Liberal Progressives or Radical Revolutionaries?
It is primary mayoral election time in Seattle and lots of people are lured to the open position. There are 21 candidates running, yes 21...that is not a typo. Of those 21, six have been deemed front runners who have participated in debates and forums across the city. Four of the six are women, four are white, two are Seattleites of color, and one has served a term as mayor already and didn’t get re-elected. In Seattle’s history, only two mayors have not been white guys, Bertha Knight Landes who served in the 1920s and Norm Rice, who served two terms in the 1990s, so this election may bring a new voice to the city’s top spot.
Information about the other 15 candidates was found in the voter’s pamphlet I got in the mail a couple of days ago. These candidates’ political desires range from not submitting a photo or statement at all; to ramblings about idiots, fascism, and toilet-drinking rats; to a Trump-supporting, Russia-loving, immigrant hater. There could be a gem of a candidate in this group, but it is hard to know based on how Seattle chooses who gets into debates and into the public eye.
After watching the six debate earlier this week, viewers were informed that these six candidates were chosen based on who has endorsed them, the amount of money they have raised, and how they are doing in the polls - basically the status quo decides who gets to be in the real running. The problem with being a voter in this progressive liberal town is that all the candidates seem to be the same. When asked questions, the six sound like your CD got stuck on repeat during a song that is only okay and doesn’t pump quite enough base. It is hard to tell who might be the real deal and shift our politics the progressive “don’t really do anything for all people” liberals to the revolutionary idea that all people who live here deserve the best quality of life. We need a radical revolutionary who can get Seattle out of the unintended consequences of big tech, big money, and big developing.
Nikkita Oliver is that revolutionary. She is an educator, attorney, organizer, and poetry slam winner who loves her city and the people who live there. While she doesn’t drift too far from the other candidates on transportation, development, and housing what she does stand for and says over and over again sets her apart from the rest - community uplift. She stresses that by working for those with the least everyone will rise. This is a concept that might seem foreign to many white progressive liberal Seattleites who believe in meritocracy and competition, but it is important because all Seattleites benefit from community uplift. For radical revolutionaries who believe that everyone has the right to a liveable wage, the right to housing, and the right to affordable living then Nikkita Oliver is the only candidate to vote for August 1st.
Nikkita Oliver has some great ideas about transportation that include getting our youth to understand the different options to get around town that will educate and create a city that relies more on public and alternative methods and less on cars. For example, if you give all youth 18 years and under a free Orca card then they will create habits of being public transportation users. They will also not get penalized by a system that criminalizes Seattleites who can’t afford the expensive transportation rates. Also, developing a cyclist safety class similar to driver’s education will ensure safer travel and more experienced cyclists who share the road with cars.
Adding a solid restorative justice system to the criminal justice system that impacts the poor far more than anyone else is a platform her campaign holds. This is important because many offenses can be dealt with by an agreed upon solution by the parties involved rather than a long drawn out system that costs people money they don’t have and takes away time that people can’t get back. Also, enforcing community-based policing practices that focus on access to services rather than punitive intervention in order to improve the public’s mistrust for the current system.
Making restorative justice a norm in the school system is a must to address the incredible discipline gaps between students of color and white students. Also, Nikkita will ensure wraparound services so all students and their families have access to services that will meet their needs, including social workers, financial assistance, and counseling. Another radical stance she takes is to ensure that all students have access to ethnic studies. It has been proven over and over that school engagement of students of color increases when they are learning about people who look like them. While this makes perfect sense it has been controversial across the country. Arizona is currently fighting a legal battle against white supremacy in order to continue a successful ethnic studies program.
Because there are 21 candidates this primary election season it is imperative to make your voice heard through your vote. It is as important as the general election in November. This primary will also determine city council and school board positions. Get your ballots in by August 1st!