The Urbanist

The Urbanist

The Urbanist was founded in early 2014 in order to examine and influence urban policies. We believe that cities provide unique opportunities for addressing many of the most difficult problems we face. Our website serves as a resource for sharing ideas, creating community, and improving the places we live.

Depending on where you live, you may have the below county races on your ballot.

  • Non-Partisan

    Joe Nguyen

    Evergreen Future
    Evergreen Future
  • Sen. Joe Nguyen was elected to the Washington state Senate in 2018 and has worked as a senior program manager at Microsoft since 2013. His parents were refugees from Vietnam who came to White Center, where Nguyen was born and raised.

    During Nguyen's time in the Legislature, he has been an advocate for Washington's families and equality, including playing a leadership role in fully funding the Working Families Tax Credit. In addition, he co-sponsored legislation to require anti-racism and equity training in public schools.

    Nguyen is running for county executive to implement sweeping actions on the affordable housing crisis, to reform the criminal justice system with deep changes and accountability, and to make the state's economy work for everyone, not just the wealthiest people. In particular, Nguyen has proposed to make all transit services free to improve access and increase ridership. He also wants to leverage the new Regional Homelessness Authority to significantly scale up the building of affordable housing.

    Nguyen has the support of elected leaders including state Reps. Kirsten Harris-Talley and David Hackney as well as state Sen. Bob Hasegawa and Treasurer Mike Pellicciotti. Nguyen is a progressive choice if you're looking for new leadership in the executive's office who will prioritize racial justice and systemic change.

    Joe Nguyen

    Sen. Joe Nguyen was elected to the Washington state Senate in 2018 and has worked as a senior program manager at Microsoft since 2013. His parents were refugees from Vietnam who came to White Center, where Nguyen was born and raised.

    Joe Nguyen

    Sen. Joe Nguyen was elected to the Washington state Senate in 2018 and has worked as a senior program manager at Microsoft since 2013. His parents were refugees from Vietnam who came to White Center, where Nguyen was born and raised.

Depending on where you live, you may have the below county races on your ballot.

  • Non-Partisan

    Sarah Perry

    Evergreen Future
    Evergreen Future
  • Sarah Perry is a small business owner, nonprofit fundraiser, and Democratic activist who is challenging incumbent Kathy Lambert for King County Council in District 3. Perry has years of experience building financial support for nonprofits and universities in the Puget Sound area.

    Perry is running on a platform of supporting small businesses, protecting farmlands and the environment, and improving transportation. In particular, she wants to provide more support for the 40% of the district in unincorporated King County that can't rely on city leadership for investments and infrastructure. In our interview with Perry, she presented a detailed overview of her campaign as a strong advocate for growth management. She wants to promote urban forests, preserve the district's natural areas, usher in alternative energy sources, and improve wastewater and storm runoff in open spaces. Perry also wants to see an equity lens brought to COVID recovery, ensuring that new modes of transit are brought to the district, supporting behavioral health, and assisting those struggling with affordable housing.

    While the King County Council is officially non-partisan, Perry's opponent, longtime Republican Kathy Lambert, has lost touch with this diverse and rapidly changing district. Lambert has voted against transit access for years, including voting to end Seattle's downtown free-ride zone. She also voted against making the county sheriff an appointed position, which was proposed to give the council and county executive more oversight in the wake of protests against police brutality. Lambert was the only "no" vote on the 2019 bill to use state money to fund early learning, post-secondary education, and in-home care providers.

     

    Lambert received broad criticism in early October for a mail piece from her campaign that singled out the only Black member of the King County Council with fear-mongering and divisive language. All six Democrats on the council, as well as King County Executive Dow Constantine, denounced the attack and said it has no place in our public discourse. 

     

    We need to elect leaders who will bring people together to create meaningful change, not tear each other down and divide us with hateful rhetoric. Perry's extensive civic engagement and track record of collaboration has earned her overwhelming support from community leaders and progressive organizations. Vote for Perry for new progressive leadership on the King County Council from District 3.

    Sarah Perry

    Sarah Perry is a small business owner, nonprofit fundraiser, and Democratic activist who is challenging incumbent Kathy Lambert for King County Council in District 3. Perry has years of experience building financial support for nonprofits and universities in the Puget Sound area.

    Sarah Perry

    Sarah Perry is a small business owner, nonprofit fundraiser, and Democratic activist who is challenging incumbent Kathy Lambert for King County Council in District 3. Perry has years of experience building financial support for nonprofits and universities in the Puget Sound area.

  • Dr. Shukri Olow is a community organizer running to empower King County residents with the resources they need to thrive. As a child, Olow's family fled civil war in Somalia and spent six years in a refugee camp before finally settling in Kent when she was 10 years old. Olow credits the food bank, social workers, and Kent public housing system for helping her find opportunities, and wants to now help meet the needs of those struggling in King County. In discussions with child care providers, immigrants, small business owners, teachers, and others she has identified several ways to meet the needs of those who don't have wealth or political power.

    Olow notes that the biggest driver of homelessness in the region is rent increasing faster than incomes. To beat rising costs, Olow wants to ensure that the county is funding humane, non-congregate shelters to get people out of crisis. She also wants to build supportive housing and a minimum of 37,000 units of housing which would be available to those with the lowest incomes. She wants to reimagine community safety through a public health lens and move towards investments in the community through school partnerships, workforce development, and more. Olow takes seriously the need for everyone to thrive and would work towards free transit, accessible child care and elder care, and more.

    In our interview with Olow, we were impressed by her thoughtfulness, her record, and her tenacity in bringing together many voices and needs for the good of all. In this race between two progressive candidates, we recommend Olow with the support of many of our progressive partners.

    Shukri Olow

    Dr. Shukri Olow is a community organizer running to empower King County residents with the resources they need to thrive. As a child, Olow's family fled civil war in Somalia and spent six years in a refugee camp before finally settling in Kent when she was 10 years old.

    Shukri Olow

    Dr. Shukri Olow is a community organizer running to empower King County residents with the resources they need to thrive. As a child, Olow's family fled civil war in Somalia and spent six years in a refugee camp before finally settling in Kent when she was 10 years old.

  • Non-Partisan

    Kim-Khanh Van

    Evergreen Future
    Evergreen Future
  • Kim-Khanh Van is a current Renton City Council member who is running for King County Council in District 9 to bring her experience and dedication to the county. After her family escaped Vietnam as refugees and settled in King County, she went on to earn her doctorate and become an attorney. Van credits the community for her successes and wants to provide families and residents with healthy, livable communities that include child care access and infrastructure maintenance. Outside of her work on the city council, Van serves in a multitude of organizations, including as a PTA president, a volunteer attorney with the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, and the co-founder of AAPI Against Hate.

    Van has demonstrated that she is willing to take tough public votes on behalf of the most vulnerable in the community. She was one of only two members of the Renton City Council who voted to maintain the Red Lion Hotel as a source of housing for residents experiencing homelessness. In our interview, we were impressed with her in-depth knowledge about the issue and her desire to lead as a consensus and coalition builder at the county level. She wants to do more to educate voters on the economic and social benefits of providing supportive, stable housing early, rather than jailing people experiencing homelessness.

    Van has done much advocacy work for marginalized communities. She understands the struggles that the Black, Latino, and Asian-Pacific Islander communities have faced historically and in the present, and vows to continue to stand with residents to make the county a place of opportunity for all.

    Her opponent is Republican incumbent Reagan Dunn, who has served on the council since he was appointed and later elected to the position in 2005. Before that, he worked as a federal prosecutor appointed by President George W. Bush and was the national coordinator of a Department of Justice program that increases policing in neighborhoods. Dunn challenged Bob Ferguson in the 2012 race for attorney general and lost.

    On the council, Dunn has been a consistent voice opposing the progressive reforms proposed by the rest of the council. In March, Dunn was the lone vote against giving grocery store workers $4 per hour hazard pay for their service on the front lines of the pandemic. In addition, Dunn was a vocal opponent of streamlining homelessness services between Seattle and King County. Instead, he proposed spending $1 million of taxpayer money on bus tickets to send people experiencing homelessness to other states, another shortsighted proposal that failed to address the root causes of the issue. In this campaign, he has emphasized his prosecutorial background and longstanding support of law enforcement without talking about how to increase accountability for law enforcement.

    Van's strong experience and progressive values make her the best choice for King County Council in District 9.

    Kim-Khanh Van

    Kim-Khanh Van is a current Renton City Council member who is running for King County Council in District 9 to bring her experience and dedication to the county. After her family escaped Vietnam as refugees and settled in King County, she went on to earn her doctorate and become an attorney.

    Kim-Khanh Van

    Kim-Khanh Van is a current Renton City Council member who is running for King County Council in District 9 to bring her experience and dedication to the county. After her family escaped Vietnam as refugees and settled in King County, she went on to earn her doctorate and become an attorney.

Depending on where you live, you may have the below city races on your ballot.

  • Evergreen Future
  • Born and raised in a migrant farm working family in central Washington, Lorena González has a background as an award-winning civil rights attorney that provides a foundation for her advocacy for working families and marginalized communities. González is a Seattle City Council member and the current council president. As one of the city’s leaders through times of prosperity and times of hardship, she is committed to making the city of Seattle a place where all can thrive. The unanimous vote to make her the city council president in early 2020 speaks to her ability to lead collaboratively and make bold progressive change.

    The biggest divergence between Harrell and González's platforms is the candidates' short-term plans for how to help people experiencing homelessness. The crux of the problem, which experts and agencies have stated time and time again, is the lack of shelters with services to help people stay housed. The city has about 4,000 unsheltered people, and while there are about 1,300 affordable housing units and 400 additional shelter spaces coming soon, it is not enough. González would focus on building short- and long-term housing because the city needs to triple permanent affordable housing to meet everyone’s needs. She pledges to quickly scale up Seattle’s shelter system from the mayor’s office, which would include options such as tiny villages and leveraging hotels and motels. She would also make it a key focus to increase permanent, supportive housing and include additional funds for mental, behavioral, and substance use services.

    Equitable economic recovery from COVID is a high priority for the councilmember. She vows to make sure that neighborhood small businesses, many of which are owned by people of color, receive equitable shares of recovery assistance. Other parts of her agenda seek to meet the needs of working families. For example, she wants to raise standards in the gig economy by ending sub-minimum wages and establish incentives for employee ownership in businesses. Improvements to child care access, bike and pedestrian paths, and building on renter protections round out some of her other priorities for improving the lives of everyone in the community.

    González has played a lead role in existing police reform efforts by pivoting some law enforcement funding to community-led efforts to increase health and safety. She believes that as mayor, she could do even more to reverse the legacy of harm of police violence in the city, especially for communities of color and in communities with lower-than-average incomes. In our interview, González noted that Seattle’s police guild has disproportionate power at the negotiating table when it comes to holding officers accountable. The mayor has much more leverage than the council in negotiating a better contract, and if she is elected she will push harder than Mayor Durkan to increase accountability for officers and the department.

    On issues of the climate, González wants to partner with Seattle for A Green New Deal to revitalize and expand the local green economy. She states that by actively retrofitting homes and modernizing industrial infrastructure, we can provide thousands of stable, high-quality jobs in the city.

    González’s experience leaves her well-positioned to hit the ground running. Her advocacy and support for workers has earned her the trust of many labor unions and advocacy groups. She has a track record of working well with her colleagues to build consensus on the city’s most pressing issues. For her support for our partners and her forward-thinking platform, we recommend González for mayor of Seattle.

    Lorena González

    Born and raised in a migrant farm working family in central Washington, Lorena González has a background as an award-winning civil rights attorney that provides a foundation for her advocacy for working families and marginalized communities.

    Lorena González

    Born and raised in a migrant farm working family in central Washington, Lorena González has a background as an award-winning civil rights attorney that provides a foundation for her advocacy for working families and marginalized communities.

Depending on where you live, you may have the below city races on your ballot.

  • This is a complicated race for Seattle voters with two controversial candidates. After evaluating the candidates carefully, we believe that public defender Nicole Thomas-Kennedy is clearly the better choice.

    Thomas-Kennedy is a managing partner in her own practice and she has volunteered with the National Lawyers Guild, completed pro bono defense work for local organizers, and worked extensively as a public defender.

    There are many reasons to vote for Thomas-Kennedy. First, she is campaigning for common-sense justice reforms aimed at focusing on serious harms and crime prevention while stepping away from prosecuting people for poverty and mental illness. Second, her opponent switched parties to join Donald Trump’s party and run for lieutenant governor as a Republican in 2020. Third, Fox News and Tucker Carlson are attacking her for challenging their racist, conservative myths about reducing crime.

    As a public defender, Thomas-Kennedy has witnessed many people get caught in the criminal legal system because of a lack of supportive social services. She wants to focus on using services to prevent crime by addressing the root causes and keep people from being entangled in the justice system. By emphasizing prevention, taxpayers improve safety and save money on law enforcement and the criminal justice system, which are by far the biggest costs of city and county governments.

    There has been controversy about her use of the term abolition and some ill-advised tweets she posted after getting tear-gassed with her daughter during last year's protests. Although we don't condone her tweets, conservatives are drumming up fearful messaging about Thomas-Kennedy to distract us from the need for new approaches to fixing a failing system with urgent problems. In our interview, she defined abolition in a very sensible way as a slow process of building up the community so that we don’t need to rely on police, courts, and prisons as the catch-all solution for so many social issues.

    If elected, Thomas-Kennedy wants to build a victim advocate unit and end qualified immunity in order to hold the police accountable. She also proposes strengthening the civil unit of the office in order to fight wage theft, take exploitive corporate landlords to court, and hold fossil fuel companies accountable for environmental harm which affects us all.

    Thomas-Kennedy's opponent is Republican Ann Davison. Last year, Davison ran for lieutenant governor because she wanted to serve as a check on the Democrats in Olympia. Thankfully, Davison lost that primary election and Democratic lawmakers passed the most ambitious progressive agenda in decades this spring.

    Davison is now running for Seattle city attorney echoing many of the same conservative Republican talking points from her previous campaign. Her divisive platform demonizes those experiencing homelessness and she doesn’t believe additional funding is needed to connect people with housing or services. During debates and in her campaign literature, she has displayed a lack of understanding about the role of the city attorney and how the office functions.

    Thomas-Kennedy has faced misleading attacks from Fox News and right-wing radio hosts during this campaign. During our interview, she displayed a strong understanding of both the city attorney's office and the criminal justice system. We believe Thomas-Kennedy is the best choice for Seattle city attorney because of her experience representing marginalized Seattleites, her strong support from progressive advocates, and her commitment to pursuing justice for all Seattleites.

    Nicole Thomas-Kennedy

    Submitted by alexwhite on Wed, 09/29/2021 - 15:56

    This is a complicated race for Seattle voters with two controversial candidates. After evaluating the candidates carefully, we believe that public defender Nicole Thomas-Kennedy is clearly the better choice.

    Nicole Thomas-Kennedy

    Submitted by alexwhite on Wed, 09/29/2021 - 15:56

    This is a complicated race for Seattle voters with two controversial candidates. After evaluating the candidates carefully, we believe that public defender Nicole Thomas-Kennedy is clearly the better choice.

Depending on where you live, you may have the below city races on your ballot.

  • Evergreen Future
  • Teresa Mosqueda is running for re-election to Seattle City Council, Position 8. Previously, Mosqueda worked at the Washington State Labor Council as a political campaigns director and served on the board of Fuse Washington.

    Mosqueda was first elected in 2017 and has distinguished herself as a progressive leader on the Seattle City Council. She sponsored the Jumpstart Seattle legislation that will fund affordable housing through a tax on high earners at large corporations. In addition, Mosqueda supported efforts to expand paid sick leave and establish minimum wages for gig and other workers who have often been left behind in our economy. Her campaign priorities include addressing our housing crisis with greater urgency, including re-zoning housing across Seattle, as well as providing assistance to renters and investing in health citywide.

    Mosqueda is running against Kenneth Wilson, the manager of an engineering company. Wilson's platform is not progressive and does not reflect the community's priorities. His voter's guide statement includes comments about public safety and policing that indicate he would not support reinvestment in community safety alternatives. He is also dismissive of evidence-based solutions for our affordable housing crisis.

    Mosqueda is a strong progressive and the clear choice for Seattle City Council, Position 8.

    Teresa Mosqueda

    Teresa Mosqueda is running for re-election to Seattle City Council, Position 8. Previously, Mosqueda worked at the Washington State Labor Council as a political campaigns director and served on the board of Fuse Washington.

    Teresa Mosqueda

    Teresa Mosqueda is running for re-election to Seattle City Council, Position 8. Previously, Mosqueda worked at the Washington State Labor Council as a political campaigns director and served on the board of Fuse Washington.

  • Evergreen Future
  • Lawyer and community activist Nikkita Oliver is running for Seattle City Council, Position 9. Oliver, who uses they/them pronouns, works with numerous local groups including Urban Impact, the Urban Youth Leadership Academy, and the Union Gospel Mission’s Youth Reach Out Center. Oliver is an exceptionally progressive advocate who is incredibly dedicated to creating systemic change focused on the needs of communities of color and low-income Seattleites. They also serve as executive director of Creative Justice and is a member of coalitions like Decriminalize Seattle, Free Them All WA, and No New Youth Jail.

    Their forward-looking platform is centered around economic, social, racial, and environmental justice. Oliver's top priorities include expanding affordable housing, redirecting some police funding to make investments in communities, and bringing a Green New Deal to Seattle. If elected, Oliver would pursue policies to give everyone the opportunity to thrive, including preparing for extreme weather driven by climate change season that disproportionately impacts Black, brown, and Indigenous communities, and providing municipal broadband for all.

    Oliver is running against Sara Nelson, who co-founded and owns Fremont Brewing. She wants to bring her experience as a small business owner to the council and refocus the city on delivering basic services. Nelson does not support increasing investments in homelessness services and affordable housing, despite clear evidence from outside studies that the city's funding has been inadequate. She also opposes redirecting funds from the police department into community-based alternatives for public safety.

    The Seattle City Council has a track record of crafting innovative solutions to some of the most important issues facing our community. From groundbreaking minimum wage and sick leave requirements to empowering workers with predictable schedules and hazard pay to pushing for bold action on climate and making the wealthy pay their share, the city council has worked to build a stronger and more inclusive city.

    As we tackle big challenges with homelessness, police violence, climate change, and pandemic recovery, it's not the time to elect a cautious, business-oriented candidate who doesn't appear to be a catalyst for progressive change. Oliver is the clear choice in this race for Seattle City Council, Position 9.

    Nikkita Oliver

    Lawyer and community activist Nikkita Oliver is running for Seattle City Council, Position 9. Oliver, who uses they/them pronouns, works with numerous local groups including Urban Impact, the Urban Youth Leadership Academy, and the Union Gospel Mission’s Youth Reach Out Center.

    Nikkita Oliver

    Lawyer and community activist Nikkita Oliver is running for Seattle City Council, Position 9. Oliver, who uses they/them pronouns, works with numerous local groups including Urban Impact, the Urban Youth Leadership Academy, and the Union Gospel Mission’s Youth Reach Out Center.