Filling the Council vacancy: Monday edition

By Friday the Council may have nine members again, but there are many hurdles to be jumped between here and there. Here’s today’s update.

This morning, City Clerk Monica Martinez Simmons reported to the City Council that sixteen applications have been submitted. All sixteen applicants are being verified as to whether they meet the requirements under the City Charter to serve as a City Council member. The one well-known person on the list is former Council member Nick Licata. Two other names, Alex Tsimerman and Tiniell Cato, are known to those of use who sit in lots of Council meetings, as they are frequent public comment gadflies there.  Tsimerman is currently banned from City Hall for repeated bad behavior in Council meetings, but will be escorted in and out by security in order to participate in public meetings related to his application this week. Most of the other thirteen are relative unknowns.

Simmons will deliver to the Council the full applications of the verified candidates along with accompanying paperwork tomorrow, and her office will simultaneously post them all online for the public to view.  For the moment, though, the clear front-runner is Nick Licata.

Tomorrow evening at 6pm there will be a public forum in City Hall so that members of the public can hear from and ask questions of the applicants. Last week when it was announced, the Council said that it was “a the request of” Transparent Seattle and would be community-led.  This morning I was told that the forum is now being organized by Transparent Seattle. But as of this morning’s Council Briefing Council member Mike O’Brien, who is serving as the Council’s liaison to the people organizing the forum, could provide little details on the format or logistics of tomorrow night’s event (the event description says that it will be moderated by Nicole Keenan, executive director of Fair Work Center). Nevertheless, the Council has made it clear to all sixteen applicants that it expects them to participate in the forum, even though they can’t tell the applicants what will happen. In fairness, the forum organizers didn’t know whether they would have five applicants or fifty to deal with at the forum until the list was released this morning. Nevertheless, it’s very strange that less than 24 hours before a required event for all applicants, there is still no public information on it other than the time, the location, the moderator, and the list of candidates.

In other news: Council President Bruce Harrell is out of the office this week, and will not be present to participate in or vote at the Council’s special meeting on Friday to attempt to appoint someone to fill the vacancy. An appointment requires five Council members to vote in favor of the nominee; with one vacancy and Harrell absent, that leaves seven. According to the City Clerk’s office, the other Council members can vote to allow Harrell to participate and even vote remotely by phone.

You can follow along with the process this week here. Tomorrow night’s forum (whatever it turns out to be) will be webcast on the Seattle Channel.

UPDATE: A reader pointed out this hard-to-find Facebook event listing with slightly more information about Tuesday evening’s forum. You’ll notice that the co-hosting groups all tilt to the left:

– Transit Riders Union
– Coalition of Anti-Racist Whites
– Housing for All Coalition
– Block the Bunker
– Neighborhood Action Coalition
– Tenants Union
– Seattle Peoples Party