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  Charlie Chong, 1926-2007: Former councilman blazed trail in City Hall
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Last EditedRalphie  Apr 29, 2007 12:31am
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MediaNewspaper - Seattle Post-Intelligencer
News DateSaturday, April 28, 2007 06:00:00 AM UTC0:0
DescriptionCharlie Chong, a political comet who blazed brightly and briefly as an aggressively anti-establishment Seattle city councilman and mayoral candidate in the late 1990s, died Thursday afternoon from complications following surgery, a family friend said Friday. He was 80.

Chong came to electoral politics late in life, as a retiree and neighborhood activist in the Admiral District of West Seattle. He lost his first try for the City Council in 1995, but his win the next year in an election for an unexpired term made him a leading political figure in the city, an outspoken champion of voters angry at what they saw as the arrogance of City Hall and downtown power brokers.

After a year on the council, Chong campaigned for mayor in 1997 and qualified for the runoff against Paul Schell, a well-connected developer and former dean of the University of Washington School of Architecture. Schell handily defeated him. Chong lost an attempt to return to the council in 1999 and finished well back in the pack in the 2001 mayoral primary.

Chong exercised an influence out of all proportion to his brief term in office, said Council President Nick Licata, who took over Chong's seat in 1997.

"He was a giant," Licata said. "He really changed the culture of politics in Seattle.
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