Why newest Seattle council member operated as lone vote for second time

Jul 24, 2019, 5:52 AM | Updated: 6:02 am

Abel Pacheco...

Seattle City Council. (Seattle City Council)

(Seattle City Council)

Seattle City Councilmember Abel Pacheco once again operated as the sole vote against the rest of the council Monday, this time against a measure restructuring the way funds from the city’s sweetened beverage tax are allocated.

Pacheco is the newest member of the Seattle City Council, operating in an interim capacity for recently-departed Rob Johnson ahead of November’s election. In his short tenure, he’s gone against the rest of his council colleagues on a pair of high-profile, controversial votes. The latter of those two votes occurred Monday. He was the only council member to vote against a measure to dedicate a fund for the city’s soda tax.

Durkan reiterates veto threat over ‘irresponsible’ soda tax vote

In terms of why, Pacheco’s hope was to operate on a middle ground in what’s been a contentious feud between Mayor Durkan and the council regarding the measure.

“I think there was a series of decisions that led to the discussion yesterday, and so what I had offered was an amendment to help us navigate a path forward,” he told KTTH’s Jason Rantz. “I voted the way I did because I thought my amendment … was the best path forward to fulfill the intent of making everyone whole.”

On a council that has struggled to earn the trust of the public in recent months, Pacheco has made an effort to provide an avenue to compromise. And while that didn’t work this time around, his ultimate goal of earning back the public’s trust still remains.

“I’m just here focused on trying to work with both my colleagues in the mayor’s office, and trying to ensure that we’re transparent about how we make those … budget decisions,” he noted.

The last time Pacheco found himself voting against the rest of the council was back in June, when it he was the lone “nay” vote in an 8-1 decision to temporarily expand the borders of the Pike Place Historic District. That occurred as part of an effort from the council to save The Showbox from demolition.

Why Seattle CM Pacheco voted against Showbox protections

“I believe that historic districts should be used as they were intended: to preserve historic areas in our city,” he told MyNorthwest in June. “I voted against temporarily including the Showbox in the Pike Place Market Historical District because I believe that it is an example of misusing historic districts in a way that prevents density near transit and restricts the housing options we know Seattle needs in order to address affordability.”

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Why newest Seattle council member operated as lone vote for second time