Seattle voters should elect housing advocate Jon Grant to City Council Position 8. Grant won’t fill the moderate shoes of Tim Burgess, but he brings experience and a reasonable perspective.
Seattle voters face a difficult decision in the race for City Council Position 8, the seat formerly held by Tim Burgess.
The Times recommends:
Seattle City Council, Position 8
Strengths: Grant’s deep understanding of Seattle’s social-services apparatus, and willingness to address shortcomings in the city’s response to housing and homeless challenges, make him the superior candidate.
Grant is not a perfect candidate. His campaign proposals include a few loopy and unworkable business taxes, but perhaps that’s de rigueur in Seattle politics nowadays."
Neither of the candidates, housing advocate Jon Grant or labor organizer Teresa Mosqueda, is likely to fill Burgess’ moderate role.
But Grant’s deep understanding of Seattle’s social-services apparatus, and willingness to address shortcomings in the city’s response to housing and homeless challenges, make him the superior candidate.
Mosqueda is a whipsmart campaign director for the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO and a quintessential establishment candidate, heavily backed by insiders and those who benefit from the status quo.
Seattle needs fresh leadership willing to question and challenge insiders and policies that aren’t working and are making Seattle less affordable for renters and homeowners paying the tab.
Grant is not a perfect candidate. His campaign proposals include a few loopy and unworkable business taxes, but perhaps that’s de rigueur in Seattle politics nowadays.
Mosqueda wants to double-down on subsidies of housing projects, which have yet to make the city affordable, by increasing the city’s debt — just as an economic slowdown appears ever more likely.
Grant wants to improve the “grand bargain” that former Mayor Ed Murray made with developers and require them to provide more affordable units in return for extra density.
A major challenge for the council will be improving the city’s response to homelessness. Crucial to that effort is overhauling the way Seattle contracts with nonprofits that provide services to the homeless.
City studies have found that the current system is flawed and wasteful, lacking accountability for vendors that don’t perform. That’s partly why Seattle’s seen so little progress despite spending more than $60 million a year on such services.
The City Council must be prepared to support the administration’s current rebidding process, which will set firm goals and end contracts with vendors that have underperformed.
Mosqueda, whose campaign is supported by multiple social-service providers, told this editorial board she wants to avoid the disruption that the contracting changes would bring.
Grant, in contrast, supports reforms after having seen inefficiencies up close as a service provider.
Seattle is at its best when it’s bold and innovative in its response to challenges. It doesn’t need another City Council member to defend entrenched special-interests; they have more than enough influence already.
Seattle voters should elect Grant. He brings experience managing costs and service delivery, and a more reasonable and objective perspective of what needs to be done to make the city perform better.