Vote Mack, DeWolf, and Patu For Seattle School District

DIRECTOR DISTRICT 4: Eden Mack

Eden Mack co-founded Washington’s Paramount Duty, which lobbies the state legislature to adequately fund public education per the state Supreme Court’s McCleary ruling. That commendable group is still hard at work. WPD decried the legislature’s meager attempt to finally do so this summer as an abject failure; Seattle schools, they report, are “worse off under the legislature’s education funding deal than it would have been had the legislature done nothing.” We need this kind of advocacy on the Seattle School Board. Mack has also racked up a slew of endorsements from local Democratic organizations and elected officials, as well as from Lyon Terry (2015 state Teacher of the Year) and six of the seven current School Board directors. Just as important, Mack’s competitor in this race is sorely wanting. Herbert J. Camet, Jr. uses the phrase “LGBT lifestyle choice” on his campaign website, which reads like an angry, repetitive screed against the “corporate business hacks” and “fake candidates” that he sees taking over the School Board and the schools. While we’d prefer to endorse a candidate who’s more aggressive and specific than Mack has been on racial equity in Seattle schools, Mack is the clear choice here.

DIRECTOR DISTRICT 5: Zachary Pullin DeWolf

The choice for District 5 School Board Director is between a business-minded technocrat and a social-justice warrior. Omar Vasquez is a Teach for America alum and business lawyer who sits on the board of a local charter school. Vasquez has said that he is “not a charter-school candidate,” but then added that charter schools may be “part of the mix” of public education in Seattle. “Working at Summit [charter school] allowed me to see what an innovative model looks like,” he told the 36th District Democrats. We are skeptical, to say the least, of that argument. His opponent, Zachary DeWolf, is a former Peace Corps Volunteer who learned Braille and then set up a school for it in Belize. He currently serves as the President of the Capitol Hill Community Council, where he was an early embracer of supervised-consumption sites and harm-reduction approaches to drug abuse and extreme poverty. Local and state Democrats have lined up to endorse DeWolf, and his resume is so packed with commissions and other civic service that it’s hard to get through the whole thing. Both candidates appear to view the School Board position as a stepping stone to higher office. That’s not necessarily a bad thing: Ambition can fuel progress. But progress toward what? Vasquez talks a good game about civic engagement and reducing inequity, but DeWolf’s track record as a public servant and his demonstrated commitment to social justice convince us that he is the best candidate.

DIRECTOR DISTRICT 7: BETTY PATU

As we wrote in endorsing her in August, Betty Patu’s emphasis on racial equity, consideration of her constituents’ concerns, and deftness at navigating the controversial (and at times very tedious) waters of public-education policy are indispensable assets, burnished by her deep understanding of what it actually feels like to work inside Seattle schools. Prior to serving on the Board, Patu worked in Seattle Public Schools for 32 years, directing award-winning programs that helped increase graduation rates and reduce violence while winning half a dozen awards herself. Plus, her opponent in this race don’t pass muster: Chelsea Byers’ only teaching experience is two years with Teach for America, and she has spent most of her career working for private education-technology companies, not schools. That resume is surprisingly similar to Omar Vasquez’s, who’s running for Position 5. In both cases we say skip the technocrat.

More in News & Comment

Mary Lynn Pannen, founder and CEO of Sound Options, has consulted thousands of Washington families on geriatric care for 30 years. Photo courtesy of Sound Options
Seattle Takes on Elder Abuse as Reported Cases Rise

Local agencies and geriatric care managers aim to increase public awareness about the epidemic.

The Ride2 transit app will offer on-demand rides to and from West Seattle starting on Dec. 17. Courtesy of King County Metro
Climate Action Coalition Urges City to Respond to Seattle Squeeze

MASS asks the city to prioritize reducing traffic and increasing pedestrian safety ahead of the Alaskan Way Viaduct’s closure.

State Supreme Court Strikes Down I-27; King County Will Pursue Safe Consumption Sites

The decision upholds a court ruling keeping the anti-consumption site initiative off the ballot.

Seattle’s Hockey Team And Stadium Are On Their Way

Key Arena renovations will be completed without the use of public funding

Andrea Bernard, Allycea Weil, and Phoenix Johnson (left to right) are Licton Springs K-8 parents who want their kids to stay in the Native-centered program. Photo by Melissa Hellmann
Licton Springs K-8 Parents Dismayed by Potential School Move

The PTO says children have benefited from the Native-centered program, and that transferring the pupils would disrupt their progress.

Seattle Municipal Court’s warrant outreach event on Nov. 30, 2017. Photo by Melissa Hellmann
Seattle Takes Steps to Quash Warrants

City Attorney attempts to address inequities in criminal justice system and enhance public safety.

The King County Courthouse. File photo
King County Council Acknowledges Report on Juvenile Solitary Confinement

Report also says youth of color face a disproportionate amount of disciplinary measures

Federal Way Megachurch Slapped With Another Sexual Exploitation Lawsuit

Lawsuit calls for removal of Casey and Wendy Treat, and CFO, from church leadership roles.

The Centralia Power Plant is a coal-burning plant owned by TransAlta which supplies 380 megawatts to Puget Sound Energy. It is located in Lewis County and slated to shut down by 2025. Aaron Kunkler/Staff Photo
National Report Outlines Climate Change’s Course For Northwest

More fires, floods and drought appear to be on their way for Washington state.

Mustafa Getahun and other Washington Federation of State Employees laundry workers picket University of Washington Medicine at Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery on May 17, 2018. Photo courtesy of the Washington Federation of State Employees
University of Washington Laundry Workers Feel Hung Out to Dry

The Rainier Valley facility’s imminent closure leaves over 100 people looking for new jobs.