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Volume 34
Issue 03
 
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Seattle City Council finalists interview with the SGN
Seattle City Council finalists interview with the SGN
New city councilmember to be selected by January 27th

by SGN Staff

The Seattle City Council narrowed the applicants from nearly 100 to 14 on Tuesday. Among them the finalists were Sally Clark, Lifelong AIDS Alliance's Director of Community Resources and former SGN Editor - the only openly Gay candidate on the short list.

On January 23rd, the Council is expected to announce six finalists. The new City Councilmember will be selected by majority vote on January 27th or the Council will meet daily thereafter until one candidate receives the five votes needed to win the open seat.

The Seattle Gay News caught up with four of the 14 semi-finalists to ask them about their bids for a seat on the City Council and their work on issues of importance to the region's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community.



GAIL CHIARELLO

SGN: Why are you interested in the Seattle City Council?

GC: My interest in serving is to preserve and expand Seattle's "good-government" legacy and to insure that the voices of ordinary citizens and the neighborhoods are heard in City Hall. It is always easy for big business to make its needs known-it has the cash, and it has the clout. But STRONGER solutions arise when ALL parties are at the table-the neighborhoods, the communities, the citizens, and business. We've seen the success of this approach at Northgate.

My "Vision for Seattle" is one of bold & elegant solutions-freeing up the waterfront with a tunnel (if the money can be found); soaring downtown towers a Le Corbusier, with green space at their feet; an Ecotopian vision with the City's Fleet powered by biodiesel from eastern Washington-a win-win for a state often divided east and west. There are fascinating and futuristic possibilities. But I'm also a fiscal conservative who does not want to bust the bank. We saw [that] in the Monorail, a bold & elegant project which lacked fiscal controls. I have over 20 years experience managing millions of dollars of Federal grants-I'm good at the details.

SGN: What needs/issues are not being addressed?

GC: The central issue I'm seeing is the widening gap between the highly talented, the young & the affluent-and the groups which are being left behind. I attended the Workshop on Homelessness Monday at Garfield High School. I was touched by the number of homeless vets with psychological and medical problems. This society asks these individuals to serve, and then doesn't look out for them. A rich society should take care of its weakest members.

SGN: Describe your activism on LGBT issues.

GC: I am supportive of Gay civil rights, but I've not been an activist on LGBT issues.

SGN: Do you have the endorsement of any prominent or well known members of the LGBT community? If so, who?

GC: Councilmember Tom Rasmussen named me to his "List of 18" contenders to go on to the semi-finalist rounds.

SGN: What else do you want our readers to know?

GC: I deeply believe in personal privacy and believe that sexual behavior which does not harm others is a private matter.



SALLY CLARK

SGN: Why are you interested in the Seattle City Council?

SC: I want to fill the remainder of Position 9 because I have the experience and energy required to make the greatest contribution. I believe local government has a profound influence on our communities. For my 20 years in Seattle I've worked to help people solve problems - as a journalist, working inside city government, working out in neighborhoods, and in the work I do now with Lifelong AIDS Alliance. I am dedicated to making city government effective, accountable and accessible for everyone.

SGN: What needs / issues are not being addressed?

SC: From my time working for former City Councilmember Tina Podlodowski I have experience working with every committee of the council and every department of the city. I can dive into any topic the council faces, but I am most interested in working to create good paying jobs; to build infrastructure (both the high tech and roadway kind) that works; and to prepare kids to be as ready as possible to learn.

SGN: Describe your activism on LGBT issues.

SC: Lesbian Resource Center Community News editor, 1991-1993 SGN editor, 1993-1994 Hands Off Washington, newsletter volunteer, 1994 Chicken Soup Brigade, communications manager, 1994-1997 SEAMEC, interviewer, 1999 Fairness Lobby, Board chair, 2002-2003 Lifelong AIDS Alliance, director of community resources, 2004-present

SGN: Do you have the endorsement of any prominent or well know members of the LGBT community? If so, who?

SC: I have a lot of friends giving me great encouragement, including my partner. (Thanks, Liz Ford!) All of them are prominent and well-known to me. Thanks, everyone!

In particular I will highlight:

Tina Podlodowski, former Seattle City Councilmember and executive director of Lifelong AIDS Alliance

Michael Wells, owner of Bailey/Coy Books



JOANN FRANCIS

JF: I was recruited to apply for the City Council position by various people from throughout the community. I've worked with many diverse groups on a wide range of issues. I have a reputation for being able to bridge differences between people and groups. I have worked in government and the private sector on transportation issues, affordable housing, and public access to the arts.

I have been an advocate for small businesses, disadvantaged businesses and businesses owned by women and minorities. I intend to work on these issues, plus focus on ways to keep and make Seattle a business friendly city.

As a member of the City Council I'd like the Council to play a stronger leadership role on issues related to racial, ethnic and social justice.

I've worked on issues related to the LGBT community over the course of the twenty-five plus years. As a Special Assistant for Mayor Charles Royer in the early 1980s, I worked closely with the City's Human Rights Commission and the Women's Commission. Both Commissions focused on issues affecting the LGTB community, including discrimination, and advocacy for human services.

I was one of the Mayor's key aides that served as a liaison to the LGTB community. During the early 1980s Seattle was one of the few cities in the U.S. that prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Throughout the late 1980s, the 1990s and 2000 to 2004, I have worked with and hired openly Gay and Lesbian persons because they were the best qualified persons. I have investigated complaints of employment discrimination against LGBT persons and worked to resolve such complaints.

As a consultant in private business, I have provided training on diversity issues, including having colleagues from the LGBT community provide content for the training and serving as training partners. As the Regional Administrator for the SBA, I initiated outreach to businesses in the LGBT community so that they could take advantage of services and technical assistance SBA provides. That outreach was unprecedented.

Council Member Tom Rasmussen included me as one of his choices to be included among the semi-finalists. Bryher Herak, former owner of the Wild Rose, has been a friend and colleague for more than 15 years. Bryher and Janice Bondar, Human Resources Manager at Sound Transit, and someone that I hired, both support my appointment. There are many other persons who may or may not be "prominent" or "well known".

I want your readers to know that I will be accessible and responsive to issues and concerns of the LGBT community.



SHARON MAEDA

SGN: Why are you interested in the Seattle City Council?

SM: Three years ago, I came home from New York to Seattle. The city has changed dramatically. With all the wonderful changes, there are also some serious problems, which disproportionately affect the working poor, immigrants and refugees, and the homeless. There are also problems such as traffic gridlock that affect all the people of the region.

I consider working on behalf of the citizens of Seattle a calling, and not just a job. My diverse areas of experience and expertise coupled with my absolute commitment to justice form the right combination for the Seattle City Council.

SGN: What needs/issues are not being addressed?

SM: It is not as much what is not being addressed, but what needs more focus and a comprehensive approach to policy making on behalf of the people of Seattle. The issues that really need attention include:

1. Affordable Housing

2. Transportation: Viaduct and effective regional transportation

3. Education: without quality schools, we hurt the whole region and the next generation.

SGN: Describe your activism on LGBT issues.

SM: My commitment to justice for all has brought me in and around issues affecting the status and rights of LGBT people as a supporter and funder. Specific projects of special interest to the LBGT community include:

1. Co-coordinator, West Coast Conference (1991): People of Color in Solidarity Against the HIV/AIDS Epidemic sponsored by the U.S. Public Health Service

2. Long Range planning consultant (early 1990's): People of Color Against AIDS Network.

In the summer of 1995, I was on a short-term assignment at the White House. When the first-ever White House meeting with dozens of high level leaders from the LGBT community occurred, the Secret Service tending the entrances to the White House donned blue latex gloves to do their usual security checks. I was horrified and was able to get a higher level person to remove the gloves. I later learned that this was the reprehensible way certain disgruntled Secret Service agents used to get back at President Clinton.

SGN: Do you have the endorsement of any prominent or well know members of the LGBT community? If so, who?

SM: Thatcher Bailey. State Rep. Ed Murray.

SGN: What else do I want SGN readers to know?

SM: I don't know all the issues that may come before the City Council and, without careful research and hearing from the public, I cannot tell you how I will vote on any specific issue. What I can assure you is that I will listen, learn and come to fair decisions that best support the needs of the diverse people of Seattle.

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