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December 3, 2013 at 1:54 PM
Turns out, there is a mayor’s school, or at least a crash course, and Seattle mayor-elect Ed Murray plans to attend.
Harvard’s Institute of Politics will hold a three-day session on leadership and policy for more than 20 incoming big-city mayors Wednesday through Friday.
“I’m looking forward to visiting the Kennedy School at Harvard to hear from experts and from those who have some experience in the mayor’s seat,” said Murray in a statement. “I”m also looking forward to meeting and establishing relationships with my fellow mayors-elect who will soon take the mayor’s seat for the first time. It should be a very useful, productive experience.”
The Seminar on Transition and Leadership for Newly-Elected Mayors is co-sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Mayors and is held at the Kennedy School of Government. The new mayors will attend sessions including transitioning from campaign to City Hall, finance and administration, jobs and the economy, public safety, education and technology.
The sessions will be led by top academics, policy experts and politicians.
Outgoing mayor Mike McGinn frequently said on the campaign trail in his failed reelection bid that there is no mayor’s school and he had to learn on the job.
November 22, 2013 at 8:55 AM
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story incorrectly said Ed Murray had met with all department directors this week. Murray has not yet met with them all.
Seattle Director of Transportation Peter Hahn resigned late Thursday after being informed by Mayor-elect Ed Murray that he wouldn’t be kept on in the new administration.
Murray’s campaign confirmed that Murray began meeting with city department directors this week. By late today, Murray had announced that three other department heads would not be returning and one was retiring.
Budget Director Beth Goldberg, Intergovernmental Affairs Director Marco Lowe and Personnel Director David Stewart all were told that they would not be part of the new administration. Rick Hooper, the director of the Office of Housing, announced his retirement. Catherine Lester, interim director of human services, has been asked to stay on as Murray searches for a permanent director.
Goldberg was credited with guiding the city through a steep recession, rebuilding its rainy-day fund and making the budget more accessible to the public. Marco Lowe was one of outgoing Mayor Mike McGinn’s only holdovers from the Greg Nickels administration. Lowe ran Nickels’ 2002 campaign for mayor and then took a senior job in the administration as Nickels’ director of community relations. Before returning to Seattle to work for McGinn, Lowe was chief of staff for the New York City Department of Small Business Services.
McGinn thanked all the directors for their service to the city in a news release issued after Murray’s announcement.
Hahn was one of McGinn’s highest-profile department directors, helping the mayor implement high-priority projects such as an updated Transit Plan and advancing planning efforts for high-capacity transit corridors.
McGinn noted that when it started snowing, Hahn set up a cot in his office so he could work around the clock overseeing plowing, salting and de-icing operations.
“He’s done great work rebuilding public trust in SDOT’s commitment to the basics,” McGinn said.
Richard Sheridan, SDOT spokesman, said Hahn was leaving today for a planned vacation and would be out of the office for the next week. “Peter notified staff late yesterday that he would not be serving in the new administration,” Sheridan said.
City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, chair of the council Transportation Committee, praised Hahn as a hands-on administrator and a conscientious public servant. “He was a tremendous SDOT director. He cared deeply about having a well-functioning department.”
But Rasmussen speculated that Murray, a former state Senate Transportation chair, wants to make his own mark on the department.
During the mayoral campaign, Murray said he wanted an integrated transportation system with all the different elements, including roads, buses and light rail, working well together. In pre-election polling, Seattle residents said congestion was one of their biggest frustrations.
November 15, 2013 at 4:23 PM
Seattle Mayor-elect Ed Murray announced a transition committee today that includes 43 people representing a range of interests, communities and expertise, including business, labor and the city’s ethnic groups. A news release from the transition team quoted Murray as saying, “This is what inclusiveness and collaboration look like.”
Collaboration was a central theme of Murray’s campaign for mayor and one of the qualities in which he said he most differed from Mayor Mike McGinn, whom he defeated in the November general election.
Among the list of prominent names is Dave Freiboth, executive secretary of the King County Labor Council; Dave Meinert, nightlife leader and business owner; David Rolf, president of SEIU 775NW; Joanne Harrell, Microsoft director and wife of City Councilmember Bruce Harrell; Kate Joncas, president of the Downtown Seattle Association; Martha Kongsgaard, environmental leader and philanthropist; former City Councilmember Peter Steinbrueck; Pramila Jayapal, former director of OneAmerica; and Ron Sims, former deputy secretary for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Among the surprises, Estela Ortega, executive director of El Centro De La Raza, who was a strong and vocal supporter of McGinn.
Murray’s communications director, Jeff Reading, said the committee participants will be given specific tasks between now and the end of the year to help Murray reach out to the communities they represent. They will also be asked to host at least one meeting between Murray and their respective communities during the new administration.
Murray is expected to announce several key hires on his executive leadership staff in the next week or so.
November 12, 2013 at 5:20 PM
Elected officials from across the country will converge on Seattle Wednesday for the four-day Congress of Cities, the annual convention for the National League of Cities. Mayor Mike McGinn will address the opening session. No word yet on celebrity mayors — New York Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio or outgoing Newark Mayor (soon to be New Jersey Senator) Cory Booker, or, perhaps, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, fresh off his admission that he smoked crack during a drunken stupor.
“That would be AMAZING,” said City Council staffer Dan Nolte, “but I’ve been on twice weekly conference calls for the last three months regarding this conference, and had he RSVP’d, I’d know about it.”
The city of Seattle will host a reception Wednesday night at Benaroya Hall and a closing night gala at the EMP. In between, hundreds of city officials will explore Seattle, on their own or on locally sponsored mobile tours that will take groups of 50 delegates to areas including Columbia City, to learn about neighborhood revitalization with Seattle City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw, a recycling facility in SoDo that’s helping Seattle reach its zero waste goal with Councilmember Jean Godden, a tour of the Microsoft campus (making your city safer using the power of big data) with Redmond City Council members and, for energy wonks, how the city improved safety and reduced energy costs by installing LED lights, with Councilmember Mike O’Brien.
November 6, 2013 at 5:09 PM
Exhausted from a tough election fight, Seattle City Councilmember Richard Conlin said today that he won’t seek office again. Although he just won re-election against Kshama Sawant, a socialist and economics professor at Seattle Central Community College, the passage Tuesday of a city charter amendment to elect council members by district means Conlin would have to to run again in two years to keep his seat.
“I don’t want to put myself or my family through that again,” said Conlin, 65. The Madrona resident said he had hoped for four more years to finish up some work, but now will have to do that work in two years. Conlin lost ground slightly to Sawant in second-day returns, but still led 53 to 47 percent.
Sawant, a Capitol Hill resident who under the new council election boundaries would be in the same district as Conlin, last night tweeted her expectation that if they met again in two years, Conlin would lose.
November 5, 2013 at 7:18 AM
State Sen. Ed Murray’s promise of a more collaborative leadership style carried him to victory Tuesday night, as voters signaled they were fed up with four years of Mayor Mike McGinn’s political brawls.
Murray grabbed a commanding 56 percent of the votes counted on election night, compared with 43 percent for McGinn.
At a jubilant party at Neumos on Capitol Hill, Murray took the stage before 9 p.m. to cheers and hugs from supporters, including a pack of elected leaders who’d endorsed him.
Signaling the change in tone he hopes to bring to City Hall, Murray said his campaign “was energized by the belief that Seattle can show the nation that government can work once again.”
Although he acknowledged votes remain to be counted, Murray said if current trends hold, “we are here tonight to declare victory.”
About 90,000 votes were counted in the mayor’s race Tuesday. If King County elections officials’ estimate of 57 percent turnout in Seattle hold, McGinn would have to capture 54 percent or more of the remaining votes to make up his big deficit — a virtually impossible task.
At McGinn’s election-night party at a 95 Slide, a sports bar just a few blocks away, the previously rowdy room was deflated as the vote totals came in.
McGinn stopped just short of conceding, but spoke as though he’d lost his office. “I’m proud of what we did,” McGinn said, saying his administration had lived up to the Sierra Club rule to “leave a place better than you found it.”
In an interview, McGinn said he was not conceding to Murray Tuesday because his supporters deserved to see more votes counted. But he acknowledged “this is a very very deep hole to climb back from.”
Murray, 58, will be Seattle’s first openly gay mayor, and his campaign capitalized on his signature legislative accomplishment — helping to lead the 2012 campaign to legalize same-sex marriage in Washington. He took the stage Tuesday night with Michael Shiosaki, his longtime partner whom he married this summer.
Although he was the incumbent, McGinn ran an underdog campaign for a second term, portraying himself as the righteous warrior willing to take on the city’s business and political establishment.
Trailing in the polls by double digits just weeks before the general election, McGinn’s campaign bet on an energetic get-out-the-vote effort that sought to attract younger voters and others who don’t reliably vote in off-year elections.
At dozens of candidate forums and three televised debates, McGinn, 53, cited accomplishments in office including guiding the city through a recession, doubling the Families and Education levy, a bond measure to rebuild the waterfront seawall and passage of a paid sick-leave ordinance.
But voters remained unconvinced. During the August primary, McGinn faced eight challengers and attracted less than 30 percent of the vote. Polls since then never showed him gaining much ground.
In the final days of the race, the Murray campaign appeared increasingly nervous by a run of bad news, including negative reports about political donations by Comcast to a pro-Murray political-action committee.
After seeming ready to coast to victory, Murray hastily called a series of last-minute news conferences, including one Monday attacking McGinn’s record on downtown crime and police issues.
McGinn’s fate was forecast two years ago, when voters slapped back his efforts to obstruct the Highway 99 tunnel project, opting to move ahead with the long-debated project. McGinn’s anti-tunnel agitating was viewed as a reversal from his 2009 election-eve pledge not to stand in the project’s way.
One political consultant called McGinn a “dead man walking” after the 2011 vote on a largely symbolic tunnel referendum.
During the 2013 campaign, McGinn said he’d only tried to raise tough questions about the tunnel plan, including a provision added by the Legislature that said Seattle taxpayers would be on the hook if there were any cost overruns.
McGinn’s record in office also includes highly publicized fights with the City Council, City Attorney Pete Holmes and former Gov. Chris Gregoire over the tunnel and with the Department of Justice, the council and Holmes over the breadth and pace of police reform.
Gregoire, Holmes and five of nine City Council members endorsed Murray. When asked about their opposition in a recent interview, McGinn said they were part of “the same old power block” that financed Murray’s campaign.
McGinn pushed back against Murray’s constant talk of collaboration, saying leaders should demand swift action on important issues such as climate change rather than waiting for consensus. At one candidate forum, McGinn said he didn’t want to tell his children “we didn’t do enough, but the politicians got along.”
Murray came across flat in some campaign appearances, but advanced a progressive agenda nearly identical to McGinn’s — including expanded transit and a promise to pursue a $15-an-hour minimum wage.
He highlighted his 18 years as a state lawmaker representing Seattle’s 43rd Legislative District. In Olympia, he earned a reputation as a pragmatist who could work across party lines to craft budgets and major transportation packages.
Murray spoke often about the need for the city to take a more regional approach to governance and to mend broken relationships with Olympia, in contrast to McGinn’s often go-it-alone style.
And while McGinn frequently cited statistics to show that overall crime in the city was at a 30-year low, Murray called for new leadership of the Seattle Police Department and clearer directions from the mayor about enforcement of crime downtown.
Murray raised about $776,000 for the campaign, compared with about $466,000 by McGinn.
Independent spending by political-action committees added $500,000 more to the races — with more than $300,000 of that spent by pro-Murray groups.
Although he faced criticism throughout the campaign that he was running on style more than substance, Murray gained confidence and familiarity with city issues as the race wore on and both men attended community forums and three televised debates.
By mid-October, when McGinn repeated his explanation for his sometimes tumultuous first term by saying there is no mayor’s school, Murray retorted, “There is a mayor’s school. It’s called experience in government.”
For more photos, visit the gallery.
November 1, 2013 at 6:09 PM
With just about $5,000 in reported contributions, the group Choices Not Districts, which opposes the ballot measure to change the way city council members are elected, made robo calls over the past week to voters older than 55.
Former City Councilmember Jim Street, who opposes the plan to divide the city into seven geographical districts with two at-large positions elected by the whole city, recorded the phone message against Charter Amendment 19. He tells voters that currently, they vote for all nine city council members and that those nine are accountable to every voter and every neighborhood in the city, rather than just those in their one district.
The recording also notes that Seattle residents have turned down district elections three times before.
The Seattle Districts Now campaign has vastly outraised the opposition. North Seattle business woman Faye Garneau has contributed about $232,000 to the campaign. Another $5,400 was donated by Fremont business woman Suzie Burke. In all, the yes campaign has raised about $263,000 through Thursday.
The supporters for council districts have mailed flyers to Seattle voters and put up yard signs around the city.
The pro-districts campaign argues that candidates running for a district seat won’t have to spend as much money to get known in a district of 88,000 residents rather than 630,000 in the city as a whole. They also argue that city funding for streets, parks and police will be more equitably distributed under a district system.
October 30, 2013 at 5:36 PM
The Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission today approved a $1,500 fine against a political action committee (PAC) supporting Ed Murray for mayor for failing to report the source of a campaign contribution.
The vote was 4-0 to levy the fine, with half suspended if there are no further violations through the 2015 election cycle. An investigation by commission staff found that Civic Alliance for a Sound Economy (CASE), the political arm of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, violated city campaign disclosure rules when it failed to disclose a $15,000 contribution from Vulcan that was earmarked for Murray. CASE bundled contributions from many business groups and distributed them to campaigns for several different races in the primary election.
Because the Vulcan contribution came with restrictions about which race it could be used in, the source of the money should have been reported and Vulcan listed as one of the top five donors on literature mailed by People for Ed Murray, the commission investigation concluded.
Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn’s re-election campaign filed an ethics complaint in September alleging that two business-funded PACs colluded to conceal information from Seattle voters, including other business donations to the Chamber PAC. The Murray campaign was not implicated in the findings.
October 29, 2013 at 4:49 PM
A Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce political-action committee supporting Ed Murray for Seattle mayor has agreed it violated city and state campaign-disclosure laws when it failed to disclose a $15,000 contribution from Vulcan, according to a proposed settlement agreement after a Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission investigation.
The commission will vote Wednesday on a recommendation to fine Civic Alliance for a Sound Economy (CASE) , the Chamber’s political arm, $1,500, with half suspended if there are no further violations through the 2015 election cycle.
Wayne Barnett, executive director of the commission, said Vulcan should have been listed among contributors to People for Ed Murray, an independent expenditure committee, and also as one of the committee’s top five contributors. Vulcan had made a contribution to CASE, which then gave money to People for Ed Murray.
“When CASE made the contribution, they were obligated to disclose that Vulcan’s contribution had been earmarked for Ed Murray,” Barnett said.
Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn’s re-election campaign filed an ethics complaint in September alleging that two-business-funded PACs supporting Murray colluded to deliberately conceal information from Seattle voters, including other business donations to the Chamber PAC.
The Ethics Commission investigation found only that the Vulcan contribution should have been disclosed because it came with specific instructions for how it could be used.
Both Murray and McGinn have gotten support from independent expenditure groups that can raise unlimited money and are not subject to the $700-per-donor limit that applies to candidate committees. Two union-funded committees have backed McGinn with more than $100,000 while People for Ed Murray raised more than $150,000 for the primary. Another independent expenditure committee, People for a New Seattle Mayor, has raised more than $100,000 for the general election, with the biggest donation, $45,000, coming from the Seattle Firefighters Union, and $15,000 from the Seattle Police Officers Guild.
October 22, 2013 at 1:01 PM
King County Sheriff John Urquhart today endorsed State Sen. Ed Murray for Seattle Mayor, saying Murray will address Seattle’s public safety issues.
“We need an effective mayor who will act to address the very real public safety challenges Seattle faces, and I believe Ed Murray will be that mayor,” Urquhart said in a statement released by the Murray campaign.
Contacted by phone, Urquhart declined to comment about Mayor Mike McGinn, who is seeking reelection, or the job he’s done on public safety. But he did say about Murray, “There has to be a mix between enforcement and social services. He has the right mix.”
Urquhart shook up a Seattle City Council Public Safety Committee hearing earlier this month when he said his wife was afraid to come to the King County Courthouse to meet him because she no longer feels safe in the area. The hearing was on Mayor Mike McGinn’s Center City Initiative and the problem of crime and disorder downtown. McGinn has said frequently on the campaign trail that violent crime is at a 30-year low in the city.
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