On April 24, 1967, a group of college friends join together to form “Choose an Effective City Council” (CHECC) to reform Seattle City Government. CHECC members believe that incumbent Council members had been in office too long and had failed to effectively solve city problems. Besides city government reform, CHECC members were interested in inspiring like-minded younger people “with energy and vigor” to run for Seattle City Council positions. The citizen group would elect numerous City Council members through 1973, but its influence faded and it disbanded in 1977.
Might a slate be a good idea? Seattle politics were transformed by such an approach in 1967-77, when Choose an Effective City Council (CHECC) adopted such an approach, endorsing one Democrat and one Republican in each race and fairly quickly transforming and dramatically improving the council.
The advantages of a slate are that it induces better people to run for office (they can be more effective since there are supporting votes), provides a screening that produces better candidates, rewards working together, and gives greater consistency to policy over the years.
David Brewster has been around along time. He started the Seattle Weekly, which I’m told used to be better than The Stranger. He was also a big backer of Paul Schell for years and years. He currently publishes the online “newspaper” Crosscut and is also advocating for a big remodel at the Seattle Center.
But his “slate” idea is a relic of the past, and it ought to be killed off before somebody tries it again. Besides, the slate Brewster wants seems to be the one already on the job.
If there is any broad-based civic reform that ought to happen, it’s this one. Seattle Districts is supported by rightwing bloggers (Stefan!) and lefties too (like me!). Just like the old CHECC days when Republicans and Democrats worked together… But instead of electing different councilmembers, we’ll be electing councilmembers differently.
CHECC is so 1966.