Throughout the course of reporting a piece on the challenges facing the future of black politics in Seattle, one name kept cropping up time and again when various pols were asked about youngsters who had the skill and will to join the elected ranks: De'Sean Quinn. A 34-year-old African-American who attended Garfield High and Morehouse, Quinn handles council relations for King County Executive Ron Sims and ran Dick McIver's 2001 re-election campaign. Now, Quinn is fixing to make good on his promise by running for City Council -- in Tukwila -- against two other contenders for the seat currently held by Pam Carter, who's running instead for mayor.
About a year ago, Quinn and his wife bought a home in Tukwila, due in large part to its relative affordability (Quinn's wife is also from Tacoma, so the location is also somewhat strategic). While Tukwila is known mainly for Southcenter Mall, Quinn likes to herald the diverse (over 30 percent minority) little (pop. 17,000) suburb's ample green space, affordable single-family housing stock, and solid schools. "What people do is they come shop and they leave," says Quinn. "It'd be nice if they came, shopped, and used a park."
Quinn says he has already bagged endorsements from key King County Councilmembers Julia Patterson and Dow Constantine, and will be the only non-Seattle candidate featured on next week's King Councy Democrats' monthly meeting. Should he be elected, he would become the TCC's second black councilmember, joining long-tenured custodial entrepreneur Joe Duffie (the seats are part-time, and Quinn will continue to work for Sims if and when he's sworn in).
The candidate also notes that Tukwila reminds him a lot of Beacon Hill, the neighborhood he grew up in. Which presents an interesting subtext: The most promising young black political up-and-comer in Seattle is mounting his first race in a near-south suburb, a fitting match for the migratory patterns of ethnic minorities as our fair San Francisco Lite of a city continues to price itself out of diversity.