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Topic: mike mcginn
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October 31, 2013 at 6:04 AM
“Connecting neighborhoods with rail,” says the email message from Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn. The mayor talks up Sound Transit’s idea of rail from downtown to Ballard, not coincidentally during his campaign for reelection.
Seattle progressives love rail. They don’t have much of it, though, because it is so expensive. Sound Transit’s Link Light Rail, which is 13 stations plus about 20 more under construction, uses up most of the agency’s 0.9 cent addition to the sales tax. Coincidentally, King County Metro, which serves thousands of bus stops all over, also costs 0.9 cents on the sales tax. The difference is that Central Link Light rail is running at about 9 million boardings a year, and Metro runs about 115 million.
McGinn’s message says Sound Transit is asking the community where “regional high-capacity transit” should go next. The high capacity per dollar service is buses, but that’s not what he means. In government-speak, “high capacity” means rail. In that regard, his message says, “A transit package… could go to voters as early as 2016.”
A “package” means taxes. Already the sales tax in Seattle is 9.5 percent, one of the highest in the nation. It is a regressive tax. Do our progressive politicians really want to raise it? (And to say, ‘We hate to do it but it’s the only tax we have,’ means, ‘Yes, we want to raise it.’)
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…)
September 19, 2013 at 11:21 AM
Editor’s note: Osa Hale is an intern in our opinion section. She just graduated from Western Washington University.
Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and the organization Washington CeaseFire have introduced a “Gun-Free Zone” program, encouraging businesses to exercise their rights to ban guns from their private property. This is a quick and easy attempt to stand up to gun violence.
Starbucks said Tuesday it would join the gun-free program in an open letter from Chief Executive Howard Schultz.
Although it makes sense to try to remove guns from the equation, the gun-free program seems like trying to bail out a sinking ship with a leaky bucket. It’s better than nothing, but not by much.
Gun-rights advocates like Alan Gottlieb, who founded the Bellevue-based Second Amendment Foundation, see the program as all flash and no substance.
“[The mayor] could do lots of other things to prevent crime,” Gottlieb said. “Punish those people who misuse firearms, not those who own and use them properly.”
Gottlieb went on to say the program could actually endanger customers. (more…)
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 18, 2013 at 12:15 PM
It’s mystifying to see Seattle City Council President Sally Clark’s Twitter account has blown up with criticism from gay activists, thanks to an off-hand comment from Mayor Mike McGinn. Mystifying, because Clark, the first openly gay council president, co-sponsored council resolutions in support of same-sex marriage in 2012 and donated to the campaign to affirm its legality. Her record on LGBT issues is rock-solid.
But she became a target nonetheless when she declined McGinn’s offer to sponsor a city council resolution denouncing Russia’s retrograde law criminalizing “homosexual propaganda.” (For background, read this New York Times story).
McGinn suggested the resolution in response to a letter from the Seattle Russian Consul General Andrey Yushmanov, who criticizing the mayor’s participation in a Sept. 3 protest outside Yushmanov’s Madison Park home. “… I would appreciate if you could clarify whether such your (sic) support of the protesters reflects the official position of the authorities of Seattle,” Yushmanov asked in a letter.
When McGinn, in an interview with The Stranger, said Clark had declined to sponsor a council resolution, editorial director Dan Savage (who has 167,000-plus Twitter followers), pounced on Clark as hypocritical.
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 2, 2013 at 6:13 AM
Editor’s note: Osa Hale, a Western Washington University student, is an opinion intern this quarter.
I live in the University district. Every morning, on my walk to the bus stop, I encounter a few different types of people. There’s the neighbor walking the dog and taking out the trash; there are the morning joggers, and there are the people sleeping under the awning of the University Christian Church and lining up for the food bank.
There are more than 8,800 people known to be homeless in King County, according to the 2012 One Night Count, a point-in-time census conducted by the Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness. Nearly one-third of these people are minors, and at least 400 of them are young adults.
The next Seattle mayor has the responsibility of finding the most cost-effective and thorough way to help these people. The candidates had a few things to say about that task. Everyone made it clear how complex the issue is. But it isn’t enough to talk about why it is so hard to fix this problem. Comprehensive actions need to be taken.
For example, state Sen. Ed Murray emphasized the importance of getting people into housing that meets their needs, whether that is a short-term home to get them back on their feet, or a facility that could care for individuals living with mental illness. Murray mentioned the State Housing Trust Fund, saying it was a program he has helped push money into in an effort to help the homeless. The fund has put nearly $1 billion dollars into housing projects since 1987. If elected mayor, Murray said, he would try to create a partnership that would connect the fund with the private sector and nonprofits.
August 1, 2013 at 6:25 AM
Mayor Mike McGinn said his recommendation to deny a street vacation request in the West Seattle Whole Foods development was intended to start “a robust discussion.”
Mission accomplished. The controversy, now two weeks old, has roiled business circles, providing a template for how to (sorry, Dale Carnegie) lose friends and influence an election.
Shorter version: in mid-July, McGinn recommended denying vacation of a city-owned alley critical to the long-planned redevelopment of the former Huling Bros. property because Whole Foods, the anchor tenant, doesn’t pay its workers enough. Longer: He made up new city land-use policy to win support from the United Food and Commercial Workers, which immediately endorsed him.
The state chapter of the national commercial real estate development association NAOIP sent a protest letter to the Seattle City Council, saying McGinn’s decision “defies Seattle’s regulatory requirements” and sets the city on “an untested and dangerous path,” according to the Puget Sound Business Journal. The chapter’s local government affairs chairman, Donald Marcy, donated $500 to McGinn’s leading challenger, state Sen. Ed Murray, the day McGinn made the recommendation.
McGinn’s play also seriously ticked off one-time supporter David Meinert, a Seattle entertainment entrepreneur. Meinert (who donated to McGinn’s campaign in 2009 and to the McGinn-backed tunnel petition in 2011) contributed $700 to Murray on July 23.
The next day, Meinert, as first reported by Publicola, emailed a blistering critique of McGinn’s “political insanity” to the city council (which has ultimate authority on alley vacation issue): (more…)
July 19, 2013 at 7:36 AM
On the campaign trail, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn often cites the city’s surging economy: unemployment below 5 percent, construction investments ballooning to pre-Recession levels, cruise ship boardings at record levels and the exponential growth in South Lake Union.
“In case you haven’t noticed, our local economy has rebounded,” he said last month.
True. But how much credit, or blame goes to the guy at the top?
Not much, according to University of Washington professors Robert Plotnick, an economist, and UW-Bothell business school dean Sandeep Krishnamurthy, to whom I posed the question. Neither has contributed to a mayoral candidate.
“Its tough enough for a president and Congress who have levers for the whole economy,” said Robert Plotnick, an economist. “When you get down to a city, the economic forces are so beyond your control.”
A mayor, for example, has no control over international trade, such as Boeing plane sales, or the global economy. They can’t do deficit spending. “In the short run, you’re kind of stuck,” said Plotnick.
But he and Krishnamurthy agreed that a mayor can have a longer-term economic impact, both positive and negative. Plotnick says mayors can set the right mix of local zoning, ensure infrastructure maintenance and can use the mayoral bully pulpit to influence education policy, especially in Olympia.
South Lake Union is good example of long-term pay-off. Greg Nickels’ administration zoned for taller buildings, aided construction of the Westlake street car and built a power substation. He saw Microsoft, PATH, the UW and Amazon begin to move in, but it was McGinn who has benefited.
Krishnamurthy zeroed in on business-friendly policies, particularly for retail, as a catalyst for local investment. He ticked off street safety in the downtown core, parking rates, one-stop customer service for business owners.
You know where this is heading: ”Nationally, I don’t know if you ask people nationally if Seattle is a biz friendly environment, I don’t know you’re really going to get a ringing endorsement,” he said. But he credits Seattle for a feeling of city vibrancy, which the mayor can contribute to as “cheerleader in chief, marketer in chief, evangelist in chief.”
Mayors – all of them, not just this one – swing in the macro-economic winds. If they lay claim to boom years, consider if they’d take blame for a recession. That was The Seattle Times’ editorial board’s take in endorsing Ed Murray. The Stranger reached (surprise!) an opposite conclusion, giving McGinn credit for boom times in re-endorsing him.
McGinn’s statements reminded me of the last Presidential election, when Mitt Romney tried to pin blame for the slow economic recovery on Obama. The federal government, after all, has his hands on the levers of interest rates, stimulus spending (via deficit spending) and even limited control of gas prices (if the strategic oil reserve is tapped). But even the President sways in the wind when it comes to really controlling the economy. Obama’s chair of the Council of Economic Advisors, Austan Goolsbee, summed it up on NPR’s Marketplace:
I think the world vests too much power, certainly in the president, probably in Washington in general for its influence on the economy, because most all of the economy has nothing to do with the government.