Election Advice: Don’t Support Any Candidates Yet!

I sent this out as an email earlier this week. Events have changed things significantly since current Mayor Ed Murray has announced since I sent this he won’t be running for reelection. What’s likely to happen is more people will enter the race before filing ends on the 19th of May. I don’t think we should be in any hurry to support anyone for Mayor or Council yet.


As you probably know by now, Seattle has an election in 2017. Many of you have expressed interest in the election and the impact it could have on your work and projects.
My advice at this point is to withhold support for any of the candidates for Mayor and City Council until we, first, see the complete field of candidates and second, we get a chance to see them in multiple settings answering questions about housing, land use, development, and the future of the city (you can read my post on the current crop of Mayoral candidates here: http://www.smartgrowthseattle.org/mayoral-candidates-tax-rich/
Politics is about winning, and to win, candidates have to persuade more people to vote for them than their competitors. That’s obvious. But in doing this candidates often feel pressure to make their audiences happy. That cuts two ways. When candidates do talk to builders and developers they might say things that you like. But do they say the same things when the audience is neighbors or members of the Tenants Union?
This election is probably the most important election our community and industry has faced in Seattle. The stakes are enormous. If the current Mayor is successful in getting re-elected he’s likely to see that as a mandate to impose Mandatory Inclusionary Zoning. If he doesn’t, or it’s a close election, we might get the opportunity to reshape the discussion around MIZ and, maybe, shift the energy and momentum towards more productive and beneficial policy.If the wrong person gets elected, MIZ could get even worse than it is now, forcing many projects into infeasibility, raising prices, and forcing us to undertake an lengthy legal battle. Our next Mayor will set the table for housing policy for the next decade or more. 

Key dates ahead are the closing of filing which is end of the day, Friday, May 19th. Then the primary for all the candidates is August 1, 2017 and the general election November 7, 2017

I strongly recommend that all of us NOT endorse or throw our support behind any candidate at this point. Let’s see who else files. I will be watching and listening closely to see what candidates say to us and to other audiences. We have lots of time to let them convince us they understand housing and how it’s financed and built. 
I’d love to get your thoughts over the next couple weeks and then expect an update once we’ve got a final list of candidates.
Thanks for all you do to make this a great city!

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