| November 9, 2011

Today, I made gumbo, and invited over some of the friends and colleagues over who worked so hard on my campaign.

We did much better in the general election than we did in the primary, but it wasn’t enough. My congratulations to Sally Clark, who is, with her reelection, likely to become the next city council president. The incumbents will all return to the Council; likewise for the School Board with the apparent exception of Marty McLaren. Congratulations, Marty!

Running for office has been an amazing and humbling experience, and it would not have been possible without your support. I thank each of you who worked on my behalf, marching with me in parades, making phone calls, offering in-kind services of your many talents and giving donations to support the cost of running a citywide campaign. I have learned much from my efforts and will put this knowledge to good use in continuing to assist others and to help Seattle become a better place for us all to live. Thank you so much!

Join Dian on Election Day

| November 6, 2011

After you’ve voted on Tuesday, join Dian and her supporters in a last minute push to remind people to vote (and remind them to vote for change on Seattle City Council), and, later, to celebrate Dian’s campaign as the first results come in.

From 4 PM TO 5:30, meet up in front of Franklin High School’s field on Rainier Avenue South and Martin Luther King Jr Way. Come out and join Dian by holding signs and encouraging awesome South Seattle residents to vote for Dian E. Ferguson.

Then, from 7 to 10 PM, we’ll be having a fun election night watch party at Oskar’s Kitchen, 621 1/2 Queen Anne Ave. N. in Lower Queen Anne. Join us for food, drink, vote tallies, and a party for all the folks who’ve worked so hard this year to elect Seattle’s next great city council member. See you there!

Dian on KUOW Friday Morning

| November 3, 2011

UPDATE: The podcast of Dian’s KUOW interview is here.

As part of its coverage of local political races, KUOW’s popular Weekday program will be interviewing Dian and opponent Sally Clark on Friday morning. Host Steve Scher’s conversation with begins at 9:30. It will be one of the last chances voters have to hear, and ask questions, of the two candidates before ballots are due to be mailed next Tuesday.

To call in to Weekday, call 206-543-5869 (543-KUOW), or, from outside the immediate Seattle area, toll free at 1-800-289-5869. Programs are also archived for two weeks after broadcast here.

Why Voters Should Choose Dian Ferguson for City Council

| November 2, 2011

Last week, I reviewed why incumbent Sally Clark should not be returned by voters to another term on Seattle City Council. But this campaign is not just about replacing a poor city councilwoman; it’s also an opportunity to elect an outstanding one.

Why should you vote for Dian Ferguson for Seattle City Council, Position 9?

Real leadership. It’s astonishing that the Seattle City Council, even before hearing from voters, is discussing naming Sally Clark, one of the least accomplished, least courageous, and most timid members of the council, as its next council president. It epitomizes the council’s failure to lead. Seattle deserves elected officials who have bold visions and take principled stands.

In this campaign, I was the first council candidate to come out against Seattle Transportation Benefit District Proposition One, the council’s proposed $60 car tab increase on this month’s ballot. Since then, a number of other civic groups and officials have followed suit. On issue after issue my campaign has emphasized topics that ordinary Seattleites care about, but that Clark and the current council have not shown leadership on.

In tune with Seattle residents. While Sally Clark is fond of endless meetings and process, her votes consistently reflect the priorities of our city’s downtown business establishment and are out of touch with the concerns of people in a struggling economy. Meanwhile, for months I have been criss-crossing the city, talking with and listening to voters, and publicly discussing my positions on the issues that matter (examples here, here, and here). Seattle deserves a council member who listens and acts, and whose values are our values.

A vision of a world class city. Clark squanders the considerable power of a Seattle City Council member to help shape the future of what could be a world class city. Great cities take risks, think big, and act boldly. They also know they are only as prosperous as their most vulnerable residents, and that residents of diverse ethnicities, cultures and classes help make a city better, not worse. Seattle needs more council members who can think creatively, plan for the long term rather than simply reacting to the latest crisis, and who also care about make Seattle a more liveable and affordable city.

Experience to get the job done. For decades, my professional focus has been on providing leadership to nonprofit organizations in crisis. I’ve also worked in city government as a senior advisor; served on numerous boards (including chairing NARAL Pro-Choice Washington and serving on the founding board of Town Hall), and been active in local Democratic Party leadership.

I have more than 30 years experience as an effective administrator and consultant in public policy and human services administration. I am a strategic thinker and planning specialist skilled and knowledgeable about budgets, resource development, and human services management. I can take my ideas, and your values, and turn them into policy and law.

In short, I have the experience, skills, vision, and values to make an outstanding city council member. Seattle City Council is broken – but voters have a chance to help fix it. The choice on November 8 is clear. Vote for Dian E. Ferguson for Seattle City Council, Position 9.

Why Do Voters Need to Retire Sally Clark?

| October 26, 2011

Any campaign against a sitting elected official needs to explain two things: why its candidate would be a good elected official, and why the incumbent needs to be replaced.

Sally Clark, the incumbent in my race, is a nice person, a fine technocrat, and someone I respect. Unfortunately, she is a terrible Seattle City Council member. Here’s why:

She is not a leader. “Sally J. Clark is a milquetoast incumbent on the city council, petrified of voting against more than three of her colleagues at one time and beholden to any yokel who sends a nasty e-mail.” — The Stranger, June 14, 2011. When Clark was appointed to the council to replace Jim Compton in early 2006, she was selected from some 100 applicants in large part because she wouldn’t rock the boat. She was good to her word; in six years on council, she has almost never taken a principled vote against the majority. The Stranger again: “Clark dithers, she’s timid, she’s passive. She votes with the council’s moderate majority on every single issue.”

Remarkably, according to a report last week in the political web site Publicola, council members are already planning to elect Clark and her “bureaucratic brain” as the next city council president. There are two problems with this: the arrogance of not waiting until voters actually elect Clark to another term, and the willingness to select someone with such poor leadership skills as the council’s leader. Clark should not even be a council member, let alone the council’s top elected official.

She confuses process with results. Sally Clark rarely acts on the citizen input she receives, but she does solicit input. A lot of it. Endlessly. Meeting after hearing after meeting. As chair of the council’s Built Environment (formerly Planning, Land Use, and Neighborhoods) committee, Clark has frustrated countless citizens who wanted to get involved and provide input. Sally Clark embodies exactly why so many people ridicule the “Seattle Way:” It’s a way of doing business that’s costly, inefficient, and most importantly, results in slow decision-making and bad decisions.

She has not been accountable. After being appointed in early 2006, Clark was reelected in 2006 and 2007 with minimal opposition. She has never really had to answer to Seattle voters for a host of positions that didn’t have public support. She was an early and strong supporter of a multi-billion dollar downtown tunnel option to replace the Alaskan Way viaduct, even after it was rejected by 70 percent of Seattle voters in 2007. Clark also voted for a controversial anti-panhandling ordinance, pushed a repressive anti-nightclub measure, and, while backing that expensive downtown tunnel, supported postponing permanent housing for the homeless and dramatically hiking Seattle parking rates during an economic downturn.

Even after all her process, Clark’s voting record is a consistent reflection of the priorities of Seattle’s downtown establishment, and her donations also reflect this: for her current campaign, she has raised a staggering $236,655 as of Oct. 24, with her contributors’ list awho’s who of corporate Seattle. Unfortunately, many Seattle voters do not share those priorities.

She has no vision for the city. By going along to get along, Clark squanders the considerable power of a Seattle City Council member to help shape the future of what could be a world class city. Clark doesn’t have vision to do great things; she is a detail person in a job that requires the ability to see the big picture. Her skills don’t match her high-level job.

She personifies the larger problem with Seattle City Council itself. For years, the entire Seattle City Council has been a study in mediocrity, indecisivenes, lack of accountability and vision, and deference to corporate interests at the expense of ordinary Seattle residents. Too many people don’t think their voices matter in city affairs, and see no point in being engaged. On issue after critical issue facing Seattle, the City Council has been MIA for too long. Meanwhile, on projects dear to the hearts of special interests, the City Council has scrambled to accommodate every desire, no matter how expensive and no matter how little public support the project has. Only a city council as anemic as Seattle’s could contemplate naming Sally Clark as its president.

The last thing Seattle needs is a council member – let alone a council president – that isn’t accountable (except to special interests), that doesn’t have any real accomplishments, and that isn’t a leader. The best way to instead introduce new leadership, ideas, and accountability to Seattle City Council is for voters to retire Sally Clark on November 8.

Have You Voted for Dian?

| October 21, 2011

With ballots arriving in the mail the last two days, some people are already sending theirs in. We’ve created a special Facebook page where you can tell the world as soon as you’ve cast your vote for Dian Ferguson as our city’s next great city councilwoman. Go here, remind your friends to vote for Dian Ferguson, and spread the word!

Vote No on I-1125 and I-1183

| October 21, 2011

This November, I am voting “no” on both Initiative 1183 and Initiative 1125, and I am urging other Seattle voters to do the same.

Initiative 1183, the hard liquor privatization initiative almost entirely bankrolled by over $13 million so far in donations from Costco, is similar to the Costco-funded initiative that state voters rejected in 2010. The major difference is that liquor sales would be restricted to stores of over 10,000 square feet – in other words, big box stores like Costco.

There are several problems with I-1183. It would make hard liquor more widely available in society, increasing both the social and government costs of the associated increases in crime, alcoholism, and lost productivity. It would deprive the state of critical revenue from its network of state-run stores at a time when budget cutbacks are already likely for countless critical services in next January’s new legislative session.

Additionally, with a strong possibility that Washington State voters will pass 2012′s ACLU-backed initiative legalizing marijuana use, it makes little sense to dismantle the one possible statewide distribution system already in place that would systematize pot distribution and make access by teenagers less likely.

Lastly, in the midst of a severe economic downturn I-1183 would destroy good, living wage union jobs – the workers in the state liquor store system – and replace them, maybe, with fewer, more poorly paid jobs at big box stores. This is not a sensible economic measure for workers, for taxpayers, or for consumers.

Tim Eyman’s latest initiative, I-1125, is also a bad idea. Initiative 1125 would place responsibility for highway tolls with the state legislature, rather than an independent commission. This report from the Seattle Times explains the biggest problem:

“[I-1125] would break apart the state’s vision of using tolls to help build highways, according to analysis by the state Office of Financial Management (OFM).

“Threatened projects include a new six-lane Highway 520 floating bridge, the planned Highway 99 tunnel, a proposed Interstate 5 Columbia River bridge crossing into Portland and future widening of Interstate 405 to add high-occupancy or toll (HOT) lanes.

“What these have in common, the OFM says, is that Washington state would be unable to sell toll-backed bonds if tolls are required to be set by the Legislature…The OFM review, released Wednesday, goes even further, speculating that if the initiative passes, governments here might have to give back half, or even all, of $123 million in federal grants for the state 520 program, related Metro bus service and King County passenger ferries. That money was contingent on the DOT using experimental “congestion pricing” on 520, to reduce traffic jams by charging higher tolls at peak times. I-1125 would forbid this, and require a flat toll.

“…A more general problem is that bond investors prefer independent boards to set tolls, as is done in other states, OFM says. Therefore, “bonds secured only by toll revenue would be eliminated as a financing tool for the bridge,” the report says, based on advice by state Treasurer Jim McIntire. Gas-tax revenue or other money would be needed, reducing the ability to fund other highway projects, OFM says….”

I-1125 would also bar the use of highway lanes for non-highway purposes, virtually ensuring that light rail could not be expanded to the Eastside, even though that expansion was already approved by local voters in 2008. I-1125 ties the hands of the state legislature and, in many different ways, cripples our ability to meet our future transportation needs. Our state does not need this sort of reckless, irresponsible measure.

Finally, both I-1183 and I-1125 have been heavily bankrolled by one corporate source with a direct financial interest in passage of the respective measures: Costco for I-1183, and Bellevue developer Kemper Freeman (who wants to block both bridge tolling and Eastside light rail access) for I-1125. Citizen initiatives were originally created so that ordinary voters could address issues and enact measures the legislature would not address. That process is in danger of being corrupted by special interest initiatives like these, and the best way to ensure we have fewer of them in future years is if Costco and Freeman are unsuccessful in their efforts to buy new, self-serving laws.

Tonight’s the night

| October 21, 2011

…to Let Us Entertain You!

Doors open at 7:30 at the MLK Community Center, 3201 E. Republican St. in Seattle. Join Triple Treat Band, Mercedes Nicole, Kibibi Monie, Regine Dynasty St. James, and a whole bunch of happy people celebrating (and raising money and energy for) the campaign of Seattle’s next great city councilwoman. Tickets are only $20. See you tonight!

The Stranger Endorsement

| October 20, 2011

I am pleased that The Stranger has decided to endorse me for Seattle City Council, Position 9, reversing their endorsement of Sally Clark in last summer’s primary election. Clearly The Stranger’s editors see the need for new faces and ideas on our City Council. I also agree with their views on the importance of voting.

Sadly, they did their readers a serious disservice with their flippant and misleading characterization of my candidacy. Somehow they decided the idea that I own four homes, three of which I inherited after the death of my parents, is far more germane to my campaign than my 30 years as a human service professional, advocate, executive, business owner and longtime leader in the Democratic Party in Seattle. (If it had been my choice I would have opted to have my parents alive to share in the joy of my running for public office, which they would be proud of.) And somehow they concluded, on the basis of those decades of experience and leadership – a resume that compares, often favorably, with the backgrounds of most successful candidates for Seattle City Council – that I am “totally unqualified.” The many current and former elected officials and community leaders who have endorsed me certainly seem to think I’m quite qualified. Bizarrely, the only actual issue they cited in disagreement with me was marijuana legalization – an issue that, while important, is a federal and state issue utterly irrelevant to the job of Seattle City Councilwoman.

I trust this means that on all the issues that are relevant to Seattle City Council – issues that I have spent the last seven months discussing in depth with people from every part of Seattle – that The Stranger’s editors and I agree. I’m grateful for their support. As for all that other stuff, I’m confident that voters will consider the source, check out my website, and decide for themselves which candidate in Position 9 is more likely to provide the progressive, decisive, visionary leadership Seattle so desperately needs.

We’re Only Two Days Away…

| October 19, 2011

…from the campaign season’s hottest ticket: “Let Us Entertain You!,” a party, pep rally, and celebration of my city council campaign with some of our city’s best entertainers: The Triple Treat Band, Mercedes Nicole, Kibibi Monie as Moms Mabley, Regine Dynasty St. James, and other special guests!

Make your plans today, and bring your friends for an evening of fun. The festivites start at 8 PM Friday night, at the MLK First A.M.E. Community Center (the site of the formerMLK school), at 3201 E. Republican St. Tickets are only $20, with all proceeds helping to elect Seattle’s next great city council member. For more info or to RSVP, call 206-478-4471 or e-mail See you there!


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