Thursday, December 2, 2021

Blocks on the battlefield: Voters in these hotly contested precincts can decide on elections in Seattle.

From a political point of view, most of Seattle’s neighborhoods are tilted in one direction or another. More than 1,000 polling stations in the city have chosen Bruce Harrell or M. Lorena Gonzalez as mayoral candidates ran in the August 3 primary.

But there are exceptions: Harrell and Gonzalez won exactly the same number of primary votes in about a dozen polling stations that are now the battleground in the November 2 general election.

Harrell, the former city council president, has pledged to keep homeless parks out of parks, while Gonzalez, the current city council president, has pledged to tax big business and the wealthy. Similarly, the races for the councilor and the city attorney were divided.

In the primary, Harrell performed best in areas close to water for many homeowners. Gonzalez performed best in urban areas with a large number of tenants. Some of the areas where they are stumped illustrate the political landscape of Seattle in miniature. (the average number of registered voters at a polling station is about 450).

In the “Maple Leaf” area, rows of bungalows run perpendicular to the highway with the tenants of the apartments. Elsewhere, Beacon Hill houses overlook the mountains overlooking town houses. In the Magnolia area, tenants in duplexes and triplexes communicate closely with homeowners.

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“The defining challenges in the city are mostly related to housing,” said Sean Scott, campaign coordinator for council nominee Nikkita Oliver.

The territory of the battlefield is one of those where campaign mailings and agents will help decide races. There will be more voters in the general election than in the preliminary.

“These are districts with average incomes. Mostly homeowners, but there are some “rentals” that involve young and old residents. Ben Anderston, a consultant working with Sarah Nelson, Oliver’s 9th City Council opponent.

The campaigns also target vacillating polling stations, where many voters selected candidates who failed the primary, Scott and Anderston said.

Maple Leaf

Only two quarters in the Maple Leaf separate their businesses, but Mike Kelly and Jill Killen have different views on the city attorney race.

Kelly, who owns a hardware store, allowed candidate Anne Davison to campaign for his business in July. The store has seen a rise in crime and volatile behavior among people with addictions and mental health problems, he said, noting the associated safety costs. Davison has pledged to pursue a more aggressive pursuit in some cases.

“The public cannot defend itself. It’s police work, ”Kelly said. “We need people to respond, otherwise the business will not be able to flourish.”

Keellen, who owns the coffee shop, is backed by Nicole Thomas-Kennedy, a former public defender who wants to shift the costs of many prosecutions to social services, compared to Davison, a lawyer who ran for lieutenant governor of the state last year as a Republican. “I just don’t think we can find a way out of poverty,” Killen said.

Kelly and Killen love and appreciate each other, so there are no personal claims. Rather, their points of view reflect the range of opinions in Maple Leaf. At a polling station that includes Kelly’s store, Harrell and Gonzalez received 91 primary votes. The neighborhood is mostly detached, but northeast Roosevelt Way overlooks apartments.

“A wide variety of people have moved here, including young parents and other people of color,” Killen said.

Chris Kammeyer, 40, has noticed a gap in his field between “millennial activists” and “wool-dyed Seattle NIMBIs.” The tenant supports Gonzalez and Oliver, a lawyer who directs an artistic entertainment program for young people involved in the court, compared to Harrell and Nelson, a brewery owner and former counsel.

Kammeyer had problems with the police when he was growing up in Idaho because he is a fagot and he supports candidates who are “open to the whole concept of freeing the police” from other decisions, the worker said., arguing that higher taxes on companies like Amazon and Boeing are needed to tackle homelessness.

Brad Wood, 59, a longtime Maple Leaf homeowner who works on construction, also leans towards Gonzalez, despite concerns about destroyed parks because she seems “more liberal.” But he said he expects his wife and many of his neighbors to vote for Harrell, in part because they are unhappy with the camps and hope Harrell will crack down on them decisively.

Epidemiologist Liz Cromwell, 40, worries her child will run into needles in parks and will likely vote Harrell over Gonzalez because “the current advice seems completely out of place.” Current Mayor Jenny Durcan, who has led the city’s campaign against the homeless since late 2017, is not running for re-election.

The site covers only 10 square blocks. Val Landicho, a city clerk, lives near the site, as does Guy Auron, a writer. Landicho, 60, a Harrell voter, believes many vulnerable people need treatment for drug addiction and mental health. Auron, 23, a Gonzalez voter, cited housing and climate change as key issues.

Beacon Hill

Another stretch of the battlefield descends from Beacon Hill, near Jefferson Park, to the Martin Luther King South Track, where light rail trains zip by.

Harrell and Gonzalez each received 89 primary votes each, although Matt Briggs chose none. The Beacon Hill homeowner selected Colleen Ekohawk, who shared her experience of running a homeless nonprofit.

The engineer said the 39-year-old Briggs is struggling to choose between candidates he sees as sharing responsibility for the current conditions, and blames systemic issues like Washington’s regressive tax structure and tech boom for Seattle’s accessibility issues.

“They both seem to be the same,” he said of Harrell and Gonzalez.

Neighbor Karin Roberts believes Harrell has “done little” in his more than ten years on the council, while Gonzalez has tried to expand homeless services, she said. People living in a long-standing camp near VA Medical Center should be getting help, but “I don’t feel threatened,” or I want to be kicked out, ”said 51-year-old Roberts, who works in higher education.

Theo Holt, 38, said he was concerned that higher business taxes could reduce Seattle’s competitiveness compared to other parts of the country. “Part of me just wants to remain an economic force,” said the investment manager, probably in favor of moderate candidates.

Below, on MLK, separated from Beacon Hill by the Black Green Belt, Seattle’s problems look different. According to him, due to traffic noise, 26-year-old Matthew Page moved from Lake City to Renton and other places.

During this time, “I’ve never lived anywhere for more than eight months,” said Page, who runs billing and intends to vote for candidates who agree that “housing is a basic human right.”

Andy Raghavan, 48, lives in the same complex and prefers Harrell, he said, in part because Gonzalez supported calls for police last year. “There has to be police reform, but ‘abandoning the police’ is a terrible slogan,” said the technician.

The primary turnout in the Beacon Hill constituency was 46% – better than the city’s 42%. However, this means that most of the residents have served time.

Kurt Kogita, 63, a jeweler, wants the city to stop building bike paths. Demorier Casey, 34, an Amazon employee renting at MLK, worries about housing. None of them are planning to vote in the November 2 elections.

“Whatever they do, they’re going to do it anyway,” said Kogita.


Magnolia is best known for its steep-topped mansions, but the polling station next to the Interbay train tracks is characterized by a clutter of apartment buildings that includes large and small apartment buildings, cottages, and views.

Echohawk performed relatively well at the polling station with 38 votes in the primary; Harrell and Gonzalez won 57 each.

“These neighborhoods are a strange mixture,” although the residents are mostly white, said Ruth Eitemiller, a duplex renter in the theater industry who has noticed an increase in the number of homeless people on her bus ride. She attributes this to the pandemic and the cost of housing.

Eitemiller is wary of campaigns that focus on “cleaning the streets … just getting the homeless out of sight,” she said, describing the strategy as alarming and ineffective. In the race to 9th, the 33-year-old votes for Oliver, who she says sees Seattle’s problems “creatively.”

Jennifer Hallett, the owner of the apartment next door, disagrees with homelessness. People are camping in cars under her house, she said.

“I don’t think it’s fair when they are allowed to stay there and make riots,” said Hallett, 55, a skeptical consultant. Thomas Kennedy city attorney candidate

Even among homeowners in the Magnolia area, opinions vary widely.

Carlos Echevarria believes Gonzalez will “untie the hands of the homeless,” while Harrell will take a tougher stance on street camping and crime, he said: also on Nelson’s side. The 74-year-old pensioner and immigrant from the Dominican Republic has lost patience at the mayor’s office, he said.

He mentioned that not so long ago, a man who seemed mentally unstable burst into the courtyard of Echevarria with a metal pipe.

Helping people makes sense, but “I came to this country with $ 20 in my pocket. I worked hard. If I could do it, they could ” – said Echevarria.

Kaitlyn Weaver lives in the same block, in the window of which there is a sign that says: “Prosecutors and judges are involved.” She posted the poster during last year’s protests against police brutality. Weaver, 35, is a public defender voting for Thomas Kennedy.

She understands why neighbors like Echevarria are upset. “There must be some kind of rule of law. We absolutely need the police, ”she said.

However, she would like more voters to dig “beyond the police report,” the cascading circumstances that put many people on the streets and in court, she said, referring to wrongful arrests and lost jobs. …

Many times, Weaver said, “There is actually a lot more going on.”

This coverage is provided in part by Microsoft Philanthropies. The Seattle Times retains editorial control over this and all coverage.

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