EDITORIAL | City Council endorsements: All but one incumbent

A time of economic uncertainty reinforces the need for vigorously contested elections that — with something more than luck — produces strong political leadership. 

Unfortunately for Seattle, only two of this year’s five City Council races are considered truly competitive.

We lament the fact that many issues facing the city are not receiving the energetic debate they deserve this campaign season.

That said, it is no surprise that this year’s slate of endorsements leans heavily toward the council’s incumbents — that is, except for one.

For Position 1, we endorse challenger Bobby Forch over former journalist and two-term City Council incumbent Jean Godden. Forch, who currently is an employee with the Seattle Department of Transportation, does lack elected office experience. However, he makes up for his lack of experience in his twin passions for public safety and police accountability.

In light of the extensive and well-documented abuses on the part of the Seattle Police Department in recent years, it is high time the council scrutinized the city’s law-enforcement departments. Forch has made such accountability a main focus of his campaign.

Godden has been a moderate and steady hand for the council, but times are changing and so should the occupier of this seat. 

In Position 3, we endorse incumbent Bruce Harrell over his challenger, former journalist and T-Mobile employee Brad Meacham. This decision was influenced by Meacham’s tough but, at times, questionable campaign tactics. During one election forum, Meacham reportedly questioned Harrell’s integrity without offering any evidence. Such tactics have no place in this election.

Harrell, who is running for a second, full term, supported the tunnel option to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct. He also pushed for a pilot project to bring body cameras to police officers — good for him.

In Position 5, we endorse incumbent Tom Rasmussen, who is among the council’s strongest and most influential voices. Rasmussen has successfully bantered with Mayor Mike McGinn while guiding the tunnel proposal through the city government process. 

His opponent, political unknown Dale Pusey, has raised virtually no money and has not run a credible campaign.

In Position 7, we endorse another incumbent, Tim Burgess. Like Rasmussen, Burgess has been among the council’s strongest members and is facing only token opposition from Seattle architect David Schraer. 

However, Schraer, who openly acknowledges that he won’t win this race, does offer an honest, if quirky, breath of fresh air. He has even announced his interest in running against council member Mike O’Brien in 2013 before the votes have been counted in this election. We would welcome that challenge.

Finally, we endorse incumbent Sally Clark for Position 9. Her opponent, Dian Ferguson, has made some strong stands on a number of issues and should be a person to watch in future races. 

However, Clark is a strong policy wonk with excellent neighborhood ties, and we believe she deserves another term.

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