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If you want this district elections thing to work out, you have to vote today

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.

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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.

Original story:

Center column: "Active registered voters as of August 3, 2015" - Right column: "Ballots returned" as of press time.
Center column: “Active registered voters
as of August 3, 2015″ – Right column: “Ballots returned” as of press time.

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.

As a reminder, here’s our safe streets primer on the primary. You can also read candidate questionnaire responses from Feet First, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways and Cascade Bicycle Club.

Bike the vote!

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2 responses to “If you want this district elections thing to work out, you have to vote today”

  1. Harrison Davignon

    We need candidates who care about bicycle riders. There is more traffic on the roads every year and bicycle infrastructure in inconvenient or poorly built. How about a cycle track that go’s on block, ends and you are now riding against traffic?! Like the ballard bridge, no one seems interested in improving walking, bicycle and wheelchair safety on. Its all these politicians that are paid by big oil. Big oil wants people to drive petroleum powered cars and steal our tax money, to make them richer, while we suffer and big oil pays our politicians for all this. We need to stop giving oil our tax money and invest some of it into bicycle safety. Hopefully will find people who care about us more then money. Politicians in return try to make bicycle infrastructure poorly designed so we won’t bother them, like putting a bandage on a infection to hide from it. Its time to make our community a better place for all.

    1. Law Abider

      I don’t think there’s a single person in the city that doesn’t want to fix the Ballard Bridge. The problem is, there’s not an easy, low cost fix that satisfies everyone, which in Seattle, means it’s going to take some time. However, given the rate that positive cycling changes are happening in this city, I wouldn’t be surprised if the City picks up steam on a solution in the next year.

      And the rest of your statement sounds like a lunatic rambling. There are plenty of candidates that care about bicycling. And which candidates are in the pocket of big oil?

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