Endorsing political candidates presents a dilemma when the only real choice is someone with whom you often disagree.
That’s the situation in the race for state House Position 1 in the 43rd Legislative District, which includes much of central Seattle, from downtown to Madison Park, the University District and Fremont.
Three people filed for the seat, but incumbent Nicole Macri is the only legitimate candidate.
A Democrat, Macri is deputy director of the Downtown Emergency Service Center, a nonprofit operating much of Seattle’s emergency shelter capacity. She is a tremendous advocate for those who are homeless or in crisis. Her commitment is laudable and appreciated.
Yet Macri goes too far in crusading for measures of dubious benefit for those in need. She favors eliminating single-family housing in cities across the state, for instance. That won’t do much for homelessness but will further reduce the supply of houses for working people to own and escape the tyranny of rent.
Macri should look to her district for evidence. Despite years of upzoning and historic levels of apartment construction, affordability decreased and homelessness increased. City reviews also determined recent upzones could increase displacement of minority residents. But Macri is unconvinced.
Washington will struggle to maintain current levels of social-services spending. To preserve as much as possible, the state should cancel the second of two, 3% raises for state employees. That would free nearly $800 million to help the poor and those in crisis.
Yet Macri, who received large campaign donations from public-employee unions, doesn’t favor halting raises.
Instead, Macri wants a statewide version of Seattle’s plan to tax employers.
That may appeal to 43rd District voters who also reelected Kshama Sawant. It’s also likely to generate lawsuits and fail to backfill the state’s budget hole anytime soon.
Challenger Brandon Franklin, an independent, doesn’t appear to have a significant campaign. Republican Leslie Klein said he’s running only to give Macri a challenger and asked this board not to take his campaign seriously.
That leaves Macri as the only choice. Fortunately she’s a smart, dedicated advocate who should improve the Legislature’s response to homelessness and behavioral-health challenges.