of only four years Nicole Thomas-Kennedy in a nut­shell,” Davi­son tweet­ed on Octo­ber 11th.

Thomas-Kennedy, mean­while, says Davi­son has repeat­ed­ly demon­strat­ed through her rhetoric that she does­n’t under­stand the func­tion or role of the office and has almost no rel­e­vant Seat­tle Munic­i­pal Court expe­ri­ence (where­as she does).

Speak­ing to Pub­li­Co­la’s Eri­ca C. Bar­nett, Thomas-Kennedy explained that the tweets that are being used as grist for attack­ing her can­di­da­cy were writ­ten at a time when she was feel­ing a lot of anger.

“I was out­raged,” Thomas-Kennedy said. “Peo­ple went out to protest racist polic­ing and the Seat­tle Police Depart­ment respond­ed with a lev­el of retal­i­a­tion that I was not expect­ing, includ­ing tear-gassing the neigh­bor­hood I live in eleven times. And, you know, I had to buy a gas mask for my nine-year-old daugh­ter. And, yeah, I was real­ly upset, and I feel like I had every right to be.”

For­mer Gov­er­nors Gary Locke and Chris Gre­goire have con­clud­ed that Thomas-Kennedy sim­ply does­n’t have the tem­pera­ment to be City Attor­ney, and have endorsed Davi­son, despite Davi­son’s almost total lack of court experience.

They have been joined by a num­ber of retired judges and jus­tices who are well respect­ed in the legal com­mu­ni­ty, includ­ing Lau­ra Inveen, Bobbe Bridge, Bruce Hily­er, Ed McKen­na, and Judith Mont­gomery Hightower.

Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty lead­ers have fierce­ly crit­i­cized both Davi­son and her Demo­c­ra­t­ic sup­port­ers. “You can’t call your­self a Demo­c­rat and sup­port a Repub­li­can for this job,” King Coun­ty Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty Chair Shasti Con­rad told The Seat­tle Times.

Thomas-Kennedy, hop­ing to appeal to Demo­c­ra­t­ic vot­ers, has not­ed that Davi­son  is employ­ing Repub­li­can firms to research and plot attacks against her.

“My Repub­li­can oppo­nent paid the largest Repub­li­can cam­paign firm to dig up ‘dirt’ on me. She’s got cor­po­rate inter­ests & the right wing media on her side,” Thomas-Kennedy wrote in an Octo­ber 17th Twit­ter cam­paign update.

Davi­son also has the pub­lic back­ing of the King Coun­ty Repub­li­can Par­ty and right wing talk radio talk hosts like Bon­neville’s Jason Rantz.

In a more con­ven­tion­al Seat­tle con­test, Davi­son’s asso­ci­a­tions could eas­i­ly make her une­lec­table. But the dynam­ics of this race are unusual.

Holmes is out of the run­ning and Thomas-Kennedy is seek­ing office as an abo­li­tion­ist rather than char­ac­ter­iz­ing her­self as a pro­gres­sive Democrat.

That choice of brand, com­bined with Thomas-Kennedy’s much-crit­i­cized Twit­ter archive, seems to have opened the door for Davi­son with Demo­c­ra­t­ic and pro­gres­sive vot­ers. Our team thinks it’s sig­nif­i­cant that vot­ers of col­or pre­fer Davi­son by a more than two-to-one mar­gin (44% for Davi­son, 21% for Thomas-Kennedy, 34% not sure) and vot­ers in three of our four age brackets.

The youngest vot­ers do pre­fer Thomas-Kennedy, but her advan­tage with them is not over­whelm­ing: she has 36% sup­port from vot­ers ages eigh­teen to thir­ty-four, while Davi­son has sup­port from 28% of that group.

Near­ly a third of the youngest vot­ers — 32% — aren’t sure.

With so many vot­ers unde­cid­ed, there remains an open­ing for Thomas-Kennedy to bounce back before the elec­tion ends. But her past tweets will con­tin­ue to haunt her cam­paign. NPI’s polling data def­i­nite­ly sug­gests that the attacks being launched by The Seat­tle Times and Davi­son’s allies are work­ing. Vot­ers are com­mit­ting to Davi­son while Thomas-Kennedy’s cam­paign stalls.

If these dynam­ics don’t change, by the end of the year, Seat­tle could have a City Attor­ney elect­ed with the sup­port of the Repub­li­can Par­ty and right wing groups.

NPI is not aligned with either Davi­son or Thomas-Kennedy and does not have an endorse­ment in the Seat­tle city attor­ney race, or any involve­ment in an inde­pen­dent expen­di­ture sup­port­ing or oppos­ing either candidate.

Vot­ing in the Novem­ber 2021 gen­er­al will end on Novem­ber 2nd. Bal­lots must car­ry a 11/02/2021 post­mark or be in a drop­box by 8 PM to count.

Tuesday, October 19th, 2021

As voting begins in the 2021 Seattle mayoral race, Bruce Harrell has a sixteen point lead

For­mer Seat­tle City Coun­cilmem­ber Bruce Har­rell is head­ing into the final weeks of the 2021 Seat­tle may­oral cam­paign with a sub­stan­tial, dou­ble dig­it lead over cur­rent City Coun­cil Pres­i­dent Lore­na González, a new poll con­duct­ed last week for the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute has found.

48% of 617 like­ly 2021 vot­ers in Seat­tle said they were vot­ing for Har­rell for may­or, while 32% said they were vot­ing for González. 18% said they were not sure and 2% said they would not cast a vote for the city’s top elect­ed position.

Har­rell and González were the lead­ers in NPI’s July 2021 Top Two sur­vey of the Seat­tle elec­torate. They pre­vailed in the August qual­i­fy­ing elec­tion, with Har­rell receiv­ing 34% and González 32.11%. In our sur­vey, which field­ed right before vot­ing began in July, Har­rell received 20% and González received 12%.

Unlike in our sum­mer polling, when vot­ers had fif­teen can­di­dates to choose from, the per­cent­age of unde­cid­ed vot­ers here is under a fifth. In fact, it’s half (18%) of what it was back in July (32%). Both can­di­dates have picked up vot­ers who were pre­vi­ous­ly uncom­mit­ted, but Har­rell has earned more sup­port than González. He’s close to the thresh­old of major­i­ty sup­port, while González is six­teen points back.

González did impres­sive­ly well in late bal­lots this sum­mer, cut­ting a ten point Elec­tion Night lead for Har­rell into a mere two point deficit by certification.

How­ev­er, our data sug­gests Har­rell has improved his posi­tion since then and is favored to win in Novem­ber, suc­ceed­ing incum­bent Jen­ny Durkan as Seat­tle’s next may­or. González does still have a path to vic­to­ry, but it’s a nar­row one.

Mayor of Seattle poll finding, October 2021

A visu­al of NPI’s gen­er­al elec­tion poll find­ing for May­or of Seat­tle, 2021

This new poll, which was con­duct­ed by Change Research for the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute, has a mod­eled mar­gin of error of 4.1% at the 95% con­fi­dence inter­val. All 617 respon­dents par­tic­i­pat­ed online. The poll was in the field from Tues­day, Octo­ber 12th, 2021 through Fri­day, Octo­ber 15th, 2021.

Fol­low this link if you’re inter­est­ed in a detailed primer on the sur­vey’s method­ol­o­gy along with infor­ma­tion about who took the poll. 

Here are the exact ques­tions that we asked, and the respons­es that we received:

QUESTION: The can­di­dates for May­or of Seat­tle this year are list­ed below in the order that they will appear on the Novem­ber gen­er­al elec­tion bal­lot. Who are you vot­ing for?

[See list as it was shown to respon­dents]

INITIAL ANSWERS:

  • Bruce Har­rell: 44%
  • M. Lore­na González: 28%
  • Not sure: 28%

FOLLOW-UP QUESTION ASKED OF UNDECIDED VOTERS ONLY: If you had to choose, who would you vote for?

ANSWERS FROM UNDECIDED VOTERS:

  • [Still] Not sure: 67%
  • Bruce Har­rell: 13%
  • M. Lore­na González: 13%
  • Would not vote: 7%

COMBINED ANSWERS, BOTH QUESTIONS:

  • Bruce Har­rell: 48%
  • M. Lore­na González: 32%
  • Not sure: 18%
  • Would not vote: 2%

As we saw in our sum­mer polling, Har­rel­l’s pri­ma­ry source of strength in this local elec­tion cycle is old­er vot­ers. A whop­ping 66% of those ages six­ty-five or old­er say they are vot­ing for him, while only 20% of that group say they’re vot­ing for González. Har­rell is also backed by 55% of vot­ers ages fifty to six­ty-four, while 24% of vot­ers in that age brack­et are sup­port­ing González.

Younger vot­ers, mean­while, strong­ly pre­fer González. 49% of vot­ers ages eigh­teen to thir­ty-four are sup­port­ing González and 30% are sup­port­ing Harrell.

Among vot­ers ages thir­ty-five to fifty, Har­rell has a nar­row­er advan­tage: 39% are sup­port­ing his can­di­da­cy and 37% are sup­port­ing González’s.

Peo­ple of col­or also pre­fer Har­rell to González. 56% of vot­ers of col­or say they are vot­ing for Har­rell, while just 30% say they are vot­ing for González.

Har­rell has con­sis­tent­ly led in pub­lic opin­ion research polling dur­ing this elec­tion cycle, includ­ing in two inde­pen­dent polls that were con­duct­ed last month, so it’s not sur­pris­ing that he has a lead in our final sur­vey of Seattle.

How­ev­er, Har­rel­l’s lead here is greater than in either of those polls (con­duct­ed for Crosscut/KCTS and Strate­gies 360), which sug­gests that he’s been able to solid­i­fy and expand his sup­port in the home stretch.

To over­come Har­rel­l’s cur­rent posi­tion, González’s team and her allies would need to per­suade the vast major­i­ty of vot­ers who are still unde­cid­ed to back her can­di­da­cy. They have two weeks left to make their pitch and close the gap.

Har­rell, mean­while, just needs a few more unde­cid­ed vot­ers to join those already com­mit­ted to his can­di­da­cy, and he’ll have the sup­port he needs to win this race.

Har­rell pre­vi­ous­ly served as may­or for a few days four years ago and was a can­di­date for May­or of Seat­tle in 2013, plac­ing fourth in the Top Two elec­tion. He was first elect­ed to the Seat­tle City Coun­cil in 2007 and was reelect­ed in 2011 and 2015. He left the Coun­cil at the end of 2019 rather than seek anoth­er term in a rematch with his 2015 oppo­nent Tam­my Morales. (Morales is now on the Council.)

González has won two city­wide elec­tions for Seat­tle City Coun­cil by enor­mous mar­gins, defeat­ing rivals Bill Brad­burd in 2015 and Pat Muraka­mi in 2017. (Coun­cilmem­bers nor­mal­ly serve four year terms, but González had to run again due to Seat­tle’s 2013 adop­tion of a new hybrid scheme for coun­cil elec­tions, which cre­at­ed sev­en dis­trict-based posi­tions while keep­ing two at-large positions.)

González explored a bid for Attor­ney Gen­er­al of Wash­ing­ton State in 2019, but did not move for­ward with a 2020 cam­paign after incum­bent Bob Fer­gu­son chose to seek a third term as the state’s top law enforce­ment offi­cer, fol­low­ing Gov­er­nor Inslee’s deci­sion to seek a third term as the state’s chief executive.

In addi­tion to each hav­ing served on the Seat­tle City Coun­cil — includ­ing with each oth­er — both Har­rell and González are expe­ri­enced attor­neys. Seat­tle Times reporter Daniel Beek­man wrote about their legal work last month as part of a series of excel­lent pro­files he’s been cre­at­ing for this year’s may­oral race.

NPI’s Ruairi Vaugh­an pre­vi­ous­ly inter­viewed Har­rell and González about their cam­paigns and visions for Seat­tle’s future. You can read the inter­view with Har­rell by fol­low­ing this link and the inter­view with González by fol­low­ing this link.

González is backed by the city’s Demo­c­ra­t­ic dis­trict orga­ni­za­tions, unions like UFCW Local 21, UNITE HERE Local 8, and SEIU 775NW, as well as The Stranger, The Urban­ist, and Seat­tle Sub­way. Har­rell is backed by sev­er­al busi­ness orga­ni­za­tions, unions like the Seat­tle Fire­fight­ers, sev­er­al IBEW locals, and Amal­ga­mat­ed Tran­sit Union Local 587, as well as The Seat­tle Times, the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Demo­c­ra­t­ic Club, and Democ­rats for Diver­si­ty and Inclusion.

NPI board­mem­ber Gael Tar­leton has endorsed Har­rell, while NPI board­mem­ber Jacob Thor­pe has endorsed González. (Both reside in Seattle.)

NPI is not aligned with either Har­rell or González and does not have an endorse­ment in the Seat­tle may­oral race, or any involve­ment in an inde­pen­dent expen­di­ture sup­port­ing or oppos­ing either candidate.

Vot­ing in the Novem­ber 2021 gen­er­al will end on Novem­ber 2nd. Bal­lots must car­ry a 11/02/2021 post­mark or be in a drop­box by 8 PM to count.

Sunday, October 17th, 2021

Book Review: Not-so-hidden racism and profit define the sickness of “American Healthcare”

The oth­er day Face­book remind­ed me that a lit­tle more than a year ago I wrote, “Why are we still hav­ing tele­vi­sion debates when the U.S. pres­i­dent won’t even agree to a peace­ful trans­fer of power?”

Thom Hart­mann, author of The Hid­den His­to­ry of Amer­i­can Health­care, was in a sim­i­lar mood when he wrote the pref­ace to his book, estab­lish­ing that his pub­lish­er had said no changes could be made to it after Novem­ber 3rd, 2020, despite being set to be released in Spring 2021.

“If Don­ald Trump was reelect­ed or some­how man­aged to remain pres­i­dent after Jan­u­ary 20, 2021, then we must take to the streets. This is most like­ly democ­ra­cy’s last stand,” Hart­mann wrote, trapped as he was behind the shroud of the past await­ing an election.

Any­way, we know what hap­pened instead. After four years of repeat­ed­ly sig­nal­ing that he would try to dis­re­gard the result of the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion if he lost, in the fall of 2020 Trump did exact­ly as he had said.

Now with the pow­ers of pres­i­dent, he pres­sured state offi­cials to get him the votes he need­ed to call him­self win­ner of the Elec­toral Col­lege, includ­ing chang­ing the totals, hav­ing Repub­li­can state leg­is­la­tors just dis­re­gard the pop­u­lar vote, and suing every­thing every­where to fundraise and sow distrust.

When all that failed to effect the out­come he want­ed, Trump called upon a pop­u­lar mob to come to the U.S. Capi­tol where he encour­aged them to lynch the vice pres­i­dent (then Mike Pence) and mem­bers of Con­gress that were in the process of affirm­ing Joe Biden’s pres­i­den­tial victory.

The flaws in asym­met­ric media polar­iza­tion have nev­er been stark­er than watch­ing how “the lib­er­al media” has failed to treat a vio­lent, attempt­ed coup with the same lev­el of inter­est it did a Demo­c­ra­t­ic pres­i­den­tial can­di­date’s pri­vate email serv­er or the fruits of a Russ­ian email hack of a nation­al polit­i­cal organization.

Now, that is a lot of intro­duc­tion for a book that is short­er than two hun­dred pages, and short­er even than that giv­en that it’s a 5“x7” paperback.

Hart­mann moves quick­ly. He spends the first sec­tion of the book describ­ing how bad the U.S. health­care sys­tem is, zero­ing in on the deci­sion by Joe Lieber­man to join with Sen­ate Repub­li­cans in killing the Patient Pro­tec­tion Act’s pub­lic option and what that result­ed in: a Rube Gold­berg machine that still kills and bank­rupts peo­ple so insur­ance com­pa­nies can make prof­its and pay­out bonuses.

The Hidden History of American Healthcare by Thom Hartmann

The Hid­den His­to­ry of Amer­i­can Health­care: Why Sick­ness Bank­rupts You and Makes Oth­ers Insane­ly Rich, by Thom Hart­mann (Paper­back, Berrett-Koehler Publishers)

After about forty pages, Hart­mann piv­ots to go back to the ori­gins of Amer­i­ca’s sick­ness-for-prof­it sys­tem, con­trast­ing the path of the Unit­ed States with that of Impe­r­i­al Germany.

And it’s here that the author’s warn­ing, giv­en the ben­e­fit of hind­sight, real­ly echoes loud­ly because Hart­mann describes the way Otto Von Bis­mar­ck, the “Iron Chan­cel­lor”, was the pri­ma­ry fig­ure in gov­ern­ment respon­si­ble for push­ing through Ger­many’s uni­ver­sal health­care sys­tem in the 1880s, along with work­ers com­pen­sa­tion and old-age pensions.

This became the mod­el for the rest of Europe and lat­er East Asian lib­er­al democ­ra­cies. But the rea­son Bis­mar­ck, arch-con­ser­v­a­tive Junker that he was, pushed such mea­sures was because the prag­ma­tist had no oth­er choice.

Bis­mar­ck “did­n’t devel­op the pro­gram out of some enlight­ened sense of human dig­ni­ty or work­ers’ rights,” Hart­mann writes.

“Work­ers in the streets pushed him to it.”

The Social Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty of Ger­many was banned, but they, anar­chists, and oth­er social­ists were still active and so threat­en­ing in their appeal to the peo­ple of Ger­many that a Pruss­ian min­is­ter in an auto­crat­ic regime felt com­pelled to mol­li­fy them and pre­vent revolution.

Although their explic­it rea­son­ing is much dif­fer­ent (e.g. “real Amer­i­ca”), reac­tionar­ies in the U.S. seem to have rec­og­nized this same dynam­ic much more than U.S. lib­er­als and the left. Decades of orga­niz­ing, of week­ly polit­i­cal meet­ings (though they’d call it “church”), and yes, also gobs of mon­ey have led to a moment where all sorts of unpop­u­lar ideas are able to dom­i­nate fed­er­al pol­i­tics. That was true even before politi­cians and mobs start­ed col­lud­ing to take over capi­tols, and actu­al­ly this time I’m talk­ing about Ore­gon.

Because there is no “return to nor­mal” ever com­ing to us.

Of course, unlike Ger­many, the Unit­ed States had and has anti-Black­ness built in as a fun­da­men­tal struc­ture of soci­ety and government.

Hart­mann writes of how sci­en­tif­ic racists, and one in par­tic­u­lar — Fred­er­ick Hoff­man — jus­ti­fied the con­di­tions of depri­va­tion and mis­treat­ment of Black Amer­i­cans at the end of the 19th cen­tu­ry by say­ing that with­out the “pro­tec­tion” of slav­ery, Black Amer­i­cans would nat­u­ral­ly die out unless propped up by unnat­ur­al and ulti­mate­ly fruit­less health­care services.

When seg­re­ga­tion-in-the-law came to an end in the Unit­ed States in the 1960s and 1970s, pub­lic ser­vices like swim­ming pools were sim­ply shut down or pri­va­tized rather than inte­grate. This spite­ful, self-injur­ing hatred did and con­tin­ues to moti­vate many poor whites to work against their eco­nom­ic and bod­i­ly inter­ests. Because, to them, their “real inter­ests” are to main­tain their place in a racist hier­ar­chy and con­tin­ue receiv­ing the psy­cho­log­i­cal wages that pays out.

But for the rich, who are also dis­pro­por­tion­ate­ly white, there’s a lot of very real wages paid out to them, too. And stock options. And bonuses.

You can make a lot of mon­ey off of ser­vices peo­ple need to stay alive and keep their fam­i­ly alive, and you can use that mon­ey to “exer­cise your free speech rights” in influ­enc­ing politi­cians to think that the best thing for every­one is main­tain­ing a sys­tem where you keep mak­ing that mon­ey and they keep get­ting elect­ed. It is very hard to believe a sys­tem isn’t work­ing well when you see it work­ing well for you and those around you.

This is not an espe­cial­ly ambi­tious book, I don’t think. Its pur­pose seems to be that it can be read in a sin­gle com­fort­able sit­ting and be under­stood while pro­vid­ing you with min­i­mal scaf­fold­ing nec­es­sary to make sense of health­care as an indus­try in the U.S., what’s wrong with it, and how that could be fixed, as oth­er nations have fixed some basic prob­lems. Hart­mann makes a com­pelling case for one sim­ple but counter-intu­itive solu­tion to U.S. health­care prob­lems: just have the gov­ern­ment buy the insur­ance companies.

At around $1 tril­lion, it might sound prof­li­gate but is still just what the U.S. wastes in over­pay­ing for health­care every sin­gle year.

But this won’t come about by vot­ing, and it won’t come about by sign­ing peti­tions, or by per­mit­ted march­ing from here to there.

The days when those sig­ni­fied impres­sive orga­ni­za­tion­al acu­men, imply­ing the abil­i­ty to accom­plish oth­er things, has long since passed.

Instead, we’ll have to start treat­ing our lives and health as valu­able as they actu­al­ly are, and, for whites, start choos­ing that as a more impor­tant inter­est than racial sol­i­dar­i­ty that allows rel­a­tive priv­i­lege.

You want to believe we can man­age this after see­ing how dis­pos­ably our boss­es, land­lords, and gov­ern­ments have been will­ing to treat us and our health dur­ing COVID-19, but unfor­tu­nate­ly, reac­tionar­ies in the Unit­ed States seem to be the ones with all the urgency, and they’re cer­tain­ly under no mis­con­cep­tions that the tran­si­tions of pow­er in the future will be peaceful.

Like con­duct­ing a debate amid lin­ger­ing threats of polit­i­cal vio­lence or pub­lish­ing a book about health­care as you see signs of a coup hap­pen­ing out in the open, it’s dif­fi­cult to talk about uni­ver­sal health­care as you’re watch­ing a fas­cist move­ment gain steam and be treat­ed as unse­ri­ous­ly as if no one learned any lessons since 2015.

But if we aren’t orga­niz­ing and mobi­liz­ing with suf­fi­cient seri­ous­ness to counter a vio­lent white nation­al­ist move­ment intent on seiz­ing con­trol of gov­ern­ment by force, not only will we lose out on a chance to be bribed with uni­ver­sal health­care to mol­li­fy us, we’re like­ly to lose a lot of oth­er things, too.

Saturday, October 16th, 2021

East Link from the air: Get a bird’s eye view of Sound Transit’s new Line 2 light rail stations

When Sound Tran­sit’s beau­ti­ful new North­gate, Roo­sevelt, and U Dis­trict Sta­tions opened to rid­ers two weeks ago, the SeaT­ac-to-North­gate high capac­i­ty tran­sit spine orig­i­nal­ly envi­sioned back in the 1990s final­ly became a reality.

It was, with­out a doubt, a huge mile­stone for mobil­i­ty in our region, but these three new sta­tions are actu­al­ly just the begin­ning of our Phase II build-out.

The sum­mer after next, assum­ing con­struc­tion con­tin­ues to go well and test­ing is unevent­ful, there will be a whole new light rail line join­ing the sys­tem, with three times as many sta­tions as the North­gate Link exten­sion: East Link/Line 2.

The core of Line 2 con­sists of ten new sta­tions in Seat­tle and the East­side: Jud­kins Park, Mer­cer Island, South Belle­vue, East Main, Down­town Belle­vue, Wilbur­ton, Spring Dis­trict, Bel-Red, Over­lake Vil­lage, and Red­mond Tech­nol­o­gy. Each of these sta­tions is active­ly under con­struc­tion and get­ting clos­er to be being ready to wel­come rid­ers in mid-2023 when Line 2 is set to open.

With all of the sta­tions hav­ing reached the point where they look like light rail sta­tions, as opposed to sim­ply large con­struc­tion zones, NPI launched a project to visu­al­ly doc­u­ment them from the air using unmanned aer­i­al vehi­cles (UAVs).

Today, we’re delight­ed to be able to share with you a col­lec­tion of pho­tos from those flights, which offer a bird’s eye view of Line 2.

If you’ve caught glimpses of the con­struc­tion sites from the ground and are won­der­ing what these new sta­tions are like, then you’re in for a treat.

This new light rail line rep­re­sents the future of trans­porta­tion on the East­side. It will direct­ly con­nect the Microsoft cam­pus, Over­lake Hos­pi­tal, Belle­vue’s cen­tral busi­ness dis­trict, and res­i­den­tial neigh­bor­hoods on the East­side with Seat­tle, pro­vid­ing a quick way to cross Lake Wash­ing­ton that’s immune from traf­fic jams. Line 2 will indi­rect­ly serve an even longer list of East­side neigh­bor­hoods thanks to forth­com­ing bus and para­tran­sit ser­vice reconfigurations.

Approved by vot­ers in 2008, East Link/Line 2 will be the first light rail line any­where to uti­lize a float­ing bridge for part of its align­ment. It con­sists of under­ground, aer­i­al, and at-grade + trench segments.

Let’s begin our tour of East Link’s ten sta­tions in Seat­tle, where the west­ern­most of the new light rail access points is being built.

Judkins Park Station

Fol­low­ing the old I‑90 express lanes, Jud­kins Park Sta­tion is nes­tled between lanes of busy traf­fic. Touch­ing the south end of Seat­tle’s his­tor­i­cal­ly diverse Cen­tral Dis­trict, the sta­tion is eas­i­ly acces­si­ble to the sur­round­ing community.

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The sta­tion will have three entrances. To the east of the plat­forms, esca­la­tors and ele­va­tors bring pas­sen­gers up to the 23rd Avenue S por­tal. 23rd is the main thor­ough­fare run­ning through the Cen­tral Dis­trict; pedes­tri­ans can walk north and access the Jud­kins Park neigh­bor­hood, as well as the park itself.

An exist­ing sig­nal­ized cross­walk cur­rent­ly part of the I‑90 bike and pedes­tri­an trail will pro­vide easy access to more urban green space in Jimi Hen­drix Park, as well as the Mar­tin Luther King Jr. Way South cor­ri­dor fur­ther east.

To the west, the sta­tion will also con­nect direct­ly to Rainier Ave South with two entrances on both sides of the busy street. Local bus­es, such as the 7, will be able to stop direct­ly under the free­way, tracks, and pedes­tri­an bridge. This con­nec­tion will be sim­i­lar to the old express­way bus sta­tion on the I‑90 express lanes — but a lot nicer, going off the con­trac­tor’s design con­cept.

Mercer Island Station

After pass­ing through the Mount Bak­er Tun­nel and across tracks rest­ing on the mile-long Homer M. Hadley Memo­r­i­al Bridge — which was no small engi­neer­ing feat — rid­ers will arrive at Mer­cer Island Station.

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The sta­tion will be at high­way lev­el, with esca­la­tors and ele­va­tors con­nect­ing rid­ers up to sta­tion por­tals at either end of the island platforms.

Sit­u­at­ed between 77th Avenue SE and 80th Avenue SE, it is near both Mer­cer Island’s main com­mer­cial dis­trict and the exist­ing island park & ride lot.

Cyclists will also have easy access from the I‑90 trail.

The sta­tion’s future bus con­nec­tion infra­struc­ture is still up in the air. The City of Mer­cer Island sued Sound Tran­sit again in fall 2020, alleg­ing that the 2017 set­tle­ment to a pri­or law­suit is being vio­lat­ed. While light rail con­struc­tion con­tin­ues, road alter­ations to accom­mo­date ter­mi­nat­ing bus­es from the East­side that would fun­nel rid­ers to Link on the at this sta­tion is on hold.

Seat­tle Tran­sit Blog has more back­ground about the dispute.

South Bellevue Station

Just after leav­ing Mer­cer Island, East Link’s tracks rise above the start of the messy I‑405/I‑90 inter­change, fol­low­ing Belle­vue Way. South Belle­vue is the first of six stops that the new light rail line makes through the city.

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The sta­tion is ele­vat­ed, on the site of the for­mer South Belle­vue Park & Ride. Giv­en that the sta­tion area lacks good pedes­tri­an con­nec­tions (it is between a steep hill and a wet­land), and since there is no sig­nif­i­cant den­si­ty with­in walk­ing dis­tance, the sta­tion is designed to be a trans­fer hub, much like East­gate Park & Ride. Bus bays and a new mul­ti-lev­el park­ing facil­i­ty with 1,500 stalls are being built next to the sta­tion to allow it to con­tin­ue to func­tion as a park and ride.

Inspired by the native habi­tat of adja­cent Mer­cer Slough, local artists will be promi­nent­ly fea­tured at the sta­tion. Vic­ki Scuri’s acoustic leaves cov­er up the con­crete pil­lars sup­port­ing the sta­tion. Katy Stone’s sculp­tures inspired by native species will line the garage, pro­vid­ing for good view­ing by passengers.

East Main Station

Wind­ing north along 112th Avenue NE most­ly at street lev­el, East Link then heads straight for down­town Belle­vue. East Main Sta­tion is locat­ed just south of E Main Street and west of 112th. Vis­i­ble from the island plat­forms is the south por­tal to the Down­town Belle­vue Tun­nel, which is promi­nent­ly imprint­ed into the concrete.

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There is no pedes­tri­an over­pass here, mean­ing that south­bound pas­sen­gers have to look both ways and walk across the tracks to reach the far-side platform.

At open­ing, Sound Tran­sit projects that just 2,500 of the 50,000 dai­ly pas­sen­gers to use East Link will be stop­ping at East Main Sta­tion, which would make it one of the least used sta­tions in the entire network.

Cur­rent­ly, the sta­tion is bound­ed by sin­gle-fam­i­ly res­i­den­tial neigh­bor­hoods to the west and hotels to the east, with some more medi­um-den­si­ty offices north of E Main Street. The area might not be rede­vel­oped by the time the sta­tion opens, but it is a safe bet that this area will be trans­formed in some form over the decades as down­town Belle­vue con­tin­ues to grow.

Bellevue Downtown Station

Pass­ing under the por­tal, the tracks enter the Down­town Belle­vue Tun­nel, fol­low­ing E Main Street until 110th Ave NE, when the rails turn north under the pub­lic right-of-way. Turn­ing east onto NE 6th Street, trains exit the por­tal and imme­di­ate­ly pull into Belle­vue Down­town Station.

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Locat­ed on a mod­er­ate grade next to City Hall, stairs, ele­va­tors, and esca­la­tors take pas­sen­gers from the side plat­forms up to NE 110th Street and down to NE 112th Street. The NE 110th con­nec­tion is much more sig­nif­i­cant, as right across the street are the busy bus bays of Belle­vue Tran­sit Cen­ter along 6th Avenue NE.

Cur­rent­ly already one of the East­side’s most sig­nif­i­cant trans­fer hubs and tran­sit des­ti­na­tions, in the future Stride Bus Rapid Tran­sit lines will deliv­er pas­sen­gers from all along the I‑405 cor­ri­dor to con­nect with Link light rail at this location.

Rid­er­ship is expect­ed to be very strong here in Belle­vue’s cen­tral busi­ness dis­trict, with more than 7,500 rid­ers expect­ed at launch.

Wilburton Station

Due to the topog­ra­phy, the tracks become ele­vat­ed while stay­ing lev­el as they cross Inter­state 405. Peo­ple in the 156,000 cars that trav­el through this busy stretch of inter­state will have a great view of the trains whizzing by while stuck in rush-hour traf­fic, hope­ful­ly inspir­ing com­muters to give light rail a chance.

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Wilbur­ton Sta­tion comes up just after I‑405 after the tracks curve north, not very far from Belle­vue Down­town Sta­tion. With­out any sort of lid or pedes­tri­an bridge, it is daunt­ing to walk across I‑405 here, which makes this sta­tion much needed.

The ele­vat­ed sta­tion is right next to Lake Belle­vue, and around a mile away on foot to the Belle­vue Botan­i­cal Gardens.

It was dubbed the “Hos­pi­tal Sta­tion” in ear­ly plan­ning doc­u­ments due to its prox­im­i­ty to Over­lake Med­ical Cen­ter and Kaiser Per­ma­nente. Many major busi­ness­es are also locat­ed with­in walk­ing dis­tance of this station.

Spring District/120th Station

Dip­ping down to street lev­el and under NE 12th Street, East Link turns east and stops just after 120th Avenue NE to serve the Spring Dis­trict Sta­tion. The open-air sta­tion is locat­ed beneath the ground in a sunken con­fig­u­ra­tion, with pas­sen­gers descend­ing to the side plat­forms by esca­la­tor or elevator.

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The Spring Dis­trict is an excit­ing tran­sit-ori­ent­ed devel­op­ment that has been under con­struc­tion since 2013. Con­ceived to replace light indus­tri­al build­ings that were right next to the planned light rail route to Red­mond dur­ing Sound Tran­sit 2, the six­teen-block devel­op­ment hosts offices, apart­ments, a Uni­ver­si­ty of Wash­ing­ton research facil­i­ty, and store­fronts. Brand-new, most of it has yet to be com­plete­ly built, but it should open right along­side when light rail arrives in 2023.

REI, one of the largest com­pa­nies plan­ning to relo­cate to the Spring Dis­trict, made head­lines when it announced last year that it would not move here after all after pan­dem­ic-induced remote-working.

How­ev­er, Face­book has tak­en over most of the office space that REI was plan­ning to devel­op, mean­ing that the Spring Dis­trict con­tin­ues to hold appeal as a new tran­sit-ori­ent­ed neigh­bor­hood in Bellevue.

Bonus virtual tour pictures: OMF East

Look­ing west from the Spring District/120th Sta­tion, tracks branch west to the new Oper­a­tions and Main­te­nance Facil­i­ty East (OMF‑E). This rail yard is nec­es­sary to serve as a base for light rail trains on the East­side. It is imprac­ti­cal to ser­vice East Link vehi­cles from Sound Tran­sit’s cur­rent facil­i­ty in Seat­tle’s SoDo neigh­bor­hood (vis­i­ble from Link trains exit­ing the Bea­con Hill portal).

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After the Lyn­nwood, Fed­er­al Way, and Red­mond exten­sions are com­plete in 2024, Sound Tran­sit will oper­ate a total of 214 light rail vehi­cles across the region.

OMF‑E will inte­grate into the Spring Dis­trict neigh­bor­hood as part of the tran­sit-ori­ent­ed devel­op­ment con­cept, with “afford­able hous­ing, mar­ket-rate apart­ments, office, retail and pub­lic space,” accord­ing to Sound Tran­sit’s web­site.

Bel-Red/130th Station

Start­ing again from the Spring District/120th Sta­tion, the light rail tracks cut through the Bel-Red neigh­bor­hood in between major cur­rent thor­ough­fares such as Northup Way and Bel-Red Road.

A new Spring Boule­vard is shown on plan­ning doc­u­ments along­side the light rail tracks, how­ev­er as the tracks mean­der in an above-ground sec­tion they cur­rent­ly fit nar­row­ly between exist­ing light indus­tri­al buildings.

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Bel-Red Sta­tion is at grade, with side plat­forms and pedes­tri­an cross­ing loca­tions at the end of the plat­forms (sim­i­lar to Colum­bia City Sta­tion on Line 1).

The sta­tion is just south of a minor clus­ter of busi­ness­es based at the inter­sec­tion of Northup Way and and NE 130th Street.

While it might not be ready when the sta­tion opens in two years, more tran­sit-ori­ent­ed devel­op­ment is on the hori­zon in this part of Bellevue.

The ware­hous­es and strip malls of Bel-Red today are some­what sim­i­lar to what South Lake Union was like before Ama­zon moved in. With the right kind of invest­ment, a bit of luck, and a coop­er­a­tive city hall, a new light rail sta­tion can be the foun­da­tion for sim­i­lar den­si­ty in Bel-Red.

Overlake Village Station

Leav­ing Bel-Red, the Link light rail tracks turn north to cross NE 20th Street at a sig­nal­ized at-grade junc­tion. The rail line then turns to fol­low to State Route 520’s right-of-way, ris­ing above the busy 148th Avenue NE inter­change before arriv­ing at Over­lake Vil­lage Sta­tion in Redmond.

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Over­lake Vil­lage already exists as a node of den­si­ty pri­mar­i­ly designed to serve Microsoft employ­ees and oth­er tech work­ers. The Link sta­tion is locat­ed where the tech­nol­o­gy giant’s quar­ters meets the com­mer­cial dis­trict, mean­ing it can serve both com­muters and busi­ness customers.

The sta­tion façade opens nice­ly to an open plaza where a pas­sen­ger drop-off loop is locat­ed. Sim­i­lar to East Main Sta­tion, there is no pedes­tri­an walk­way above or below the tracks at Over­lake Vil­lage. Instead, Seat­tle-bound rid­ers will be expect­ed to walk across the tracks to access the island platform.

A pedes­tri­an bridge across SR 520 has already been built, pro­vid­ing easy con­nec­tiv­i­ty to the Microsoft build­ings west of the high­way, as well as a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of con­do­mini­ums and apart­ments along 148th Ave NE.

Redmond Technology Station

After a short sprint along the side of the high­way, East Link trains will ter­mi­nate at Red­mond Tech­nol­o­gy Sta­tion in the heart of Microsoft­’s Red­mond head­quar­ters cam­pus, before being extend­ed to down­town Red­mond in 2024.

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Microsoft is fund­ing the con­struc­tion of anoth­er pedes­tri­an bridge, improv­ing the walk­ing expe­ri­ence across State Route 520 that is cur­rent­ly a rather unpleas­ant trek beside traf­fic along NE 40th Street.

Bus bays will pro­vide rid­ers plen­ty of space to wait for their con­nec­tions. A 320-car garage will sup­ply some park­ing (although much less than the 1,400 spots that will be avail­able in South­east Redmond).

And mul­ti­ple com­mis­sioned art pieces will be fea­tured mark the end of one of the most tech­ni­cal­ly chal­leng­ing Link exten­sions con­struct­ed to date.

There you have it!

East Link includes ten new sta­tions, four­teen miles of track, anoth­er main­te­nance and oper­a­tions base, and a lot of incred­i­ble pub­lic art. After over a decade of design, plan­ning, and con­struc­tion, it will soon be open­ing to the pub­lic, rev­o­lu­tion­iz­ing trav­el on the East­side and beyond.

Project safety information

All our flights were con­duct­ed in accor­dance with FAA reg­u­la­tions using reg­is­tered air­craft at times when con­struc­tion work­ers were not present. When fly­ing in con­trolled air­space, flight plans were filed and LAANC autho­riza­tions obtained.

We hope you enjoyed the tour!

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