Take a breath, Seattle.
The wall-to-wall campaign ads.
The daily deluge of flier in your mailbox.
The occasional visit to your door by a well-meaning, if ill-timed volunteer.
It’s over. It’s finally over.
Now, due to the nature of a weekly print publication that heads to the presses late Monday, and reaches your doorstep on Wednesday, this was written before knowing who came out ahead in any of the races on your ballot.
So, a hearty congratulations to the winners, and our condolences to those of you who came up short.
At least we can take a bit of time to reflect on the last several months of seemingly endless campaigning, right? Well, no.
The issues the city faced on Tuesday morning are the same ones it faced by the end of the night, and now it’s up to the new mayor and at least one new city councilmember to enter the fold quickly (by the end of the month) to help address them.
And all of us know what they are.
Thousands of people are without stable, long-term housing, and many on the streets are grappling with mental health disorders and/or addiction.
Countless more are in tenuous position of rising rents and increasing financial pressure to remain in their home or apartment, as the affordability crisis gets that much worse each day.
Lest we forget that the city is also in the position of trying to both appease the business community and protect workers, the latter in the form of secure scheduling, and paid parental and family leave, among other efforts. Whether you believe that it should, Amazon’s HQ2 decision has given many city leaders pause in how they interact with our corporate behemoths (look at the head tax debate in the council chambers, for instance).
But, the city is currently unable to keep pace with the growth companies like Amazon has brought, which bleeds into every other conversation. There’s not enough housing, which prices people out, which requires them to live further and further away putting strain out our public transportation system, and so on.
And, as both candidates for mayor acknowledged, many are looking to the city nationally as a place that can set an example of a progressive agenda and results in the face of the polar opposite administrative focus in the other Washington. No pressure, everyone.
But, our new mayor and city councilmember knew what they were getting into. No one person can do it alone, but here’s hoping their tenures help bring the change we wish to see.
If they don’t? Well, that’s what elections are for.