I’ve never been all that enthusiastic about the city council’s move to district elections—I didn’t like the district boundaries, and thought it should have been 9-0 or 5-4 rather than this weird 7-2 district/at-large split. I’m also not convinced that it makes it easier to run a grassroots campaign, as big money now buys an even bigger advantage in these smaller districts. Public financing is the the more pressing reform. Or if you really want to fix what ails the council, their’s a much better and bolder reform than district elections: Proportional ranked choice voting.
But if you had hoped that the move to districts might shake up the composition of the council, forcing some of the old timers out, then you’ll be pleased with the news that council member Tom Rasmussen has decided not to run for re-election in Council District 1:
“I am profoundly grateful to have served the people of Seattle for more than 25 years, both as a member of the City Council, as Director of the Mayor’s Office for Senior Citizens and for former City Councilmember Jeanette Williams. I’ve sought to contribute to Seattle in ways that I hope will be meaningful for future generations.
“This wasn’t an easy decision but, it is the right one. It is now time to direct my efforts toward the same causes I have always been most passionate about — in exciting new ways.
Well, it probably wasn’t all that hard a decision. Rasmussen may have been the most vulnerable incumbent on the council, facing a credible challenger in community activist Chas Redmond, and a vocally dissatisfied constituency back home in West Seattle. Nobody wants to be conlined. Better to go out a winner.
As for what it means for city government, I dunno. Didn’t have much of a relationship with Rasmussen, who was good on some issues and not-so-good on others. Like I wrote earlier this week, Nick Licata and his passionate liberalism will be missed. But I never really thought of Rasmussen as standing for much of anything. So I’m happy to see somebody else get a chance.
So… is Jean Godden the next to go? She’s got a couple of credible challengers in District 4, and, well, let’s be honest: She’s very old. But Godden pretty much retired to the council, so it’s hard to see much motivation for her to retire from it.