May 6, 2013 at 12:21 PM
Metropolitan King County Council member Rod Dembowski was appointed in February to a vacant seat, so now he’s defending his position in the fall election. And it looks like he might have an easier time than he expected. State Rep. Cindy Ryu, a popular Shoreline politician, was a finalist for the appointment and planned to run for the seat after the County Council selected Dembowski.
Ryu said today she is undecided whether she’ll seek the council seat after all. She has not been raising any money, even during the break between the Legislature’s session and special session. “It probably puts me at a huge disadvantage,” she said, noting that she thinks it’s best to stay focused on the Legislature’s work. A third finalist, Will Hall, has decided to run for re-election to the Shoreline City Council instead.
Meanwhile, King County Executive Dow Constantine is preparing to kick off his re-election campaign comfortably with $357,999 on hand as of the end of April, according to his consultant, Christian Sinderman.
Constantine has raised a total of $641,196, and has drawn only one opponent: Alan Lobdell, a civil engineer whose campaign website details his entire life in detail, including his divorce and two bankruptcies.
Lobdell writes that the county is wasting money on workplace sensitivity training: “Why is King County spending so much time teaching sensitivity and diversity classes? … This is not a productive use of time and the money from your taxes that funds it needs to be used more wisely!”
Meanwhile, Metropolitan King County Council member Reagan Dunn is facing a challenge in his rural district from Newcastle Realtor Shari Song, who is new to politics. Song’s campaign seems to have some momentum, reporting almost $70,000 raised at the end of March. Dunn lost his bid for the state attorney general in the fall. He had raised nearly $200,000 at the end of the last reporting period.
April 26, 2013 at 10:04 AM
Metropolitan King County Council member Julia Patterson will not seek re-election, she said today.
Patterson is finishing up her third term representing the 5th council district, which is in South King County. Before that, she represented the 33rd legislative district in the House and Senate.
Patterson said that after 23 years in elected office, she wants to enjoy nature and her grandchildren.
“I intuit that it’s time,” she said. “I think there are other windows through which I need to view my life.”
Patterson helped incorporate the city of SeaTac and worked as a member of the Board of Health to require restaurants to put nutrition information on their menus.
Patterson said state Rep. Dave Upthegrove has expressed interest in replacing her.
“Nobody knows the community better than Dave Upthegrove,”she said. “I know he’s very well prepared and I hope he decides to run.”
Upthegrove said Friday he wasn’t prepared to state whether he would or wouldn’t run but planned to announce his decision early next week. “I’m likely to run. I’m not ready to pull the trigger yet,” he said.
January 30, 2013 at 1:47 PM
State Rep. Cindy Ryu told members of the Metropolitan King County Council that her perspective as a Korean-American woman makes her the best candidate for the council’s vacant seat. Shoreline City Council member Will Hall touted his experience as a planner, working his day job as a staff analyst in Snohomish County. And attorney Rod Dembowski said in addition to his legal background, “I’m easy to get along with. You will like working with me.”
The three finalists advertised their best attributes before the King County Council this morning in the final phase of the appointment process for the seat vacated by newly elected Attorney General Bob Ferguson. He represented District 1, in northern King County. The council — officially non-partisan but made up of four Democrats and four Republicans — plans to appoint one of the three finalists (all Democrats) Feb. 11.
The interviewees gave somewhat predictable answers. All three candidates said they are devoted to working collaboratively in a nonpartisan manner. They all said they are committed to diversity, increasing funding for human services, and improving transit and bus service. As each completed his or her 30-minute interview, Council member Julia Patterson, who was chairing the meeting, declared every candidate “extraordinary.”
Regardless of whom the council chooses, all three candidates intend to run for the seat in 2013, and one of them will get a head start.
January 4, 2013 at 10:08 AM
State Rep. Cindy Ryu’s lease for her district office in Shoreline may become an issue in the race to replace King County Councilman Bob Ferguson.
A Democrat from Shoreline, Ryu is one of five finalists recommended for the job by a citizen panel created by County Executive Dow Constantine. From those five, Constantine will forward three names to the Metropolitan King County Council, which then will select one to serve the rest of Ferguson’s District 1 term this year. Ferguson was elected state attorney general in November.
Ryu’s district office has drawn attention because she leases the space from her husband, Cody Ryu. They own the Aurora Avenue plaza where her office is located. The plaza has an assessed value of $3.9 million, according to county records.
Ryu maintains the lease is legal and ethical and has been vetted by House of Representatives counsel Tim Sekerak. “He was fine with it,” Ryu said.
House rules don’t explicitly prohibit such an arrangement, said Sekerak. A closer analysis – which he doesn’t do – would be required to determine if the deal personally benefited or enriched Ryu, which would make the lease illegal and unethical. That determination would be made by Legislative Ethics Board if it received a formal complaint, said board counsel Mike O’Connell. The board hasn’t received a complaint yet.
State law says no state official “may be beneficially interested, directly or indirectly” in a contract or lease they’ve signed.
The situation is complicated by several factors, though. Ryu’s lease initially had her paying $1 rent and $520 each month to cover building costs such as heating, lighting, taxes and more. Another lawmaker, Rep. Ruth Kagi, D-Shoreline, has moved into the space and the lease calls for each lawmaker to pay $140 in rent and $260 for building costs each month. House members receive a stipend up to $6,200 per year to cover expenses including district offices.
Ryu said taxpayers are getting a good deal because the lease amounts to cut-rate rent and additional “pass-through” building costs. “I’m actually not benefiting myself,” Ryu said. “I am not enriching myself.”
But she acknowledged there were vacancies in the plaza at the time she leased office space, and receiving some rent was better was none. “You could say that,” she said.
O’Connell said the ethics board hasn’t addressed a case with the same facts before.
“Maybe there is an argument that you’re saving the state money,” he said. “But does that trump the rule that you can’t enrich yourself?”
If he had been asked to advise someone in Ryu’s situation, O’Connell said he would point to what’s legal and what’s politically smart.
“I guess I’d tell that person, ‘Let me draft the lease so neither you or your spouse are benefitting.’ I’d really want it spelled out,” he said. “That’s not to say she did anything wrong, but we’d walk the legislator through the questions.”
A supporter of Rod Dembowski, another of the five finalists, requested a copy of Ryu’s lease from the House.
Dembowski, a Seattle lawyer, said he’s not filed a complaint or sent the lease to anyone else at this point. Dembowski said Wednesday he had not even looked closely at it yet.
“We had heard rumblings about it, and rather than rely on rumors,” Dembowski said he wanted to see it himself.
“I don’t know if any law has been violated,” he said. “The reason we asked for it is because people are talking about it.”
The other finalists are Shoreline City Council member Will Hall, Shoreline Planning Commission member Keith Scully, and King County Deputy Ombudsman Chuck Sloane.
December 21, 2012 at 4:22 PM
Five applicants have been recommended by a citizen panel to fill the Metropolitan King County Council seat of Bob Ferguson, who was elected state attorney general in November.
Rod Dembowski, Will Hall, Cindy Ryu, Keith Scully and Chuck Sloane are the applicants. They were selected from a field of 13 candidates by a 13-member citizen panel created by County Executive Dow Constantine.
Dembowski is a Seattle lawyer, Hall a Shoreline City Council member, Ryu a state representative, Scully a Shoreline Planning Commission member, and Sloane the county’s deputy ombudsman. All are Democrats, like Ferguson.
Under state law, Constantine must now recommend three candidates to the county council, which will pick one to serve the rest of Ferguson’s term this year. An election next year will determine who serves a full four-year term in Ferguson’s District 1, which includes northeast Seattle, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Kenmore, Bothell and parts of Woodinville and Kirkland.
Constantine’s citizen panel members: George Allen, co-chair, Metropolitan Seattle Chamber of Commerce; Kathe Fowler, co-chair, Washington Environmental Council; Susan Boundy-Sanders, Woodinville City Council; Sam Chung, attorney; Dave Freiboth, King County Labor Council; Beretta Gomillion, Center for Human Services; Michael Hatzenbeler, PROVAIL; Karama Hawkins, attorney; Behnaz Nelson, Local 17 Professional and Technical Employees; Ken Noreen, former president Shoreline Public Schools Foundation; Mian Rice, Port of Seattle; Dwight Thompson, former member Lake Forest Park City Council; Javier Valdez, Seattle City Light.
December 4, 2012 at 1:57 PM
Thirteen candidates have applied to fill an upcoming vacancy on the Metropolitan King County Council, the county announced Tuesday.
The applicants, all North King County residents, are hoping to succeed District 1′s Bob Ferguson, who will be sworn in as the state’s attorney general Jan. 16. An advisory committee appointed by Executive Dow Constantine will narrow the candidate pool, and the council ultimately will fill the spot from a group of three finalists he recommends.
The deadline for applicants was 5 p.m. Monday.
In alphabetical order, they are: David Baker, mayor of Kenmore; Dennis Behrend, Kenmore bond agent and teacher; Tiffany Bond, former Woodinville parks and recreation commissioner; Rod Dembowski, Seattle attorney; Chris Eggen, Shoreline City Councilman, Ken Goodwin, Woodinville Water District Commissioner; Will Hall, Shoreline City Councilman; Bob Ransom, former Shoreline City Councilman, Cindy Ryu, Shoreline state representative; Keith Scully, Shoreline planning commissioner; Sarajane Siegfriedt, Seattle party activist; Chuck Sloane, chairman of board of Municipal League of King County; and Naomi Wilson, grants specialist at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
Most of the candidates are Democrats, as District 1 is traditionally Democratic.
The King County Democrats’ executive board chose Dembowski as its top choice at a meeting last week. The group identified Hall and Ryu and its second and third choices, respectively.
Whoever is ultimately appointed by the council will serve until a general election next November.
Ferguson beat fellow councilman Reagan Dunn for state attorney general last month.
November 30, 2012 at 7:00 AM
The King County Democrats’ executive board has recommended three candidates to replace County Council member Bob Ferguson, who will become state attorney general in January.
In a vote Tuesday night, board members listed their top three candidates as Seattle lawyer Rod Dembowski, Shoreline City Council member Will Hall and state Rep. Cindy Ryu of Shoreline.
The tally, according to chair Steve Zemke: Dembowski, 35 votes, Hall, 29, Ryu 21, Shoreline Planning Commissioner Keith Scully, 20, Seattle party activist Sarajane Siegfriedt, 19, King County Deputy Ombudsman Chuck Sloane, 13.
Board members were each allowed to vote for three names.
Kenmore Mayor Dave Baker is also a candidate but ran for state Senate as a Republican in 2010. Baker has said he’s willing to become a Democrat because the district has been traditionally Democratic.
Ferguson, a Democrat, represents District 1, which includes northeast Seattle, shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Kenmore, Bothell and parts of Woodinville and Kirkland.
The deadline for candidates to apply is 5 p.m. Dec. 3, for vetting by a citizen advisory committee. County Executive Dow Constantine said he will name an advisory committee representative of District 1 to evaluate applicants. By Dec. 21 the committee will forward the names of qualified candidates to Constantine. He will then recommend three names to the County Council. Without Ferguson, the nine-member council will be evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, which should make for some interesting maneuvering.
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