Topic: state sen. ed murray
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October 28, 2013 at 3:05 PM
Nobody likes to pay parking tickets. State senator and mayoral candidate Ed Murray is no exception.
Murray got irritated in October 2010 when confronted with an old parking ticket at the University of Washington, recently released records show.
The ticket amounted to $60 with late fees, but Murray refused to pay it, according to records released by the UW after a public-disclosure request. He’d stopped by the UW parking office to pick up new parking passes he needed as a UW employee but was told he first needed to resolve the old violation.
In an email to parking officials, Murray complained he’d been unaware of the ticket, which hadn’t come up the last time he picked up parking passes. He wrote that he only would have been on campus in 2008 “in my capacity as Washington State Senator.”
“Since I have no intention of paying for a violation I have no knowledge of and since you are unwilling to sale [sic] me parking passes, please cancel my UPASS. I will buy parking in the area and drive to work every day,” Murray wrote in the Oct. 7, 2010, email. (The U-PASS is a discounted bus and transit pass for UW staff and students.)
UW parking employees appeared nervous at the blast from a powerful state politician. In an email, one wrote there was proof that notice of the ticket had been mailed to Murray’s home in addition to being placed on his vehicle. “I can certainly waive the late fee, but I can’t erase the ticket,” the employee wrote to a coworker, adding “this one may be sensitive.”
Murray never had to pay. The next day, the UW’s lobbying department intervened and said it would cover the cost, saying “the citation appears to be from an official visit.”
In an interview, Murray said he had a fairly limited budget as a legislator and was constantly picking up the tab for parking and other official expenses.
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.
October 14, 2013 at 7:00 AM
Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and state Sen. Ed Murray trod well worn ground for much of the second televised mayoral debate Saturday night on KOMO 4. But there were fireworks when the rivals got to directly interrogate one another on perceived leadership flaws.
For much of the hourlong debate, McGinn smiled at the camera and made a case that — despite what his critics would have you believe — he’s been a good listener in his first term. And he said he has racked up accomplishments, such as an overall low crime rate and a growing local economy, that merit another four years.
Murray, who spoke in calm, flat tones even when delivering his most aggressive attacks, said Seattle is ready for a politically experienced mayor who will work with the City Council instead of fighting it. His answers throughout the night showed, Murray clearly came to the event with a strategy to appeal to female voters and neighborhoods worried about growth.
Once again, actual policy distinctions were hard to come by. McGinn and Murray clashed the hardest in the middle of the debate when each was allowed to ask the other a question. Both punched at sore spots, revealing what they believed to be leadership flaws they believe might sway voters in the few weeks remaining in the 2013 mayoral race. (more…)
October 8, 2013 at 5:58 PM
In another measure of the ideological tightness of Seattle’s “me too” mayoral race, state Sen. Ed Murray called a news conference Tuesday to point out he totally agrees with Mayor Mike McGinn on opposition to coal trains rolling through the city.
Seeking to rebut what he called a “whispering campaign” by McGinn forces, Murray said notwithstanding campaign cash he’s received from some pro-coal train businesses, he’s against the trains, which coal opponents say would disrupt traffic and send coal dust spraying into air and water — in addition to abetting global climate change.
It’s an issue that McGinn has elevated to a top-tier priority in his mayoral campaign. Murray has been more muted on the topic; hence Tuesday’s news conference in which he tried to put to rest doubts about where he stands.
“I have been, since the first day I announced in December, opposed to these coal trains, despite the information you might have gotten from — I guess you could call it the office of misinformation — the McGinn campaign,” Murray said at the news conference next to the train tracks on the downtown Seattle waterfront. As if to reinforce his point about the disruption more trains would cause, Murray’s event was interrupted twice by passing trains at the nearby railroad crossing.
September 30, 2013 at 5:42 PM
A group of two-dozen Seattle civil rights and minority community leaders appeared today at a Central Area senior center to plug Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn’s reelection campaign.
The pastors, activists and politicians praised McGinn for directing more money to minority contractors, preserving human services programs during hard times and generally being responsive to their concerns.
“He’s been there for us, and we are going to be there for him,” said Metropolitan King County Councilman Larry Gossett.
Chinatown International District activist Bob Santos, who has worked with mayors going back many decades, called McGinn “probably more responsive than any other mayor” besides Norm Rice.
But the press conference also turned to an attack on McGinn’s challenger, state Sen. Ed Murray. Essentially, some McGinn backers played the race card.
Reaching back 15 years, former Seattle state Rep. Velma Veloria claimed Murray had privately criticized a bill sponsored by the late Rep. Kip Tokuda that would have tried to preserve affirmative action programs in Washington state from Initiative 200.
Legislative records show Murray signed on as a sponsor of Tokuda’s bill, which would have preserved affirmative action programs but barred quotas and the hiring of unqualified persons. But Veloria claimed he dissed the measure in a closed-door Democratic caucus meeting.
“I don’t have the exact words right now but the shock that I felt had a lot to do with the fact that he only felt that he could fight for civil rights for gays and lesbians and did not want to include people of color,” Veloria said.
Others at the event, including McGinn, claimed Tokuda told them of his anger at the long ago comments before his death this year of a heart attack.
Murray flatly denied the accusations, pointing to his sponsorship of Tokuda’s bill and other actions he’d taken opposing I-200, which was nevertheless approved by voters later that year. “It’s not true,” he said.
Murray said he did help convene talks between Rep. Hans Dunshee and other Democrats about another alternative to I-200 under discussion at the time. Dunshee’s measure was loudly opposed by Tokuda and other liberals in the House Democratic caucus at the time, and Murray did not sign on as a cosponsor. A 1998 story in The Seattle Times recounts that feud, including Murray’s criticisms of some colleagues he said did not even want to have a discussion about it.
Another former state legislator, Dawn Mason, called Veloria’s story baloney. “Had he said it it would have been an issue to me also. And that issue would have been discussed with Kip. He never discussed it with me because there was nothing to discuss,” said Mason, who was Tokuda’s seatmate in the 37th Legislative District, and one of the few African-American state lawmakers at the time.
Mason called the McGinn camp raising the allegations now “divisive and distasteful.”
Former King County Executive Ron Sims commented in a Facebook post that “no one is well-served by this kind of tasteless politics.” He pointed out that Murray recently married his longtime partner, Michael Shiosaki, who is Asian American.
September 27, 2013 at 11:59 AM
A mayoral debate sponsored by the Seattle Parks Foundation Thursday night was mostly a genteel discussion of how to pay for and improve city parks. Mayor Mike McGinn floated the notion of a new tax on sugary drinks in Seattle. State Sen. Ed Murray backed the idea of a new taxing district.
But the debate really blew up at the end, when McGinn and Murray tangled over Murray’s legislative record and the alleged embezzlement of more than $250,000 by an employee from a Democratic campaign committee that Murray co-chaired.
McGinn attacked the embezzlement as an example of Murray’s failures, while Murray accused McGinn of taking the race to a “low point” by trying to score points off of personal tragedy.
The exchange showed just how testy the race is becoming as McGinn — after months of listening to criticisms of his mayoral record — tries to turn the tables by putting Murray’s record on trial, while Murray accuses the mayor of resorting to sleazy tactics. (more…)
September 26, 2013 at 8:45 PM
Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn is floating the idea of a 1-cent-an-ounce tax on sugary beverages, including canned soda and fountain drinks, as a way to raise money for Seattle parks.
McGinn announced his proposal at a mayoral forum Thursday night sponsored by the Seattle Parks Foundation.
While details were sketchy, McGinn said his plan would raise the city’s business-and-occupation (B&O) tax on businesses that sell sugary drinks. It’s an idea McGinn said his office considered in 2011, but did not publicly propose at that time.
A 1-cent-per-ounce tax could raise between $21 million and $29 million a year, McGinn said, citing estimates developed for his office in 2011.
“This I think would be a fabulous potential funding source,” McGinn told the audience of parks boosters during the forum at the Olympic Sculpture Park.
McGinn said he’s not immediately proposing the new tax to the Seattle City Council. Instead, he said, his staff will present the idea to a committee now examining future funding needs for Seattle parks. The group also is looking at options including a renewal of a 2008 parks levy set to expire next year and a possible new Metropolitan Parks District with independent taxing authority.
A city report last year found Seattle is facing a $20 million a year shortfall in the cost of operating and maintaining parks. In addition, the report said city parks now have a backlog of major maintenance projects exceeding $270 million.
Asked whether his sugary-drink tax proposal would apply to sugar-sweetened coffee and espresso drinks, McGinn said he wasn’t sure and that such details can be worked out later if the plan moves forward. “I think that is one of the things you have to define,” he said.
McGinn’s challenger, state Sen. Ed Murray, was skeptical of the idea.
Murray noted he’d voted in the Legislature for higher taxes on soda, candy and bottled water in 2010 to help close a $4.5 billion budget hole. But voters repealed the taxes that November after an initiative challenge funded by the beverage industry and other businesses.
Murray predicted the soda industry would again fight and defeat any new tax in Seattle. “I don’t think it’s a viable option,” he said in an interview.
Murray said he does support other funding sources for city parks, including renewal of the parks levy and a possible new taxing district.
September 26, 2013 at 1:30 PM
Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn pounced today on state Sen. Ed Murray’s attempts to avoid blame for the alleged embezzlement of $250,000 by the director of a Democratic campaign committee Murray co-chaired.
Speaking at a news conference at his campaign headquarters, McGinn called Murray’s response to the thefts of funds from the Senate Democratic Campaign Committee “very, very troubling and a real insight into his character as an executive and a leader.”
The SDCC’s former executive director Michael King was charged this week with eight counts of theft for allegedly writing himself checks from the SDCC coffers and covering his tracks by inventing poll results he said the money had paid for.
While Murray yesterday took some responsibility for failing to notice the thefts, he and his fellow co-chairs also pointed blame at the SDCC’s former treasurer, Jason Bennett, who’d alerted them to the thefts in February.
September 18, 2013 at 4:57 PM
Updated at 6:05 p.m. with comment from McGinn spokesman Aaron Pickus
Jean Godden today became the fifth Seattle city councilmember to endorse state Sen. Ed Murray for mayor, giving Murray the support of a majority of the nine-member council.
During a news conference at Murray’s Capitol Hill campaign office, Godden said Murray would “restore trust and cooperation between the council and the mayor.” Godden said McGinn had not reached out to her for a one-on-one meeting in more than two years. That’s a contrast to previous Mayor Greg Nickels, with whom Godden said she had regularly scheduled quarterly meetings.
But McGinn’s office disputed Godden’s account, saying the mayor had met personally with her last fall and offered to schedule more meetings if she wanted. “We have a good relationship with her office and have always accommodated requests for information,” spokesman Aaron Pickus said in an email, adding that the McGinn has offered regular meetings to every council member.
Murray argued he’d ensure a more collaborative relationship with the council.
“There is always going to be a tension between the executive and legislative branch — there will be if I am mayor as well. But it doesn’t have to be the way it is today. I can leave one floor and go down and sit in councilmembers’ offices and just chat with them,” Murray said.
Godden said she believes Murray will seriously tackle a reported gender pay gap in city employment. “I am assured he will recruit and promote quality women to positions of authority,” she said.
While individual endorsements don’t mean a lot, there is a symbolic heft to Murray’s campaign being endorsed by a majority of the council. It could give weight to Murray’s argument that he’d be more effective at advancing his agenda than McGinn.
In addition to Godden, Murray has been endorsed by Councilmembers Bruce Harrell, Tim Burgess, Sally Clark and Tom Rasmussen. McGinn has been endorsed by Councilmember Mike O’Brien.
John Wyble, political consultant for the McGinn campaign, dismissed the Murray endorsements. “It’s no surprise that the business-supported city council members support the business-supported candidate for mayor,” he said.
McGinn “has tried to bring a lot of new voices to the table,” Wyble added. “People who like the old way of doing business aren’t very excited about that.”
September 16, 2013 at 10:01 AM
Updated at 1:25 p.m. with comment from Mayor McGinn via Times reporter Lynn Thompson.
A new KING 5 poll shows Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn badly trailing challenger Ed Murray in the mayor’s race.
Murray leads with 52 percent support, compared with 30 percent for McGinn, according to the poll of 503 likely voters conducted by SurveyUSA.
John Wyble, a consultant for the McGinn campaign, took issue with the poll, suggesting the mayor was in better shape than it showed. For example, Wyble noted only 10 percent of the poll sample was cell phones versus 90 percent land lines. “I think we are behind but it’s much closer than this poll suggests,” Wyble said in an email.
Asked about the poll at a news conference Monday morning, McGinn downplayed the numbers, saying they don’t reflect his support among communities of color and low-wage workers. ”This is why you run races,” McGinn said. “At the end of the day, it will be the voters who make the decision.”
A 22-point lead in the poll is obviously good news for Murray, but his campaign also was quick to express caution.
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