Freshman Council Member Herbold Emerges in Year One as Driving Force
1. Looking at the news from city hall this last week—the council amended the mayor’s Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda to include a new developer fee to account for displacement of existing affordable housing, the council barred landlords from discriminating against potential tenants based on source of income (i.e. they can’t favor Amazon employees), and the council and mayor cued up new legislation to ensure fair schedules for service industry workers—there’s a common denominator: Freshman city council member Lisa Herbold.
It was her amendment that tweaked HALA (her freshman colleague Rob Johnson, who she collaborated with to make the HALA change, had a good tweak himself—extending the affordability term from 50 years to 75 years.) It was Herbold legislation that put the new rules on landlords. And, in concert with at-large city council member Lorena González and the mayor, Herbold was the driving force behind the “secured scheduling” legislation.
I bring this up because, A, I want to say we told you so; go back and read PubliCola's 2015 Herbold endorsement; opening line: "There isn't a more qualified candidate running for city council than Lisa Herbold."
And B, I must say: While mayor Murray is famously antsy about smiley political natural Mike O’Brien (and his lefty base), resume rock star Lorena González (and her political charisma) and mini-celebrity Kshama Sawant (and her tenacious political machine), it’s hard not to imagine Herbold, currently running the table on the second floor, ascending to the seventh floor in due time.
Erica C. Barnett has an interesting post about Herbold’s new landlord legislation which focused on Herbold’s formidable political chops. In particular, Barnett draws an interesting contrast between Herbold's former boss, popular, legendary lefty (retired) city council member Nick Licata and Herbold, floating the idea that Herbold is poised to have a grander impact than Licata himself.
Is Herbold—former aide to Nick Licata, ex-Tenants Union advocate, go-to encyclopedia of landlord-tenant law—poised to rewrite city rental regulations in a way that her former boss neither did nor could?
Footnote: Lest I get accused of fawning over Herbold, let me say this: Her ties to the populist Lesser Seattle faction in local politics (Herbold’s the only council member who showed any sympathy to the District Councils in the recent brouhaha over the mayor’s excellent decision to make the councils less prominent) comes with a strong dose of NIMBY thinking that I believe is problematic for the city. However, it could be that’s her path to staring down Murray.
2. A final thought about the story on Seattle Times publisher and editorial board member Frank Blethen’s emails with Port CEO Ted Fick.
If my questions seemed unfair—I raised concerns about both the Times’ constant Port favoritism in the context of pitching an ad to the Port and the Times’ flip-flop to favoring U.S. senator Maria Cantwell in the context of selling her an ad—I’d ask you to please consider the macro issue that clouds both situations: A member of the editorial board is selling ads.
3. And since today’s Fizz seems to be heavy on the opinions, please check out yesterday’s afternoon editorial: “In Defense of Getting Shit Done: Mayor and Council Challenge ‘Seattle Process.’”