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It's an election year. What are Seattle City Council members up to?: Today So Far

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Flickr Photo/Daniel X. O'Neil (CC-BY-NC-ND)/
  • February comes to a frosty end in Western Washington.
  • Some medical facilities in Seattle are taking steps to mitigate the impacts of commonly used anesthetics on the environment.
  • It's a big election year for the Seattle City Council. Let's take a look at what council members are planning.

This post originally appeared in KUOW's Today So Far newsletter for February 27, 2023.

Weather update: We hit some record cold temperatures last week in Seattle, and it doesn't look like things will change anytime soon. Temperatures will be dipping into freezing territory and then rising into the 40s for a few days, which means anything that falls will be going between wet and ice.

The National Weather Service says to expect a rain/show mix around Western Washington today. Also, about three inches of snow is possible around Seattle this evening. NWS is calling the weather over the next couple days a "minor impact." With this sort of Northwest weather, I predict a lot of minor (and major) impacts on the roads out there, so be very careful.

If you're like me, then you've really appreciated nitrous oxide at the doctor or the dentist. My last trip to the dentist involved a lot of needles and drills ... but I didn't seem to mind. It turns out, anesthetic gases like nitrous oxide or desflurane also happen to be very potent greenhouse gases. That's why some medical facilities in Seattle are taking steps to mitigate their impacts on the environment.

Seattle Children's Hospital, for example, has an extensive system of pipes that carry nitrous oxide throughout its facilities. But those pipes can leak about 90% of its gas supply. That's not very efficient when you think about it. Those pipes are now slowly being turned off and the hospital is transitioning to individual tanks. It's a fascinating corner of our everyday, medical lives, and the response to climate change. Check out the full story here.

Right about now is a good time to bring up the Seattle City Council. As of late last week, all council members up for election this year have revealed their plans for the future. Will they run for re-election? Will they step down from politics? The answers are "yes," "no," and "other."

The big takeaway here is that seven of the nine council seats are up for election this year, four of these positions are wide open with no incumbents. Yet another seat may open up early. This has the potential to shake things up in Seattle, which faces challenges from homelessness to growth. I emphasize the word "potential." Changes like this could be like trading members of the Ramones, or switching up members of the Scorpions. You're either going to get pretty much the same tune, or you can get rocked like a hurricane by the wind of change.

Running for re-election

Andrew Lewis: Lewis joined the council in 2020 and is running for re-election. He is participating in the city's Democracy Voucher Program.

Tammy Morales: Announced in early February that she is running again for District 2 and is participating in the city's Democracy Voucher Program. Morales joined the council in 2020.

Dan Strauss: Announced this week that he is running for re-election in District 6. Strauss joined the council in 2020.

Not running for re-election/other

Lisa Herbold: Herbold says she is not running for District 1 because she fears a divisive primary election could allow extreme candidates to make it through. She hopes that bowing out will help a progressive candidate win. Herbold joined the council in 2016.

Debora Juarez: Juarez has long said she wasn't running for re-election in District 5, but everybody in town acted like it was breaking, never-before-heard news when she randomly mentioned it again in December. She joined the council in 2016.

Alex Pedersen: Said he is stepping down from his District 4 seat after one term to be with family and work in the private sector after his term is up.

Kshama Sawant: Sawant, who represents District 3, is leaving office to start a new activist organization focused on workers. Sawant's election leads have narrowed over the years. She won her first election in 2013 by just a couple percentage points. She had a 12 percentage point lead in 2015, and a 4 percentage point lead in 2019. She then survived a 2021 recall effort by less than 1%, a difference of 310 votes.

Teresa Mosqueda: This council position is a little different. Mosqueda represents position 8 on the council, which is a citywide seat. She joined the council in 2017. Her current term is through 2025, however, Mosqueda wants to trade her city seat for a King County Council seat. Should she succeed and move on up to the county level, the city council will have to fill her role on the dais.

Note: These are just the current council members up for election this year; each council district has a number of challengers for the job.


caption: David Tagliani's search and rescue dog Libby in Kup'yans'k.
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David Tagliani's search and rescue dog Libby in Kup'yans'k.
Photo courtesy of David Tagliani

David Tagliani's search and rescue dog Libby in Kup'yans'k, Ukraine. Tagliani is a Seattleite who has been volunteering on the ground in Ukraine, amid the Russian invasion over the past year. He is working with the aid organization Stay Safe UA. Lately, his work involves bringing internet access to civilians affected by the war. (Courtesy of David Tagliani)


Bumbershoot is officially back! After some pandemic-era hits, the music and arts festival will return Sept. 2-3 under new leadership. After the festival's former organizer decided to drop Bumbershoot in 2019, a new group of organizers called "New Rising Sun" stepped up and took the reigns. This year marks the 50th anniversary of Bumbershoot.

New Rising Sun has a few changes in mind for this year's festival. You can read about them here.

The roots of Bumbershoot go back a little more than 50 years, to 1971. At the time, Boeing wasn't doing so well and Seattle was generally bummed out. The festival was an idea to get folks in a better mood. "Festival '71," aka "Mayor's Arts Festival," was the result of that effort. Country artist Sheb Wooley was a featured musical act. There was a high-tech laser show, which was pretty new at the time. There were dances, stage performances, folk music, and other arts. Also body painting, a feature on art cars, and a Miss Hot Pants competition, which is exactly what it sounds like and such contests were apparently happening in a lot of US cities back then.

About 125,000 people showed up that year. It was considered a success. So Seattle did it again in 1972, this time under the name "Bumbershoot." By the way, "bumbershoot" is another name for an umbrella.


Capitol Washington DC
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As Republicans start investigating Biden, the White House war room is ready to fight

Since President Biden took office, Republicans in Congress have often accused him and his administration of wrongdoing, but they had no real power to demand documents or compel testimony. That changed in January when the GOP took over the House majority and all the investigative powers that come with it. They have launched investigations into everything from internet companies and the "weaponization of government" to the Afghanistan withdrawal and the business dealings of the president's family, including his son Hunter.


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