1. Forget about 2014—the 2015 elections are already underway, and the list of potential candidates who might be running for city council is stacking up.
In addition to the candidates who have already declared they're running for the seven new districted council seats (and the two at-large ones)—West Seattle neighborhood activist Chas Redmond and incumbent Tom Rasmussen in West Seattle's District 1, food advocate and consultant Tammy Morales and incumbent Bruce Harrell in Southeast Seattle's District 2—here are some of the names Fizz is hearing from the rumor mill.
• In the Third District, in addition to incumbent Kshama Sawant and is-she-or-isn't she potential challenger Alison Holcomb, Fizz hears that former Equal Rights Washington director Rod Hearne, ID/Chinatown neighborhood advocate Don Blakeney, and two-time council challenger Bobby Forch, may be jumping in. Fizz hasn't heard back from Blakeney or Hearne, and Forch tells Fizz, "I am still thinking about it and haven't made a decision yet."
UPDATE: Blakeney says he isn't running for council next year; when asked how his style differs from incumbent Sawant's, however, he told Fizz, "when people who I represent call me asking for help, I take a meeting with them."
• In North Seattle's Position 5, we're hearing that son-of-ex-mayor-Norm Mian Rice and neighborhood activist David Miller (another onetime candidate for council) may be jumping in to the race. Two rumored candidates we hear aren't running include another son of a former mayor, Charley Royer's son (and Pacific Merchant Shipping Association government affairs manager) Jordan Royer and an actual ex-mayor, Mike McGinn.
Repeat: Mike. McGinn. Not. Running.
As for Tim Burgess, who's declared for one of the two at-large seats (Sally Clark has announced she's running for the other one): Rumor is that he might not be running for reelection after all. So far, Burgess's bank account is $610 in the red.
2. California billionaire Tom Steyer, the environmental lefty who's pledged to spend $100 million on state legislative races nationwide to put green legislators in office, has $1 million cued up in Washington state where he's likely to fund an independent expenditure in the the 45th Legislative District. Republican State Sen. Andy Hill (R-45, Kirkland) is facing a challenge from Democratic hopeful Matt Isenhower in the suburban Seattle district.
Hill isn't an environmental ogre (state senate environment committee chair Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-42, Ferndale, is the real nemesis of the green agenda, thwarting things like Gov. Jay Inslee's climate change proposal along with Democratic oil train safety bill last session), but Isenhower represents the Democrats' best chance of getting a win in November in the deadlocked state senate. And tipping the scales in the Democrats' favor would put greens such as Democratic state Sen. Kevin Ranker (D-40, Orcas Island) an outspoken member Ericksen's key committee, in power.
Democrats who are counting on Steyer's money to put Isenhower over the top should check out the mixed reviews his ad blitzes in other states are getting from political experts, though.
"In Iowa, Steyer’s super PAC is attacking Republican Senate candidate Joni Ernst with 60-second TV ads featuring a pair of cigar-chomping executives cackling in a darkened room, gleeful that an anti-tax pledge she signed will send jobs overseas. The fact-checking website PolitiFact labeled that ad 'false,' and fact-checkers have also found holes in Steyer-backed ads that accuse Florida Gov. Rick Scott of benefiting from oil drilling near the Everglades and letting a power company 'fleece' its customers. Ernst and Scott have threatened legal action."
It's also worth noting that Steyer spent an estimated $455,000 on a key Washington state legislature race last year in the 26th Legislative District betwee Republican Jan Angel and Democrat Nathan Schlicher . Angel won.
3. Both on the blog and in the magazine (for his Urban Upgrade column), Josh has written plenty about "Innovation Districts," the trendy idea that businesses should abandon isolated office park settings and locate in city neighborhoods around transit, residential, retail, and business hubs. South Lake Union has been hailed as a national example of this new style.
Well, suburban campus parks aren't the only things relocating to cities—so are rural farms. The city council and the city's Department of Planning and Development are getting behind the "Food Innovation Zone" vision outlined in the Rainier Beach neighborhood plan to put a sort of one-stop-shop—farms, markets, food education and training, light manufacturing to support the "food based economy" around the Rainier Beach light rail stop.
DPD is going to submit a re-zoning proposal for the "Food Innovation Zone" to city council by the end of the year.
4. Two big things on the city council agenda today: 1) A presentation from new SPD Chief Kathleen O'Toole on her first quarter report. ("Seattle has one of the most robust systems of police accountability in the nation," O'Toole says.) And 2) A vote on honoring "Indigenous Peoples' Day" the same day as Columbus Day; there was a packed hearing on the idea in early September.