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    Ed Murray lands endorsement of Seattle's neighborhood superhero

    In a big announcement today, Murray unveiled his latest backer and new visions for neighborhoods and maritime and industrial interests.
    Steinbrueck speaking to supporters after hearing the primary results

    Steinbrueck speaking to supporters after hearing the primary results Photo: Ashley Walls

    Mayoral candidate Ed Murray is taking a page out of Abe Lincoln's playbook —no, make that Doris Kearns Goodwin's book about Lincoln's cabinet — in forging a "team of rivals" to win the campaign. Murray had already been endorsed by former primary opponents Tim Burgess, Bruce Harrell, and on Thursday received an enthusiastic nod from Peter Steinbrueck.

    All are likely to play major roles in the success or failure of a Murray administration, should one come to pass. Burgess and Harrell are on the city council — with Burgess speculated either to become council president or possibly take a position in the new administration. Harrell will play an important council role having burnished his image and raised his profile during the campaign. Murray would likely have strong council collaboration, something notably lacking during the Mike McGinn years. He's received the endorsement of five of nine council members. McGinn has joked that the council is trying to pick the mayor like the College of Cardinals picks the pope.

    Former council member Steinbrueck could play an unspecified role in a Murray administration — Murray says he's not yet hiring. "I don't even have a job myself yet," he said to laughter during Steinbrueck's endorsement. Still, Steinbrueck has been advising Murray for weeks and has helped shape some key policy initiatives that were unveiled at a morning endorsement event at Cloud City Coffee in Maple Leaf.

    At that press conference, Steinbrueck said his support for Murray rests on a three-legged stool: the candidate's positions of neighborhoods, industrial and maritime policy, and fixing the city's gender-pay disparities,

    The first two in particular were issues Steinbrueck embraced during his campaign, and the latter reflects the fact that Steinbrueck had strong support from women and it was a woman who pushed him to make an endorsement. That woman was his 83-year-old mother, Elaine, who, two days ago advised her son to get behind Murray now.

    Murray issued two policy papers at the event, one on "Neighborhoods" and the other an "Agenda for Industrial Growth." In both, Steinbrueck's hand can be seen, advocating for the protection and enhancement of the city's key industrial, marine and manufacturing areas, especially SoDo and Ballard. A SoDo basketball arena opponent, Steinbrueck made this issue a signature part of the race. Murray reiterated that he supports the arena in SoDo and doesn't think an arena need be incompatible with industry. Still, he says he sensitive to the challenges of making it work.

    Murray wants to meet with marine and industrial stakeholders — envisioning a Mayor's Maritime and Industrial Council — and make addressing freight mobility a part of his first 100 days in office. He also wants to improve relations between the city and Port of Seattle. The Port, for example, is very unhappy with the city's Arena environmental impact statement and has told Mayor McGinn to go back to the drawing board. Murray has been saying he wants a plan for the city's industrial zones that is every bit as focused as the plans executed for South Lake Union. He also wants to cultivate new manufacturing-retail-and-start-up businesses that are compatible in these zones. And he suggests tying STEM education programs to new industrial-sector jobs.

    As Steinbrueck stood before media and Murray supporters, he waved a copy of the city's Comprehensive Plan — not easy to do, it's a big document — to emphasize the need for better neighborhood planning. Steinbrueck believes the existing Comp Plan, which needs to be updated in 2015, has been ignored, and that the city has become too top-down in telling neighborhoods how to deal with growth and other issues, ignoring much of the input neighborhoods had in developing the plan as it stands. This critique was a cornerstone of his primary campaign.

    Murray says he think the Department of Neighborhoods has atrophied in recent years, and his plan call for boosting the department's staffing and programs (like the Neighborhood Matching Fund) and considering "relocating [the] Planning Commission and comprehensive planning functions" into the department. Both McGinn and former Mayor Greg Nickels have been criticized for not taking the neighborhoods seriously enough. Murray says he understands complaints about inclusive and often sluggish Seattle's process, but said it's worse to have no process at all — such as soliciting neighborhood plans, then shelving them all. Murray's policy outline also derides "cookie-cutter town halls" in the absence of real outreach, an apparent swipe at the mayor's approach. In typical Murray style, he calls for a Neighborhood Summit within the first 100 days. 

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    Posted Thu, Oct 17, 3:52 p.m. Inappropriate

    I tend to think Steinbrueck would be more valuable as an outside-government critic than buried in the bureaucracy. The Murray-Council rapport is going to smother us in cautious centrism and "summits" and "policies." McGinn will likely shift to playing on the national stage, so who is going to keep the pressure on City Hall for better design, more affordability, less "Ballardization," and a better location for basketball arenas?

    Posted Thu, Oct 17, 5:50 p.m. Inappropriate

    Q. "who is going to keep the pressure on City Hall for better design, more affordability, less "Ballardization," and a better location for basketball arenas?"

    A. District council members after 2015. And just the fact that all nine at-large members will be lame ducks if Charter 19 passes; the Comp Plan amendment process 2014-15 will be strongly influenced by the new political reality. Vote Yes on Charter Amendment 19.


    Posted Thu, Oct 17, 6:06 p.m. Inappropriate

    I'm voting for districts, but with no illusions. The districts will be too large to give any neighborhood effective representation. The district elections will be bought and paid for just like the current elections are. The "progressives" will keep their lazy, arrogant, one-note hammerlock on the city.

    The way to actually shake anything up here in the current election season would be to toss out both McGinn and his city council poodle, Mike O'Brien. Then follow it up by voting down the next few levies that hit the ballot. Seattle badly needs more voting participation by that part of the electorate who sleepwalk through elections, and thereby hand over control to the dingbat "progressive" aristocracy here.

    I'm not exactly holding my breath for that to change, either. What I expect is that, when McGinn's defeated, the various powers that be will read it entirely as a personality contest, and pay absolutely no attention to the real issues in this city.

    Face it, the "progressives" of Seattle couldn't possibly care less or be more bored by the things that effective city governments do: policing, schools, infrastructure maintenance, traffic management, and coherent zoning. All of those things are in utter disarray here, and there is not one single "progressive" who cares about any of them in the least.

    Ultimately, I blame the voters here for allowing it to happen. In the end, people wind up with the governments they deserve.


    Posted Fri, Oct 18, 8:37 a.m. Inappropriate

    Under Charter Amendment 19, Seattle city council districts will be smaller than even legislative districts. Neighborhoods will have much more effective representation than they do now.

    Yes, money will still be a factor, but so will legwork. It will be very tough to just buy a seat on council as happens now; winners will need a good ground game.

    Yes, most of the winners will be progressives, but of a different stripe, more diverse since seven councilmembers will be representing different constituencies.

    Posted Fri, Oct 18, 11:52 a.m. Inappropriate

    Another strong "YES" vote here for Charter 19 and council districts. Anything to get rid of the multi-topic and subject committees!! After it passes at least 7 of the councilmembers will have their own one person 'committee'. The geographic district will demand accountability, attention, respect, and 24/7 constant work. That is a good thing.


    Posted Thu, Oct 17, 5:58 p.m. Inappropriate

    McGinn will "play on the national stage." I like that. What, as the failed mayor of a city that rejected him like a cat rejects a hairball?


    Posted Fri, Oct 18, 6:49 p.m. Inappropriate

    I tend to think Peter will follow the money and return to his chosen profession, lobbyist. Getting his ego fluffed by Ed Murray should help, look at Peter, he has an inside relationship with Ed Murray.

    I tend to think the "smothering" is a good thing, smother the Seattle process with what it eats in volume with speed. It's the absolute opposite antidote prescribed by Mike McGinn for the same stagnation problem. McGinn thought he could side-step everything, Murray looks to force feed it.
    Want to see a model? It's about to get built in SoDo (the better arena location was selected by the free market, and is being reexamined by the EIS, you're living in the past, David).
    Want to see how side-stepping the process works out? Mike McGinn ran in 2009 on a vote on light rail, and again in 2013.

    McGinn is an advocate, not an executive, and is destined to roll around in public/private money just like Charlie Royer. He might get money from outside groups to advocate/lobby but that's not really a national stage. I'm sure he will work it for everything it's got, a one man "Great City" show.

    About the Balkanization, if you don't live in one of the chose neighborhoods, you want some level of representation, even weak attempts to not get screwed by downtown at every turn. The timing of Charter Amendment 19 could not possibly be better, right before the waterfront developers (hey, there's Charlie Royer, again) attempt to convince the rest of Seattle to pitch in $100 million dollars toward the LID of $250 million dollars so people without sidewalks can pay for a waterfront super sidewalk. Get ready for another rare vote for a tone deaf project, it's the Prop 1 transportation vote all over again, nobody cares about shining the shoes of dowtown anymore.

    You might want to look forward to that waterfront story, and that fight, David. I know some of your political pets are involved, including Peter the boy who would not be King.

    Time for the city to grow up, represent all of its neighborhoods in a way that the entire city grows. That might mean the Seattle 1% will have to start paying their fair share, time for the "progressives" to walk the walk.

    Mr Baker

    Posted Sat, Oct 19, 2:16 p.m. Inappropriate

    I don't disagree with your assessment, but it is dependant upon how Murray follows through with what he has been given. Those first two reasons Peter outlied are really what he is weakest on. The third one is fluff, not a real issue in the context it is being used in, and always has been. The fact that Murray has mostly relied on PR and a single social issue, rather than expressing enough policy details to be credible, due to his lack of experience that he can't deny has hurt him, and it should. Having an experienced and intelligent person like Peter working on the right areas, would let both of them accomplish much more than being a gadfly.

    Of all the mostly easily dismissed endorsements Murray has racked up, this one, along with Harrell, is actually substantial to most Seattle voters still left undecided. It should in theory put him over the top. Now, if this bears fruit at the ballot box, lets see if he follows through and puts people in place that can actually implement these details, and will not actually be inhibited by Murray's tendency to process and particpation overkill, AKA, the Seattle Way.

    Murray needs to prove himself different in a positive way, and the Waterfront and DBT are going to be challenges he is ill-prepared for. He picks the wrong people and/or interferes with the right people being able to do their jobs, and he is going to be a one-termer like McGinn.

    Call me very cautiously optimistic. Murray still has much more to prove than McGinn.


    Posted Fri, Oct 18, 7:24 a.m. Inappropriate

    Good. I will vote for Murray simply because I loathe the breaks given to developers to build tissue paper constructed apartments without parking under the guise of social engineering our current mayor is doing. I don't want Seattle to go the way of many other cities - a combination of the very rich and a huge numerical majority of renters - this would completely drive out the middle class.


    Posted Fri, Oct 18, 1:10 p.m. Inappropriate

    Not building more housing is the surest way to drive out the middle class. Or, do you propose that some people (certain people?) should live further away and wait for rail or express buses and drive their way until then?

    Posted Fri, Oct 18, 5:06 p.m. Inappropriate

    Middle class buys/occupies houses- not apartments/apodments. Too high a density of these drive out the single family homeowner and replaces them with more transient, lower income folks. I'm for keeping a good balance - don't want to be another NYC.


    Posted Fri, Oct 18, 9:49 a.m. Inappropriate

    When I read the "neighborhood superhero" headline, I was thinking of Phoenix Jones. I wonder who Phoenix is endorsing? If McGinn doesn't get him on board, it's really over.

    Posted Fri, Oct 18, 11:25 a.m. Inappropriate

    How does a "superhero" take 16%ish in a primary election?


    Posted Fri, Oct 18, 7:06 p.m. Inappropriate

    People lavish their pets with all kinds of baseless praise. His mom told him to be a good boy, and so he gets praise.

    Mr Baker

    Posted Sat, Oct 19, 8:53 p.m. Inappropriate

    When your're in an open field and you run third, and the Top Two each get ~30, you can influence the largest group of voters who didn't choose the survivors. "Superhero" is an exaggeration, but as a Steinbrueck voter I am strongly impressed by this development.


    Posted Fri, Oct 18, 7:03 p.m. Inappropriate

    Peter Steinbrueck lost, had nowhere to go, and got as much out of the situation for himself as possible. That's who he is, leaving the anti-arena group (not enough of you to be calked a crowd).
    It's been completely played out, now. It's the manifestation of Seattle's elitist class in retrograde.

    Welcome to the Year of Moving On.

    Mr Baker

    Posted Sat, Oct 19, 9:06 p.m. Inappropriate

    You may be disappointed in the outcome. I predict a public vote on the SODO Arena (if the plutocratic Owners risk authorizing a team here, improbably) and a victory for the taxpaying majority.

    Steinbrueck would have done better if the Owners hadn't rejected Hansen's/Balmer's/McGinn's deal.


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