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Politics Northwest

The Seattle Times political team explores national, state and local politics.

December 1, 2014 at 4:01 PM

Sons of former mayor, restaurant owner each launch Seattle City Council bids

Seattle City Council candidate Taso Lagos

Seattle City Council candidate Taso Lagos

Norm Rice was mayor of Seattle, officially. George Lagos was mayor of The Ave, unofficially.

Now Rice, mayor from 1990 to 1998, and Lagos, who ran the beloved Continental Greek Restaurant on University Way with his wife from 1974 to 2013, each have a son running for Seattle City Council.

Mian Rice has registered a campaign for the 5th District as the council moves to geographic representation for its 2015 elections. The district covers North Seattle. Rice lives in Licton Springs.

The Garfield High School graduate, who holds a graduate degree in transportation planning from the University of Washington and manages a small-business program at the Port of Seattle, hasn’t run for elected office before.

But Rice, 44, is familiar with the corridors of power. He served then-Mayor Greg Nickels as a transportation and regional policy adviser from 2005 to 2008. He later worked for Turner Construction.

“I’ve always had the political bug in me,” he said. “It’s just been a matter of timing.”

The time is now because “the North End feels left out, to a certain degree,” added Rice.

Rice says the 5th District needs more sidewalks and better street lighting and drainage.

He says there must be a pedestrian bridge built across Interstate 5 between North Seattle College and the Northgate light-rail station scheduled to open in 2021.

Planned Parenthood organizer Halei Watkins and former Methodist pastor Sanford Brown also are running in the 5th District. But Rice has a former mayor as his father.

“I’m my own man,” Rice said. “I don’t see it as a positive or a negative. He’s just my dad.”

Taso Lagos, 55, has registered a campaign for the 4th District in Northeast Seattle.

Lagos is a lecturer in the UW’s Jackson School of International Relations, where he directs a study-abroad program, and his roots in the area are wrapped around the eatery that his family operated for nearly 40 years. The 4th District includes the University District.

Like Mian Rice, Lagos is a first-time candidate. He says he didn’t run before because he knew he wouldn’t be able to raise enough money to bankroll a citywide campaign.

“It’s been something on my mind for about 25 years,” Lagos said.

Lagos began renting space from a friend in Maple Leaf in October, he says. Before that, he lived in Edmonds. He says he plans to buy a home in the University District.

“I missed being in the U District and my work is there, so I thought it would be nice to live nearby,” Lagos said. “The council race was part of it as well.”

Lagos says he wants to see a public plaza built near the U District light-rail station slated to open in 2021. The city should continue to encourage real estate development in the U District and in Roosevelt but should leave other 4th District neighborhoods “pretty much pristine,” he says.

He thinks the city’s neighborhood councils should have real rather than advisory authority and will look for votes from “people with immigrant backgrounds and small-business owners.”

Current Councilmember Jean Godden, transit advocate Rob Johnson and Democratic Party activist Michael Maddux are also taking aim at the 4th District seat.

Comments | More in Local government, Politics Northwest, Seattle City Council | Topics: 2015 Seattle City Council elections, George Lagos, Licton Springs

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