Much as we like King County Parks manager Jessie Israel and admire her rock-star confidence for challenging a popular three-term incumbent, PubliCola’s vote is with incumbent Nick Licata.
Israel’s main rap against Licata is that he’s been an obstructionist on the council, holding down the losing end of 8-1 votes. Licata’s response—and we think it’s a convincing one—is twofold. First, he readily (and proudly) acknowledges that he opposes ideas that he thinks are bad for the city, a category that usually includes big-ticket infrastructure items that put the city’s basic commitments to the rest of the city at risk. (Think: The $300 million Mercer project; the $50 million South Lake Union streetcar; the controversial $6.7 million Woodland Park Zoo parking garage. And most of all—subsidizing the wealthy Paul Allen in South Lake Union.)
And for the record, several of Licata’s council colleagues have actually been on the losing end of otherwise unanimous votes more often than him.
Second—and more compelling—Licata has long list of things he has accomplished, from the creation of the Urban Forest Commission to the redefinition of “low-income” in the housing levy (also on this year's general-election ballot), to a master plan for the Arboretum, to adding more cops to the beat, to a branch library proposal that won buyoff from the neighborhoods, to—perhaps his greatest accomplishment—enacting real police accountability measures.
Fundamentally, we believe the council needs someone like Licata whose office door is always open to the disenfranchised. Licata stands up for the little guy, low-income people, and the downtrodden as a consistent, and often effective, voice for poor people's interests. (He led a sustained and successful fight against the discriminatory car impound ordinance.)
And even when he’s out of whack with PubliCola’s principles (opposing light rail; speaking out against density in neighborhoods) Licata provides a thoughtful, informed voice for the loyal opposition. The result? Fairer legislation, especially on proposals he initially opposes, but works honestly to amend. For that reason alone he deserves your vote.
PubliCola picks Nick Licata.