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Topic: peter steinbrueck
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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…)
June 19, 2013 at 8:24 AM
Asked to perform a reading of an influential book, Seattle mayoral candidate Peter Steinbrueck made the unusual pick of The Conjure Woman, the 1899 story collection by African-American writer Charles Chestnutt about race relations in South post-Civil War. Strangely, Steinbrueck chose to read it in dialect, making him sound like Chris Rock impersonating a white Seattle architect trying to impersonate Chris Rock’s Cheap Pete character.
I wasn’t at the reading, but KUOW was. Here’s their story; Steinbreuck’s reading starting at about 7 minute mark.
What was Steinbrueck thinking?
February 14, 2013 at 7:19 AM
On Saturday, our opinion section ran an editorial about how the First Hill streetcar construction derailed the Lunar New Year festivities in the Chinatown-International District. The city of Seattle turned a deaf ear to merchant requests to close the intersection of South Jackson Street and 12th Avenue South on the two weekends before the new year. As our editorial said,
“That sounds like a planning mistake made by someone who shows up for a lion dance, but knows nothing of a business cycle that supports a fragile neighborhood. “
I researched this editorial on behalf of the editorial board, and here is how three of the other mayoral candidates responded to requests for interviews on the subject. I called and emailed candidates Tim Burgess, Bruce Harrell and Peter Steinbrueck to ask how they would have handled the situation if they were elected mayor of Seattle.
Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn’s spokesman Aaron Pickus said in a phone interview, “We can’t suspend. This is a regional investment that we’re managing, even suspending like that, that is a recent request, suspending for two weeks would delay the project for multiple months.” He said, “We make it a priority to listen to the community and strike the balance,” and added that the city is giving $185,000 to support Chinatown-ID neighborhood programs.
(On Wednesday, the news side reported that McGinn rolled back increases in parking rates and hours in Chinatown-ID after many restaurants complained that the changes hurt businesses. It’s good to see that the city is not just listening but responding, albeit a year after people complained. Most small ethnic businesses don’t have the margins to wait a year.)
Peter Steinbrueck, a former Seattle City Council member, called the streetcar construction in January and February “terrible timing.” “I would describe this chaos and destruction caused by the streetcar construction as complete lack of sensitivity to the community, the cultural tradition and the fragile nature of family businesses in Chinatown-ID,” he said, adding the city also ignored the concerns of waterfront merchants in relocating utilities during the tourist season.
The campaign for Tim Burgess, a City Council member, responded by email and referred me to the mayor’s office and the Seattle Department of Transportation. When he heard about concerns over the spur that will be built in front of a health clinic for uninsured patients, “Tim made sure the city made some modifications such as pouring the concrete in a way that ensured wheel chairs could cross, as well as including more ramps,” Alex Fryer wrote in an email.
Bruce Harrell’s campaign did not respond to a phone call or an email before my deadline. Harrell is also a City Council member.