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…More
Category: Local government
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…More
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.More
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.More
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.More
King County Executive Dow Constantine and his longtime partner Shirley Carlson got married Oct. 31 in a private ceremony. King County Superior Court Judge Mary Yu presided in the county’s largest courtroom, just after dusk, the executive said. Constantine, who turns 52 tomorrow, met Carlson when they were University of Washington students and DJs on the University…More
Kshama Sawant extended her narrow lead over Seattle City Councilmember Richard Conlin in updated vote totals released Wednesday afternoon. Sawant led Conlin by 402 votes – 83,095 to 82,693. That translates to a 49.99 percent to 49.75 percent lead. Sawant, who would be the first socialist on the nonpartisan council in recent history, first took a lead…More
Socialist Kshama Sawant’s momentum has all but scared the fleece off the trademark vest of Seattle City Councilmember Richard Conlin. With Conlin clinging to a steadily shrinking lead over Sawant, the four-term incumbent emailed supporters Saturday, telling them to “make sure every vote is counted.” The usually unflappable Conlin asked supporters to make sure their ballots had been…More
Take it from someone whose job includes ambushing politicians with uncomfortable questions: you must always watch for the second door.
Seattle City Council candidate Kshama Sawant failed to do that this afternoon, dooming her plan to ask current council members entering their regularly scheduled meeting to sign a pledge to increase the minimum wage.
Sawant and several supporters were waiting, oversized pledge in hand, outside council chambers as the 2 p.m. meeting start time approached, arrived and ticked past.
“Somehow they found another way to go inside,” campaign director Philip Locker breathlessly announced two minutes after 2, adding, “they have a secret door!”
The group then hurried inside to speak during public testimony.More
Most medical marijuana patients should be brought into the recreational pot market the state is creating, urged all nine Seattle City Council members in a letter to Gov. Jay Inslee and key legislators. The medical marijuana market continues to operate, at best, in a gray market, council members said, which could undermine the state’s goal of curtailing…More