36th District Democrats hand out endorsements - Group punts on mayor's race

The 36th District Democrats, a political coalition representing Magnolia and Queen Anne among other areas, late last week released its list of endorsements for the upcoming 2005 primary election, with a notable absence of any endorsement for the position of mayor.

All three candidates running for mayor, including incumbent Greg Nickels and challengers Al Runte and Cristal Wood, showed up for interviews with the 36th District Democrats. A motion for the sole endorsement of Nickels failed; he received more votes against him than for, it notes in the press release.

A motion to give sole endorsement to Runte also failed, though by a much smaller margin. Although he received a plurality of the votes, it wasn't enough to carry the two-thirds threshold necessary for an official endorsement from the organization.

The group granted a perhaps surprising endorsement for embattled county Executive Ron Sims, who has been under the gun in Magnolia for his alleged involvement in Southwest Airlines' bid to move its operations to Boeing Field. Sims, for his part, has yet to take an official stand on the possible move, though it's believed he has been involved in negotiations with the carrier for some time.

Also receiving endorsements were Magnolia resident and King County Council incumbent Larry Phillips, who received an early endorsement after being nominated at the county convention, as well as Greg Schmidt in his bid to unseat incumbent Sue Rahr for King County Sheriff.

In a press release, 36th District Democrats representative Janis Traven said that, despite the nonpartisan nature of the sheriff's race, the group found Schmidt to be "up front about his alignment with the core Democratic values" as reflected in the questionnaire he filled out.

The press release also noted that the group was unable to support incumbent Rahr in her "close relationship" with former county sheriff and current House Representative Dave Reichert, "along with her reluctance to answer questions on choice, charter schools, vouchers, etc."

The 36th District Dems endorsed incumbent Lawrence Molloy in his bid for re-election to Port Commissioner, Position 1. "In addition to being the only Democrat in the race," Traven said, "Lawrence has been a thoughtful and consistent voice for the environment during his tenure."

There was an unusual four-way endorsement for Port Commissioner at Position 3, which included Rich Berkowitz, Peter Coates, Lloyd Hara and John Kane. "We felt that these four candidates bring strong qualifications to the table," the press release noted.

There was, however, a sole endorsement for the candidate vying for Port Commission, Pos. 4. "Of the two candidates who came to us for endorsements, only Pat Davis demonstrated strong Democratic credentials that we can count on," Traven said. "We appreciate her shutting down the housing option in the Port's Interbay development plan," a reference to the recent removal of residential uses from proposals to develop the industrial no-man's land between Magnolia and Queen Anne.

Tom Carr, who is running unopposed for Seattle city attorney, received the group's enthusiastic endorsement. "We respect Tom Carr's dedication to solving problems through the municipal court system instead of warehousing them," the group noted.

For Seattle City Council seats, Richard Conlin, Dwight Pelz and Nick Licata all received endorsements, though Licata's race won't appear on the primary ballot. There was no endorsement for city council position 4, with motions for endorsements of Casey Corr and incumbent Jan Drago failing to pass muster; a move to dually endorse Drago and Angel Bolanos came close to passing but also failed.

Cindi Law received an endorsement in her bid for Position 8 on the besieged Seattle Popular Monorail Authority, which has been under fire since coming in over budget a couple months back. "The 36th District Democrats have endorsed the Monorail and opposed its recall repeatedly," Traven said. "We approached endorsements in these races based on who was most likely to achieve the goal of getting the Monorail built... (and) Laws has consistently asked the right questions on behalf of the public.

The group noted that Monorail Authority candidate Beth Goldberg actually opposes the Monorail, "which we believe is disqualifying for a Board member," the press release noted.

Both Dick Falkenbury and Cleve Stockmeyer received endorsements as "staunch advocates for the Monorail... they bring different qualifications to the table, but both convinced the Membership that they will get the Monorail built," Traven wrote.

You can reach Magnolia News Editor Rick Levin at mageditor@nwlink.com or by phone at 461-1284.[[In-content Ad]]