1. Still trying to get a handle on the gaggle of Democratic candidates now officially running for retiring U.S. representative Jim McDermott’s (D-WA, 7) open seat?
Here’s a speed-dating metric. I asked all three—state senator Pramila Jayapal (D-37, Southeast Seattle), King County Council member Joe McDermott (no relation), and state representative Brady Walkinshaw (D-43, Capitol Hill)—this defining question: Bernie or Hillary?
Jayapal has officially endorsed Sanders and tells me she’s taking a cue from her 20-year-old son’s generation. “The vision has to be to fundamentally change the system,” Jayapal says. She acknowledges that she likes Clinton too, particularly on women’s issues, and will “work my tail off for her if she gets the nomination.” But she says she’s “wary about all the ‘Friend of Bill’ and Wall Street connections,” and likes that “Sanders is pulling [the debate] to the left.”
McDermott says: "I'm excited to support Hillary Clinton for president. She possesses unique and exceptional experience for the job and it is past time that the most high profile glass ceiling is finally shattered."
Walkinshaw has not responded to the question.
2. Sightline, the local environmental think tank that's been on a tear against oil trains and exposing oil industry money in local politics (they’re also responsible for the brain work behind last year's successful public finance campaign measure) has hired urban planner Dan Bertolet to now make the case for affordable housing.
Bertolet, perhaps the number one urbanist thinker in the city—in 2007 he ran a prescient pro-density blog called HugeAssCity, then, in 2010, he started writing a PubliCola column, and he currently writes a blog called CityTank while manning his day job as an urban planner at VIA Architecture where he works on transit land use—will surely bring a green, pro-density POV to the gig.
The addition of Bertolet’s high IQ couldn’t come at a better time for fans of density: Mayor Ed Murray’s plans to expand and upzone urban villages citywide is coming before the city council this year and is already facing high-pitched opposition from single-family homeowners. (Murray’s office was forced to release a lengthy defense of the mayor’s affordable housing plan late last week after 150 angry Wallingford neighbors condemned Murray’s plan at a community council meeting on Wednesday night).
Murray is holding a meeting of his own on housing affordability this week at city hall on Tuesday after work.
Sightline’s executive director Alan Durning was on Murray’s affordable housing task force, known as the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA) committee, where he was a driving force behind many of the controversial bullet points in the plan, such as scaling back parking requirements and, the major bombshell (since tabled by the mayor), adding density to single family neighborhoods.
Perhaps equally newsworthy, Bertolet’s new position at Sightline (the official title is “senior researcher, housing and urbanism”) is being funded by a San Francisco-based group called the Open Philanthropy Project, which is also backing research on zeitgeist progressive topics nationwide like immigration reform and criminal justice reform. The fact that A) they’ve added affordable housing from an urbanist POV to their list and B) that they’re banking on Seattle as a model are signs that Seattle is once again at the forefront of public policy.
No pressure, Bertolet.
3. The forerunner of the Bernie Sanders wing of the Democratic party, netroots, leftroots activist Darcy Burner is considering another run for office; she ran and lost in 2006 and 2008 against U.S. representative Dave Reichert (R-WA, 8) and ran again in 2012 in the redrawn First Congressional District, losing in the Democratic primary round to now U.S. representative Suzan DelBene (D-WA, 1).
This time Burner is looking at the state level where state representative Chad Magendanz (R-5, Issaquah) is leaving his seat to run against Democratic state senator Mark Mullet (D-5, Issaquah).