The Ballard Town Hall meeting on May 2nd 2018 may well be looked back upon as a sea-change moment for the city of Seattle. Many Seattleites like me have grown increasingly fed up with Seattle’s approach to homelessness, increasing taxation, lax law enforcement and general fiscal mismanagement at the City Council.

The Ballard Town Hall was well over an hour long. I’ve pulled twenty-some minutes that summarize the frustration and push-back. These people speak for many citizens:

Feel free to share or embed this video if anyone asks what some of us are so frustrated about.

Please visit KOMO News’s Facebook Feed for the full video.

@KOMO, I hope my excerpts are acceptable under Fair Use, but if not, please jot me a note on Twitter.

Also, readers — please be sure to view this excellent timeline from KIRO7 of the contentious Head Tax issue and the homeless crisis, and a recent story of how we got here.

Seattle Friends: Want Change? Join “Speak Out Seattle!”

Interested in seeing evidence-based solutions? Do you want to at least become more informed on the issues around accountable municipal government, even if you may disagree with individual positions taken? I strongly recommend you…

Join Speak Out Seattle! on Facebook
it’s free to join, free to leave

We need to organize a sensible new coalition of leaders to the City Council. More than just achieving the important Head Tax rollback, we need to start electing sensible, evidence-based moderates to the Seattle City Council who care about fiscal stewardship and evidence-based solutions.

This process begins with more citizens getting an information diet with the full picture, including a full understanding of problems inherent with our current strategy, past problems, and not just the same storyline we’ve heard from present leadership for the past several years about how we should approach municipal governance.

Speak Out Seattle! shares all kinds of information about city governance and gives you advance notice about opportunities to lend your voice.

From Speak Out Seattle’s “About Us”:

Speak Out Seattle! is a non-partisan grass roots coalition of individuals, business owners and neighborhood groups across the city dedicated to speaking out and advocating for effective, compassionate solutions to the challenges our city faces. We seek to make Seattle a better place for everyone. We give voice to those who feel their concerns are drowned out by paid advocates.

Obligatory Disclaimer

As with any group that I’m part of, I cannot endorse everything said or discussed, though I often strongly agree with the positions taken. I find it an informative group; in this age of social media, it’s vital to build an information diet from multiple perspectives. That’s why I also follow all Seattle City Council members on Twitter as well as several centrist, left-of-center and right-of-center news outlets.


Steve's an entrepreneur and software leader. Most recently, he founded, a way to create celebration cards easily. He also founded, helping people discover and share productive ways they can respond in times of crisis. Steve's worked on consumer apps, online travel, games, relational databases, management consulting and telecom. He launched Alignvote in 2019, which helped Seattle voters find their best-match political candidates. Steve founded BigOven, the first recipe app for iPhone, now with more than 15 million downloads, which was purchased in 2018. Steve served as Chairman of Escapia Inc., the leading SaaS solution for the US vacation rental industry, sold to Homeaway, now part of Expedia. In 1997, Steve was cofounder, President, CEO and Chairman of VacationSpot, a pioneer in the online reservation of vacation rentals, bought by Expedia in January 2000. At Expedia, Steve was Vice President of Vacation Packages, leading the vacation package and destination services teams, helping to create two patents on the first-ever dynamic vacation packaging system on the Internet, which now represents billions in annual transactions for Expedia. He has keynoted on several occasions at the Vacation Rental Managers Association (VRMA), and taught a graduate level course on the strategic management of innovation at the University of Washington Foster Business School in Seattle, Washington. Steve worked for Microsoft from 1991 to 1997 in a variety of senior marketing and executive positions, and led the creation of the internet games group, helping develop several products and patents related to online multiplayer gaming. He helped launch Microsoft Access and was involved in the acquisition of Fox Software by Microsoft in 1993. He's worked for IBM, Booz-Allen Hamilton and Bell Communications Research. He holds an MS in Computer Science from Stanford University in Symbolic and Heuristic Computation (AI), an MBA from Harvard Business School, where he was named a George F. Baker Scholar (awarded to top 5% of graduating class), and a dual BS in Applied Mathematics / Computer Science and Industrial Management from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) with University Honors. Steve volunteers when time allows with Habitat for Humanity, University District Food Bank, YMCA Seattle, Technology Access Foundation (TAF) and other organizations in Seattle.

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