FILE – Bruce Harrell

Seattle mayoral candidate Bruce Harrell. 

(The Center Square) – The Downtown Seattle Association has released its "Candidate Scorecard" for citywide office contenders, who will face the voters in less than a week.

The nonprofit membership organization asked candidates about downtown economic recovery in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and then rated them on how closely their written answers aligned – Outstanding Alignment, Some Alignment, or Not Aligned – with the DSA’s goal of creating a thriving central business district in Seattle.

Candidates’ performances at the DSA’s recent mayoral and council forums were factored in as well.

Candidates were asked: “Now, with the general population being vaccinated and a gradual return of workers and visitors, how will the city of Seattle support downtown’s economic recovery? As someone who seeks public office with the city of Seattle, please briefly describe your background in business or business-related issues. Then in detail, please describe the city’s role in helping downtown recover. What is your recovery plan for downtown, and how would you propose to implement it?”

Lawyer and mayoral candidate Bruce Harrell, a former city council president, was given an Outstanding Alignment by DSA.

Harrell, vowed to use his experience to aggressively tackle the issues of small business recovery, rampant homelessness, and public safety in a city already grappling with these challenges before the pandemic and pandemic-related vaccine mandates.

“I understand the issues facing downtown employers and workers, having served as Chief Counsel for UW WEST, and managing partner of a downtown law firm on 4th and Union representing businesses, working people, and nonprofits,” he wrote. “The skills I obtained in these roles and while on Council – strategic thinking, collaboration, and intentional listening – I’ll bring to service as Mayor. My leadership will change the narrative on downtown – and our city – with positivity, direct action and measurable outcomes.

“A Downtown Seattle that is thriving, welcoming, and safe is a Downtown that once again will serve as a focal point of our region’s prosperity and growth. My administration will not lose focus on these priorities. Let’s work together to get it done.”

Current District 9 Councilmember Lorena González, also a lawyer running for mayor, was rated as Not Aligned by the DSA for having her campaign manager, Alex Koren, essentially provide a non-answer answer in the form of declining to participate.

“Such a narrow geographic focus misses the larger challenges of addressing systemic inequalities across the city, and helping small businesses recover from the pandemic and thrive in every neighborhood, not just one,” Koren wrote. “As Mayor, Lorena will bring people together to help all parts of our city succeed and will continue her work toward this shared and important goal. We look forward to continuing to engage with you and your members on these citywide issues and to crafting solutions that will promote a just and fair recovery.”

In the race for city attorney, Ann Davison was rated as in Outstanding Alignment with the DSA, while Nicole Thomas-Kennedy, running on a platform stressing restorative justice and alternatives to prison, did not provide an answer, garnering a Not Aligned rating.

Davison, a former city council candidate who has declared herself a Republican even though she claims to have voted for President Joe Biden in 2020, vowed to make Seattle a more prosperous and safer place.

“Seattle needs downtown businesses that create jobs and generate tax revenue, but downtown businesses need Seattle to be safe in order to prosper,” Davison wrote. “It is a core duty of any city to protect its people and its businesses. To help downtown Seattle recover, the city had a lot of roles. It needs to partner with businesses and chambers to create a favorable taxing and regulatory structure that accomplishes the needs of the city while allowing struggling businesses to rebuild. The city must ensure that people feel safe living, working, and traveling downtown. This should be a combined effort from all relevant agencies. Furthermore, the city is also one of the major employers downtown and it has as much stake in the health of downtown as any employer.”

On the city council front, Position 8 candidate Teresa Mosqueda was rated as in Some Alignment with the DSA.

“There is common ground,” the incumbent wrote. “When we work together, we have a stronger Seattle. We must redouble efforts to house the unsheltered, get people back to work by providing the support and training needed, and provide flexible funding that trusts small business owners as best equipped to determine how those dollars should be deployed. I look forward to four more years of healthy debate, collaboration, and rebuilding.”

In the city council Position 9 contest, candidates Sara Nelson and Nikkita Oliver were rated Outstanding Alignment and Not Aligned, respectively.

“These are tough times but with crisis comes opportunity,” Nelson noted. “We have the chance for a major reset in this town and it starts with electing candidates for City Council who can be held accountable for delivering measurable results instead of ideological rhetoric.”

“As we re-open we must: prioritize workers; address the housing crisis; make downtown an arts & culture destination; & establish a safety net for workers that includes prevailing wages, healthcare, hazard pay, & dignified working conditions,” Oliver penned. “The health of our most vulnerable workers & residents dictates how we recover.”

She then went on to advocate for more progressive taxation, commercial rent control, and free public transportation.

Staff Reporter

Brett Davis reports on Washington state government for The Center Square. He previously worked for public policy organizations the Freedom Foundation and Washington Farm Bureau, as well as various community newspapers.