South Seattle Emerald
OPINION | Seattle’s Crucial Choice: Appointing the Most Important City Councilmember

by Sharon Maeda
Once in a while, a Seattle City Councilmember resigns before their term is up. When Teresa Mosqueda was elected to the King County Council in November, it triggered a vacancy. What is different today is that her replacement will be appointed by eight council members, five of whom will have been in office 20 days or less!We can only hope that they have the wisdom and ethics to find someone with Mosqueda’s kind of commitment and leadership. On the City Council, Mosqueda was an honest, thoughtful problem solver who deftly navigated conflicting council priorities. Despite differences, she and then-Mayor Jenny Durkan quickly worked out a successful COVID-19 strategy. More recently, Mosqueda consulted with many community organizations and crafted an amendment to make a solidarity resolution balanced in advocating for a long-term cease-fire in Gaza, while also condemning rising antisemitism, Islamophobia, and anti-Palestinian/Arab bigotry.As I’ve said many times before, issues come and go, and we cannot predict what new issues might come down the road. So I’m looking for someone who cares about all of Seattle, has participated in democracy, has been an advocate to make Seattle better, has the integrity to do what’s right for all of Seattle, and has the ability to work with their colleagues with integrity.An ideal Citywide Seattle City Councilmember would have:
  1. Commitment to Democracy: We need someone who has engaged in civic life as a professional, community advocate, educator/mentor, or at the very least, participated in civic life as a consistent voter.
  2. Knowledge: We need someone who has knowledge of city government, its structure, and where and how things get done. Seattle is in danger of becoming the home of the wealthy at the expense of the working class and poor. Knowing how to find multiple strategies toward long-term goals is essential.
  3. Justice: We need someone who has a demonstrated ability to understand injustices of the past and build bridges towards equity. Recently, as close to home as Anacortes, Lynnwood, and Tacoma, city council meetings have erupted in racist and other hate speech.
  4. Personal Values and Style: We need someone who is an honest, thoughtful, strategic thinker, can envision the long-range as opposed to one-off transactions, and is willing to work with anyone. And, someone who is not looking to the council seat as a series of photo ops and a stepping stone to higher office.
What we don’t need:
  1. Special Interest Puppets: Money has increasingly played a role in politics from the U.S. Supreme Court to Congress and all the way to the November election here in Seattle; hundreds of thousands of dollars in independent expenditures (unlimited election funding allowed by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision). NO elected position should be bought by any special interests.
  2. Ideological Extremists: We don’t need someone who is focused on their personal perspective at the expense of the whole city.
  3. The Mayor’s Choice: A pillar of democracy is the separation of the executive and legislative branches. It is not for any mayor to select a new councilmember. That said, the City Council and the mayor need to negotiate tough decisions, create innovative solutions, and work collaboratively to return Seattle to the city we love.
  4. A Consolation Prize: There’s talk about appointing someone who lost in November; that just makes no sense to appoint someone who did not get elected in a single district to suddenly be appointed to represent the whole city.
Seattle has enormous talent and we can hope the Council makes a solid choice. The clock is ticking; the schedule as mandated by the City Charter, Municipal Code, and council process has been adopted with the exception of a date/time of a public forum for applicants to speak to the council and the public. Look for updates on On Jan. 2, City Council president pro tem, Tammy Morales, opened the first council meeting of 2024 setting the tone for collegiality and respect, even as they might agree to disagree. Sara Nelson was unanimously elected president of the council for 2024–2025. Then, each new member, sworn in by loved ones, continued a tone of working hard for all the people of Seattle. On day one, they are off to a good start. Let’s hope that positive tone will continue on day two and beyond as they appoint a new Citywide councilmember and ensure the democratic process as they work to resolve the critical needs for all the diverse people of Seattle. And, it’s our job to keep them honest. … Read More
Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons
This message is only visible to admins.
Problem displaying Facebook posts. Backup cache in use.
Error: Error validating access token: The session has been invalidated because the user changed their password or Facebook has changed the session for security reasons.
Type: OAuthException
Load More