News Blog for Seattle's Maple Leaf Neighborhood


What is Councilwoman Debora Juarez thinking?

March 14th, 2016 · 30 Comments

Note that the original question – what went wrong with the March 1 vote? – remains.

The six City Council members sitting next to one another at this table on March 1 either could or couldn’t count to six.

Update: Councilwoman Juarez’s staff has sent me a statement (!). Here it is:

“After careful deliberation, today I voted yes on legislation which removed restrictions on $1.4 million of $5 million previously budgeted for the Pronto system by council vote in November of 2015. Today’s action allowed the Executive to purchase the bike share system’s assets from Pronto.

Had this proposal failed, the city would have been obligated to repay $1 million in federal grant money and the three thousand yearly members of our bike share system would be left without a service they paid into.

The introduction of the Pronto bike share system in Seattle has faced serious problems since its launch in October 2014. I share the concerns of Seattleites who look at our major challenges citywide and debate whether money should be spent on a program that has so far not lived up to expectations. This is why I also voted for the successful amendments to the final ordinance that significantly increase council oversight and accountability for this program.

I am looking forward to enhancing the transparency, service area equity, and overall vision of bike share in Seattle. Today’s action gives us the best chance at achieving this goal.”

– Councilmember Debora Juarez, March 14, 2016

Update: She voted “yes” to save Pronto. The full council voted 7-2 in favor, with Maple Leaf’s other councilman, Rob Johnson, also voting yes. Opposed were Lisa Herbold (west Seattle/South Park) and Tim Burgess (at large).


On the first day of the month a Seattle City Council committee deadlocked 3-3 on bailing out the failing Pronto bike rental service.

Except it didn’t.

The record now reads that newly elected Councilwoman Debora Juarez, who represents north Seattle including virtually all of Maple Leaf,  actually voted to save the system.

That was not the vote announced at the meeting and heard by the six council members present, and by support staff.

What happened?

A week ago today, on Monday, March 7,  we emailed Juarez’s legislative assistant, BrynDel Swift (, to ask.

We’re following the Pronto vote and I’ve been keeping an eye out for Councilwoman Juarez’s statement on her vote last Tuesday. Somehow I’ve missed it, but am quite interested. Can you provide? Thanks.

No answer.

So two days later on Wednesday, March 9th, we forwarded the email to the rest of her staff, Mercedes Elizalde (, Tyler Emsky ( , Sabrina Bolieu (, and to Juarez herself (

No answer. And we haven’t seen it answered elsewhere, either. (Except, kind of, here.)

Our earlier post on Pronto, including updated links to other news organizations’ stories, is here.

In comments there, and elsewhere, Pronto seems to have become a stand-in for how the city prioritizes its spending.

An example: In Danny Westneat’s Seattle Times column last week on a Greenwood food bank closing for lack of city funding, one commentator wrote:

Explain how the city has millions of dollars to spend on a bloated failed bike share program which most citizens don’t want or use while this needed food bank program is shut down. Misguided priorities and lack of common sense.

And another:

OK Debora Juarez: Here’s where you show you’re the adult in the room. Instead of voting yes on that losing proposition Pronto how about using those funds to keep this food bank going? Things like food banks are important. Pronto is just a Murray dream that ends up being a nightmare for everyone else. I had great hopes for you when I cast my ballot for you but now I’m not so sure. So far all I’ve seen from you is more of the same council we had before the election.

The full City Council vote on Pronto is set for this afternoon.

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