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September 15, 2014 at 11:32 AM

Slideshow: Mayor Ed Murray walks through Seattle’s Chinatown International District

On Saturday, The Seattle Times published my editorial notebook on Seattle Mayor Ed Murray’s “Find It, Fix It” community walk through Chinatown International District. Well over 100 people showed up to take a stroll through the neighborhood, pointing out their concerns along the way.

Here’s a slideshow from the event, which began at 6 p.m. last Thursday and ended around 7:30 p.m. 


Comments | Topics: chinatown international district, ed murray, public safety

May 7, 2014 at 6:25 AM

The big exemption in Mayor Ed Murray’s minimum wage proposal

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announces a $15 minimum wage plan. (Steve Ringman/The Seattle Times)

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announces a $15 minimum wage plan. (Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times)

UPDATE, 12:30 p.m., 5/8/14: Five months into the Seattle $15 minimum-wage debate, the potential ripple effects are still being discerned. On Wednesday, nonprofit human-services providers described the complications — and benefits — of a higher wage at a Seattle City Council meeting. Nonprofit leaders lamented the industry’s low pay scale, and praised the potential for a higher wage to lift their own workers out of near-poverty.

But for the nonprofits to pay for higher wages with cuts services, other governments — particularly the state — would have to pay part of bill. Getting a Legislature consumed with boosting education spending to pay for Seattle’s radical wage experiment would be a very hard political “lift,” as they say in Olympia.

To tease out other potential consequences and benefits, join The Seattle Times opinion section next Wednesday, May 14, at noon, for a Google Hangout discussion on the minimum wage. We’ll have a variety of perspectives for a live conversation, hosted by Seattle Times opinion writer Thanh Tan. Join us.

ORIGINAL POST: When Seattle Mayor Ed Murray proudly stated last week that his minimum wage proposal has “no exemptions,” he apparently exempted one big group: other public sector workers.

Murray’s spokesman, Jeff Reading, said the proposed $15 minimum wage legislation being sent to the City Council would exclude other “governmental entities.”


Comments | Topics: ed murray, minimum wage

November 21, 2013 at 6:25 AM

Downtown Seattle cycle track could be Ed Murray’s first big bike test

Corrected version

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.

A downtown bike lane: Does this look safe? / KEN LAMBERT / SEATTLE TIMES

A downtown bike lane: Does this look safe? / KEN LAMBERT / SEATTLE TIMES

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.


Comments | Topics: bicycles, cycle tracks, cycling

November 8, 2013 at 6:00 AM

Do Seattle voters really care about a $15 minimum wage?

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:

Screen Shot 2013-11-07 at 10.36.52 AM

Source: Strategies 360 Survey

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:


Comments | Topics: ed murray, elections, minimum wage

October 28, 2013 at 6:45 AM

Mayor Mike McGinn’s revisionist history on the tunnel

Mayor Mike McGinn is a skilled debator. He speaks deliberately but forcefully, rarely stumbling.

Mayor Mike McGinn

Mayor Mike McGinn

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.

Wang’s question:

“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?”

McGinn response:

“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.


Comments | Topics: debate, ed murray, mayor

October 21, 2013 at 7:08 AM

Next Seattle mayor must address domestic violence — ad or no ad

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.


Comments | Topics: domestic violence, ed murray, mayors

October 10, 2013 at 10:42 AM

Seattle Times editorial board’s recommendations for Nov. 5 election

Gabriel Campanario / The Seattle Times

Gabriel Campanario / The Seattle Times

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

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:

Seattle Mayor

State Sen. Ed Murray 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.

Read editorial endorsement –>


Comments | More in List | Topics: 2013 elections, ballot, ed murray

October 8, 2013 at 2:42 PM

UPDATE: Ed Murray: ‘Missing Link’ fix for Burke-Gilman trail is ‘potentially dangerous’

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…


Comments | Topics: Burke-Gilman trail, ed murray

September 19, 2013 at 6:00 AM

Seattle closer to high-quality universal preschool

Donna Grethen, Op Art

Donna Grethen/Op Art

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.


Comments | Topics: 3to23, children, early learning

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