Martin Kaplan, a city planning commissioner, architect, and past member of the Pike Place Market Historical Commission and the Queen Anne Community Council, has announced he's running against Nick Licata, a three-term member of the City Council. Kaplan—who says he's "bring to the table both downtown business interests and a firm foothold in the neighborhoods— is targeting Licata because he feels he has "marginalized" himself on the council, holding down the losing end of one 8-1 vote after another. For example, Kaplan says, Licata "almost poisoned" the discussion about whether to keep the Sonics in town by revamping KeyArena by mocking the very idea that sports teams contribute any value to cities. "It's not that I was sitting there saying we should spend whatever it takes to keep the Sonics, but Nick just dismissed the dialogue," Kaplan says. "There are a lot of reasons that we should be very critical of investments like that, [but] I never sensed that Nick was viewing the whole issue of the Sonics in a holistic manner."
Kaplan makes a similar critique of Licata's positions on the Alaskan Way Viaduct ("Nick’s against that because God forbid property owners down there should benefit"), the South Lake Union streetcar ("his response was just, 'no, no, no'"), and two-way Mercer, which Kaplan says Licata sees as "totally just an urban renewal project to benefit one property owner," South Lake Union mogul Paul Allen. "I see it in a much broader sense... We've got to combine these neighborhoods [Queen Anne, South Lake Union and Seattle Center] ... and give people an opportunity to find other ways besides Mercer and Denny to get to and from South Lake Union." Viewed as a neighborhood improvement project, Kaplan says, it doesn't matter that traffic times would actually increase slightly on a two-way Mercer boulevard; "we have got to knit those neighborhoods back together," he says.
Licata's other opponent in the race is Jessie Israel, a Ballard resident who has raised around $12,000.