The Seattle mayor's race gets another candidate. Marijuana lighting up legal talk. And developer Kemper Freeman Jr. takes up blogging.
Ed Murray running
He wanted to do it in 2009. Now, state Sen. Ed Murray is running for mayor.
Technically, he is only forming an exploratory committee, but as The Seattle Times noted, he announced this so-called exploratory committee at a press event before a crowd of cheering supporters.
The reporter covering the story for the paper is Andrew Garber from their Olympia bureau, so there's a good section on how a campaign might be complicated by his legislative position, including his recent selection by Democrats to be the majority leader. Murray promises that he will focus on his duties there. And, Garber wrote:
One of Murray's biggest fears is the Legislature could bog down, as it often does, and drag on through multiple special sessions.
"If we're going through June and July, then, at that point, I'd have to re-evaluate. It would be very difficult for me to see how I could run," he said.
Publicola takes more of the City Hall insider approach here in its story, which has lots of detailed quotes on hot-button issues like density, police accountability and the arena — plus a so-2011 section on the tunnel that mainly allows him to take a shot at McGinn (who shot himself in the foot over and over on that one). But there's a particularly smart ending:
The conventional wisdom, with so many high-profile candidates lining up to run for mayor, is that McGinn is vulnerable. But Murray isn't underestimating McGinn.
"I, for one, think that Mike McGinn is a far stronger contender than some of the chattering classes think he is," Murray concluded. "I don’t take him lightly. He did defeat an incumbent mayor. That was more than just luck. He has a significant core group of very strong supporters."
Maria Goodloe-Johnson dies
Just after 5 p.m., a variety of news outlets began reporting the death of former Seattle Schools Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson. KOMOnews.com linked to a South Carolina station's report that she had been sick for about a year.
One early reaction came from former King County Executive Ron Sims, who said on Facebook: "This makes me very sad. I really liked her."
Before coming to Seattle, she had been the first black woman to be superintendent of schools for Charleston County in South Carolina. The Seattle School Board removed her in early 2011 following a critical state audit report on financial issues.
Legal reefer madness
Hoping that Big Money doesn't control the marijuana distribution field after Initiative 502 takes effect on Thursday? Olympia attorney Arthur West has got your back.
Washington State Wire's Erik Smith reports that West has filed suit in state court, alleging that the initiative broke the state's constitutional prohibition on including more than one subject in a bill. It's a pretty technical challenge and Smith lays out reasons why supporters of the law think his challenge will flop.
West, though, probably speaks for a fair number of those who voted for the measure, saying he doesn't want "big corporations or drug cartels" dominating under the regulatory scheme that is supposed to be developed by the state.
On KING5 earlier today, King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg predicted the federal government will be provoked enough by the state engaging in regulation that it will go to court, with the resolution coming from the U.S. Supreme Court in about two years.
Also on the eve of sidewalk puffery: A nice line from The Oregonian's Joseph Rose, calling Washington a "right-to-toke state."
Kemper Freeman, Jr.: unfiltered
Normally it would not be news that a commercial developer has launched a website to advance his or her ideas and initiatives. But in this case that developer is Kemper Freeman, Jr. The Bellevue mall developer is arguably the Eastside’s most controversial civic leader. He may also be its most misunderstood.
Hence the quiet (day after Thanksgiving) launch of KemperFreeman.com.
“Every once and a while, I am quoted in a local newspaper or magazine, usually discussing one of the numerous issues that I am very passionate about,” he wrote in his first post on the site. “This site gives me the ability to speak directly, and unfiltered, to anyone who is interested.”
Where his passions and reader interests most frequently meet is the proposed East Link light rail system that would connect Seattle, Mercer Island, Bellevue and Redmond. Freeman has strenuously fought efforts to build the East Link, but his new website seeks a more moderate tone, which sources close to the developer say more accurately reflects his views.
“We need a measurable reduction in traffic congestion. Traffic congestion in the Central Puget Sound region has been worsening for decades, damaging the State’s economy with attendant loss of time, wasted fuel, cost for the traveling public, and the cost for freight movements.”
He calls for a mixed mode transportation strategy while also scoffing at “anti-auto forces.”
There is plenty of promotion on the new site — Snowflake Lane, Bellevue arts and the like — but Freeman and his supporters are hopeful that through his posts, videos, speeches and essays he will develop more understanding and support on both ends of the floating bridges.
Media departing before Dec. 21
There's another lamentable departure from a Seattle broadcaster, this time Ken Schram of KOMO. He made the announcement on Facebook with a post quoted by seattlepi.com's Casey McNerthney.
I'd be less than candid if I didn't acknowledge how disappointed I am to have my 35+ year career at KOMO end this way. Still it's been a great run. I don't know what the future holds, but I'll keep you posted here on Facebook. Thanks for all the years that you've allowed me to share.
Schram promised to keep people updated on his Facebook page.
It is (and even the media can do math well enough to count to three) the third big departure by widely admired Seattle broadcasters in three days: First came Robert Mak at KING and then Mike Gastineau from KJR-AM. If Jean Enersen announces she is leaving to enjoy life without daily news coverage, we are going to start taking the whole Mayan calendar thing seriously.
One of Schram's signature items was his awarding of The Schrammie for what he viewed as notable lapses by leaders or institutions. The final Schrammie, at least with KOMO (we're hopeful Schram will keep it going), dealt with the disciplining of two off-duty Bellevue cops, whose behavior at a Seahawks game earlier this year included confrontations, first, with Seattle police officers and then another fan.
Schram remained both opinionated and fair-minded, with generally kind words for Bellevue Police Chief Linda Pillo's decision to demote the two officers while criticizing her because the details of the department's investigation weren't released. (For the city view: The city's eight-paragraph announcement on the investigation is here.)