2018 was a funny election year. Faced with a spreadsheet of state legislative races long enough to make the election board’s eyes bleed, where dozens and dozens of candidates in urban and not-so-urban districts deserved consideration, a dedicated volunteer crew at The Urbanist dug into the process of narrowing down the races and drafting questionnaires appropriate for the state-level conversation about cities, transportation, and climate.
We asked folks about Sound Transit timelines and car tabs, affordable housing, regressive tax structures, carbon taxes, and more. We decided that a race for city Prosecuting Attorney deserved scrutiny from people who love cities and want them to be even better. We chased down candidates and staffers and slid into their DMs to get the answers we wanted.
Ultimately, we ran a scrappy, monthslong, rice-krispie-treat-fueled endorsements process that forced politicians from Everett all the way to South King County to tell us their favorite mode of transportation. (Spoiler: it’s almost always rail.) We also endorsed gun safety and police accountability measures, a carbon tax, and transit and pedestrian improvements in Shoreline, Thurston County, and Lewis County. We don’t think conversations about climate, housing, land-use, and urbanism should be just for Seattle.
Beyond the elections, The Urbanist joined the Move All Seattle Sustainably (MASS) coalition, which pushed for Seattle’s budget process to go farther on climate goals and achieving Vision Zero, and which continues to fight for transportation priorities that include pedestrians, transit riders, cyclists, and all the transportation modes that could help us refrain from extinguishing all human life on earth before millennials have a chance to meet our friends’ grandkids.
We publish all our candidate questionnaires so you can read them for yourself. We leave sweaty helmets around fancy coworking spaces so we can lock ourselves in rooms for hours at a time talking about progressive taxes and transportation priorities. We pay ourselves in sparkling water. We just want our city to be beautiful and weird; we want those in power to be accountable to all the humans, slugs, and whales that call the PNW home; and we want to keep having this conversation with you. To do that, we need your support. The 2019 Seattle City Council election is going to be intense, and we hope you could use a resource with the lens of The Urbanist to evaluate the clown car of candidates who are going to be involved.
Take a moment to consider what passionate local policy and elections coverage means to you. And if you can, become a subscriber of The Urbanist and help us make this happen.
2019 Subscriber Drive
Anna Minard serves on The Urbanist;s Executive Board and co-leads the election board. She is a freelance writer and copy editor and former City Hall reporter for The Stranger and author of the music column Never Heard of ‘Em. She’s also worked as a digital organizer at progressive nonprofits and spent six years as a bookseller. Her writing has appeared in The Stranger, The Seattle Review of Books, Crosscut, and Prairie Dog magazine in Canada. Follow her on Twitter @minardanna.