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November 21, 2013 at 6:25 AM
Seattle Mayor-elect Ed Murray did a B-grade Cory Booker impersonation Wednesday morning when he stopped in Capitol Hill to help mop the face of a crashed cyclist. The heroic story appeared in The Seattle Times 46 minutes later.
That’s nice timing for a mayor-to-be who comes into office with some skepticism about his enthusiasm for bikes. He helped create that impression during the mayoral campaign with muddled opinions on the city’s plan for closing the Burke-Gilman Trail’s “missing link.” (I wrote a column about this last May.) Murray was vague enough that Mayor Mike McGinn’s supporters portrayed him (inaccurately) as being against the planned Westlake Avenue North cycle track.
In his post-campaign analysis, Tom Fucoloro of Seattle Bike Blog (who endorsed McGinn) said Murray’s “anti-bike” reputation is wrong:
Anyone who voted for Murray because they think he will fight bike lanes is probably in for a disappointment. They are not just pet projects of a cycling mayor.
But Murray is in for an early test of his stated support for cycle tracks (bike lanes physically separated from traffic) thanks to the Seattle City Council. On Monday, when the council votes on the 2014 budget, it will include $1 million to speed up planning on a cross-downtown cycle track. That puts the project on a downhill slope toward a 2015 launch date, with the wind of the City Council at its back. (more…)
November 8, 2013 at 6:00 AM
Mayor-Elect Ed Murray has promises to keep. This Seattle Times news story suggests the powerful Service Employees International Union Healthcare 775 NW, which endorsed Murray over Mike McGinn, won’t let their man forget a SeaTac Prop 1-like citizen initiative could come to Seattle if leaders don’t take legislative action to increase the minimum wage to $15. The groundswell movement around socialist firebrand Kshama Sawant adds another voice to the debate over income inequality. (ICYMI: Read my colleague Bruce Ramsey’s column on the Sawant effect on Seattle liberal politics.)
But what about the rest of Seattle’s less-vocal voters? Between Oct. 14 and 16, consulting firm Strategies 360 released a survey based on 400 interviews among likely voters in Seattle.
The results indicate minimum wage as a standalone issue is not at the top of peoples’ agendas. Seattleites care more about the economy, jobs, education, public safety and road infrastructure. Here’s the chart:
View the complete survey on Strategies 360′s web site. With a 4.9 percent margin of error, the results also showed 48 percent of respondents think Seattle is heading in the right direction. Perceptions of the local economy are 73 percent positive — with 64 percent saying it’s in “good shape.”
Of course, none of those rosy numbers equaled votes for Mayor Mike McGinn. Voters found him to be a “more divisive figure” than Murray.
Here’s another telling visual: (more…)
October 28, 2013 at 6:45 AM
Mayor Mike McGinn is a skilled debator. He speaks deliberately but forcefully, rarely stumbling.
So I cocked my head in confusion during KCTS 9′s mayoral debate last week when McGinn, in response to a question from KUOW’s Deborah Wang, seemed to be engaging in revisionist history.
“Four years ago you ran your campaign as an opponent of the tunnel to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct. That was your signature campaign issue. Then just before the election, you announced that you would not stand in the way of the tunnel. But you did continue to fight it in your first year in office. So in retrospect was it a mistake to do that, or was it mistake to pledge you wouldn’t stand in the way of the tunnel?”
“People can go roll video tape of this one as well if they’d like to see what my position was then. Which was, I did support the tunnel as the choice, but I also believe we shouldn’t have to pay cost overruns.”
Watch the video below. It’s cued up to play at the beginning of Wang’s question:
Since when did the Mayor “support the tunnel as the choice?” Did the Mayor simply misspeak?
No. Instead, it’s part of McGinn’s campaign strategy. (more…)
October 21, 2013 at 7:08 AM
Domestic violence shouldn’t just be fodder for a Seattle mayoral campaign three weeks before election day. It’s a perennial crisis our community has failed to respond to.
Last year, 53 men, women and children died in Washington from abuse at the hands of a family member or partner, according to the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Twelve of those deaths occurred in King County. Thousands more incidents — from stalking, intimidation to physical abuse — get reported in the Seattle area every year. The King County Prosecutor’s Office files about 1,200 felony charges annually.
My questions for Mike McGinn and Ed Murray: What happens after Nov. 5? What would each of you do to curb this public health and safety epidemic?
Both indicate they support a Family Justice Center to respond to domestic violence victims’ needs in official campaign literature and questionnaires like this one from the Seattle Human Services Coalition.
Lately, they’ve resorted to finger-wagging.
On Thursday, Mike McGinn demanded Murray’s campaign stop airing the ad below because it’s “deceptive.” (The Murray campaign can’t do that. The ad was paid for by an independent political action committee called People for a New Seattle Mayor.) Read Seattle Times reporter Jim Brunner’s analysis of the ad, which he deemed “mostly false.”
McGinn has to own up to the fact his administration eliminated a domestic violence prevention unit and its director two years ago. According to this Seattle Times news report, McGinn says he maintained funding while folding those services into the Human Services Department to “break down silos.” Money alone can’t end abuse. The city lost people during that transition with institutional knowledge. (more…)
October 10, 2013 at 10:42 AM
Voters have a chance with the Nov. 5 ballot, containing many races for local government, to send a message that things are going well or need some adjustment.
Since the summer, Seattle Times editorial board members have been interviewing candidates and campaigns for statewide and local initiatives. We have started to publish our recommendations to voters and will continue in the coming days. Ballots are expected to be mailed around Oct. 17.
If you have questions about King County Elections, call 206-296-VOTE or go to kingcounty.gov/elections.
If you have questions about Snohomish County Elections, call 425-388-3444 or go to the Snohomish County Election division website.
For questions about Washington state elections, go to the Secretary of State election website.
Here are our recommendations for selected races in King and Snohomish counties and for ballot measures.
- City of Seattle endorsements
- King County endorsements
- City of Bellevue endorsements
- Snohomish County endorsements
- State ballot measures and advisory vote endorsements
- State races
City of Seattle:
The two candidates for Seattle mayor are both die-hard progressives. They identify many of the same challenges ahead as the city reaches back to economic vitality. They even share some policy platforms. But the choice becomes clear on their widely different approaches to governing. State Sen. Ed Murray offers a return of pragmatic, effective leadership to City Hall.
October 8, 2013 at 2:42 PM
UPDATE, 2:35 p.m., Tuesday:
Ed Murray has issued a long “clarification,” calling completion of the Missing Link “vital.” He again said he was concerned about the safety of the city’s preferred Shilshole route, but also doesn’t sound enthusiastic about the Ballard business’ suggestion of a Leary-Market alternative. Here’s the statement:
“Yesterday I made some comments to the Seattle Times expressing concerns about safety issues related to the fact that bikes and trucks will have to share a narrow roadway in Ballard under the cycling community’s preferred option for completing the trail. I want to clarify those remarks, because reading them over I realize that my tone came off as overly skeptical regarding that option.
“The Burke-Gilman is a treasured part of our regional trail system in Seattle and it is vital that we complete this ‘missing link.’ However, we must make sure the proposed route is the safest option for all users. The current proposal does place a multi-use trail through an industrial area, which raises some real safety concerns for users. I do not oppose the proposed route, but I think the Environmental Impact Statement process that is currently underway will provide an important ‘second look’ to make sure we make the best choice.
“SDOT is now working on an EIS to survey the route between the Ballard Fred Meyer and the Locks along Shilshole. The alternative route proposed by some local business owners along Leary Ave NE onto Market St via a cycle track is not ideal either as it would not provide as direct a connection and is not a separate trail. My own preference is that we implement an engineered solution to the safety problem, one that uses the planned public right-of-way in Ballard but which channels the bike traffic and protects the entry points into the Lake Union industrial businesses. I believe the outcome of the current EIS will help us to reach a positive outcome that completes the trail in a timely way while protecting the safety of cyclists and the viability of local businesses.”
ORIGINAL POST: Mayoral hopeful Ed Murray is skeptical about the city’s preferred route to finish the long-delayed “Missing Link” section of the Burke-Gilman trail, saying that putting the trail through a dense industrial corridor on the Ballard waterfront may be unsafe.
“I took a look at it, and it seems potentially dangerous,” Murray told me last week. “I think it needs a second look.”
His timing is good: The Seattle Department of Transportation is already working on an Environmental Impact Statement of the route, which would connect the Burke-Gilman between the Ballard Fred Meyer and the Locks. The city was forced to do the EIS because a group of maritime and industrial businesses have objected to the city’s preferred route, on Shilshole Avenue Northwest straight through the Ballard industrial core, since it was picked by the City Council 2003.
The businesses hope the EIS – which must include a safety assessment of the route – will point toward their preferred alternative, a cycle-track on Leary Avenue Northwest and Northwest Market Street. I wrote a column about that idea in May, arguing that it was a win-win-win: Ballard gets a state-of-the-art bike facility, an inherently unsafe route is more quickly fixed and the beleaguered industrial sector feels like they’re not being pushed out of the city.
Josh Brower, the attorney for the Ballard businesses, makes that another strong point in his comments to SDOT. He notes that the city’s preferred route is more expensive, would cross a driveway every 144 feet, and the bike path design would limit drivers’ ability to see oncoming bikes. Read it for yourself; he makes a good case.
Instead of completing the Missing Link with an unsafe, outdated, and dangerous sidepath along a Major Truck Street, SDOT should complete the Trail with a world-class cycle track on Leary Avenue and NW Market Street. SDOT is embracing cycle tracks in every other area of the city, and it is unclear why Ballard is an exception. At a minimum, SDOT should consider this alternative in its preparation of the EIS.
Murray is an advocate for bike infrastructure. Contrary to other news reports, he said doesn’t oppose another planned cycle-track, on Westlake Avenue. He waxed on about biking on cycle-tracks in Europe. But he knows that he’s going to get roasted for raising concerns about the Shilshole route. “There goes my bike support,” he said.
September 19, 2013 at 6:00 AM
Seattle is a step closer to becoming one of the few cities in the nation offering universal preschool. A City Council committee Wednesday approved a proposal for voluntary, high-quality preschool for all 3- and 4-year-old children in the city. The resolution passed by the Government Performance and Finance Committee authorizes the city Office of Education to figure out how many 3 and 4 year olds living in Seattle are not currently enrolled in high-quality preschool, design a preschool program to serve them and figure out how to pay for it.
Tall order. But it is being done in cities like San Antonio, San Francisco and Boston.
Besides universal preschool is one of the few things everyone at City Hall agrees on. Under Mayor Mike McGinn, the $231 million Seattle Families and Education Levy helps fund 20 preschool sites operated by 11 community agencies. This City of Seattle news release back in July reported another $470,000 for the city’s Step Ahead preschool program, bringing Seattle’s total investment in early learning to $62 million over the life of the seven-year levy passed in 2011. Learn more about Seattle’s pre-K initiatives here.
Both the mayor and the man who wants his job support universal pre-K. State Sen. Ed Murray’s mayoral campaign sent an email touting his support for the proposal. The Democrat was in the Legislature in 2006 when Gov. Gregoire proposed a state agency for early learning and a public-private partnership, Thrive by Five, which invests in early learning efforts.
“If I am elected mayor, I will work closely with Council member Burgess, other members of the City Council and stakeholders to ensure we put a proposal before the voters during my first term in office,” Murray’s statement read.
All of Seattle’s wealth, innovative spirit and focus on education ought to be called upon to make this effort succeed.
September 17, 2013 at 6:59 AM
Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn’s electoral speedometer is stuck in the 30s.
He took 30 percent of the vote in the first head-to-head poll (a KING-5/SurveyUSA poll released Monday) with mayoral challenger Ed Murray, who had 52 percent. It’s also remarkably similar to McGinn’s approval ratings in poll after poll since 2011. On a quick read, I’ve seen his approval ratings in various polls at:
- 28 percent (March 2011)
- 33 percent (February 2012)
- 32 percent (May 2012)
- before twice edging up to 37 percent (March and May, 2013).
The trend line is useful because any one poll, especially early in a municipal election, should be read cautiously. I don’t expect McGinn to remain stuck at 30 percent against Murray. Nor does Murray, whose spokesperson, Sandeep Kaushik wrote in an emailed statement:
While it is great to see numbers like this, and while we do think that Seattle voters are responding positively to Ed’s message of providing effective, collaborative, progressive leadership (as opposed to the current divisive approach from Mayor McGinn), we also anticipate the race to be significantly closer than these numbers would indicate.
August 13, 2013 at 11:45 AM
This Seattle Times news account of state Sen. Ed Murray’s marriage last Saturday to his long-time partner Michael Shiosaki warmed a lot of hearts, including mine. Murray, a Seattle Democrat, fought well over a decade to convince a majority of his fellow lawmakers to support legalizing same-sex marriage. Patience pays off. The two wed exactly 22 years from the day they met during a hike to Mount Rainier.
The political wedding of the season happened just a few days before the highly anticipated documentary film “The Campaign” is scheduled to screen Thursday at SIFF Uptown in Seattle at 7:30 p.m. KCTS 9 will broadcast the film next Sunday at 11pm. Here’s a preview:
Aw, that’s right. Four years before Washington state voters made history by becoming one of the first electorates in the union to affirm marriage equality, there was the 2008 campaign in California for and against Proposition 8, a measure by same-sex marriage opponents to define marriage in that state’s constitution as a union between one man and one woman. Two lower courts ruled the amendment was unconstitutional before the case reached the Supreme Court of the United States. Last June, the justices ruled they had no authority to decide on the case, thereby allowing California to resume same-sex marriages. (Read the Wikipedia explanation of this rather complex legal battle at this link.)
The stunning outcome of that election raised our collective consciousness and ignited a revolution (and lots of fundraising) in states outside California, including right here Washington. It forced a mainstream discussion about gay marriage not just as a social or political wedge problem but as an issue of human rights and personal freedom.