Who doesn't like a bow tie? Charlie Staadecker and his neckwear would like your consideration for mayor of Seattle next year. His announcement speech (after the jump) is awfully sweet—fourth generation Seattleite! Franklin High School! Family of hatmakers! "Know this is from the heart"!—however, it's difficult to discern anything about his actual politics from it. His four pillars—Education, Jobs and Economic Security, Quality of Life, and Safety and Core Services—sound nice but mighty vague.
One thing we do know: Charlie and his tie support the Seattle arts—he even commissioned a play at ACT as a birthday gift for his wife. Here, he talks some talk on education—including advocating for early childhood education/after-school programs and "technical and vocational" programs, and getting rid of "the stigma of not going to a four-year colleges for everyone." Otherwise, he's in real estate.
The SECB will delve more behind the bow tie later. Today, we rest.
- Ben Van Houten
- The candidate, the bow tie, the bow tie logo, and some giant, looming keys.
29 September 2012
I know it is important to deliver a “Wow” speech to kick off my campaign for Mayor of Seattle and I have spent endless hours trying to write that kind of speech. But all those drafts were just words on paper. My wife Benita who knows me better than anyone told me, “Charlie, you are at your best when you just speak from your heart.” So with all the “ah-ums”, lack of professional polish and reading from a prepared text...here goes. Know this is from the heart.
I stand before you in front of Franklin HS where I graduated in 1961, and my Mother in 1933. Just blocks from here is where I was born, and a couple blocks from that is a home my grandfather built in the 1920’s that still stands today. I have amazing memories of walking to school with friends. So this place called Franklin is a touchstone for me. During those high school years I recall the stories my grandfather told me about his journey to Seattle in the late 1890’s...how by grit and deed he made his way and built a business...first by selling junk and scrap...then opening a business called Sherman Supply & Salvage. He worked hard and made enough money to bring over his mother Rachel, 3 brothers and 1 sister from Eastern Europe. Mount Baker is where Abraham and Sarah Sherman settled and raised a family of 5 children. The Staadecker side likewise settled in Seattle at the turn of the century and created a business of manufacturing women’s hats. Often my grandparents and my parents recounted how grateful they were to be born and raised in Seattle. They instilled in me a great love and passion for this City with a deep sense of gratitude and commitment to its future. After graduating from high school, I went east to school and served in the US Army from 1969 to 1971. My first career was as an executive with 2 international hotel chains, where I specialized in tourism, trade and conventions... what I learned after working in so many cities, was just how great Seattle was.. I returned home in 1978 and started my career in commercial real estate specializing in expanding local businesses and making cold calls all over the country to new businesses...singing the virtues of Seattle. In those days Seattle was the cutting edge city of the Pacific Northwest. Portland, Bellevue and Vancouver BC all looked to Seattle for new ideas.
I feel a great sense of legacy to generations that proceeded us, and whether you have been here 4 generations or 4 months, we all share something in common. Seattle is not an easy to get to place. It is in the far NW corner of the United States. Whether people came to Seattle 100 years ago by rail cars, or last month by a Boeing jet....the journey helped create a sense of place; I may be romanticizing a bit, but you leave the past behind and start anew..a new beginning. ...a unique Seattle DNA of optimism, and entrepreneurship that make this city extraordinary. Seattle was built on great diversity and a can do attitude, because everyone came from somewhere else. Take a moment and think of our special advantages: From our spectacular landscape, to the center for health and life sciences, from the most culturally vibrant and diverse arts community, to the great gateway to Asia.
So many major companies started here, UPS, Boeing, Paccar, Nordstom, Costco, Starbucks, Microsoft, Amazon, REI, Fred Hutch, Gates Foundation, and thousands of small businesses that account for the great majority of our employment; Great minds, great colleges, great companies, great neighborhoods...a city filled with diversity and a welcoming attitude. Families want to settle here and give back. We have one of the highest per capita rates of philanthropy and volunteerism, anywhere. We give both hard equity and sweat equity.
This is a city people love...But we need to be very conscious of one of our weaknesses, “complacency”. We live in a very fragile economic world. As famed educator Geoffrey Canada said, in his movie “Waiting for Superman” there is no Superman coming. As a City, we can’t depend on funds from Washington DC., or Olympia ....both have their own funding concerns. Europe is in disarray, jobs are scarce, home values have dropped, and retirements have been postponed. College grads have unprecedented college loans, with many not having a job to pay them back. What we do need is a pro-active Mayor for our future...You and I, We can write our own destiny. I believe the next election for Mayor is critically important and the next 4 years will set in motion our future direction for the next 10-15 years. Charles Darwin made an amazing observation when he stated; “It is not the strongest of the species that survive; nor is it the most intelligent; it is the one that is most adaptable to change that survives.” We need to learn from the recent economic collapse and adapt new strategies...because other cities will. We have to compete against innovative cities such as Portland, Denver, Charlotte and Austin...they will be pro-active, not re-active. Seattle cannot wait for a crisis to dictate its future. The next Mayor’s election is one of reconciling and reflecting on what kind of Seattle we want for our future. We can set our goals today. I believe there are four key pillars that will lead our City to economic and social sustainability:
#1. Jobs and economic security (people working)... The next Mayor must focus on job retention and job expansion; an area where I have focused my career working with local, regional and national companies. People need the confidence and security of a good paying job.
#2. Education... To me this is the civil rights issue of our generation. To paraphrase the great statesman Frederick Douglas, “It is far better to educate a child than to repair a broken adult”. A poor education system will become a huge economic and societal expense. Uneducated citizens spells decline for any city.
Conversely an educated population is the fundamental driver of economic and social growth.
#3. Safety and core services...safety is paramount. No one and I mean no one, should be worried about walking on our streets whether it be Rainier Valley, West Seattle, Belltown or Laurelhurst. This is our town! No one will move to Seattle if they think it unsafe. If fewer come, or residents leave for safer cities, property values drop and vacancies increase. Ask the people of Buffalo and Cleveland, Detroit and towns across the US that are declaring bankruptcy...In earlier times these were thriving vibrant cities. Their demise was in great part due to failure of government leadership in rallying their citizens. No one should be worried about walking on our streets! Likewise in core services, poor roads, water mains, electric grid and internet connections must be in first rate condition; to defer upgrades is just to kick the can to a future generation, resulting in an unexpected debt for our children that they cannot afford.
#4. Quality of Life: simply put “life is not a dress rehearsal”. What is important to me is that a city maximizes its opportunities, and the opportunities of all our citizens, so that they can succeed and have happy lives. Whether your passions lies in family, work, sports or the arts good responsible leadership can direct resources to open all those doors...and add vibrancy and zest to your life.
But underlying these 4 critical pillars is trust. If we are to sustain prosperity, we have to start on a road to rebuild trust between citizens and City Hall. People are desperately looking for a leader with authenticity to rebuild that trust. Someone who will champion Seattle. We simply don’t have that today.
The first 4 months of the campaign will be a listening tour. Tell me what issues confront you, and what a city can do to make you thrive. I urge all Seattleites to invite me to your neighborhoods, your homes, your places where you work, and places where you play. Because I know this, an effective leader is an effective listener. Following the listening tour, I will outline a specific set of plans on getting us all to move forward, but tailored to the needs of the people. But a wise executive should believe that listening comes first, formulation of plans follows. Get to know me, because I want to get to know you. Call me at 206.322.2013 or contact me at CharlieforMayor.org I want to hear from you.
Why am I running for Mayor of Seattle...because I love this city with unreserved passion and dedication. I have a debt of gratitude to repay, and I have the skills and the ability to repay it with leadership, vision and authenticity. ... We can create an environment where every citizen has the opportunity to maximize his or her potential. If it is the Mayor who sets that direction and vision, then it is you, the citizens, by resolve and determination, who fulfill that reality...as Mayor I would ask everyone to give back; find those special gifts that each of us has. Make a personal contract with Seattle. Everyone has talents, from an entrepreneur hiring a high school intern; to a senior citizen reading to kids, to kids helping seniors with their electronics, or in just helping a lost tourist. There are thousands of ways to help. Everyone has value...we have not yet come close to reaching our capacity as a city; we can create a culture of connectivity, a renewed commitment of people helping one another...expanding the quality of life, especially to those who feel so isolated.... Seattle exceptionalism a social contract to the young, the afflicted , the forgotten, and those who have lost hope...we each have a responsibility. If you feel grateful to be a part of Seattle, roll up your sleeves and say “Yes” to something. It is from all those “Yes’es” which add up one by one that cities become stronger, and change for the better. Don’t let the cynics and skeptics deter you.... Be a doer; say Yes......join me as we start on this road of change.
I am not a politician, nor is this a political stepping stone. This is not a career. I am not beholden to anyone. I simply want to do what’s right and in the best interests of Seattle. Principles over politics; values over partisanship. Let’s join together. Say Yes to Seattle. Because together we have the capacity to write our future, for ourselves and the generations to come. Believe that; because I certainly do! This City so desperately wants someone to lead, with authenticity and passion.
And that’s why I’m running for Mayor. Thank you.
Franklin High School Address/September 29th