Debora Juarez was one of the four newbies elected to the Seattle City Council last year, when the new district election format resulted in nine races being on the ballot. Council veterans like Kshama Sawant, Bruce Harrell, Tim Burgess, Sally Bagshaw, and Mike O’Brien were elected to new terms, while Jean Godden was the only incumbent defeated in 2015.
The influx of “new blood” hasn’t really changed the Council much, as Seattle still vies with San Francisco to be the most liberal elected body in the country, as recent actions demonstrate.
However, the unanimity of liberal thought evidently isn’t enough to keep Councilmember Juarez happy. It turns out that when all the elected officials agree on the big picture, they turn on each other to get attention, given her grousing in a profile piece.
Juarez isn’t sure she belongs on the council, saying “Is it the right place for me? I don’t know.”
And the reason for questioning the position she has been in less than a year – she just can’t figure out her colleagues. As she admits, “I think sometimes there’s a lack of real conversation and humanity on this floor (of City Hall) and it doesn’t have to be that way. I’m still confused of the culture here.”
It appears from the chaos at recent meetings that part of the City Council “culture” includes letting the loudest voices in the audience take over. Since Juarez was on the receiving end of some of that shouting, she took offense, saying “We can’t say every time we have to build something to make a government work, ‘We don’t like what the people do in that building, therefore we shouldn’t build it.’ That’s just a very simplistic way to look at the world.”
So it’s finally confirmed – confusion and simplicity reign supreme at City Hall, even among the people elected to work there.