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My name is Eric Smiley and I am running for Seat 9 on the Seattle City Council.

I am a writer. I grew up in Demarest, New Jersey and moved to California with my father when I was sixteen.

In California I gained experience working hard in many restaurants and bars, at manual labor, outdoor markets, a dinner theater, and even a flower kiosk. As a writer I gained valuable perspective there. I saw the value of an education, passed the General Equivalency Diploma exam, and began community college.

I received my Bachelors Degree in Accounting from Old Dominion University in 1986. I participated in the Model United Nations Club at ODU, holding the position of Secretary General in my final year. The Committee on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict was deadlocked and I kept the two parties at the table. It was very satisfying when we reached a resolution.

I came here to Washington after graduating. I worked for The Good Health Plan of Washington, a Health Maintenance Organization, in pricing and actuarial analysis. We brought high quality, cost effective healthcare coverage to employers all over the Puget Sound. I continued in healthcare management for years and gained valuable understanding of the industry. How little changes can have so much impact on the health of our members.

I joined Writers and Actors Reading Plays (WARP) a great theater group here in Seattle. We put on shows of different short plays at the Odd Duck Theater on Capitol Hill. It was fun writing and acting in productions on a shoe-string budget.

I worked in telephone marketing, selling to businesses and Pacific Northwest Ballet subscription packages to local people. I enjoyed listening to them tell me what was working well for them and what wasn't, and where they wanted change. There were many broad conversations rare to have anywhere else. The income was low there and I had to move from my Capitol Hill apartment. I put what I could into a storage locker and gave the rest away. I was homeless.

I went to the Bread of Life Mission by Pioneer Square and have been there since. The Bread of Life Mission provides food and shelter for more than one hundred people every night. 

There are places in Seattle which feed the hungry. The First United Methodist Church on Denny Avenue is one of those places. For more than twenty years they have offered a Shared Breakfast every Sunday. About three hundred people with no where else to go are fed and treated with respect by volunteers. The menu of hot oatmeal, cold cereal and the delicious biscuits and gravy sits well with the regulars for who it is a sort of social event as well. I began eating there and enjoying the meals and soon was volunteering. I am now there almost every weekend, enjoying the good work of people contributing. Homeless people and those staying in the shelters have an opportunity to be welcome, sit and eat and find refuge for a short time . I made friends, listened to sermons and found fellowship. I  became a member of the fine congregation of Christians and am glad I did.

I do my washing at a laundromat. While waiting for my clothes to dry once, the daughter of a woman doing her laundry brought me a book she wanted read to her. I enjoyed doing it so much I began volunteering at United Way's reading to preschoolers program. Now this is the best part of my week. When you tell a girl she's a butterfly and she jumps up, flaps her arms saying "I'm a butterfly! I'm a butterfly!" everything in the world is much better. I wonder what would happen if I told her she was a Supreme Court Justice. When you sit in a little chair, at a little table, and you eat small crackers and yogurt, and talk to a half dozen of your preschool pals about dogs and shoes and parents it really is the best. I continue that reading and also tutor at an elementary school twice a week.

I have always been a reader. Books, newspapers, magazines, billboards, labels, laws, contracts. Fine print or the big print. Online and offline. Politics and policy and current events and past events are among my many favorites. I write my way through future events looking for the best possible outcomes. It is great living in and watching the city of Seattle as grow. There are amazing outcomes for us here. Those outcomes will not just come to us, we must find and meet them. The way Seattle fits. Into King County and Washington. Into the United States and the world. There is something larger you can feel.

I am living in the heart of downtown Seattle. By Pioneer Square, by the YMCA, by the Seattle Public Library (where I borrow books to read to the kids), by one the hundred coffee shops, by a growing transit service. And right by Seattle City Hall.

Now is the time for Seattle to face our upcoming challenges and the future waiting here. It is not one future, it is a future for everyone to choose and change without leaving some behind. I have experience which will help Seattle address housing, education, healthcare, and the challenges of living in a smaller world. The city wants to bring people from outside of politics into office and fresh energy to the system. This is what I plan to do. I am want your vote to bring imaginative new approaches and energy to the Seattle City Council.


Why am I running for a seat on the Seattle City Council?

I have always believed in good government. At it's best it can demonstrate the values of citizens and act on their behalf to make for as livable, agreeable and friendly a place as possible.

I am looking to make a positive impact on the way the city responds to the great growth we are experiencing. In Seattle's growth, not just in population but in our understanding of ourselves and of each other. The nature and significance of even small efforts working together is astounding. Even greater is an appreciation that there is not just one choice but there are an infinite diversity of directions we can pursue. I am looking forward to opportunity.

These are not ideas and concepts that came to me this week or this month or this year. I have spent fifty-five years listening, observing, considering again and again. In Seattle we appreciate the interrelation between all our disparate efforts and how a concerted effort will allow us exponentially better impacts.

Contributing to finding the best of everything here in Seattle, this most beautiful city I know, will be truly rewarding. The city would benefit from having an artistic and imaginative presence adding to their efforts. This is why I am asking for your vote for Seat 9 on the Seattle City Council.


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