Morning Fizz

Urbanist Hopes, Democratic Expectations, and Neighborhood Demands

What Tim Kaine means for the Democrats, what Jim McDermott means for the Democrats, and what West Woodland wants from Ballard.

By Josh Feit July 25, 2016

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 1. Seattle progressives fretting over Hillary Clinton’s predictably conventional VP pick, take least if you also consider yourself an urbanist.

According to the Atlantic’s CityLab blog, Virginia Democratic senator Tim Kaine was a  “crusader against sprawl” as the governor of Virginia, was “an important force in bringing about the remarkable transformation of Tysons Corner, from soulless edge-city poster child to transit-oriented development hub,” and is the rare national level politician with a smart growth agenda.

While Clinton rocked the city vote nationwide (over Bernie Sanders), she doesn’t seem to have an urban sensibility. To the contrary, she celebrates suburban America—and even promotes stereotypes about parents's dreams to to flee the city and get their kids into suburban schools.

Urbanists have been hopeful that their issues—promoting density and mass transit—would become key tenets of the national Democratic agenda. CityLab makes the case that Kaine may be their champion.

They write: “Here was a guy whose eyes lit up at the mention of land-use regulations.”

2. In the runup to next week’s primary election, I’ve got a story in the new issue of the magazine about the U.S. congressional race in the 7th District to replace retiring liberal icon, U.S. representative Jim McDermott.

Less about the three main contenders, the piece, titled “The Soft Liberalism of Low Expectations,” is more about McDermott’s legacy and the unfortunate standards he set for this important seat.

Seattle met   jim mcdermott by luis tinoco pcwgmu

Image: Luis Tinoco

From the piece:

McDermott’s track record of thumbing his nose at Republicans (staunchly voting with his own party 94 percent of the time) presaged the new normal in 2016 when party purity—and gridlock in Congress—trumps political acuity. McDermott’s righteous failures certainly led to electoral success (he routinely won reelection by 80 percent for years).

And so the crop of Democrats running to fill his vacancy are inheriting a Seattle seat with low expectations, where the candidate who’s most ideologically pure— rather than the one who can get the most done—might be what voters want most.

3. So, you've heard how the traditional district councils don't have a good track record when it comes to including or representing younger people, renters, and minorities.

Well, as mayor Ed Murray and his neighborhood department director Kathy Nyland move forward with a plan to do away with district councils, here's a new twist on the district council controversy: the West Woodland neighborhood—just west of central Ballard and south of Whittier Heights—is criticizing the Ballard District Council for excluding their whole neighborhood

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