Morning Fizz

Roderick In, Kohl-Welles Considering, and Tarleton Endorses Crew of Challengers for City Council

Caffeinated news featuring open seats, endorsements, reassessments, and assessments

By Josh Feit April 6, 2015

Caffeinated News

1. Learn to trust the Fizz: Local indie rock musician John Roderick made good on the rumors and announced this morning that he's running for city council in position eight—one of the two at-large spots.

On his new campaign website, Roderick, a prominent figure from Seattle's alternative rock era, says he'll be "a tireless advocate for the arts."

Three other main candidates are already running in for the spot: incumbent Tim Burgess, housing advocate Jonathan Grant, and labor activist John Persak.

2. Veteran state senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D-36, Ballard) announced on Facebook last night that she is "seriously considering" running for Larry Phillips's King County Council seat; Phillips announced last week that he's retiring after 24 years on the county council, where he represents the northern edge of downtown, heading north through Queen Anne, Magnolia, Ballard, and Northwest Seattle.

Kohl-Welles, a strong liberal presence in the state senate since 1994 (and before that in the house since 1990), added:

It's hard for me to think of leaving the Senate, but I believe that at this point in my career I would enjoy a new challenge, as well as being closer to home among my constituents and in the community on a year-round basis. And fortunately, I would have the same constituents as I have now in the 36th Leg. District. I also would have a more immediate and local experience in working on many of the issues that are so important to me, such as affordable housing and eliminating homelessness; economic and pay equity and social justice; anti-poverty and essential services; expanding multi-modal mobility, including transit; human trafficking and commercial child sexual exploitation; juvenile justice and foster care services; and medical and personal use marijuana legalization. And this is not a complete list. I'll be making my decision within the next few days. It should be an interesting time ahead.

State house representative Reuven Carlyle (D-36, Queen Anne) announced earlier in the day that he wasn't running for Phillips' seat; he said he wants to continue working at the state level, where he's the house finance chair on budget and tax issues.

3. The other member of the 36th district contingent, state representative Gael Tarleton (D-36, Ballard), also made an election announcement this weekend: She endorsed a batch of city council candidates. She's only endorsing one incumbent, Jean Godden in the fourth district which covers the U District northeast to Sand Point.  

In an email to the general manager of Pacific Fisherman Shipyard on Shilshole in old Ballard, Tarleton, a former port commissioner, said, "I voted for district elections because I truly believed we needed a sea change in city governance."

"I voted for district elections because I truly believed we needed a sea change in city governance." —Gael Tarleton endorses a batch of challengers

She goes on to endorse: neighborhood council leader Catherine Weatbrook over incumbent council member Mike O'Brien in the sixth district (which overlaps with Tarleton's state legislative district in Ballard); longshoresman John Persak over incumbent city council member Tim Burgess in position eight, one of the two at-large positions (lefty, affordable housing advocate Jonathan Grant is also challenging Burgess); and slow-growther Bill Bradburd who's running citywide for position nine, the other at-large spot.

There are two other people vying for the position nine spot (incumbent Sally Clark is resigning)—civil rights attorney Lorena González and newly announced candidate, arts advocate James Keblas.

4. The council's vote to rein in microhousing development last year is starting to feel a little askew now that mayor Ed Murray has announced he wants to see 50,000 new housing units built in the next 10 years (20,000 affordable and 30,000 market rate).

Puget Sound Business Journal reported on Friday that Department of Planning and Development director Diane Sugimura told a rotary club meeting that the council may have gone "a little too far" when they tightened aPodment guidelines last year.

Murray actually threatened to veto the legislation at the time, telling me last September: "I believe they [a series of new regulations] don't help us create housing affordabilty, and affordable housing is a centerpiece of my administration."

The council went ahead and passed veto-proof legislation, voting nine to zero to align microhousing development with DPD rules by making each living space count as a unit rather than allowing developers to get around standard rules by only counting a floor as a unit.

However, they went much further than squaring up development rules. They also: required multiple sinks, set a minimum apartment size (220 square feet, as opposed to the previously proposed 220-square-foot average), mandated minimum parking standards, and mandated an increase in the size of common areas.

Building a traditional corporate campus in the city misses the point of relocating to the city.

5. And a followup to my grumpiness about the Expedia news; to summarize: I think building a traditional corporate campus in the city misses the point of relocating to the city.

Check out these leafy pictures Expedia sent along to hype the announcement that they're abandoning a high rise in downtown Bellevue for a low-slung 750,000-square-foot building in Interbay with room to expand 200,000 more square feet.

It looks more like Microsoft 1995 than Seattle 2015—which is apparently Expedia's aspiration. Explaining that Expedia was all grown up now, company spokeswoman Sarah Waffle Gavin told me they wanted "a corporate campus befitting a global company." 

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