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Spady: Your vote, not the Chamber, can moderate the Seattle City Council

Voter Yordanos Bayru places her ballot into a drop box in Seattle. (AP File Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

I am not anti-business. I am pro-growth. I want to elect Seattle City Council members who will engage and work with the area’s private sector to develop sweeping, data-driven solutions to the city’s problems. In some ways it seems the Seattle business community is still undecided how bold they can be in their attempts to remove incumbent candidates in 2019.

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I’ve been hearing swirling rumors that the Seattle Chamber of Commerce might endorse Debora Juarez for re-election. That’s right, the defender of the status quo, and an official who ignores family homelessness. Juarez — a job’s tax passer and defender.

Again, these are rumors. The Chamber has not officially endorsed any candidate. If it’s true — instead of growing a backbone and endorsing one of the plethora of new candidates who Speak Out Seattle has featured in their forums across the city, the Chamber might endorse an incumbent because she is the “best of the worst.” Because she is the “safe choice.”

As somebody who’s been around these business owners in the community, I can say they do incredible work for our city, and they work extremely hard to provide services needed to keep this town as functional as possible in these turbulent times. But let me be clear, endorsing Juarez won’t help improve anything for local businesses or citizens for that matter. It’s unfathomable to me that the Chamber would consider lending their support to an incumbent who regularly demonizes them in print and to their faces.

I think every single one of us in the rational opposition needs to realize that the business community is not why the head tax was repealed. It is because of Erika Nagy. It is because of Ari Hoffman. It is because of Speak Out Seattle, Safe Seattle, and all the countless citizens across the city who have had enough with bad leadership. A team of citizens who are tired of the corruption, started to do their own investigative journalism, and learned that the status quo is sick, twisted, and diseased. It is a particular type of disease that can only be voted out with new ideas, new solutions, and new leaders.

There are certainly members of the rational opposition in the Seattle business community, but sadly there are also those who hope we fail in our quest to replace the council with fiscally responsible, transparent, and accountable leaders. They have become ingratiated in the echo chamber at city hall and they will do everything they can to prop up the status quo and ignore what is happening on our streets.

A status quo that has overseen a rise in assaults, property crimes, encampments, strewn needles and trash. Their solutions range from banning plastic straws, requiring close captioning in bars, the largest tax on jobs in the country, and no library fines.

The Third Door Coalition, a committee of businesses and charities including Seattle Plymouth Housing, Lion’s Den, and the Seattle Hospitality Group have all gathered to commit to a plan to end homelessness (again). I’m going to create a committee and plan to end homelessness for you right here — it’s your vote, it is your voice. It is the way that you engage and talk about local issues, independent of your national parties’ pre-determined message.

We need a non-homogeneous city council. We need a group of leaders that are diverse in thought and in background; capable of passing an independent performance audit, providing on-demand drug rehab, enforcing encampment laws. We need leaders who can listen to, and partner with, the business community. Change of this sweeping nature is possible, but it won’t happen because of the business community or the Seattle Chamber of Commerce.

It will happen because of you and the power of your vote.

Listen to the Saul Spady Show weekdays from 6-9 a.m. on AM 770 KTTH.

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