One thing district elections is supposed to do is to make the city council more diverse. By mandating that the council represents seven different neighborhoods, the theory is that candidates and ultimately council members will cut across class and race lines.
That's a good goal, especially now that the current council doesn't include one renter even though 52 percent of Seattle are renters.
Kshama Sawant was a renter until July of this year when, after renting in Capitol Hill, she bought a $345,000 house in Leschi.
Socialist City Council member Kshama Sawant was a renter until July when, after renting in Capitol Hill, she bought a $345,000 house in Leschi. (Anyone thinking of running in the 3rd council district should stop hyperventilating, though. Sawant, with her 61 percent district approval rating, is still living in the 3rd District. Her new house is about 20 blocks north of Southeast Seattle's 2nd District.)
The incumbent Council Members—Tom Rasmussen in West Seattle's 1st District; Sally Clark and Bruce Harrell in the 2nd District; Sawant in the 3rd; Jean Gooden in Ravenna and Wedgwood's 4th District (plus the U. District); Nick Licata and Mike O'Brien in the 6th District, west of I-5 across Green Lake throught Ballard and north up to Carkeek Park; and Sally Bagshaw and Tim Burgess in Downtown, Queen Anne and Magnolia's 7th District (though Burgess is said to be running for one of the two At-Large seats)—are all homeowners.
The last renter on the council, prior to Sawant's brief stint representing the majority renting class, was class warrior Judy Nicastro back in the early 2000s.
This brings us to a PubliCola "One Question" for the crew of challengers who are (or we hear are) lining up to run in the district seats: Are any of them renters?
Charles Redmond has not gotten back to us, but public records show that a Charles Redmond owns a house north of the Fauntleroy neighbhorhood a few blocks from Lincoln Park in the 1st District.
Tammy Morales reports that she owns a home in the Seward Park neighborhood and loves riding bikes with her family (three kids) to the lake.
Alison Holcomb in the 3rd District is a homeowner. She reports that in 2002: "Gregg and I bought a 700 square foot one-bedroom condo in The Bamberg—a 14-unit apartment building constructed in 1910 that converted to condo in 1990.
"I keep trying to convince Gregg we can raise Dashiell [their six-year-old son] there 'til he goes off to college or wherever; Gregg has decided to put the conversation on hold until Dashiell reaches puberty. In the meantime, we've given up our dining room."
Rob Johnson in the 4th has not gotten back to us yet. There are too many Rob Johnson's in the King County Assessors data base to get a bead on our question.
Michael Maddux in the 4th is a renter who notes: "I live in Eastlake in a cozy, first-floor, no-view, two- bedroom apartment with my daughter, Lili, and cat, Meg."
Rev. Sandy Brown in N. Seattle's 5th says that he falls somewhere in between being a renter and homeowner; he explains that he's living with his partner who owns the house (and so, has the mortgage), and Brown is paying his partner rent toward the mortgage.
Halei Watkins in N. Seattle's 5th is a renter. Watkins reports that she's renting a condo (from the owner) in a large condo development in Northgate. She's been there for two years and was a renter in Wallingford before that.