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 1. The 43rd District Democrats (Capitol Hill, U District, Wallingford) voted on city council candidate endorsements last night; they only took up council positions that overlap with their state legislative district.

Not surprisingly, they went with longtime 43rd District activist Michael Maddux, who serves on the King County and 43rd District Democrats executive boards and was chair of the King County Democrats endorsement committee. Maddux, who's running in city council District Four, scored nearly 70 percent of the vote (you need 60 for the endorsement) over his rival, Rob Johnson. The two candidates knocked out longtime council incumbent Jean Godden in August's top-two primary. 

Maddux was the only candidate to win an official endorsement last night, though two other votes were certainly meaningful. The 43rd is city council incumbent Kshama Sawant's home turf. As a socialist, Sawant was not eligible for the 43rd's endorsement, but the "No Endorsement" vote was a proxy against her opponent, Urban League leader Pamela Banks. "No Endorsement" scored 55 percent while Banks got 45 percent. A victory for Sawant that Democrats showed so much support for a socialist? Or a victory for Banks that the supposed local hero couldn't get the necessary 60 percent?

Meanwhile, council president Tim Burgess got 52 percent to his lefty opponent Jon Grant's 48 percent. Again: Read into those numbers what you will. Supposed council conservative Burgess beat super lefty Grant in the flaming 43rd...or newcomer Grant stalled an endorsement vote for the longtime council leader?

Some evidence that sheds light on both the Sawant and Burgess scenarios? The 43rd also passed a resolution last night against the state ban on rent control—positions advocated by both Sawant and Grant. So, the fact that that resolution won, but neither Sawant nor Grant won means...?

2. The strike is over.

The teachers union released the following statement yesterday after its members voted to ratify the agreement.

The Seattle Education Association’s elected building representatives—the SEA Representative Assembly—voted Tuesday to recommend ratification of the tentative contract agreement with the Seattle School Board and to suspend the SEA strike, which is in its seventh day.

Educators will return to work Wednesday, Sept. 16, and school will start Sept. 17. The entire SEA membership will vote on the agreement next Sunday at a general membership meeting.

The tentative agreement addresses every one of the priority issues identified by SEA members last spring.

“This is a hard-fought victory for the kids of Seattle, and I am proud of SEA members and our incredible bargaining team,” said Jonathan Knapp, SEA president. “This agreement signals a new era in bargaining in public education. We’ve negotiated a pro-student, pro-parent, pro-educator agreement. We really appreciate the strong support from parents and students.”

“These issues are about our kids,” said Phyllis Campano, SEA vice president and chair of the SEA Bargaining Team. “It’s about giving our children what they need.”

Recess: Guaranteed 30 minutes of recess for all elementary students.
Reasonable testing: New policies to reduce the over-testing of our students.
Professional pay: Base salary increases of 3 percent, 2 percent and 4.5 percent, plus the state COLA of 4.8 percent
Fair teacher and staff evaluations: Test scores will no longer be tied to teacher evaluations, plus there is new contract language that supports teacher growth.
Educator workload relief: Additional staff to reduce workloads and provide student services.
Student equity around discipline and the opportunity gap: Creating race and equity teams at 30 of the district’s schools.
The administration’s proposal to lengthen the school day: Teachers will be compensated for additional work.

3. Despite the urgent need for affordable housing, both the mayor and the council, in separate decisions yesterday, appear to have forgone millions of dollars for affordable housing.

First, mayor Ed Murray changed course in the Roosevelt land use debate, opting to build a park at the seized Sisley properties site instead of building affordable housing there. After the city seized the blighted Sisley property across the street from Roosevelt High School earlier this year and announced it would build a park, affordable housing activists—citing the proximity to the future Roosevelt light rail station (two blocks away)—called on the city to replace the dilapidated housing with new, affordable housing. Murray paused, reviewed, and then announced two weeks ago that a development company, RDG, had paid off Sisley’s fines and was going to build some affordable housing on the site using the multifamily tax exemption (MFTE) program.

However, yesterday, Murray announced that most of the money, $2.9 million out of $3.5 million—would now go to building a park on the site (on 14th Avenue Northeast, between 65th and 66th) instead.

However, Murray noted that RDG is also cued up to build some affordable housing near by—at 65th and 15th—and that 69 units in the 329-unit building will be affordable, at 80 percent of the area median income, as the MFTE program requires. Murray also said, in a letter obtained by KING 5, that the remaining $500,000 would go to tenant relocation assistance programs and low-income housing outreach programs.

Second, the city’s land use committee, headed up by council member Mike O’Brien, shot down a DPD proposal yesterday to allow extra square footage on smaller residential lot (18,000 square feet and below) development in South Lake Union. The change from the current 50 percent square footage bonus to a proposed 75 percent square footage bonus—which developers were seeking on three specific projects—would have added $4 million to the city’s incentive zoning affordable housing fund, developers testified yesterday. But O’Brien believes the city will get more affordable housing dollars out of the projects in the long run—once the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda's inclusionary zoning guidelines kick in and 5 to 7 percent of residential development go to affordable housing. There are two problems with that assumption, though: The developers are going ahead with all three projects now (so, kiss the $4 million goodbye) and the incentive zoning bonus comes on top of the HALA upzone anyway and doesn't change the fee equation for small lots. So, without the change, the city is still leaving $4 million in affordable housing dollars on the table.

 4. We sat down with city council hopeful Lisa Herbold, a longtime lefty council member Nick Licata aide, yesterday. (PubliCola will be making endorsements in mid-October).

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As we’re doing with all the candidates, we ran Herbold, the District One (West Seattle) top vote getter in August’s top-two primary, through a battery of LIKES and DISLIKES.

Here’s what Herbold, a bona fide policy nerd who is clearly focused on tenants rights and affordable housing, had to say.

Herbold LIKED the mayor’s $930 million transportation levy.

“I’m going to vote for it. I have concerns that it is too large of a hit. I think it should also be a diversified revenue package,” she said, noting Licata’s employer head tax proposal as an option. “That said, it is a quarter of SDOT’s budget, and I hope it passes.”

Herbold LIKED homeless encampments in single family zones. However, asked for a specific site that made sense in West Seattle, she said: “I haven’t done that level of analysis to see what we’ve got in West Seattle,” though, referring to the longtime Highline encampment in her district, she said: “I think it makes sense for an encampment coming back to an area it’s already been,” while adding: “People in that neighborhood really want to see their idea of equity, which is other neighborhoods taking on the impact [of tent encampments].”

Herbold DISLIKED that 65 percent of the city is zoned single family, though urbanists, who have tagged Herbold as part of the "Lesser Seattle" faction in town, shouldn't get too excited. She had several footnotes:

I think over time we’re going to have to look at allowing more multifamily in SFZs. I think it has happen slowly. I think... we have to know where renter households live. Twenty-five percent of the single family structures are occupied by renters.

We don’t do a very good job of linking our land use policy to the displacement impacts of lands policy. As we all know, when you upzone property it becomes more valuable and incentivizes redeveloping it for a high-end use. Often the housing that is removed is affordable rental apartment and rented out houses.

Secondly, I really think that we have to have an intentional policy of addressing housing replacement, because when you take down these properties that are currently homes for renters, are they being replaced?

[Single Family Zones are] only exclusive if we are certain that what is being replaced is more inclusive. And it’s not. It’s either being replaced with home ownership and more higher rentals.

Concurring with a group of West Seattle neighborhood activists who are concerned that new development in so-called frequent transit service areas doesn’t have to come with parking, Herbold DISLIKED using averages bus headways as the metric for designating frequent transit service areas. (DPD is considering adjusting the frequent transit service area designation to clarify that a overall average bus arrival times versus individual bus arrival times suffice.)

She said: “The problem I have with that is that if you’re averaging between multiple bus routes, that doesn’t help [a person] who takes a particular bus. It doesn’t matter if there are six bus routes that make a stop there. Dislike.”

She also had this to say about parking requirements: “One of my big problems with the whole ‘not providing parking leads to greater affordability' is that while it leads to housing costing less to build, it’s not always translated in the form of lower rents. If our policy objective is greater affordability, we need to also include in our legislation some way to guarantee that [no parking mandates comes with a guarantee for lower rents].”

However, lest you think Herbold is a parking zealot: She LIKED the inevitable SDOT proposal to lose parking spaces to increase West Seattle’s C-Line bus service: “I’m fine with that trade-off. Like.”

As for impact fees on developers that offset infrastructure costs: “I love impact fees. I want to marry impact fees.”

We covered a lot more ground with Herbold, and I'll post highlights later today. Teaser: The super lefty, and potential Sawant ally and Murray needler on the future council, told us that rent control (Sawant's signature issue) "doesn't work" and, having witnessed four mayoral administrations up close now as a city council staffer since 1998(!), Herbold said Mayor Murray has been the most impressive.

I think Ed Murray’s been the best mayor so far. He’s just gotten a lot done and a lot done on the issues I care about.

The Murray administration balances both being open and incredibly effective. Too often people sacrifice openness because they say it’s what they have to do to get things done.