1. All the latest (April) fundraising reports in the city council races aren't quite in yet, but city council incumbent and president Tim Burgess has reported his contributions. His main challengers—tenants' rights advocate Jonathan Grant, indie rock singer John Roderick, and labor activist John Persak—should take notice.
Burgess, who's running for one of the at-large spots (position eight), and the only candidate in the race not named John evidently, had a big fundraising month, taking in $33,000, leaving him with $120,000 cash on hand. Grant, who spoke at last month's Nick Licata/Kshama Sawant affordable housing forum and is trying to tap into this year's populist energy, only reported raising $3,000 this month (though with $20,000 cash on hand, Burgess can't ignore him). Roderick, who's been an impressive fundraiser so far and held his kickoff event last month, hasn't reported his totals yet.
Burgess also netted a big endorsement this month, getting the nod from the Service Employees International Union 775, the health care workers union that powered the $15 minimum wage movement.
2. Eyes should be on a couple of candidates this month: Lorena González (running in the position nine at large seat) and Urban League leader Pamela Banks, running against high-profile lefty Sawant. González and Banks are the two candidates most closely associated with mayor Ed Murray, González being his former legal counsel and Banks being the main opponent of Murray antagonist and Socialist city council member Kshama Sawant. Neither González nor Banks has reported their totals yet, but Banks, who held her kickoff last month, needs an impressive showing to alter the perception that Sawant is unbeatable; Sawant certainly helped Banks's cause this month by setting up a campaign table in city hall and making over-the-top criticism of newly appointed council member John Okamoto, playing into the going line of attack on Sawant about her impolitic style. It will be interesting to see if Banks was able to capitalize.
Banks, who held her kickoff last month, needs an impressive showing to alter the perception that Sawant is unbeatable. As for Sawant herself, who also hasn't reported her latest numbers yet (and we'll see, as her campaign promised after PubliCola found she wasn't paying staffers as staffers, if she's changed that), in a show of popular support, is turning in 3,000 signatures at King County Elections today. The signatures top the prerequisite for making the ballot without having to pay the $1,119 filing fee. A Sawant press release this morning stated: "Council member Sawant is the only incumbent candidate who has collected signatures to qualify for the ballot. In contrast, the business-as-usual, corporate-funded candidates opt instead to pay the $1,119 filing fee." And, noting that she leapfrogged the required signature prerequisite (also 1,119) by "three times as many," Sawant added: "This demonstrates the widespread popular support for rent control and our unparalleled grassroots volunteer base."
As for González, she needs a big month to shore up conventional wisdom that she's unbeatable. Her populist, neighborhood activist opponent Bill Bradburd turned in his reports and posted another solid month, raising $10,000 in contributions and in-kind contributions combined, leaving him with $26,000 cash on hand.
3. Following up on his surprise announcement that the Port can't host Shell's oil rigs (though it shouldn't have been much of a surprise given his 94 percent lifetime rating with environmentalists as a longtime state legislator), Mayor Murray made another move last week that undermines the weird 2013 campaign meme that he was the son of Karl Rove's monster. Murray named Jessica Finn Coven as director of the Office of Sustainability and Environment. Finn Coven has been the director at environmentalist group Climate Solutions, which has been fighting against the oil industry for climate change legislation in Olympia; before that Finn Coven worked at the U.S. Climate Action Network and Greenpeace. She's also on the board of social justice group Puget Sound Sage (big activists in the minimum wage movement) and on the board of the Washington Conservation Voters.
Speaking of Murray's battle with the Port, watch for a Port vote tomorrow about the mayor's announcement that the Port needs to apply for a new lease. Meanwhile, Murray sent yet another letter to the port this weekend trying to allay their concerns that his decision on Terminal Five had any broader implications for uses at other terminals. Murray says he's willing to amend the language on guidelines governing those leases to make it 100 percent clear there would be no unintended consequences. The maritime industry announced on Friday that they are appealing the mayor's decision to make the Port reapply for the lease.
Watch for a vote tomorrow about the mayor's announcement that
the Port needed to
apply for a new lease. 4. In another department head announcement, Murray named former Georgetown community activist and Seattle city neighborhood council chair Kathy Nyland as head of the city's Department of Neighborhoods on Friday.
Nyland is currently a planning and land use policy advisor in Murray's policy shop. Prior to that she was a legislative aide in council member Sally Bagshaw's office.
“During my first year as mayor, Kathy has become a trusted advisor,” Murray said in a statement. “Her personal history as a community advocate, her strong relationships with neighborhood leaders throughout the city, and her policy acumen make her the natural choice to step into this role."
The even better endorsement, though, came from '90s-era DON icon Jim Diers, who said Nyland was someone he had "long admired for her leadership of the Georgetown neighborhood. I know that she believes deeply in the department's mission and I can't wait to see what she does in taking it to the next level.”
Not only is Diers a hero from the neighborhood-era of Seattle (the '90s is when the venerated neighborhood plans were developed), but Diers was literally pronounced dead in a botched press release early in Murray's term.
5. Black Lives Matter protesters marched from Westlake Center to Safeco field (where they held a sit-in) on Saturday, and then headed back the Westlake to protest police violence against black Americans. The march focused on police violence and institutional racism affecting black women and black transgender individuals.
There were no arrests or property damage or altercations, though there was a lot of singing and some dancing at various intersections.