Incumbent Pete Holmes’ challenger, Scott Lindsay, left private legal practice to work as former mayor Ed Murray’s public-safety advisor. There he transformed the city’s roving homeless-encampment evictions from an uncoordinated flurry of ad hoc evictions into a well-oiled, well-funded machine which has evicted more than a thousand camps since 2015. Lindsay also served (for Murray) on the task force that recommended supervised-consumption sites for drug users. On the campaign trail he’s promised to aggressively promote harm-reduction over punishment for petty, poverty-related crimes. Yet in 2016 and again in 2017, Lindsay leaked documents in an effort to quash legislative efforts by Mike O’Brien and homeless advocates to limit sweeps, making his commitment to harm reduction questionable at best.
First elected in 2009, Holmes led the charge to decriminalize cannabis. He also reduced the length of misdemeanor jail stays to prevent them from triggering deportation for unauthorized immigrants. On the other hand, he’s opposed by all current and former co-chairs of the Community Police Commission, who say he’s logjammed reform efforts for years—for instance by failing to adequately support the expansion of Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) and by crossing swords with the CPC over their institutional authority. Holmes’ foot-dragging on police reform and LEAD expansion is unacceptable. Yet Lindsay masterminded mass evictions, and his continued sabotage of sweep reforms speaks louder than his verbal commitments to supervised-consumption sites, LEAD expansion, and other progressive justice reforms.
Seattle is packed with incredible attorneys. We long to endorse someone like Nikkita Oliver of the Peoples Party or Patricia Sully of VOCAL to assume the seat of the highest lawyer in town. But in fact this race is a choice between the lesser of two evils. So we say: Don’t settle for Lindsay. Settle for Holmes. And then push him to do better.