Topic: sen. ed murray
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October 12, 2013 at 3:23 PM
State Sen. Ed Murray seemed to echo many themes of neighborhood champion and failed mayoral candidate Peter Steinbrueck at a Saturday breakfast forum hosted by the Seattle Neighborhood Coalition.
Murray, who is challenging incumbent Mayor Mike McGinn, pledged to reinvigorate neighborhood planning and the city’s Department of Neighborhoods. He said residents should be more involved with planning for growth and in prioritizing what projects and improvements they want to see.
He also said that within his first 100 days of taking office, he would convene a Neighborhood Summit to identify problems between neighborhoods and the city and to prepare for the upcoming Comprehensive Plan update which will guide the city’s growth and land use over the next 20 years.
“Neighborhoods should be involved in how the city goes forward and changes. I want to empower the neighborhoods in a way they haven’t been since before (former Mayor) Greg Nickels,” said Murray, who noted that he started his political career as an aide to former Seattle City Council member Martha Choe at a time when he said the Department of Neighborhoods played a strong role in planning.
McGinn also cited his neighborhood cred, noting that he started his political career as a Greenwood Community Council activist. He said his administration has done a lot of neighborhood planning, but has focused on implementation rather than just broad updates across the city. He also said that no rezone is done without a lot of public process.
He described the Department of Neighborhoods working with the Department of Transportation to involve the neighborhood with a repaving process along 23rd Avenue through the Central District. He said the city is not just laying a road but is working with residents and business owners to widen the sidewalks and calm traffic.
“The Department of Neighborhoods is working better with other departments than ever before. It’s more robust. We’re bringing more people into the planning process,” McGinn said.
About 40 people attended the forum which was held at the Central District Senior Center.
Peter Steinbrueck, who finished third in the August primary among nine candidates, attended part of the forum and said he was pleased with Murray’s understanding of growth and planning. But Steinbrueck said he would withhold an endorsement in the race until Murray laid out his plans for protecting industrial lands in the city. Steinbrueck opposed the Sodo location for a proposed new sports arena.
McGinn led negotiations for a deal among the city, King County and investor Chris Hansen to build a new arena south of downtown with $290 million in public money. Murray has said he wants to preserve freight mobility, but hasn’t opposed the Sodo location, about a block from a major Port of Seattle terminal.
To McGinn’s familiar lament that he had no experience as an elected official before winning the job in 2009, Murray countered that there is a mayor’s school.
“It’s called experience in government,” Murray said. He cited other legislators-turned-executives, former Governors Gary Locke and Booth Gardner, and said his own writing large budgets in the Legislature gave him experience with the workings of departments, their staffing and functions.
McGinn said that he would gladly set his accomplishments as mayor against Murray’s in the Legislature. He reminded the audience that the country was in a recession when he took office and that he had balanced the city budget, preserved human-services funding, doubled the Family’s and Education levy and kept library funding. He noted that the state Legislature, in contrast, had cut education funding, social-service funding and failed to pass a transportation package in the past session to prevent cuts to Metro transit service.
“I’m happy to compare outcomes with what Senator Murray has achieved in the legislature,” McGinn said.
Several Montlake, Roanoke and Portage Bay residents attended the forum and asked the candidates about the stalled planning for the Seattle side of the Highway 520 bridge expansion project. Murray said that under Nickels, the city was unable to agree on a plan to present the Legislature, with the result that only the eastern side of the bridge is designed and under construction.
“The city still hasn’t come forward with a city option for a 520 plan. We can’t get mitigation money for the project until the city has a plan,” Murray said, adding that he thought he could bring the state and city together.
McGinn said that the state’s haste to start the project led to defective pontoons and “a much larger structure than I think is needed there.” McGinn had argued unsuccessfully earlier in his term that the bridge only needed to be four lanes. The state expects to build a six-lane bridge over Portage Bay.
McGinn and Murray, who have frequently clashed at forums and debates over the past month, argued Saturday about McGinn’s opposition to the tunnel and Murray’s support for a funding bill that left Seattle taxpayers on the hook for cost overruns on the tunnel.
At one point, a member of the audience asked McGinn to stop rolling his eyes and smiling sarcastically while Murray was speaking. “Please stop doing that. It’s annoying” said Eileen McCann from Ballard.
McGinn apologized from the front table and again to her personally after the forum ended.
October 3, 2013 at 6:17 PM
Without mentioning his opponent’s name, Seattle mayoral candidate Sen. Ed Murray contrasted his vision of a progressive city that works together against incumbent Mayor Mike McGinn’s and what Murray called his “politics of division.”
Before an audience of about 100 supporters at the Columbia City Theatre today, Murray outlined his priorities for public safety, transportation and education and said that as mayor he would “embrace opportunity, foster collaboration, provide leadership and reinvigorate our progressive spirit.”
The early-afternoon speech was introduced by Pramila Jayapal, former director of OneAmerica, who praised Murray’s “unshakeable commitment to civil rights and social justice” and said he’s spent his two-decade career in politics “bringing diverse constituencies together to form coalitions to move forward our issues.” Jayapal was one of almost 20 minority community, civil-rights and union leaders who signed on to a letter released by the Murray campaign earlier in the day rebutting McGinn’s accusations Monday that Murray hadn’t supported efforts to retain affirmative action in the state after Initiative 200, which repealed it.
Also in the audience was former mayoral candidate Peter Steinbrueck, who following his third-place finish in the August primary, declined to endorse either McGinn or Murray. Steinbrueck told reporters today that he might make an endorsement in the race next week.
September 13, 2013 at 4:50 PM
After a week of sniping, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and state Sen. Ed Murray took a break in a debate at the Belltown Community Council Thursday night, where they stuck mostly to their own talking points, muted their attacks and ended with what may have been the first cordial handshake of the campaign.
Moderators Jeanne Kohl-Welles, the state senator whose district includes Belltown, and Belltown Community Council President Elizabeth Campbell (not to be confused with the anti-tunnel activist of the same name), said no progress is made on formulating policy for the city’s future if the candidates just point fingers at each other. In that spirit, the moderators allowed many two-minute answers that gave McGinn and Murray more time to formulate thoughtful responses.
Crime and public safety were again central themes of the debate. Campbell asked McGinn to commit to hiring 100 new police officers and guarantee they would be on the street next year. McGinn said the city didn’t have money for that many, but said that with improving city revenues, his budget would fund 30 new cops who likely would be on patrol. He also spoke in favor of his Center City Initiative, which tries to identify bad actors downtown and determine if they are amenable to treatment or other social services or whether they should be arrested and charged with a crime.
“When are services appropriate and when are consequences appropriate? You can’t have one without the other. We all know we need to enforce against violent activities,” McGinn said.
Murray said that Seattle lost officers overall during budget cuts the past few years and needs to consistently add more police. “If people are breaking the law, they need to be arrested,” he said. In one mild attack on McGinn, Murray said, “Officers don’t have a clear message about what to do [about downtown crime]. That’s a problem of leadership.” But Murray avoided being painted into the law-and-order corner — often a loser for mayoral candidates in Seattle (i.e., Mark Sidran) — by reiterating that no officers should be hired unless they are trained in urban policing, anti-bias and use of force.
Murray also outlined his criteria for a new police chief and how he would conduct the selection process. He served on the search committee that ultimately chose Chief Gil Kerlikowske, and said he thinks the current process scares off good candidates.
September 3, 2013 at 5:19 PM
Citing Mayor Mike McGinn’s support for working families, SEIU Local 925 today endorsed McGinn for a second term. The union endorsed McGinn in 2009 and said that since then, he has proven his commitment to strong neighborhoods and human services.
“We circled back to enthusiastically saying we’re ready for another round,” said Adair Dammann, secretary/treasurer of the union. Dammann highlighted McGinn’s support for doubling the Families and Education levy, a paid sick-leave ordinance, a library levy and universal pre-kindergarten.
The union represents University of Washington employees, childcare and early learning workers and non-profit and local government employees.
While not a surprise, the endorsement does show a potential split among the city’s four SEIU locals. David Rolf, president of SEIU Local 775, said in August that the union had a great working history with State Sen. Ed Murray, McGinn’s opponent, but that it also had good relationships with the mayor.
“As you can imagine in a large and democratic organization there are different views including those who wish to endorse one candidate or another or stay out altogether,” Rolf said.
April 25, 2013 at 5:54 PM
The GOP-led majority in the Senate held a preemptive news conference Thursday to blame Democrats for potentially dragging the Legislature into special session – four days before the regular session is set to end.
“We are calling on the House of Representatives to do their job,” said Senate Deputy Republican Leader Don Benton, of Vancouver. “The Senate has done its work.”
Benton and other members of the GOP-controlled majority caucus said they’ve passed all the bills needed to wrap up the state operating budget and blamed House Democrats for not moving on them.
Senate Democratic Leader Ed Murray, who held his on news conference afterward to respond, said Republicans have been out of power so long they’ve forgotten how to govern.
“You are not governing if you say here is my budget, we’re done,” Murray said, noting it’s the majority’s job not only to pass a budget in the Senate but also to compromise with the Democratically controlled House to pass a budget there.
Republicans took control of the state Senate, for the first time in eight years, on the first day of the session when Democratic Sens. Rodney Tom, of Medina, and Tim Sheldon, of Potlatch, crossed party lines to caucus with the GOP.
Legislative leaders have not officially said there will be a special session, but have strongly indicated it’s likely.
Sheldon and Benton on Thursday also said that if Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee decided to wait a few weeks before calling a special session, it would be for political reasons.
“I’ve got to say that frankly I smell a rat. I think it’s politics … There are individuals running for offices,” he said, referring specifically to Murray, who is running for mayor of Seattle and cannot raise money for his campaign while the Legislature is in session.
Murray said he’s not worried about going into a special session and that his campaign would do fine regardless.
David Postman, a spokesman for Inslee, said the remarks were out of line.
“To claim outright there is some ulterior political motive on the part of others demeans them. That’s not what this is about and they should not be talking like that,” he said. “They said it about the governor and said it about other people and they know that’s out of line.”
March 11, 2013 at 7:35 PM
OLYMPIA — The state Senate today approved 29-20 a bill to limit a recently implemented Seattle sick leave law.
Democratic Sens. Tracey Eide of Federal Way, Jim Hargrove of Hoquiam, Brian Hatfield of Raymond, and Steve Hobbs of Lake Stevens, joined the Republican-dominated Majority Coalition Caucus to support the measure.
The bill will now go to the Democrat-run House, where it is unlikely to gain traction. House leaders are instead focused on expanding sick leave.
The Seattle law, which has been in effect only since September, requires companies to offer paid sick leave if they have at least five employees and do business in Seattle.
Senate Bill 5726 would make it illegal for local governments to require employers to offer paid sick leave unless the business is physically located within the local government’s jurisdiction or 85 percent of the hours worked for that employer are worked in the area.
Bill sponsor John Braun, R-Centralia, said the Seattle law places unnecessary hardships on businesses that aren’t even located in the Seattle.
“[This bill] is about giving our employers their best chance,” Braun said.
Minority Leader Ed Murray said he views the bill as a direct attack on Seattle and its decision-making authority. He urged other senators to think twice before passing legislation to limit the jurisdictions of local governments.
“This is a divisive discussion aimed at further dividing the state, and it’s not respectful,” said Murray, D-Seattle. “I don’t think this is a good way to bring legislators together.”
Sen. Karen Keiser, D-Kent, said the bill is a matter of public health and safety. She said she doesn’t want childcare workers, food servers and hotel employees to come to work sick because they might spread their illnesses to her or her family. Many employees don’t have a choice in the matter, she said, because they don’t have the financial freedom to take an unpaid sick day.
Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles agreed.
“I’m sure everybody here has gone into a restaurant and had the server sneeze,” said Kohl Welles, D-Seattle. “That’s happened to me before, and it really gives me the creeps.”
February 13, 2013 at 11:14 AM
OLYMPIA — Senate Democratic Leader Ed Murray has introduced a measure to send a 5 percent excise tax on capital gains to voters for approval.
It’s not clear, though, if Senate Bill 5738 will get a hearing. Senate Republicans control the Senate and have made it clear they’re opposed to any new taxes, outside of a potential gas-tax increase for transportation.
Murray floated the idea last month, and introduced the bill Wednesday.
The capital-gains tax Murray proposes would exclude the sale of a principal residence, as well as the first $10,000 in gains for individuals and the first $20,000 for married couples. His proposal also would extend beer, and business-and-occupation tax surcharges – due to expire next year – until the end of 2015.
The proposal is projected to raise $540 million for education during the next two fiscal years. Murray’s bill would send the money toward specific programs, including all-day kindergarten, class-size reductions in early grades and higher education enrollment.
February 5, 2013 at 5:07 PM
Saying he wants to increase access to higher education for students who are undocumented immigrants, Sen. Ed Murray plans to introduce a bill Wednesday granting them access to State Need Grants.
Murray, the Senate’s Democratic leader. introduced a bill last session, but the legislation never got a single hearing. At a news conference Tuesday, he said he is confident the bill will fare better this session, even though the Senate is controlled by the Majority Coalition Caucus, made up mostly of Republicans.
“We’ve had some good conversations with some Republicans who are interested in seeing some version of this bill,” said Murray, who has begun a campaign for Seattle mayor. “The demographics of the state are changing and I think that reality is affecting how some of our colleagues think about this.”
But this issue is tricky and has long been controversial. And even if Murray is able to generate bipartisan support, his bill could suffer from the state’s budget problems — especially since about 32,000 students were turned away from the State Need Grant in 2012.
Including undocumented students, that number could grow by about 800, according to Ricardo Sanchez, director of the Latino/a Educational Achievement Project.
Murray said he would solve that problem by allocating money to fund the State Need Grant from a capital gains tax. He has yet to introduce his capital gains tax bill.
Regardless of funding challenges, Murray said it’s the state’s duty to help undocumented immigrant students who live here obtain an education, given that population’s long contributions to the agricultural industry. He pointed out that many of these young people were brought to America as young children, and are, for all intents and purposes, Americans.
“Those young people should not be punished because they were brought here and lived here through no action of their own,” Murray said.
The students who would qualify for state aid under Murray’s plan are the so-called DREAM Act kids, who under a plan by the Obama Administration, have already been granted reprieve from deportation, a sort of temporary resident status for those brought to this country as children.
Undocumented immigrant students in Washington state already qualify for in-state tuition, although a bill in the Legislature would repeal that benefit and deny any financial aid.
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