UPDATE: You did it! Initial returns show that most of the NIMBY candidates did very poorly in the primary, despite a low and likely more conservative turnout. Things are looking great for electing a City Council that supports bold action on safe streets.
In fact, Cascade Bicycle Club went 7 for 8 in having their endorsed candidates make it through, with only Halei Watkins getting knocked out (they did not endorse in District 3). That’s not too shabby. And noted bike lane opponent Tony Provine came in a distant fourth place in District 4 (so, no, voicing opposition to safe streets is not a winning election strategy).
In fact, nearly every candidate to make it to the general election (with a chance of winning) has a solid stance on safe streets and bike lanes. The safest incumbents — Mike O’Brien and Sally Bagshaw — are also some of the biggest safe streets boosters.
The only candidate in a close race who wasn’t solid on biking and safe streets issues is Pamela Banks in District 3. But she can hardly be called anti-bike, since she told Cascade she will seek to fully fund the Bike Master Plan and supports safe streets projects like the 23rd Ave redesign and Central Area Neighborhood Greenway (also wants to repave Lake Washington Blvd… yes, please!). But red flags went up when she waffled on a question from the DSA about supporting protected bike lanes downtown (“BALANCE!! Not all roads can handle all modes of transportation.”).
Now it’s time to kick the Move Seattle levy campaign into full power. Support for that levy will be a big factor in how bicycling voters view candidates going into the general. Because Move Seattle is bold, smart and vital for our growing city. If I were a candidate for City Council, I would unequivocally support it. Because this is a real test of whether you are willing to upset some voters (there will likely be people strongly against the property tax levy) in order to do the right thing for safe streets and multimodal transportation.
District elections sure sound like a good idea. You get candidates who live in every part of the city, and someone’s path to office could depend more on knocking on doors and shaking hands than big money advertising campaigns.
But district elections could also open the door for candidates who fear change, members of the Not-In-My-Backyard Party who would have been laughed out of town in a citywide race. This is the worst-case scenario. Our leaders need to be bold and willing to take drastic action to address our city’s biggest problems, including safe, efficient streets.
That’s why you can’t skip today’s primary. I know August is a terrible time to have an election with so many people on vacation. But people who generally resist change are reliable voters. If you want the city to have bold leaders, you have to vote for them today.
Get your ballot to a King County drop box by 8 p.m. or get it in the mail early enough to get a postmark from today (as the day gets later, this probably means swinging by a post office).
The good news is that there are a ton of great people running. All you have to do is choose one of them. Imagine how awesome it would be if every council race ended up being between two quality candidates? It could happen! But you gotta vote or the NIMBY Party candidates will make it through. And that would suck.
Bike the vote!
— Madi Carlson (@familyride) August 4, 2015