Last week on July 13, The Seattle Star presented our endorsements for the August 4 Seattle City Council primary elections. Today, we present a “wea culpa”: we’re dropping our endorsement of Seattle City Council District 4 candidate Rob Johnson. Here’s why.
We originally chose a dual endorsement of Johnson and Michael Maddux. However, we’ve since learned that Johnson has taken significant financial contributions from two independent expenditure groups: $44,000 from the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce-funded (and deceptively named) People for Rob, and $20,000 from the Washington Restaurant Association PAC. He’s also pulled in money from real-estate developers. While Johnson is otherwise a strong candidate, Big Money donations such as these are troubling, and thus we’ve now dropped our endorsement of Johnson. Our sole endorsement for District 4 is now Michael Maddux.
The switch to district-based city council elections was meant to lessen the influence of Big Money in Seattle’s city government — not to increase it. Ultimately, a vote for candidates supported by the Chamber of Commerce — such as Pamela Banks, Shannon Braddock, and Rob Johnson — is a vote for more of the same developer-centric policies and budgets that have largely created Seattle’s current housing affordability crisis. Johnson now resembles an establishment candidate much more than Maddux, who now resembles the most progressive and grassroots of all the District 4 candidates. Whence our wea culpa. Vote Maddux.