Gee & Ursula: Seattle City Council’s big shift will better the city

Nov 15, 2023, 5:58 PM | Updated: Nov 16, 2023, 5:04 am

Photo: The Seattle City Council is discussing adding to Seattle's budget deficit....

The Seattle City Council is discussing adding to Seattle's budget deficit. (Photo courtesy of Seattle Channel)

(Photo courtesy of Seattle Channel)

As it stands now, after the Seattle City Council election, there will be a 7-2 moderate majority among the nine members. That’s a significant shift from the progressive council that was highly criticized for not getting enough done.

Discussing the shift on The Gee and Ursula Show, hosts Gee Scott and Angela Poe Russell, filling in for Ursula Reutin, talked about the shift in the council’s political stance.

“Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell and council member Sarah Nelson are taking a bit of a victory lap as ballot counting comes to a close,” Gee said. “Sarah Nelson said on Tuesday, ‘All the new incoming council members will be centered on public safety and responsible stewardship of public dollars in their campaigns.'”

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Gee pondered whether the new city council could create a more friendly business environment downtown and help create meaningful changes in the city.

“I am elated that we’re moving in a different direction, or at least it appears that way,” Angela answered, speaking as a longtime Seattle resident.

She explained that as a reporter for local media outlets, she met many small business owners in the city.

“I can tell you that many of them have felt ignored under the previous council,” she continued.

Angela said many small business owners have put their life savings into their businesses.

“And then, when they have a problem, they can’t even get a response from their city council person,” Angela said. “They can’t even get permits issued in a reasonable amount of time. It is just like you’re working against yourself. So for small business’ sake, for public safety’s sake, we have to do something different.”

They both talked about the lack of the council getting things done for the city over the past three years. Angela spoke of the “us vs. them kind of mindset.”

“I think activism is great,” Angela said. “But it keeps you in your point of view. So if you can get people together that say I have my biases, I’m going to acknowledge them. But I’m also going to seek input from others. I’m also going to look at the data. And I’m not going to walk away from the negotiating table hating you and talking about you in the media. I just think if reasonable people can come together, we can come up with some solutions.”

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Gee still believes it’s hard to say what the new council’s impact would be.

“I do think that this council will make a change,” he said. “The only thing I just want people to understand is that the problems that are occurring in this city, aren’t all on Seattle City Council. Even though I think it is going to be better, don’t expect the changes that you might want.”

Gee said the changes in the city all start with the mayor and that Bruce Harrell is setting the right tone.

“The concern is when you think of Seattle, you think of public safety,” Gee said.

Angela said her husband’s car was hit by a bullet when driving in Seattle.

“Nothing ever came of it,” she said. “Police didn’t even respond until the next day.”

Listen to Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin weekday mornings from 9 a.m.- noon on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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