by Ashley Archibald
That Marc Dones believes the County can fix its homelessness crisis is probably good news coming from the first CEO of the King County Regional Homelessness Authority (KCRHA) — the organization that replaced All Home King County as the coordinating entity for homelessness response after a lengthy planning process.
This optimism comes against the backdrop of a humanitarian crisis on the streets of Seattle and King County, one that has become worse and more visible over the past two decades as various initiatives tried and failed to end it.
Continue reading Marc Dones Believes King County Can Fix Its Homelessness Crisis
by Chamidae Ford
Dow Constantine, the current King County executive, is running for reelection this year. Constantine is a Seattle native who grew up in West Seattle and attended the University of Washington. He has had a long career in politics, serving as a Washington State representative from the 34th District for two terms, a State senator for one term, and later held a seat on the King County Council for nine years. Constantine has served as the King County executive for 12 years.
The current executive is running against Joe Nguyen, a member of the Washington State Senate who represents the 34th District, the seat once held by Constantine..
This election, Constantine’s main areas of focus are COVID-19 recovery and building strong, equitable communities.
Continue reading Dow Constantine Runs for Reelection as County Executive Pushing COVID Recovery
by M. Anthony Davis
The last time the Emerald spoke with State Sen. Joe Nguyen, we profiled him soon after he announced his candidacy for King County executive. Now that it is well-known that the incumbent, Dow Constantine, will face a significant challenge from Sen. Nguyen, we caught up with him again to dive deeper into some of the key issues facing King County.
In this interview, we cover how Sen. Nguyen plans to use minimal cuts from the law enforcement budget to fund much-needed services like free transit, his three-tier approach to addressing homelessness, his views on the youth jail and police accountability, and the significance of the King County executive choosing the county sheriff and how this position can be leveraged for culture shifts in law enforcement and building trust in the community.
Continue reading Joe Nguyen Pushes Free Transit, Police Accountability in Run for County Executive
by Chamidae Ford
Ubax Gardheere recently announced her plan to run for King County Council District 9, which includes portions of Renton and Bellevue as well as Maple Valley and Enumclaw. The single mother describes herself as a “bureactvist” who is looking to shift the King County Council to a more cooperative community.
She currently oversees the Equitable Development Initiative (EDI) program as the equitable development division director for the City of Seattle Office of Planning and Community Development. She’s also the governance group member for Communities of Opportunity, a board member of A Regional Coalition for Housing, and a member of Fund 4 the Frontlines committee. Gardheere has also served on the advisory board of Seattle Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund and is a former board co-chair of Social Justice Fund NW.
Gardheere has experienced homelessness, poverty, a mental health crisis, and inaccessibility to resources throughout her life. These obstacles guide Gardheere’s platform and influence the policy she seeks to implement.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Continue reading County Council Candidate Ubax Gardheere Centers Campaign Around Lived Experience
by Lisa Edge
Geographically, the Puget Sound region is well known for its beautiful landscapes. There’s no shortage of stunning views from majestic mountains to expansive bodies of waters leading to the Pacific Ocean. The other gem of the area is the vibrant community of prolific writers. Charles Johnson is one of many accomplished authors who have impacted the literary world. Johnson is the kind of artist who keeps a notebook handy, so he’s always prepared to write down thoughts and ideas to be polished and used later.
The University of Washington professor emeritus has published more than two dozen books over the years. He’s also a screenwriter, essayist, and cartoonist. But he may be most well-known for his historical novel Middle Passage, which won the National Book Award in 1990. One of his most recent projects was guest editing the June issue of the Chicago Quarterly Review (CQR). It’s the first time the review has focused solely on Black literature. The anthology features new works of poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and art. It’s available for purchase now for $16. In this Q&A, Johnson talks about being a part of the milestone and much more.
Continue reading Charles Johnson Talks Editing an Anthology, New Works, and His Book ‘Middle Passage’
by Chamidae Ford
Sara Nelson officially added her name to the race for Seattle City Council Position 9 in February. She is a co-founder of the popular local small business, Fremont Brewing. Her campaign focuses primarily on small business recovery, aiming to revitalize Seattle’s economy after the downturn brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic
Approaching her candidacy with inspiration drawn from her time on staff for City Councilmember Richard Conlin, Nelson believes in leading with core values. Those beliefs, combined with community input, will be the driving force behind her decision-making.
Continue reading In Seattle City Council Bid, Sara Nelson Says Her Focus Is on Economic Recovery
by M. Anthony Davis
Bruce Harrell, who served as Seattle City Councilmember for 12 years, has announced he’s running for mayor. Harrell’s time on the City Council included serving as Council President, and for five days in 2017, he was acting mayor after former Mayor Ed Murray resigned. Ultimately, Harrell decided to return to his seat on the Council instead of finishing out Murray’s term. In 2019, Harrell stepped down from his role on the Council and decided not to run for reelection.
Now, Harrell, who was raised in the Central District, attended the University of Washington, and is a longtime community leader, is back and ready to run for mayor. The Emerald had a chance to catch up with Harrell and discuss his plans for the future of Seattle. Our conversation covers why Harrell decided to come back to local politics, his views on homelessness and policing, his plans to rejuvenate local businesses, and what it means to be a Seattle native with the opportunity to lead the city in these tumultuous times.
Continue reading Q&A: Bruce Harrell, Councilmember Who Grew Up in Central District, Runs for Mayor
by Mark Van Streefkerk
Last summer, Claire Grant (she/they, interchangeably) was protesting for Black lives when she was tear-gassed by Seattle police. That terrible experience was one thing that set the gears in motion for their decision to run for Seattle City Council.
“That made me really angry, as I’m sure it did everybody else who was there,” Grant remembered. “It was a really awful, traumatic experience … this was just incredibly disheartening — to have people who are supposed to be leaders in the community outright attack you.”
Continue reading Claire Grant Brings Public Health to the Fore of Her Campaign for City Council Position 9
by Gus Marshall
Lady Jay The Musical Poetress is a contemporary folklorist and modern day story teller who chooses to communicate her truth through the medium of musical poetry.
Self-reflective poems, unabashed and extremely personal, are front and center on Lady Jay’s new album, The BrainBox. Production that runs the gamut from guitar-heavy arena rock, to neo-soul electronica, lays the groundwork for Lady Jay’s powerful message of self-love, perpetual struggle, and soul-filled resilience. Paired with befitting backing tracks produced by Lady Jay’s husband Allen Hunter (also known as “AFlat”), The BrainBox takes the listener on a theatrical journey.
Continue reading Q&A: Lady Jay The Musical Poetress Talks New Album, Struggle, and Discovering Herself