Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and state Sen. Ed Murray went after each others’ records and effectiveness in their first televised debate before a studio audience this afternoon. The debate will air tonight on KING-TV at 7 p.m. and The Seattle Times will host a live chat with readers during the airing.
Murray criticized McGinn’s leadership of the police department and his opposition to the deep-bore tunnel, after an 11th hour announcement in 2009 that he wouldn’t oppose the tunnel to replace the viaduct. Murray also attacked McGinn for holding a news conference to say guns collected in a gun buyback would be melted down into peace bricks, even though at the time of the announcement, McGinn knew the guns already had been destroyed by the police department.
“How can we as a city trust you?” Murray asked the mayor.
McGinn repeatedly questioned Murray’s effectiveness in the state legislature, noting that the state is 43rd in education funding and last in mental-health beds. McGinn said that he consistently opposed leaving the city on the hook for cost overruns on the tunnel. A clause in the tunnel funding legislation says Seattle property owners who benefit from the tunnel will pay for cost overruns.
“I raised an important question … Neither (Gov. Chris) Gregoire or Murray, despite his vaunted power, could get it changed,” McGinn said.
KING-TV anchorman Dennis Bounds moderated the debate. Questions were posed by a panel of journalists including Jim Brunner, political reporter for The Seattle Times, Dave Ross, a host on radio 97.3 FM, and Linda Brill, political reporter for KING-TV News.