For many, many years, Seattle’s progressive activist community only knew Paul Allen as a major civic nemesis. Given all the times he’s used his infamous billions to undermine grassroots democracy and progressive causes in Seattle, you could hardly blame us. How, and why, did we loathe him so? Let us count the ways: his funding of the 1997 special election that led to the taxpayer financing of the construction of Seahawks Stadium; his pulling of City Hall strings to get the city to construct an expensive streetcar that ultimately served no other purpose than to up the value of his South Lake Union real-estate holdings; his privately-owned, vomit-shaped “museum” built on the public land of Seattle Center; the list goes on and on.
Amazingly, all that egregious egotistical excess, and all the local progressive ire it inspired, suddenly became irrelevant in January 2016.
That month, Paul Allen announced that he was financing yet another special election aimed at influencing yet another important decision in Seattle city politics. Only this time, rather than serving his own financial and/or egotistical interests, this election had the following — and truly surprising — stated goal: to recall Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and replace him with Seattle Mayor Kshama Sawant.
Lo and behold, when Paul Allen and his money want something, Paul Allen and his money get it. The special election held on the date in focus here naturally yielded victory, as Sawant was handily elected mayor by a clear landslide, helped no doubt by the many glossy, full-color flyers and campaign signs personally financed, along with the election itself, by Paul Allen.
When asked about his ultimate motivation for engineering his latest local electoral coup, Allen replied, “Ed Murray hates rock ‘n’ roll. Fuck that dude.”
Kate Joncas was unavailable for comment.
Sources: brown rice; lentil soup; Henry Weinhard’s Private Reserve; lack of consistent REM sleep.