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 14, 2013 at 10:06 AM
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 of Washington radio station, KCMU. They bought a West Seattle house together about 10 years ago.
“When it became clear that I was going to be elected to a second term, it seemed like a good time to take the plunge,” Constantine said.
King County is still counting ballots today, but Constantine has won nearly 80 percent of the votes tabulated so far. He served as a state legislator and King County Council member before taking the helm of the county, and has political ambitions at the state or federal level.
Carlson is a strategic planner in the fashion industry with a background in branding and marketing.
November 13, 2013 at 4:47 PM
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 over Conlin, a four-term incumbent, on Tuesday — one week after carrying only 46.1 percent of the initial returns on election night.
On Wednesday, Sawant won about 52 percent of the roughly 6,000 counted votes in the race.
King County Elections estimates it still has to count about 8 percent of the ballots it has on hand.
Election results are to be certified Nov. 26.
November 9, 2013 at 2:19 PM
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 verified and counted, by checking with the King County Elections. He told supporters they might have forgotten to sign their ballot envelopes, or there might be a problem with their signatures. If so, he urged them to be on the lookout for a form from King County.
“Please sign the form and send it in immediately to ensure your vote is counted!” he wrote.
He also asked for phone-bank volunteers to check on ballot problems.
Conlin led 53.6 percent to Sawant’s 46.1 percent on election night. After Friday night’s ballot count, Sawant was up to 49.5 percent and trailed Conlin by 1,237 votes.
A Seattle Times anlaysis indicates Sawant must take about 53 percent of the roughly 20,000 uncounted ballots to win.
The next vote tally won’t come until Tuesday.
November 4, 2013 at 3:47 PM
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.
October 1, 2013 at 1:01 PM
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 illicit dealing through a legal system allowing adults to possess small amounts of weed.
While many medical customers “live with conditions ameliorated by medical cannabis, the vast majority do not and would be better served through the access made possible by Initiative 502,” council members wrote in a letter dated Sept. 30.
That could mean combining the recreational and medical markets into a single regulated system, according to council members — though they also said the state should “make certain that the legitimate needs” of medical marijuana users are met. “Patients deserve a system that supports development of medicines appropriate to different conditions at a price point patients can afford,” council members said.
Under orders from the state Legislature, three state agencies — the Liquor Control Board and the departments of Revenue and Health — are supposed to make recommendations regarding the medical and recreational systems.
On Oct. 21, the agencies are scheduled to provide draft recommendations for comment, with a Nov. 8 deadline for comments.
The agencies will then present recommendations to state House and Senate committees in late November. By Jan. 1 they are supposed to deliver final recommendations to state lawmakers.
September 13, 2013 at 4:44 PM
King County has hired another well-regarded city of Seattle staffer. County Executive Dow Constantine announced today he hired Adrienne Quinn, former director of Seattle’s Office of Housing, to lead the county Department of Community and Human Services.
Quinn replaces longtime director Jackie MacLean, who is stepping down at the end of the year.
While Quinn was director of the city’s housing department for five years, voters approved a $145 million housing levy, and the Seattle City Council expanded a program called “incentive zoning,” where developers can build higher buildings if they agree to provide affordable housing.
Quinn worked for Mayor Mike McGinn for one year before she left to work for a national housing nonprofit. She is the executive director of the Medina Foundation in Seattle.
She was one of several former Nickels department heads to endorse Seattle City Councilmember Tim Burgess for mayor before he dropped out of the race this summer. In July, she donated $200 to the mayoral campaign of Sen. Ed Murray.
Constantine has plucked quite a few city employees off the city payroll onto his own. He made former Seattle City Light Chief of Staff Sung Yang his chief of staff, and hired away the city’s budget director, Dwight Dively, when he took office.
September 11, 2013 at 1:49 PM
King County Metropolitan Council member Larry Gossett is recovering from a “slight stroke,” his staff said. Gossett suffered the stroke Sept. 2, and spent three days in the hospital.
He is not expected back at work until Sept. 23, on his doctor’s advice, said his chief of staff, Cindy Domingo. She said he is doing very well, and there are not expected to be residual effects from the stroke.
Gossett, 68, is chair of the council. He represents District 2, which includes the southern half of Seattle.
September 5, 2013 at 1:52 PM
Washington’s newest state lawmaker is likely to be Mercer Island City Councilmember Tana Senn, who likely will be appointed to the state House next week.
A Metropolitan King County Council committee unanimously voted this week to send Senn’s nomination to the full council on Monday, spokesman Al Sanders said. She had been the top choice of local Democratic Party officials to fill a vacancy created by former state Rep. Marcie Maxwell’s decision to join Gov. Jay Inslee’s education team.
If the selection is formalized, it will mark a quick political ascension for Senn, a 42-year-old consultant who work for a national Jewish women’s organization before coming to the Seattle area about a decade ago.
Senn was appointed to the Mercer Island City Council last January after serving as campaign manager for another council member, according to her campaign website. She had been running for a full term on the city council.
She took the lead in the race to replace Maxwell after party officials chose her over local activist David Ellis and George Pieper, a former vice president of the Greater Seattle Business Association.
Maxwell’s replacement will serve until the term ends in 2014.
September 3, 2013 at 4:43 PM
A Seattle event featuring Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker will be open to reporters after all, organizers informed The Seattle Times over the weekend.
A spokeswoman for the Washington Policy Center said ”things have changed” and the conservative think tank’s annual dinner Thursday will allow in the media. The spokeswoman, Lisa Shin, had previously said that Walker and the event’s other headliner, prominent Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon Ben Carson, had requested that no journalists attend.
It would have been the only such press prohibition in recent memory, Shin had said.
Shin also reiterated that the only organization raising money at the dinner will be the Washington Policy Center. Walker’s office had called it a “campaign event” for the governor, who is up for re-election in 2014 and is also considered a candidate for president in 2016.
The dinner starts at 7 p.m.
About this blog
Trending with readers