Morning Fizz

Friday LIKES & DISLIKES: District Four

Maddux and Johnson review the week's news.

By Josh Feit July 24, 2015

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In the runup to the August 4 primary election, Fizz’s regular Friday LIKES & DISLIKES column is featuring this year’s city council candidates.

For today’s fifth installment of City Council Candidate LIKES & DISLIKES, we asked candidates in District Four, Eastlake northeast through the U. District and Wedgwood up to Sand Point, to review this week's news.

The city council incumbent in the race, Jean Godden, didn't turn in the assignment.


Michael Maddux is a Democratic activist who serves on the King County and 43rd District Democrats Executive Board and was chair of the King County Democrats endorsement committee (where he can and should take credit for scaring arch conservative Mark Miloscia out of the Democratic Party.) Maddux is a single, gay father (one daughter in SPS) who lives as a renter, biker (to his job as a paralegal), soccer player, and softball geek. He championed last year's parks levy and sits on the oversight committee. Maddux is a witty grouch with brave political instincts, like the time he promptly signed on to the affordable housing plan (instead of a park) for the blighted property across from Roosevelt High School. 

Once a Joe Mallahan fan (?!), Maddux is something of a born again uber progressive, but with a finely calibrated political radar that knits urbanism and social justice together in a credible, rather than cloying way; and he remains skeptical of easy populist rhetoric. So far.

And, by the way, John Roderick is not the only rock and roller in this year’s pack of candidates. Maddux once fronted a punk band called the Wise Guys (very easy to imagine...or...check out.) Take it away Michael Maddux:

1. I LIKE that the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld our State’s requirement that pharmacists dispense medication as prescribed, including emergency contraception. Ensuring that all women have access to safe, affordable contraception is a belief I have long held dear, and by removing barriers to contraception, the Ninth Circuit has helped ensure that individual’s personal beliefs cannot be a reason to deny public accommodation. While I have yet to hear of any pharmacies in Wallingford, for instance, denying women access to contraception, a ruling opening that door would have not only had potential to harm access to contraception in Seattle, but the actual effect of limiting access in other parts of our state.

(P.s. to Maddux, it's true that there's no problem getting emergency contraception in your district, but agreed, awesome decision yesterday. And congrats on your impressive NARAL endorsement this week.)

2. I LIKE that Sightline identified the benefits of enacting some sort of campaign finance reform in Seattle. While the Honest Elections initiative isn’t perfect, it is a step in the direction of leveling the playing field. Yes, the initiative will not ban the unprecedented investment by economically conservative business groups and opponents of tenant’s rights in Seattle elections, but isn’t it worth trying something? By providing a means for candidates for public service who have met certain thresholds to present their vision to voters, the impact of Citizen’s United-style media buys might be lessened.


Rob Johnson, the head of the nerdy transit advocacy group Transportation Choices Coalition (most recently seen fighting for the SR 99 TOD option at the Sound Transit board meeting yesterday), is a longtime advocate for smart green solutions to city planning. Johnson and TCC have been at the center—along with OneAmerica, labor, and low-income advocacy groups—of creating a potent new alliance for transit and urbanism that, most notably, came together during last year's Metro transit campaigns. And, by the way, while all of you were working on Barack Obama's first election, Johnson got busy heading up the successful 2008 campaign for Sound Transit Two.

Johnson, a dad with three young children in Roosevelt, was part of the group that fought for YIMBY TOD rezones over lesser Seattle objections, and he currently geeks out about pedestrian bridges in Montlake. In short, Johnson has been hot on urbanism long before it was cool, and his deep expertise was rewarded this week with a big endorsement from the Seattle Transit Blog. (News broke this week that Johnson is being backed by independent expenditure money from business groups; I was going to address that in this intro, but Johnson took up the story himself in his LIKES & DISLIKES.) Take it away Rob Johnson: 

1. Next month on Capitol Hill we’ll be rolling out a new car free zone on Saturday nights on Pike between Broadway and 12th as a way to curb street disorder and create a more pedestrian friendly environment.  Around 30 percent of Seattle’s total land area is made up of our local roads, many of which are dramatically underutilized.  As the renowned livable cities expert Jaime Lerner has said, we don’t need large scale and expensive projects to transform our neighborhoods into more livable places.  Simple solutions can sometimes be the most effective and impactful.  When combined with other great innovations like Seattle’s play streets program, our parklets, and the Emerald Mile ), Seattle is quickly becoming a place where we repurpose our streets for people to congregate, relax, and have fun.  This is something I LIKE because it’s good for public health, good for economy, good for public safety, and good for building communities.  We’re creating places where people want to stick around and hang out.   But don’t take my word for it, the Huffington Post likes this idea too.

2. On a different note, I DISLIKE the way some people have portrayed the “People for Rob” independent expenditure. It’s odd to see yourself in the news and be branded as in the pockets of corporate interests. I’ve always disliked the influence of outside money in politics; this is, unfortunately, the reality of our post-Citizens’ United American electoral landscape.

As a progressive non-profit executive director proudly endorsed by UFCW 21, SEIU 925, Sierra Club, Cascade Bicycle Club and other strong advocates for working families and diverse, vibrant communities, one of the many things I am learning in this campaign is that you can remain true to your values and still earn the backing of certain groups that some don't see as the most progressive organizations in Seattle. I'd like to think the support of labor, environmental, AND business groups speaks more to my hard work, coalition building skills, and straight-forward approach as much as anything.  Our campaign has picked up votes and supporters by knocking on over 15,000 doors, making thousands of phone calls, and recruiting nearly a hundred volunteers.

While I welcome the support of a diverse set of organizations.

I also want to be clear that my positions— rooted in my proven track record of progressive issue advocacy— remain rock solid and focused on how we can work together, business and labor, builders and environmentalists, renters and home owners, for a Seattle that is more affordable, fair, and responsive to the needs of all.

For previous candidates' LIKES & DISLIKES start here.

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