The race for City Council Position 2 pits incumbent Richard Conlin, current City Council president, against political newcomer David Ginsberg, a former Solutions Architect at Washington Mutual.
Conlin has been on the council since 1998 and during his time at City Hall, he lists accomplishments in environmental sustainability, neighborhood preservation and transportation efforts. He's lauded for his emphasis on environmental measures, perhaps most importantly his Zero Waste Strategy -- a plan to reduce Seattle's landfill contributions through waste reduction, recycling, expanded food recycling and a ban on Styrofoam. Ginsberg lists rapid and reliable transportation, safe and affordable neighborhoods and local economic revival as his core campaign tenets. His major beef with Seattle politics, he says, is the emphasis on talk and process over results.
Conlin had a key role in developing the Parks for All Levy, which allocated $140 million to new parks. He's been dedicated to urban forest protection, along with cleanup of a site in South Park and wetland restoration on Hamm Creek. His Local Food Initiative last year included nods to economy, sustainability and community health with its strengthening of farmer's markets, making fresh, local food available in urban areas while maintaining a smaller carbon footprint.
Of major concern to Ginsberg is the recent budget shortfall, and he promotes local economic vitality through a number of proposals: He would repeal the head tax and square footage tax as part of his effort to promote job creation and local business growth. Like his opponent, he favors a review and re-evaluation of city management and sees a need to trim services and managers where necessary.
Ginsberg's vision for Seattle includes a great many projects combining environmental and economic sustainability. For example, he proposes a Rainier Valley Green Technology Corridor, a district that provides green jobs to people in an area where economic prosperity has been scarce. Emerald Dollars, another proposal to boost the local economy, would be used as exclusively local currency with a built-in discount. His Economic Opportunity Centers would connect local talent and foster the sharing of ideas to encourage new businesses.
Conlin's plans include continuing his work on the environment and transportation, specifically getting Sound Transit to move Light Rail out to Northgate and the Eastside and bolstering the economy. Other transportation goals include building out the streetcar network. In light of the multi-million dollar budget shortfall, Conlin said that some cuts do need to occur, but not in the areas of public safety personnel and human services. Some of the most likely cuts will take place through a sweep of the city's management, and making cuts where effectiveness is lacking.
Ginsberg supports Light Rail, the streetcar and bus circulator routes, all as part of a transit infrastructure connecting urban villages and centers to ultimately create more pedestrian-friendly, "walkable" communities. He would support Sound Transit's expansion out to West Seattle. He would also champion affordable housing for all Seattle residents by building more and smarter housing through the use of "smartcode" city planning -- a method that simplifies the land-use code and allows architects to design according to the neighborhood's context.
Conlin has been endorsed by such groups as the Sierra Club, Allied Arts, King County Labor Council and the Seattle-King County Association of Realtors; Ginsberg has been endorsed by the King County Democratic Central Committee, the 11th, 34th and 37th District Democrats and ILWU (International Longshore and Warehouse Union) Local 52, among others.
-- Maggie Tarnawa