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Lisa Herbold, Phil Tavel, Seattle council race
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Coalition of 100 West Seattle businesses rise in opposition to Lisa Herbold

Lisa Herbold and Phil Tavel. (Seattle Channel)

A coalition of over 100 small and independent West Seattle businesses and business people have come together to say “absolutely no” to a second term for Seattle City Councilmember Lisa Herbold. The group — which includes everything from Ala Mode Pies and Indigo Real Estate, to Mission Cantina and Zippy Dogs — have come out to support businessman and public defender Phil Tavel.

This is happening as Herbold supporters have been pushing opposition research to attack Phil Tavel. The name of the group is District One: Neighbors for Small Businesses. Dan Austin is the owner of Peel and Press, and joined the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH to discuss.

“As small independent owners it’s never easy to come out and get involved in politics because of possible blow back. But a lot of us at this point feel that we don’t have a choice but to speak up. We’re not being represented by our council here,” he said. “And it’s not Amazon not being represented by the council or Boeing not being represented — it is the local businesses, and the owners live in the neighborhood. We’re not just businesses, we’re neighbors, We support the community.”

“We just got to a point where we’ve realized that Lisa Herbold does not listen to us. She hasn’t really been engaged with us,” he added.

Austin says that one of the issues that drew even further supporters to the coalition of businesses against Herbold was her recent attack against Tavel on business license dissolution, which Austin says were done in the standard way, and displayed that Herbold lacks a basic understanding of how businesses in Seattle operate.

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As for what this activism will look like, Austin hopes to leverage the numerous businesses in support of Tavel, as well as the thousands of customers they come in contact with on a regular basis.

“Just with the list of restaurants in there, we have contact with roughly 15,000 visitors between all of our restaurants — more than that with all the retailers put together — a week,” he said. “Many of us are going to start actively advocating inside with signage or possibly when you get your check, just a little note saying that this business supports change on the council.”

“Our goal is to try to reach out and to let people know that just because Tavel has been supported by big business doesn’t mean that he is owned by big business. He has been supportive and listening to us for years. As a former business owner he understands the struggle better than anyone on that council.”

For Austin and the over 100 businesses owners, the general feeling is that the voice of the small business community does not have a seat at the table, meaning that legislation which directly impacts them is often written without their input at all.

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“There’s definitely a part of the population that she represents very well, and that’s the group that agrees 100 percent with her,” said Austin. “If you’re not in that group, it’s harder to get a meeting. We’ve offered that if there’s legislation coming up, we’d love to talk with you about it and kind of give you our side to help craft better policy.”

“But the council makes sure that policy is 100 percent written the way they want it before they drop it, and normally blindsides us and we don’t get an opportunity to even provide input or educate the council just a little bit. We’re not going to get 100 percent victory, but there’s something that can always be done to make it less painful, to make sure that our small business community out here is thriving and growing.”

“We just can’t do this anymore. It’s time to speak out.”

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here.

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