Darkhorse Derby

14 Long-Shot Candidates Explain Why They’re Running for Mayor

It costs nearly $2,000 to run for the city’s highest office. They think it’s money well spent.

After Mayor Ed Murray dropped his re-election campaign, the first wide-open race for the Seattle mayoral seat since 1997 got very crowded: A full 21 candidates applied by the May 19 deadline. You usually hear about the top six—Jenny Durkan, Nikkita Oliver, Mike McGinn, Cary Moon, Bob Hasegawa, and Jessyn Farrell—in part because they’ve built a local following or have held public office (or, in McGinn’s case, been Seattle mayor).

But what about the rest? In a packed race with so many arguably strong candidates, why did 15 other people decide to run? Why did they each cough up the $1,952 application fee to be a long-shot candidate? And why don’t some of them have a campaign website or even an easily accessible phone number for reporters to call?

To be fair, there are degrees to how dark these horses are. Michael Harris has campaign staff and a decent website and has snagged a big-name endorsement (it’s from the band Heart, but hey). Jason Roberts entered the race in January, well before the post-Murray deluge. On the other end of the spectrum, a man named Dave Kane has no website and no Facebook page and did not respond to several e-mails and a voicemail seeking an interview. This guy could have gone to Vegas and put $2,000 on the Mariners winning the World Series and gotten way more out of it.

Well, that’s democracy. We reached out to all the dark-horse candidates and, after peppering them with some quick personal questions, gave them five minutes to make their case. The following transcripts, edited for length and clarity, are what they said.

GARY BROSE

Website: broseformayor.org Age: 65 Occupation: Entrepreneur, business owner Party affiliation: Republican (sort of). “This is a nonpartisan position . . . but in general, I tend to vote Republican.” Political hero: Harry Truman Favorite Seattle celebrity: Seattle Mariners great Edgar Martinez When you decided to run: 2:45 p.m. on May 19, the day of the filing deadline. “I waffled back and forth. . . . I was waiting to see, hoping somebody else would’ve come into the race that I liked and relieved me of having to do this. And that didn’t happen. I landed a campaign manager, and I said, ‘OK, time to put up or shut up.’ ”

Why are you running? I’ve watched from the sidelines for a long time, and over the last five to 10 years, I’ve become very concerned about the direction the city is going in. I’m unhappy with City Hall’s approach to the traffic problems, their handling of the homeless issues, and most of all, their inability to work within their budget.

After Murray exited the race, I watched as wannabe after wannabe entered the fray, but not one of those people was addressing the issues I was concerned about in the way that I wanted to hear. I didn’t want to go through another election where I didn’t feel comfortable with the candidate choices.

With the traffic, the things [the city has] been doing have made it worse. I understand we have to have bike lanes in some areas and have to have bike safety. But generally speaking, that addresses a very small percentage of the commuters. And what we did ended up taking so many car lanes away that we’ve made it very much impossible for people to move quickly, especially during rush hour. Something has to be done to address that. I think that starts with a different, more vehicle-oriented transportation manager. I think we need to be looking at everything, and I think we need to make moves quickly.

On the homeless situation, I’m just concerned that the strategy is to enable the homeless to do their own thing. And I don’t think that’s the right move. We need to get the tents off the street. They shouldn’t be on the sidewalks. They shouldn’t be in the parks. They shouldn’t be on Seattle and King County land. There needs to be a plan for helping these people. I don’t disagree that they need a lot of help. The difference is in the tactics. I think we need to look more toward getting roofs over their heads, and helping them get their lives together, instead of just saying, “Come on down and park your tent wherever you want.”

The fiscal-sanity part—I mean this city is growing so fast, and it’s now pulling in more revenue than it ever has in its past. And yet every time we turn around, City Hall has got their hands out. “It’s just pennies,” they say. Well, it’s all adding up really fast. Property tax has gone through the roof. Car tabs are ballooning. People are getting hammered. And now the mayor is talking about an income tax on the rich. It’s just one thing after another. … What [the city] needs is a good fiscal manager, somebody who can look at the budget and say, “I don’t think this is the way we have to do things.” I think we have to reallocate, we have to move money and redirect it from those programs that are not producing the intended results and just live within our budget like normal people do.

CASEY CARLISLE

Website: caseyforseattle.com Age: 33 Occupation: Unemployed Party affiliation: Libertarian (not “Republican-lite”) Political hero: Thomas Jefferson, Ludwig von Mises Favorite Seattle celebrity: None When you decided to run: Sometime in February

Why are you running? Like a lot of people, I’m frustrated. Instead of just sitting around and complaining about it, I prefer to throw my hat in the ring and apply an approach that is noticeably absent. To me, the big problems facing our city are cost of living, traffic, and homelessness. I’d mention a couple more, but I think those are the three biggest problems.

The current people in City Hall, City Council included, their strategy seems to be, let’s just keep throwing more and more money at our problems. And clearly they are not working. So, for example, the homelessness problem with over 50 million bucks a year going toward a problem that is only worsening. A lot of people love to vilify other people, whether it’s businesses or wealthy people, and I think that’s a misguided hatred. I think the major culprit is City Hall. With cost of living: We live in a very desirable place, and I think the city is only making our cost of living worse. For example, with affordable-housing mandates, do these people seriously think that developers and landlords will just eat those costs? Of course not. They’ll just pass that cost on to tenants, when we’re trying to house the people that are coming to our city in a rapid fashion. We’re the fastest-growing large city in the country. And again, people vilify developers. I don’t get it. They are providing housing. If people want apartments in whatever neighborhood, there should be apartments. The city loves to trample over property rights. They like to pick and choose which neighborhoods get upzoned, which neighborhoods get city-sanctioned homeless encampments. It’s a very paternalistic, authoritarian approach, and obviously it is not working.

I think a huge sentiment in City Hall right now is, I want to do this because it feels good and therefore it is good. And it is just false, it’s false. With this soda-tax garbage, I mean, that will end up harming the very same people they claim to care about. I could go on.

TINIELL CATO

Age: “Older than 35” Website: tiniellformayor.vote Occupation: Grant writer, business owner, and philanthropist Party affiliation: Democrat Political hero: None Favorite Seattle celebrity: None When you decided to run: “A couple weeks before the deadline.”

Why are you running? As a grant writer, I have found that there is a clerical error in all the processes and procedures that have to do with the government. Local, state, district courts, laws, businesses, nonprofits, landowners documents, contracts, policies, procedures, and processes all have a clerical error that results in discrimination that violates human and civil rights and the equal-opportunity policy pertaining to jobs, employment, education, medical, housing, homelessness, loans, grants, policies, crime, policing—you know, all of those things.

The clerical error is when they ask questions like what is your race, what is your creed, what is your sexuality, what is your income, what is your crime, things of that nature—which have nothing to do with skill or experience. So when you’re asking those kinds of questions through processes and procedures, you’re directly violating civil rights because it’s discrimination. So if we promote equal opportunity, why are we asking those types of questions to qualify people? Have you ever filled out an application for a loan or grant or job? On those types of questionnaires, they ask those types of questions. The solution is to just remove all those questions. It’s impossible to discriminate against them if I don’t know what those answers are.

As a grant writer, I was able to point out that problem. I decided that this is an evolution, and evolution is change toward improving that which exists, preserving good characteristics and losing only detrimental characteristics. Or just rewrite the application processes and procedures that violate the human and civil rights, pertain to their oppression, the murders in the community—immediate end to police brutality and crime. All of that could be, I won’t say completely eliminated, but a lot of it wouldn’t even exist if we just remove what has nothing to do with the skills and experience, or anything that has to do with race, creed, sexuality, income, or crime. Like, if we just remove all that altogether and rewrite the processes and procedures, it would eliminate a lot of our issues that we have today that is dividing people all over the world.

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THOM GUNN

Age: 70 Party affiliation: Green Democrat Political hero: Franklin Delano Roosevelt Favorite Seattle celebrity: Giovanni Costigan (historian) When you decided to run: February 28, “my 70th birthday.”

Why are you running? The first place I was conscious of growing up was Seward Park, and when we moved there, I wandered off as the movers were moving the furniture, and I walked into the woods and a giant ring-necked pheasant got up. It was such a wonderful place to grow up. There was big trout and salmon in the lake, you could watch the crew go by. When the 707 did its roll, it was right over our head. It was a mixed neighborhood of Boeing engineers and Jewish businessmen. I started reading The Seattle Times at age 7; I would watch conventions with my grandmother. And my father explained that we didn’t like Ike, unlike everyone else around us, because he’d had a heart attack, and his vice president Richard Nixon was an SOB. I had to go ask what an SOB was.

In college I was president of the student body and I got to see what the layers of power were, and how what was obvious to the expert was obvious to the amateur. As student-body president I not only led a march down the freeway, but I also put on a concert with Santana and the Youngbloods that drew 30,000 people to University Avenue and not a window was scratched.

After college I started a newspaper called the Seattle Flag, and everybody there was pretty much a volunteer who wanted to get their prized story in, and my prized story was the coming Californication of Washington. I predicted that in 1972. Dave Brewster, founder of the Weekly, told me I needed psychiatric care. He was leading a colonial effort from the Ivy League. But the more I looked at, the more I studied, the more I knew I was right. We took a beautiful farmer’s daughter, the City of Seattle, and we made it a dog. We put all the spotlights on it and we went for the fame. Seattle is an undeclared disaster. The first thing we have to do is dampen down the growth. We have to take our foot off the gas pedal and put it on the brake; we have to take the best people we have, and say, “What’s the problem? How are we going to solve it?”

GREG HAMILTON

Website: vote-greg-hamilton.org Age: 52 Occupation: Business owner Party affiliation: Totally nonpartisan Political hero: George Washington Favorite Seattle celebrity: Jimi Hendrix When you decided to run: “The day that the current accusations came out against the current mayor.”

Why are you running? We have some of the highest property-crime rates in the nation, highest homelessness rates, worst traffic, highest cost of living—you just start adding up all these negatives that shouldn’t exist. Why is the one of the richest cities with the highest-educated population have all these problems? In my option it’s because of a complete lack of leadership. We have partisan leadership that is so dedicated to identity politics and so dedicated to their ideology that they don’t look at reality.

And everyone I see who wants to get in the race wants to double down on all of that. They’re not bringing any new ideas to the table. They want to solve housing by doing exactly what we’ve been doing, which is programs that don’t work. Instead of talking to the people who own the properties and do developments and can actually build 10s of thousands of units and getting them engaged, they alienate them. I talk to the biggest developers in the city and they tell me that they have to walk out of City Council meetings because people are so rude to them.

And you see this throughout everything. You have a guy who wants to rebuild KeyArena, talking about $550 million. We know that will turn into $750 million and it still doesn’t have parking and you still can’t get there and the people in Queen Anne and Magnolia already can’t drive home, yet we got a private guy who will build one in SoDo and we don’t want to let him do it because somebody isn’t going to get their dollar out of it.

I’m a former Army Ranger and Green Beret; I’m a business owner. Besides being born and raised in Seattle, I’ve also lived through my work around the country and the world, and that gives me a unique perspective of what is special about Seattle. The city needs a major course correction and needs a captain at the helm that can put a crew on board, and we all need to hold fast to make that course correction. It won’t be easy.

MICHAEL HARRIS

Website: harrisforseattlemayor.com Age: 52 Occupation: Network television producer, photo journalist, and conservationist Party affiliation: Democrat Political hero: Barack Obama Favorite Seattle celebrity: “Today I’m feeling a lot of love for Chris Hansen” [Ed Murray had just named Hansen rival Oak View Group as the preferred partner for a new basketball arena]. When you decided to run: “I got into this race, very late, right at the last minute.”

Why are you running? Our city’s population has grown by 30 percent in the last five years and we’ve become truly a global city, and yet our politics keep becoming more provincial, more insular. Honestly, I’ve seen this leap frog in city politics to the left, and I’ve seen optics replace true action as far as dealing with some of these issues that we have in this city. And they’re not just issues, they are an epidemic in the case of homelessness.

I’ve got experience, 30 years experience as a broadcaster, and was a network broadcaster and photo journalist with ABC. They actually call me “disaster boy.” They send me to wildfires, the Oso mudslide, but when I go into these places, I don’t send a czar. I don’t send an assistant. I don’t come with an entourage. I don’t walk up to a podium protected by police officers and then get dashed away in a limo. The only way you can do this is to not go into a breaking-news situation and think you have the story written. And that’s how I feel with the politics of this city now, and with my opponents in this race. I feel like they’ve all got the story written; they need to listen, you need to figure out what the situation is by talking to people on the scene.

I also consulted the Pacific Whale Watch Association for five years as its executive director representing 37 businesses in Washington and B.C. A lot of salt-of-the-sea owners, with a wide cross-range of politics, and as the executive director, for this very diverse organizing, I had to take them down the middle to listen to all sides and speak on behalf of 37 businesses. What I was able to do is find that radical center, get to the truth, get a good message out, communicate well. And I don’t see that happening in city politics. It was so indicative watching the City Council meeting on the soda tax, seeing how that operated. It seemed to me we don’t talk to the other side. That’s the main thing I want to do, I want to bring us to that radical center.

And I pledge: no new taxes. We don’t need soda taxes, we don’t need a rise in our sales taxes. We need efficiencies. We need to do better with what we have and we can deal with homelessness, we can deal with all the other issues that the city has. We have the resources, we have the money, let’s not tax our people out of the city. That’s what I’m trying to do—find that radical center and offering that moderate alternative in this election.

LEWIS A. JONES

Age: 81 (“Old enough to understand the causes of the Cold War”) Occupation: Small-business operator Party affiliation: Republican Political hero: Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon Favorite Seattle celebrity: Matt Calkins When you decided to run: May 15, “just before the closing.”

Why are you running? Of particular concern to me is the common use of the cell phone, used up next to the head. Every time I see someone using their cell up against their head, what comes to mind is a lecture I heard from a neurosurgeon in San Diego. I heard it well—if you use your cell phone up next to your head off and on for 10, 11, 12 years time, the neurosurgeon stated there is a 200 percent chance of a malignant tumor in the brain. I think how sad when I hear reports that there’s a surge in brain tumors going on right now in the country. (editor’s note: According to the Mayo Clinic, “Currently, there’s no consensus about the degree of cancer risk—if any—posed by cell phone use.”)

I find it very distressing that so many in Seattle don’t seem to understand Russia well enough. Even at an elementary level, it seems, it’s just not understood. People seem to have forgotten, and that goes all the way up to where President Obama was, that presidents Putin and Yeltsin threw the Soviet communist flag out of Russia and put up a new flag—red, white, blue—for the Federation of Russian States. They made overtures to the West, which were rejected by Obama, a grave error on the part of his presidency. I propose to counter this in Seattle by activating a Washington state office in Vladivostok, and generating such trade through Seattle to Vladivostok and all of Russia.

The CO2 build-up cannot be ignored. We’re already recording climate change in our area from that build-up. Wind breaks can conserve 20 to 40 percent of the electric bill. If we do promote wind breaks throughout this city, we are cleaning the air for those who have respiratory difficulties, and we’re making a statement against the problem of global warming that I want Washington, D.C., to hear.

We need also some stability in our social life that can hail back to the good old days. We had laws against adultery; I would make that illegal again. Currently we have a spread of HIV in our county alone that’s causing an increase of five percent per annum in HIV infection. Making adultery illegal would be important.

HARLEY LEVER

Website: harleyleverformayor.com Age: 44 Occupation: Business consultant Party affiliation: Independent; leans Democrat Political hero: John F. Kennedy, Barack Obama Favorite Seattle celebrity: Tom Douglas When you decided to run: Sometime in late April

Why are you running? I decided to run because I have a science background. I’m a former research scientist, contracted to work for the FAA and NASA. I see what Boston and Houston and other places have done to fix the issues that they have, not just with homelessness and opioid addiction but education and health care. The theme is, they capture a robust amount of data, they always measure their strategies, and they only invest in what works. Also, I am a small-business development consultant, so I’ve worked with small businesses here in Seattle, so I have a very unique overview of how the city works from a small-business perspective. I have clients in the hot-tub industry, restaurants, insurance, real estate, in foundries.

More importantly, my background with my family back in Boston, many of them have suffered from opioid addiction. I’ve lost many of my friends to opioid overdoses. My brother overdosed four times last year and is still trying to fight off opioid addiction. My cousins were both addicts. One’s in recovery, one’s in prison right now, and both of his kids were born addicted to opioids. So I’ve seen what Boston and my hometown have gone through. I think we should be searching far and wide to help solve those issues.

The other part is from a business-development standpoint—I look at what we have going on in a lot of our communities of color. They don’t have a lot of business investments. Our education system is misaligned with the needs of our economy. So I see a lot of opportunity from a public/private partnership to help our communities of color—and our homeless people—get the skills that they need to thrive in our economy, so gentrification doesn’t push them out. I think we should have leadership classes right from the beginning in all of our schools, but particularly in communities of color, so they see themselves as leaders and thrive, and having after-school programs or vocational programs that they can go to to learn the skills that they need to be able to prosper and play, to not get pushed out through gentrification. Then they can acquire great tech jobs or great construction jobs or great-paying maritime jobs.

Whether it’s homelessness or helping communities of color prosper, we can solve these issues. But we have to do it together. We can’t have the divide that we have going on right now.

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MARY MARTIN

Website: themilitant.com Age: 64 Occupation: Factory worker, production worker Party affiliation: Socialist Workers Party Political hero: Vladimir Lenin, Malcolm X, and Fidel Castro Favorite Seattle celebrity: John T. Williams. “I would hope that people would remember and reflect upon John T. Williams, slain by the police. First Nations person.” When you decided to run: During the 2016 presidential election. “It became clear in the national presidential elections that this was the most important election in 100 years.”

Why are you running? The Socialist Workers Party runs candidates, and I’m one of them to speak out for the working class—which no other candidate of either party will speak about—because of the carnage that’s affecting [it]: 25 years of foreign wars, the conditions of life, the lack of jobs, the increasing rents, the disaster of health care, the attack on women’s abortion rights, the attacks on voting rights, opioid addiction. And in this framework we explain that it’s going to take a socialist revolution like what was carried out in Cuba to reorganize society and end the racism and dog-eat-dog nature of capitalism once and for all.

Now, a very important point is defense of the silver miners’ strike, USW Local 5114 in Mullan, Idaho. They’re on strike against Hecla Mining, and my campaign backs them. They’re not asking for a penny. What they’re asking for is their union protections of safety not to be violated by the company, because this is a dangerous industry. People have died in those mines periodically. Union control of safety is extremely important.

Here’s the other big point. My party and my campaign oppose all forms of the meritocratic liberal hysteria, which, while it’s directed at Trump, actually attacks the working class. This includes liberal intolerance of discussion and debate, like we’re seeing at [the Evergreen State College], a focus on identity politics and political correctness to the exclusion of any political debate. I was down in Portland. There were many Trump supporters who were having a free-speech rally. Many liberals—not all, but many—were calling them fascists and bigots and anti-Muslims. This is in spite of the fact that the organizer had made a statement, and he repeated it at the rally, that he would throw out any white supremacist who tried to come, [and] he considered the two men who died defending the Muslim women on the train in Portland, that they were heroes. I think debate and discussion is the way the working class will come to clarity. We’re raising this everywhere. We are going to need to build a movement capable of taking political power out of the hands of the capitalist class, and our party—the Socialist Workers Party—is at the core of that.

JAMES W. NORTON, JR.

Website: norton4seattle.org Age: 50 Occupation: Patrol officer for the Seattle Police Department Party affiliation: Democrat Political hero: Martin Luther King, Jr. Favorite Seattle celebrity: TV host and comedian Joel McHale When you decided to run: May 10, “first thing in the morning. I took some time off work to kind of think about it. … ‘Do I want to do this, and open my life up to everybody, and change my life forever?’ … [Then] I said, ‘You know what? … I want to dream.’ ”

Why are you running? The main reason is I’m not happy with the way our city is currently running. And because of my job I have first-hand experience with a lot of these issues, namely homelessness. I think that our city does not understand that [and] does not deal with it the way they should. They constantly want to put everything together, they want to solve everything the same way. You can’t. Each group needs its own resolution, and each person needs their own resolution.

I know there are issues regarding the way police interact with certain communities. I want to make that a much more important thing. I want to make sure that those things happen in a better way so that both sides feel like they’re being respected and heard. People have to feel comfortable dealing with police. [Editor’s note: We spoke with Norton prior to the officer-involved shooting of Charleena Lyles.] But the real reason that I’m running is when I meet people on the 911 calls that I go to, the issues that I just talked about are always at the forefront of our conversation, whether I have an answer for them or not. And they are just throwing their hands up, they’re frustrated. A lot of these people feel like they, along with their community, are getting left behind.

Our city is moving fast and forward so quickly that we’re forgetting about the things that made Seattle great: the people that have lived here for a long time, and make up these diverse and unique communities. I think these people feel like they have lost their voice. They don’t get a say in things. A perfect example is this soda tax that just passed. That tax—regardless if it was truly altruistic or not—that community didn’t get a say at all, they didn’t get a chance to decide if that was best for them.

A lot of people that are driving [the cost of living] up are people that are working downtown for large companies—which is fine, we need that in our city—but that shouldn’t be the only type of person that our city caters to. We should understand that there are people [who] don’t make as much money. They need to have housing too. They can’t be driving an hour to and from work because the only affordable housing is outside the city. That’s forgetting about the people that made our city special. And I don’t like hearing that.

LARRY OBERTO

Website: larryoberto.com Age: 55 Occupation: Motor-sports management and consulting (former race-car driver) Party affiliation: Somewhere between Democrat and Republican. “I’m both and I’m neither … it depends on the topic.” Political hero: Ronald Reagan. “Reagan comes to mind only because I’d just graduated high school; at that time in your life, you become very aware of what’s happening in the world. … It’s like the music of your era.” Favorite Seattle celebrity: J.P. Patches When you decided to run: Sometime in January, but actually filed about 30 minutes before the deadline on May 19. “Every election, I’d see who won, and I would just scratch my head and go, ‘I could have done it. Like, really?’ So this election … I started thinking, if I don’t try, I’ll never forgive myself.”

Why are you running? I’m running for mayor because I don’t feel Seattle has represented the totality of its population—whether they’re voters, non-voters, on the streets. or not on the streets. The city is richer than it’s ever been in its history. And it has zero accountability of even a penny spent. To watch it be this dysfunctional is disheartening when I’m a third-generation Seattleite out of five generations.

Seattle makes excuses and tolerates things and then just blames it on a growing city. I see that as a cop-out. In racing, you have defined time periods, you have defined goals, so that you can compete over a given time so you can do the best you can with what you have. And by doing that and competing successfully, you feel good about what you do and you put yourself in a position to win. Seattle has not put itself in a position to win. It’s just driving around with a flat tire, thinking it’s going to go away.

The homelessness issue: At bare minimum, to be a good citizen, you respect one another. And in that—in camping and in off-roading—you tread lightly. Society should at least expect the minimum threshold to keep their stuff clean. We need civility in Seattle.

Transportation: Everyone talks about all this technology. But transportation flowed 10 years ago with 20-year-old technology. We can easily fix at least the inner-city transit problem by just allowing traffic to flow. Whether you bike or skateboard, quit making everything be a separate, entitled route that when it comes together creates conflict and frustration. And fixing the infrastructure: Just taking care of the streets and having them properly paved, it’s not the end of the world.

And then for taxes: It’s a magic act. We’re all going to blame who’s supposed to pay, so the citizens don’t see how it’s being spent. It’s a diversion tactic. As mayor, I wanna basically say, “You pay X to get Y at Z time.” And once you do that, and you build the trust that society gives you as mayor, then people are going to be less argumentative of who’s supposed to pay because they’ll be getting results.

And my final frustration, why I’m running, is: We have a current government that tells me all the time that a sales tax is the most regressive tax possible. And yet every time I open the newspaper, these people are making some excuse that they’re doing something good for the same people they’re now raising the tax on. Accountability, good stewardship, prioritize what the citizens want us to do, and get results. Those are the four things.

JASON ROBERTS

Website: roberts4mayor2017.com Age: 45 Occupation: Consultant Party affiliation: Democrat Political hero: Bernie Sanders Favorite Seattle celebrity: Toss-up between late Mariners play-by-play announcer Dave Niehaus and Ken Griffey Jr. When you decided to run: Early January, “probably around the third of January I started putting together my platform.”

Why are you running? Back when I decided to run for mayor in January, there was no one running against Ed Murray, and it really was kind of upsetting me, the way that he was taking on issues that I felt were very important, namely the homeless issue, and he would spend tons and tons and tons of money doing focus groups and research trying to get things done and accomplish very little.

So I felt that someone like myself would be good in the mayor’s role because I know how to handle a budget, and that’s one thing that’s been complained about by almost everyone I talk to, is taxes are constantly being raised, yet less and less is being done. If you look at the amount of B&O tax being raised by this city, it’s more money than the city’s ever had, but it seems like we’re in a worse place than we ever have been as far as homelessness, the opioid addiction, and things of that nature.

So that’s why I wanted to get involved, and tackle some of these things I feel I have some real actionable plans on. That and getting into government and finding out where we’re leaking the money, where the spots are where we could tighten up and begin to do more with less, because I think that we’ve really stepped away from representing the people, especially with the mayor’s office and City Council, where they kind of pick pet projects and go after these microcosms of Seattle problems, like a one percent tax on soda or a tax on bullets or things like that. I feel that we could get in and make real, broad sweeping change.

ALEX TSIMERMAN

Website: alexforamerica.com Age: 70 Occupation: Retired Party affiliation: Independent Political hero: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln Favorite Seattle celebrity: Self. “I am number-one celebrity.” When you decided to run: Fall 2013

Why are you running? What is happen right now, Amazon control everybody. Bezos want be a dictator, and he’s our dictator right now. He pushed too many people out of Seattle and he control everybody and everybody who belong to Democrat under his supervision, you know what this mean? For this, he buy a Washington Post. So right now we have dictator—we have a government like Murray, for example, and another who go right now for election, these six front-runner. Who tolds that these people front-runner?

Seattle right now is the number-one fascist city in America is my pure, analytical opinion. And I don’t make too many mistake in my life. I’ll be honest with you—I’m very good with this. So. This exactly what I am once talking, first what is need is freedom of speech and right for equal election, because we don’t have equal election. Is a fundamental point of fascism. One-party system is always fascism.

What is very important is this fascism to corporations that go together with Murray, Dow Constantine, use people for their personal, political reason. So Seattle start number one fascist city in America.

This is exactly what will happen, maximum two years—Amazon make city collapse for another two years totally. Because Jeff Bezos, he want be a dictator, he want be number-one man in America. And maybe in whole world. His goal—because, I told you, for this reason he put everything down and he buy Washington Post.

Stand up, America. Stand up, America. We need need change, America. I support Trump by one hundred percentage points. It’s not matter how he go, bad or good, because he has two points what’s absolutely critical: stopping illegal immigration and bring American money back. This is exactly what we need, for everybody. I no care about what is he doing. I care about he want bring money back, your and my money. You understand what this mean? We spend a billion and billion dollars, trillion dollars around. It’s not about Trump, it’s about business plan what I have.

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KEITH WHITEMAN

Website: mayorkeithwhiteman.com Age: 37 Occupation: Creative development lead at a drinkware company Party affiliation: Common Sense Party, “which I obviously made up.” Political hero: Teddy Roosevelt Favorite Seattle celebrity: Brian Foss, co-owner of Funhouse, a punk-metal dive bar When you decided to run: Somewhere around January 3

Why are you running? For me, life is kind of about participation. Participating in society, participating with your loved ones, participating in new things. I understand that I’m probably underqualified, a long shot, whatever the words that people would use. But to me that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

When I first moved up to Seattle, I was just blown away and enamored with the political process here. Coming from D.C. and Maryland, where the voting was strictly a two-party system [with] not a lot of knowledge of who the candidates are, I came out here and there was total openness.

I kind of just started talking with people about politics, telling people they need to vote, [and] I started noticing that I’m thinking of things that no one else is talking about, you know. If I can talk about one thing, like bail reform or pretrial detention reform, and then if people hear that, then that’s worth it. We need to end bonds. Wealth should not determine freedom, basically, is what I’m saying. There’s no reason that people should lose their lives because they can’t pay 100 dollars. Pretrial detention reform is needed, for sure.

I’m completely aware of the slow gears of democracy. I see that as a chance to be a megaphone to express your views, express what you feel is right and wrong. That’s important. I feel like if I get up here and show people that I’m normal and cohesive and people like me and I have some good thoughts, that might spur not only their desire for more democratic process, but maybe they could run in the future, too. “If he can do it, I can do it,” right?

You know, people ask me a lot, “Do you think you’re gonna win?” And when I say, “No, not really,” people are kind of shocked. I say, “Do you go into everything only if you’re gonna win it? That’s no way to go about life.” The idea that you’re doing something, you’re bettering yourself, you’re bettering conversation, you’re bettering the city.. The journey and the process is what I appreciate. It comes back to when I first moved out here. I just loved it that you didn’t have to be a Democrat. You didn’t have to be a Republican. You could kind of just throw your hat in the ring and go.

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