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Politics Northwest

The Seattle Times political team explores national, state and local politics.

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You are currently viewing all posts written by Lynn Thompson.

April 14, 2014 at 10:50 AM

$15 Now files ballot initiative to raise Seattle’s minimum wage

Activists this morning filed a Seattle city charter amendment to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour starting Jan. 1, 2015. The measure calls for a three-year phase-in for small business and non-profit organizations and defines a small business as any with 250 or fewer full-time employees. Backers of the amendment, which includes 15 Now…


0 Comments | More in Politics Northwest | Topics: $15 minimum wage, 15 Now, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray

April 10, 2014 at 4:42 PM

Businesses push back on minimum-wage demands

A group that includes the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and the Washington Restaurant Association announced the formation today of a new business coalition, OneSeattle, to counter the minimum-wage demands made by unions and 15 Now activists. The group says it supports both the goal of $15 an hour and the concept of broad prosperity for all….


0 Comments | More in Politics Northwest | Topics: $15 minimum wage, OneSeattle, Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce

March 3, 2014 at 8:11 PM

Murray names chief of staff

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray added a chief of staff to his leadership team Monday, announcing the hiring of Chris Gregorich, who served most recently as Director of Public Affairs at Nyhus Communications. “Chris has a stellar reputation as a strategist with strong relationships in the political arena, and he will be an excellent asset to the city…


0 Comments | More in Local government, Politics Northwest | Topics: Chris Gregorich, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray

January 31, 2014 at 4:57 PM

Big ‘whoops’ from Mayor Murray’s office

Shortly after the state Senate voted overwhelmingly to approve the state version of the Dream Act, which would allow financial aid for students illegally brought to the United States as children, the office of Mayor Ed Murray put out a press release praising its passage. But press spokeswoman Rosalind Brazel, on the job for less than…


0 Comments | More in Politics Northwest | Topics: Dream Act, ed murray, Rosalind Brazel

January 30, 2014 at 6:38 PM

Councilmember Harrell caught uttering a vulgar word at disruptive activists

Seattle City Councilmember Bruce Harrell was caught on microphone during public testimony earlier this week using a vulgar word to describe two Stand Up America activists who regularly insult and hurl obscenities at council members. During testimony before the Seattle Public Utilities and Neighborhoods Committee Jan. 28, Alex Zimmerman and Sam Bellomio, whose abusive language at…


0 Comments | More in Local government, Politics Northwest, Seattle City Council | Topics: Bruce Harrell, Stand Up America

January 6, 2014 at 3:38 PM

Murray, Sawant sworn in before large crowd at City Hall

To cheers and sustained applause, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, Socialist City Councilmember Kshama Sawant and other newly and reelected city officials were sworn into office today before a standing-room-only crowd at City Hall.

The usual formal ceremony in city council chambers was replaced with speeches that mixed calls for class struggle with pragmatic politics. Sawant got the biggest cheers from the audience that included supporters who waved signs supporting a $15 minimum wage. After taking the oath of office, administered by Nicole Grant, vice president of the Washington State Labor Council, both women turned to the hundreds of spectators packed into City Hall and raised their fists, a gesture that seemed to signal defiance from politics as usual and solidarity with working people.

Sawant also denounced the “glittering fortunes of the super wealthy” saying they came at the same time as the lives of working people and the unemployed “grow more difficult by the day.”

Murray, the city’s first openly gay mayor, also got sustained applause when he took the oath of office from former Governor and ambassador to China, Gary Locke, on a bible held by Murray’s husband, Michael Shiosaki.

In contrast to Sawant, Murray praised Seattle business for its innovation and creativity and suggested that the path to economic equality would need businesses support.

He also suggested that government could help improve people’s lives. He said he saw government as a place not for political posturing or ideology, but a place for pragmatism.


0 Comments | More in Seattle City Council | Topics: ed murray, kshama sawant

December 13, 2013 at 11:57 AM

Ed Murray in DC for conference, White House Christmas party

Seattle mayor-elect Ed Murray is back in Washington, D.C., today to attend a conference for new mayors at the White House. Murray joins about a dozen other newly elected mayors from around the country, including New York City’s Bill de Blasio and Los Angeles’ Eric Garcetti, for briefings on urban issues. President Obama told the new mayors that…


0 Comments | More in Politics Northwest | Topics: ed murray

December 11, 2013 at 1:56 PM

Ed Murray names deputies, other high-profile hires

Seattle Mayor-elect Ed Murray on Wednesday named two deputy mayors and two administrators as part of his growing leadership team.

Seattle Mayor-elect Ed Murray on Wednesday named two deputy mayors and two administrators as part of his growing leadership team.  From the left are deputy mayors Andrea Riniker and Hyeok Kim, Steve Lee of the Office of Policy and Innovation, Jared Smith, waterfront and seawall project director, and Tina Podlodowski, who will lead the city’s police reform efforts. (Greg Gilbert/The Seattle Times)

Seattle Mayor-elect Ed Murray today named more members of his leadership team, including two deputy mayors and two administrators to oversee the city’s work on police reform and waterfront development.

Murray said he was hiring people with skills in collaboration and innovation.

“These are highly capable individuals who are ready to bring their energy, experience and expertise with them on day one of my administration,” Murray said.

The mayor-elect also said he would announce his process for searching for a new police chief soon after he takes office Jan. 1.

“I don’t have the keys to the place yet,” Murray joked, but said that with Mayor Mike McGinn’s 20/20 plan for police reform expiring in November, he would develop new strategies for implementing the changes in the force mandated by the U.S. Department of Justice. One of the new appointments announced today was former Seattle City Councilwoman Tina Podlodowski, a former chair of the Council’s Public Safety Committee and a member of the Community Police Commission, to lead the city’s police reform efforts.


0 Comments | More in Local government, Politics Northwest | Topics: ed murray, Seattle mayor-elect Ed Murray

December 3, 2013 at 1:54 PM

Murray heads off to mayor’s school

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…


0 Comments | More in Politics Northwest | Topics: ed murray, Mayor Mike McGinn

November 22, 2013 at 8:55 AM

Seattle transportation director resigns

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.


0 Comments | More in Local government, Politics Northwest | Topics: director, ed murray, Peter Hahn

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