Together again: Ed Murray's vision thing

The senate leader-turned-mayoral challenger stakes out his "vision." But it's really about the singer, not the song.
Ed Murray and Premila Jayapal confer before he goes visionary.

Ed Murray and Premila Jayapal confer before he goes visionary. Eric Scigliano

Far away and long ago, mayoral candidates ate knishes, cannoli, knockwurst and hot links. depending on the neighborhood, to demonstrate their community connection and what would now be called their multicultural street cred. Now they just come down to Southeast Seattle. Last January, Mayor Mike McGinn kicked off his re-election campaign with a rousing mini-rally in the Filipino Community Center on MLK Way. Yesterday his rival Ed Murray followed the ghost streetcar lines down to le Seattle profound — to the Columbia City Theatre, where he delivered what was touted as a speech laying out “his vision for Seattle's future.”

Murray was taking the fight to McGinn country. In his first race four years ago, McGinn established what might be the first-ever campaign office at Othello and MLK. He won Columbia City’s precincts by gaping margins. When you meet your adversary on his home turf, you better be prepared — and to make sure you pick a venue you can fill. The upstairs room at the Filipino center where McGinn declared was stuffy and packed to the elbows, but crackling with enthusiasm.

Considering all that, and considering the promise implicit in a “vision” speech, yesterday’s semi-launch was a surprisingly slapdash affair. The media invitation didn’t go out till 8:40 that morning. The proceedings were 20 minutes late starting, perhaps because the Murray team hoped for stragglers to fill out the cavernous hall. Volunteers wearing blue and gold “Ed Murray” stickers waved their compatriots to file down and at least fill the pit.

One current and two past city council members attended. Tim Burgess, who backed out early after also challenging McGinn, wore a blue and gold sticker and a solemn expression. Peter Steinbrueck, who didn’t, stood back and said he was just visiting; if he waits much longer to endorse he may be too late, just as he was when he finally ran for mayor. Tina Podlodowski, who’s been off the council long enough to achieve elder-stateswoman status, would later add own her testimonial, noting that she and Murray first took office in the same year (1995). Translation: Unlike McGinn, who sought and won public office for the first time in 2009 and then got a crash course in Governing 101, our guy has experience.

Immigrant-rights activist Premila Jayapal warmed the crowd. She inevitably noted that it stood in “one of the most diverse zip codes [98118] in the United States. This is the center of hardworking immigrants, refugees, and people of color.” Did she mean fast-gentrifying, ever-pricier Columbia City?

Murray started out by noting the “incredible diversity of our city” and how we’re “fortunate to live in a vibrant, dynamic 21st century city” as well as “a city of ideas… of neighborhoods… of innovation.” Take heart, you who fear getting stuck in a stodgy, stagnant 20th century city.

He went on to check off more Seattle-celebrating boxes, in the best knish and cannole tradition. At times his speech was more about life story than vision quest. Murray claimed both diversity and hard-working, quasi-immigrant points by noting that he was a “son of Irish Catholics” who were “inspired by John Kennedy,” while he himself wondered if there were any “role for a gay man to contribute to the city and region he loved.” Fortunately, “strong progressive mentors” — Cal Anderson, Martha Choe, legislative colleagues — showed him there was.

Life story segued into résumé. Murray noted how, in the Legislature, he’d “brought in billions of dollars for human services and affordable housing, for transit and transportation, and for our schools and universities,” as well as “passing clean-air legislation, anti-bullying and anti-discrimination protections for gays and lesbians, and marriage equality.” And how the Seattle Chamber and SEIU Local 1199 had both endorsed him. “That’s real diversity,” he quipped.

“Progressive” was the word of the day. Murray went on to invoke Seattle’s “progressive spirit” six times. He promised to “reinvigorate” it, and also “rejuvenate today and ignite a better tomorrow for all our kids and all our families.” The only theme he sounded more often was an even more hallowed one: bringing people and communities, and stakeholders, and business and labor, and police and communities, and bicyclists and pedestrians and transit and freight “together.” In the process, he leapt over some gaps that may prove harder to bridge in real life: “We’ll move to adopt a $15 wage standard but we’ll do it in a way that does not hurt small businesses.” And expand both “bus service throughout the city” and “light rail and street cars,” as though one (the latter pairing) won’t continue to rob the other.


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Comments:

Posted Fri, Oct 4, 6:22 a.m. Inappropriate

Murray is McGinn without the bike. A one issue wonder with no record of reform or improvement in infrastructure, public safety.

Cameron

Posted Sun, Oct 6, 5:44 p.m. Inappropriate

I agree. The only positive sign is Murray's lack of vision. Maybe he'll be the nuts-and-bolts guy we need. I won't be holding my breath though, that's for sure.

NotFan

Posted Fri, Oct 4, 12:46 p.m. Inappropriate

"I'll provide everything Seattle wants without any of the adverse impacts". No details on how he will accomplish this age-old political claim. "Unlike my opponent, I can raise the minimum wage to $15 and not affect business". How, you say? To be determined after the election.

Certainly would not want to say anything to offend anyone. This does not demonstrate much thought by Murray about the difficulty of achieving such claims.

slame

Posted Fri, Oct 4, 7:32 p.m. Inappropriate

Murray has a vision of himself winning the election without having to say anything.

woofer

Posted Sat, Oct 5, 11:54 a.m. Inappropriate

When you're running against a self-destructive, arrogant, corrupt, self-centered, lying "progressive" Crooklyn-tranplanted douchebag like Michael McGinn, there really isn't much you need to say other than, "I'm not that kind of a-hole."

NotFan

Posted Sat, Oct 5, 11:35 a.m. Inappropriate

McGinn could win an historic reelection,
for the same reason most people fear or
won't listen to their gut instincts.
He's right to oppose the dbt and it is
NOT TOO LATE to stop the gd thing.
Simple 'swerve' to the 'seawall/Box' alternative.
My prediction remains:
All BUILDING West of 1st Ave "GONE" by 2040.
Unintended consequences of ill-advised soil reconfigurations
condemn the dbt from the start. Big Dig was Cut/cover.
Mike, tell them to shut up and listen.


Wells

Posted Sat, Oct 5, 2:31 p.m. Inappropriate

If I wasn't going to be 83 years old in 2040, I'd bet you a thousand bucks on that one.

NotFan

Posted Sat, Oct 5, 6:18 p.m. Inappropriate

Ha Ha. One Thousand Bucks on Seattlers NOT coming to their senses before it's too late?
Odds are you'd win that bet, unfortunately. Go ahead, make the bet with a Seattler. They'll think you're crazy, NotFan. They've been over-educated with the papers to prove it.

Wells

Posted Sun, Oct 6, 5:43 p.m. Inappropriate

I am not a fan of the deep tunnel. I think they should've repaired the viaduct. But if I was young, I'd bet a grand that it won't turn into the catastrophe you've been predicting. Time will tell.

NotFan

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