Morning Fizz

More City Hall Hires Cap Off Year for Urbanists, Socialists

Council staffs taking shape at city hall.

By Josh Feit December 29, 2015

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 1. Incoming council member Rob Johnson is (so far) living up to the expectations of his urbanist fans—at least judging from his latest hire. Johnson, who scored the planning committee (only a score if you’re a supernerd, I guess) has hired Futurewise staffer Amy Gore. Futurewise is the tenacious nonprofit that advocates smart growth and green planning. Gore has been the sustainable communities director at Futurewise for two years. And before that, she worked for eight years as planning consultant where she did stuff like—get this!—“Recommending revitalization strategies at the parcel, neighborhood and city level” and “Advising local governments on transportation and land use decisions.” The “parcel level”!

Footnote, though, with former Futurewise star lobbyist April Putney leaving the green group to go work for King County executive Dow Constantine last year and also urban planner Spencer Williams leaving the group this year to go work for the Seattle Housing Authority, there’s something of a brain drain at the pivotal local group.

In other city council hires: Longtime Sawant staffer Clay Showalter is leaving the high-profile office and Sawant has replaced him with Rebekah Liebermann; Liebermann ran United Way’s summer food bank program. And like Showalter, she is active in the Socialist Alternative Party.

2. A few weeks ago, I sized up state representative Brady Walkinshaw’s fundraising as he goes up against longtime U.S. representative Jim McDermott (D-WA, 7).

Walkinshaw sent a fundraising letter out to supporters yesterday—“I’ve committed not to accept corporate PAC money”—sounding a bit of an alarm. He reports that he’s “only 50 percent of the way there” to meeting his goal to get to 500 “grassroots contributors” by the end of the year; the Federal Elections Commission deadline is Thursday night.

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