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Somebody tell Mike McGinn: The voters have decided

Commentary: The public isn't excited about his opponent. But McGinn has a bigger problem than Ed Murray.
Mayor Mike McGinn at a debate with challenger Sen. Ed Murray during the League of Women Voters/ Allied Arts Forum at the Cornish Playhouse on Sept. 30, 2013.

Mayor Mike McGinn at a debate with challenger Sen. Ed Murray during the League of Women Voters/ Allied Arts Forum at the Cornish Playhouse on Sept. 30, 2013. Allyce Andrew

Here is something you don’t often see in American politics. An incumbent politician with views largely matching his constituents is seeking re-election. Unemployment is low — in fact it’s two points lower than the state average, and two-and-a-half points below the national rate. The city’s fiscal condition is stronger than the day he took office, and his administration has been free of any substantial scandal. On paper he should be cruising to re-election. Instead, Mike McGinn will be lucky to reach 40 percent of the vote.

Last month, Survey USA released a poll showing state Sen. Ed Murray leading Mayor Mike McGinn by more than 20 points, 52-to-30. After a month of furious, energetic campaigning by McGinn, topped by two impressive debate performances, another poll last week showed nearly identical results: 52-to-32 percent. With Election Day about two weeks out, less than a third of the electorate is committed to the mayor’s re-election. A smaller sample by KIRO-TV in early October showed McGinn closer to Murray but with only 29 percent of the electorate committed to him. The Strategies 360 PR firm independently conducted a similar poll in mid-October showing McGinn with 34 percent support. Politicians with re-elect numbers this low are usually under federal indictment. Someone find a bugle and start playing "Taps."

It’s not like opponent Ed Murray is lighting the world on fire. "Murray-mania" is not sweeping the city. Why would it? The state senator’s views are only marginally different than McGinn’s. He’s not flashy, never has been. TV is not his friend. He is articulate but not eloquent. He is a solid but plodding legislator — a classic workhorse rather than a showhorse, who deserves a place in state history for guiding into passage not one but three landmark civil rights laws expanding liberty for gay citizens.

But much of Murray’s appeal seems to come from not being Mike McGinn. And you can’t fault McGinn’s campaign team. They are doing the best they can with what they’ve got.

So, if it ain’t the economy, if the city isn’t cratering fiscally or drowning in scandal, what is it? McGinn’s supporters blame "smears" from jealous, nettled, city council members or business groups. But even if it were true, why are the smears sticking? After all, the mayor has both a clear record to run on and the bully pulpit of his office to generate media coverage and rally supporters. He’s plenty capable of defending himself, with a competent campaign team and some influential backers. So why is he losing so badly?

Because people just don’t like him. Or more precisely, they don’t like him as mayor. They’re put off by the tone of the city’s politics, which was briefly exciting when he first took office but soon grew tiresome.

When he was first elected, people tended to give him the benefit of the doubt when he clashed with the city council. They haven’t felt that way in a long time. On TV, a master politician like Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan or Barack Obama can look at the camera and immediately connect with you. When Mike McGinn looks at the camera, it seems like he’s talking in your general vicinity. There’s no connection, no warmth. Certainly no empathy. When he talks to you in person, it seems like he can’t wait to finish the conversation. In the case of his exchanges with me, that may well have been the case. But if you want to be a successful politician in a city like Seattle, it helps to like people and feel comfortable around them.

Activists who care more about causes than people sometimes get elected when lightning strikes, as it did four years ago. But they need to grow once in office, and Mike McGinn hasn’t. The politics of confrontation have to give way to collegiality or at least collaboration once it office. It’s not a sign of caving in; it’s a sign of maturity. That’s what’s missing here, the lack of growth of the city’s chief executive.


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Comments:

Posted Tue, Oct 22, 7:58 a.m. Inappropriate

But what did McGinn do, besides not give you warm fuzzies during his speech? Your article doesn't contain a single substantative criticism of the Mayor.

DannyK

Posted Thu, Oct 24, 8:24 p.m. Inappropriate

Indeed.

John, this is one of the most ridiculous things you've ever written. The headline is particularly egregious. The voters have NOT decided this race. Not yet. Do you not understand how elections work? Election Day is November 5th. McGinn and Murray have until then to convince Seattleites to vote for them. Our vote by mail system gives every registered voter a multi-week window in which to sit down at the kitchen table, do research, and then cast a vote if they wish. It ain't over till it's over, and it's not over yet.

The only poll that matters one iota is the real poll... the election. Everything else is just interviews over the phone that might or might not be accurate. What happens if McGinn wins? You'll look worse than Dick Morris!

Posted Tue, Oct 22, 8:46 a.m. Inappropriate

Agreed with DannyK. This is a lame lame story. It's not interesting or insightful to declare this race over based on a few polls (and dismissing one of the most recent polls), and I'm frankly shocked to hear the claim that McGinn "has not grown" as Mayor. Even his detractors will readily (or reluctantly) admit that he's come a long way from the beginning of his term 'til now. As for personal conversations with him, well, we've had extremely different experiences to say the least.

The only proper takeaway from this story is "Haters gonna hate -- including John Carlson".

graham

Posted Tue, Oct 22, 8:47 a.m. Inappropriate

One of the problems with Crosscut is that it does not differentiate editorials from conservative media personalities (who once lost the governor's race) from "news". This is an opinion piece, perhaps encouraged by the Murray campaign--and unremarkable. Equal time? Reference to the historical errors of polling?

Posted Tue, Oct 22, 9:34 a.m. Inappropriate

This was not presented as "news." Look right under the headline and you will see it says "commentary." Of course, this is an opinion piece, and Crosscut makes that clear.

Lincoln

Posted Tue, Oct 22, 9:13 a.m. Inappropriate

Here's a substantive criticism -- McGinn's backroom dealing with Chris Hansen for more than a year, spending city money on a ridiculous idea to put a sports arena in SoDo and screw up the industrial area, port and rail access, and drive out family-wage jobs. Polls consistently have shown that voters in Seattle and King County oppose any public funding for this lame brain idea.

Here's another -- hypocrisy, as in his attack on Whole Foods, which provides decent wages and benefits, while supporting another sports arena that would provide mostly minimum wage, part-time jobs, while drive out family-wage jobs.

Here's another -- a blinders-on approach to transportation focused on bike lanes and little else.

The list goes on and on and on.

Posted Tue, Oct 22, 10:08 a.m. Inappropriate

The industrial area is screwed because of the Port. Change your Port Commissioners if you want rail to the dock, funding and interaction with SDOT on traffic improvements, better rail crossings in SODO, etc. Not your mayor.

Frankly, if the city isn't fixing the Port, it's because they either don't have the money or they don't have the mandate or both. The Port has its own taxing authority, sets its own priorities for investment, and owns the mandate to keep the Port humming. Port leadership is what needs to change - I would argue the whole thing should be privatized, personally, but that's a separate conversation.

nullbull

Posted Tue, Oct 22, 9:46 a.m. Inappropriate

The author's conclusion is correct -- the mayor's race is over and Murray has won.

However, his analysis is way off. This is not just about personalities, although McGinn is a first-class horse's ass, and a world-class cynic. This is mainly about the way McGinn has set his priorities and attempted to run the city, as exemplified by McGinn's opposition to the deep-bored tunnel and his support of the "surface-gridlock" option to replace the viaduct with nothing.

The Seattle Times had a very good article about the latest poll here:

http://blogs.seattletimes.com/politicsnorthwest/2013/10/21/new-poll-shows-murray-with-big-lead-over-mcginn/

This is the key quote:

"McGinn was rated better than Murray on a narrow range of topics: transit, the environment and bike safety. But Murray was trusted on the economy, education, roads, public safety and “leadership on issues that are important to you.”"

So the things that voters think McGinn is good at are things that are not important to them. McGinn favors bikes and transit -- voters think roads are more important. McGinn favors the environment -- voters think that the economy and education are more important.

Everyone I know is incensed at road diets and bad traffic. McGinn loves to waste money on bike lanes and more streetcars while letting city roads and bridges fall into disrepair. McGinn hates cars and wants to force them off the roads. Voters love cars and want to be able to drive around Seattle without getting stuck behind bicycles or in traffic jams caused by road diets.

This is the essence of voters' being fed up with McGinn: McGinn has put his pet projects -- bikes, streetcars and the environment -- ahead of what voters think is important -- the economy, education, roads, and public safety.

Thinking this election is about personalities is missing the point. Most voters don't know anything at all about McGinn's personality. But they know that traffic is getting worse, roads are falling apart, and it's not safe to walk around in downtown Seattle.

Lincoln

Posted Tue, Oct 22, 10:37 a.m. Inappropriate

You're right, like the author, but like your opinion of the author's analysis, I think yours is wanting.

"Everyone I know is incensed at road diets and bad traffic."

Everyone I know loves road diets in our neighborhood, which have made roads that were previously killing pedestrians at a rate of a couple a year much, much safer. But you don't know me (I don't think) so your statement is true. It's just not reflective of the city - or at least not reflective of a large group of people living in a huge quadrant of the city.

"McGinn loves to waste money on bike lanes and more streetcars while letting city roads and bridges fall into disrepair."

The cities roads and bridges fell into disrepair slowly over the last 3 decades of underinvestment and neglect. The increase in the infrastructure debt under McGinn is no worse than it was under the previous 8+ mayors. The only constant in that equation are Seattle voters, and American voters in general who spent the last generation whining about how much things cost while doing minimal or inadequate maintenance on what they already owned. Every major road in this city has been operating at above its designed capacity for decades. WE have turned down taxes that would fund its repair, and we haven't elected leaders who have done anything about it. McGinn is guilty of continuing to ignore a clearly intractable problem in favor of providing a completely different emphasis for the city. Wrong emphasis? You're entitled to your opinion. But don't pretend roads and bridges magically crumbled in the last 4 years. We've been whistling along while that happen for most or all of adult lives.

"Voters love cars and want to be able to drive around Seattle without getting stuck behind bicycles or in traffic jams caused by road diets."

Traffic jams are caused by the putting more cars on roads than those roads were designed for. You can either increase the amount of road, or decrease the amount of cars. Those are our only choices. Your position is the traffic equivalent of the butterfly effect, and your conclusion is to kill the butterflies so there won't be any more hurricanes.

"McGinn has put his pet projects -- bikes, streetcars and the environment -- ahead of what voters think is important -- the economy, education, roads, and public safety."

Agreed, voters don't like McGinn's priorities. But if voters think the next mayor can turn around the economy (dependent primarily on the private sector), education (not run by the mayor), and roads (already said why those are broken and the tough choices we have), then they'll be sorely disappointed. Public Safety? There's something the mayor can and should do something about.

Incidentally, the "increase" in crime noted by the Seattle Times was essentially the result of redefining what is meant by "downtown" and re-counting the crime in a way it hadn't been counted for decades. But whatever, it's easier to concern troll, and there are real problem with Public Safety that the next mayor needs to fix.

nullbull

Posted Tue, Oct 22, 10:57 a.m. Inappropriate

"Traffic jams are caused by the putting more cars on roads than those roads were designed for."

Dexter was 2 lanes in each direction. It is now one lane in each direction, with "bus bulbs" that force all traffic to wait behind buses while buses are stopped at bus stops. If you think that the Dexter "road diet" has not cause traffic congestion on that street, then you don't know what you are talking about.

Under McGinn, many major streets in Seattle have had traffic lanes REDUCED. So, they are intentionally being RE-"designed" to carry less traffic. When you are constantly reducing the number of traffic lanes, you are intentionally increasing traffic congestion.

The same thing is happening on Aurora Ave. N., where one traffic lane in each direction has been turned into a "bus-only" lane. If you think this had not made traffic on Aurora worse, then, again, you have no idea what you are talking about.

Road diets cause traffic congestion. Bus bulbs cause traffic congestion. The city's own studies prove this.

Lincoln

Posted Tue, Oct 22, 11:14 a.m. Inappropriate

"Under McGinn, many major streets in Seattle have had traffic lanes REDUCED. So, they are intentionally being RE-"designed" to carry less traffic."

Yep, that's his strategy. Because he actually answered the core question like a grown up. He made an actual choice. We either reduce cars, or we increase roads. Those are the choices. He chose "reduce cars" and then went and did something that will reduce cars.

Reducing cars makes people make hard choices, it slows down people in cars who either won't or can't make another choice. Eventually, it reduces the number of cars on the road. It's a trade off, and it has negative effects.

Increasing road capacity means increasing lanes, increasing speeds, and/or decreasing the need to stop.

So, make your hard choice - do you want to tear down buildings to make more lanes? Because it's not like there's a lot of room on Dexter Avenue anymore, in case you haven't noticed. Do you want to increase accident severity and frequency by increasing speeds? Because there are a whole lot of pedestrians who live in that neighborhood now. Massive apartment buildings have gone in. And/or do you want to decrease the speed and access of everyone NOT going either north or south through that neighborhood by making the lights just stay green for people on Dexter? Because people are merging on and off side streets all day every day.

See, people who don't like McGinn's choice never admit that their's is a trade off too, and it comes with some really crappy negative effects also. The only difference between these people and McGinn is that McGinn went and actually did something, rather than believing that just sorta pretending there's a better way out there... somewhere... that's probably, maybe, we think better... maybe. Or not, because we haven't really admitted that those other options are trade offs as well.

nullbull

Posted Tue, Oct 22, 3:01 p.m. Inappropriate

False dichotomy Nullbull - in fact, there's another option you don't discuss - the City can follow the part of the Growth Management Act that says that you can't permit more development than you have the infrastructure to support. While no one advocates expanding arterial capacity, it's pure idiocy to pretend that you can reduce it in a growing city and not face the consequences.

In McGinn's case, those consequences are going to be electoral.

Posted Tue, Oct 22, 4:02 p.m. Inappropriate

"We either reduce cars, or we increase roads." He did not do either. He REDUCED ROADS. Which was incredibly stupid.

"So, make your hard choice - do you want to tear down buildings to make more lanes? " No, of course not. I want to take out the bike lanes and bus bulbs to make more lanes. You know -- how it was before the road diet?

"it's not like there's a lot of room on Dexter Avenue anymore, in case you haven't noticed." That's because the city eliminated one lane in each direction. There is plenty of room for two lanes in each direction, because that is how it was before the road diet. lol

Lincoln

Posted Tue, Oct 22, 5:02 p.m. Inappropriate

bubbleator: The most obvious choice that neither candidate will discuss for the roads is emminent domain to expand some arterials to handle mass transit. It happened quickly for the failed monorail, everything else surrounding it notwithstanding.

You have no other real choice when you back yourself into a corner by allowing more development than can be realistically supported, and doing it BEFORE you have mass transit routes designated. That has been the most disfunctional part of Seattle's transit situation. It all started with the rejection of Forward Thrust.

Classic cart before horse. And the developers make more money. I don't see Murray not caving to that too.

Marksp

Posted Tue, Oct 22, 11:24 p.m. Inappropriate

You're right guys, if we just put all the lanes back to cars, we'll just be putting it back the way it was, and there's no cost to that. Speeds and accidents won't increase. Desirability of the neighborhood won't decrease because of extra noise and crappy air. Property values won't be hurt. Small businesses won't be hurt by having that street outside their establishments either. It'll just be back the way it was... no big, no cost, nothing lost by your option.

Dexter is about a million times more desirable for the people that live there than it was before. The only people who aren't satisfied with the road diet are the people who simply want to drive through or past that neighborhood as fast as they can without stopping. What incentive do you imagine the neighborhood - residents and businesses - have to putting others' needs to get past their homes and businesses rapidly above their own needs of having a safe, desirable neighborhood?

nullbull

Posted Tue, Oct 22, 11:31 p.m. Inappropriate

You mean nobody who lives on Dexter ever wants to go anywhere else? And all those new apartments on Dexter don't have any parking spots for cars? So nobody who lives on Dexter owns a car and ever wants to go anywhere they can't walk to? lol

I'm sure this will come as a huge surprise to you, but if people are going to be able to travel between neighborhoods, there have to be roads through neighborhoods. We can't afford to put all roads in tunnels. So, there need to be streets which have higher speed limits and limited stops. If you don't like streets like that, then don't live on one!

Most streets in neighborhoods are narrow streets with low speed limits and even traffic circles at intersections to slow vehicles. Go live on one of those streets if you don't like heavy traffic.

But we need some streets that are wide with high speed limits. Otherwise traffic will slow to a crawl everywhere in the city. And who does that benefit? Nobody.

Lincoln

Posted Tue, Oct 22, 9:58 a.m. Inappropriate

John,

Speaking to you from the hinterlands, where actual majorities of Republicans actuallly live (this will come as news to some folks who reside in Seattle), I have no fear in saying, that regarding these two very
liberal candidates, you have hit the nail on the head.

Fun commentary. I'm sitting here smiling.

Ross Kane
Warm Beach

Ross

Posted Tue, Oct 22, 10:51 a.m. Inappropriate

Years ago, Joel Pritchard dispensed this wisdom. Voters in Seattle don't like glib politicians who have quick, shallow answers. Instead they like "furrowed brow" politicians, like Pritchard, who display thoughtful indecision at tough problems, thus resembling the puzzled voters. Mike is glib. Ed is puzzled.

Posted Tue, Oct 22, 11:02 a.m. Inappropriate

Voters don't pay any attention to stuff like that. Voters pay attention to traffic and crime. It was widely acknowledged that Nickels lost because he couldn't keep streets clear of snow during one snow storm. Nobody said Nickels lost because he was "glib" and McGinn was "puzzled." In fact, if anyone was "puzzled" it was Mallahan. A lot of good that did Mallahan.

Lincoln

Posted Tue, Oct 22, 11:31 a.m. Inappropriate

The point of perceptions vs. facts: McGinn certainly stares off into space and does not do a good job of connecting to most people. He is more ideological, and that single-mindedness often is alienating to the whole. He however, has greatly improved his speaking ability, and can communicate clearly, even when his statements cannot withstand scrutiny.

Murray, on the other hand, does not make eye contact either, and cannot hold it long when he does. He comes across like someone who is not telling you something that you should know. His expressions come off as downright creepy most of the time. He is a terrible on details and what he believes on issues that matter now, not in the past. Somehow, it will all work out, eh?

Puzzled is not equivilent to thoughtful or measured. I think that is closer to what Prichard meant. Puzzled sounds like confusion and no leadership when it's needed.

Marksp

Posted Tue, Oct 22, 5:32 p.m. Inappropriate

Thank's David, you just ID'ed the source of Councilmember Clark's thoughtful stalls. I have pondered that for some time.

afreeman

Posted Tue, Oct 22, 11:07 a.m. Inappropriate

It's interesting that someone can be so confident that the "voters have decided" when there is still a vast number who are undecided, or just are not saying who they have decided to vote for. Those that shout the loudest and post the most, are not necessarily the majority or can drive anything from sheer force of will, particularly in this case.

Credit where it's due, and not where it's not: While much of this analysis is an accurate perception, that does not translate to what Carlson thinks it means, but does support his confirmation bias. One of the biggest whoppers that has become accepted fact about McGinn is his "opposition" to the tunnel. It's an article of faith since the advisory vote misinformation. And it's supported by those who will not allow their confirmation bias to be swayed by independant studies or the responsibility for cost overruns--That Murray somehow gets a free pass on.

Murray has even less actual skills and experience for a mayoral position behind him, but people "believe" he will be better. The perception is a lot more significant, and also dissapointing in comparision to a more reasoned analysis. It's not progressive, but neo-liberal.

I see a style difference between the two candidates, but not a substantive one. I see Murray being more of a "machine" type bureaucrat, who's legislative perception of things will keep Seattle in gridlock. I see McGinn as a windmill tilter, who entertains big ideas, but is lacking the finese to implement most of them. He is a cartoon urbanist. However, he IS a competent administrator.

So, it's still a wash for me, and I just may leave that spot blank on the ballot.

Marksp

Posted Tue, Oct 22, 1:38 p.m. Inappropriate

I pretty much stand by my point above. "Commentary" sounds noble and suggests there will be reasoned analysis. Running this amateurish bunch of truisms now and giving it primacy on the site suggests what we already know about Crosscut and its founders---glib themselves and thinking they are of influence. As the prior commenter notes, this election is still very winnable by the Mayor and this piece seems scheduled in line with the Murray strategy to pretend it is over. It is not. Enjoy a Murray victory if you get it--a most undeserved win.

Posted Tue, Oct 22, 4:06 p.m. Inappropriate

"Commentary" is not "news." It is someone's take on the news.

This contest is over. McGinn has been a failure as mayor and he is going to get spanked, as he so richly deserves.

Lincoln

Posted Tue, Oct 22, 2:38 p.m. Inappropriate

This is the type of column McGinn should pin to the locker room wall to fire up his troops!

Posted Tue, Oct 22, 4:09 p.m. Inappropriate

McGinn does not have enough troops to make any difference. McGinn's troops called me on the phone and I told them I could not wait until that a-hole was gone.

Lincoln

Posted Wed, Oct 23, 1:11 a.m. Inappropriate

The very same thing happened to me. After it was over, I kicked myself for not posing as an undecided voter and tying up the volunteer all afternoon. It could have been a patience lesson, but I'm afraid I'm just not that good!

NotFan

Posted Tue, Oct 22, 2:59 p.m. Inappropriate

This is the sort of column I'd have expected from some mealy-mouthed Seattle "progressive" aiming to distract people from the actual issues. Come on Carlson, how could you?!

Why is he going to get creamed? There's never just one reason, but in this case you could be excused for boiling it down to one word: "McSchwinn." Even since McGinn decided to declare war on automobile drivers and elevate bicyclists to a holy status, his popularity went into the tank. The voters in this city don't hate bicycles, but they find the bicyclists to be irritating, smug, self-righteous, and selfish at every turn.

McSchwinn has pissed us off in other ways, of course. The secret arena deal didn't help. The constant stream of petty falsehoods. The obvious disorder downtown. The hostility to neighborhoods, and coziness with developers. His generally jerkish demeanor.

But I actually think all of those things, bad as they are, wouldn't have been enough but for McSchwinn. This election is in quite large measure a backlash against the bike nazis at the Cascade Bicycle Club, the Seattle Transit Blog, and every spandex warrior who runs a stop sign with McSchwinn's evident blessing. It's a referendum on a mayor who doesn't care about street maintenance, signal timing, the effect of high parking rates, or the impact that the totality of his anti-automobile policies have had on the 85% of the city's population that uses a car.

I don't expect the "progressives" to ever admit it, but John Carlson, how in hell could you have overlooked the obvious?

NotFan

Posted Tue, Oct 22, 4:07 p.m. Inappropriate

Exactly right.

Lincoln

Posted Tue, Oct 22, 5:42 p.m. Inappropriate

I think in the end I agree with one implication by Carlson. Murray is not Mayoral material. He is to be admired and good at his legislative role. A tragedy that mediocrity risks prevailing because people have adopted an unthinking view of the Mayor. He deserves far more respect than this article and this comment chain.

Posted Tue, Oct 22, 5:57 p.m. Inappropriate

"It's interesting that someone can be so confident that the "voters have decided" when there is still a vast number who are undecided, or just are not saying who they have decided to vote for. Those that shout the loudest and post the most, are not necessarily the majority or can drive anything from sheer force of will, particularly in this case."

Ditto. The election hasn't happened and wanting a certain outcome doesn't mean it has. But Carlson is like most conservatives who think that if they say it enough, it will happen. (Click those heels together, John. That might work, too.)

"There’s no connection, no warmth. Certainly no empathy. "

Really? Because I thought you were describing Murray. McGinn has it all over Murray in this category and anyone who has watched a debate - in person or on tv - could see this.

From my own perspective, as a public education advocate - that Mayor McGinn has been the best education mayor since Norm Rice. Murray doesn't have a lot to offer on that score (sad to say, given his years in the Legislature). Fault McGinn for many other things but he has given his all for Seattle public education and I, for one, appreciate it.

westello

Posted Tue, Oct 22, 6:45 p.m. Inappropriate

Um, the poll I saw yesterday said that 46% of the voters have a negative view of McSchwinn while 12% have a negative view of Murray. I'd say we're all pretty much just waiting for the fat lady to sing.

NotFan

Posted Thu, Oct 24, 9:51 a.m. Inappropriate

A number of posters have wondered why I didn't raise any issues to explain why Mayor McGinn is a goner. That's because I don't think issues alone explain his impending demise. Even if he filled in more potholes and closed fewer lanes to drivers, he would still be receiving a pink slip on November 5th (though likely by a smaller margin). I think Ed is better on the issues, but just marginally because there's little difference between the two politically - which is why the race is so nasty.

Posted Thu, Oct 24, 11:18 a.m. Inappropriate

You really misunderstand this election. McGinn is going to lose because there is a pretty large segment of voters who absolutely despise McGinn. And it is because of the issues -- not personality. It is because of McGinn's love of bikes and hatred of cars. It is because of McGinn's love of density and his insistence on forcing density on every neighborhood, no matter what the residents want. It is because of McGinn's complete failure to do anything about crime in Seattle. I hear this over and over again, every day, from people who live in Seattle.

This election is going to be decided by the voters who hate McGinn for what he has done to Seattle. Murray is pretty irrelevant. The only thing Murray has to do to win is to NOT be McGinn. I voted against McGinn.

Lincoln

Posted Thu, Oct 24, 2:56 p.m. Inappropriate

That's a cop out. Yes, of course, McGinn's a jerk. But if being a jerk was a disqualification for winning elections, the political map would look very different. This is mostly about "McSchwinn" and, yes, the issues behind it.

I am equally cynical about the lack of essential difference between them, yet I strongly believe that the widespread discontent over the "McSchwinn" issues are predominant. If Murray takes the same approach as McGinn on those issues, he'll be a one-termer as well.

NotFan

Posted Thu, Oct 24, 3:11 p.m. Inappropriate

I fully agree that McGinn's transportation policies have hurt him, but there is little indication that Murray's policies will be much different, not to mention that Council is solidly (if quietly) behind more bike lanes and street car expansion. And I have yet to hear anyone ask either candidate in a public forum why they support costly, traffic-slowing, street car projects that carry so few passengers? Most people I talk to think they are a boondoggle....

-Eyewitness

Posted Fri, Oct 25, 1:08 p.m. Inappropriate

I agree with you. I don't think anything will change. In fact, I predict that when McGinn is hooted out of here, what passes for the local media, including this website, will treat it as purely a voter temper tantrum rather than what it actually will be: a widespread discontent with everything you've mentioned.

Government here is very corrupt and disconnected, and they are that way because the voters don't pay attention and the media don't help them pay attention. This is historically the case in the backwaters of the Western United States, where small groups of well-connected insiders have often run cities and regions.

So, yes, we'll be rid of McGinn. He is such a pest that he really does have to go. But you are correct, it won't change a thing.

NotFan

Posted Thu, Oct 24, 5:48 p.m. Inappropriate

Eyewitness seems correct; the transportation policies of McGinn and Murray are similar. the road diets have been implemented since the 1970s by all administrations. the primary rationale is pedestrian safety. the most important were early on: California Avenue SW, Broadway, and North 45th Street. others done before McGinn were Beacon Avenue South, Madison Street, Stone Way North, 24th Avenue NW, 8th Avenue NW, Phinney-Greenwood avenues North, North 50th Street, Eastlake Avenue East, Stone Way North, Dexter Avenue North.

eddiew

Posted Thu, Oct 24, 7:52 p.m. Inappropriate

McSchwinn's biggest fault was lack of any political savviness. The bike master plan is in place, approved by the council. Yea, minor tweaks will take place but Murray or any other dem isn't going to steer that ship too far a port. Looking forward to more bike lanes!

Treker

Posted Fri, Oct 25, 1:11 p.m. Inappropriate

Yep, unfortunately I agree that the "progressives" will continue their war on automobiles. I think the legislature will ultimately allow King County to jack up car tabs, and that the media here (including Crosscut) will deluge people with enough propaganda that we'll vote to screw ourselves out of another $150 a year.

Long term, I'm not optimistic at all. But we did get rid of your "progressive" mayor, who you now claim never to have voted for. Every so often, sanity wins one, but the victories are few and far between.

NotFan

Posted Thu, Oct 24, 8:39 p.m. Inappropriate

McGinn could have done the city one last favor, looked in the mirror and accepted that he was destined to be a one-term mayor. A election with Murray pitted against Burgess might have led to some substantive discussions about the future of the city.

WSDW

Posted Thu, Oct 24, 9:38 p.m. Inappropriate

Trekker did I miss something while away in California for a week? It is my understanding the city council is working on the budget that must be passed before thanksgiving. Yes the bicycle master plan is largely decided by the mayor and his people, however SDOT told me it would be voted on no earlier than November and as late as Jan 2014. Are you saying that already happened? To me its clear that McGinn pushed his agenda as mayor, often in an arrogant way and many didn't like it. His handling of the tunnel lie to get elected, ( he ran against a total unknown) and the dishonesty about a whole foods alley varience shows how he will twist the truth to get elected. That is why he will lose. He is quoted in a bike magazine interview as having a special ability to push his unpopular agendas forward in spite of peoples opposition. That is also why many of us hope he loses.

katzjamr

Posted Fri, Oct 25, 7:08 a.m. Inappropriate

Oh, I agree. McGinn is toast. I didn't vote for him last time and will not this time.

The bike Master Plan will move forward no matter who is in charge. I've stated my opinion previously on some of the stupid ideas in it - like the cycle track on NE 65th Street. Which, I'm assuming, saner mines will prevail and that will not be implemented. There is a bike master plan in place that was approved in 2007 - what is being worked on now is the 2013 update.

I think there's some improvements that have occurred that have improved both car and bike flow, such as the bike lane down Roosevelt Ave. Others, such as that new road diet on NE 75th St, not so much because bikers don't use that hilly road much. But there were other alternatives for that road diet - specifically to slow traffic where a family got killed last year and because there is a middle school near that site. Folks hurrying to get to work used to zip along at 45 mph on that stretch, way too fast. It is safer now.

Treker

Posted Fri, Oct 25, 9:01 a.m. Inappropriate

thank you for clarifying that, and giving better insight to your preferences. I support greenways and I agree with you that giving one third of the road and taking all the parking away permanently for a cycle track on ne65th is a bad idea.

katzjamr

Posted Sat, Oct 26, 12:55 p.m. Inappropriate

What a bunch of silly cliches, stereotypes, and misinformation.

Regarding McGinn's imminent defeat, he may indeed lose. However, if any of you who are old enough, recall Truman v. Dewey. If you're not, there's Wiki.

When McGinn talks to you, he focuses on you: what you're saying, how you're saying it. He listens. He replies. He doesn't look off into the distance. Murray simply doesn't talk to you.

Murray was one of the three people who should have been checking on the Dem checkwriter who not only stole money which could have been used to help keep the Senate Democratic majority. He has denied any responsibility. That doesn't reflect well on his managerial abillities, not to speak of his ethics.

Less important to the election but illustrative of the devisive stereotypes above: I'm a progressive/liberal. I love my car and use it for almost all of my activities. I haven't ridden a bike for 40 years and don't intend to ever do so again. Amazingly enough, my choice of transportation has nothing to do with my politics.

Now the 3-4 of you may go back to confirming your respective stereotypes.

sarah90

Posted Sat, Oct 26, 11:24 p.m. Inappropriate

"When McGinn talks to you, he focuses on you:"

McGinn has never talked to me, or 99% of Seattle voters. So, what does that have to do with anything, even if it happens to be true? That is just irrelevant nonsense.

McGinn is going to be voted out of office for the damage he has done to the City of Seattle -- not because of how he looks at people when he talks to them.

Now you may go back to believing you know what you are talking about.

Lincoln

Posted Sat, Oct 26, 2:10 p.m. Inappropriate

Modern politics are as much about how a candidate projects his/her image to the electorate as anything else. How many politicians have we seen get elected by defeating a better-qualified candidate because he/she was more telegenic or handled dishing out sound-bytes better than their opponent? Doesn't matter which side of the aisle you align yourself with, you can name at least one. Ever since the Kennedy-Nixon debates were televised, style has mattered as much as substance (if not more).

Murray is ahead in these polls in no small part because his relatively bland personality does not harm him as much as McGinn's own smarmy and condescending demeanor and Murray has shown a better ability to play with others (at least those of a like mindset). Politically, you're really talking six of one versus a half-dozen of another so what's creating such a large gap in the polls is that voters simply don't like McGinn now that they've had almost four years of him. Period.

Posted Sat, Oct 26, 2:18 p.m. Inappropriate

I think that's it in a nutshell.

Lily32

Posted Sat, Oct 26, 11:26 p.m. Inappropriate

Voters don't like McGinn because of his policies -- not because of his personality.

Lincoln

Posted Thu, Oct 31, 6:57 p.m. Inappropriate

Frankly, I think it's both. But once he's defeated, you can count on the "progressives" to dismiss all of the policy issues.

NotFan

Posted Sun, Oct 27, 9:58 a.m. Inappropriate

How about if we all leave the mayor space on the ballot blank? What happens then? I'm considering it since the very lack of difference between the candidates leaves me with little hope for a liveable Seattle as I define "liveable." If one works in downtown Seattle and wants to live in very close proximity to neighbors and without a yard or much other personal space, then either McGinn or Murray will do. If one doesn't work downtown, treasures a little breathing space in the form of a yard, needs to drive to conduct his/her daily life regardless of the politics around driving, then neither of these guys presents a viable alternative. It's that old saw, "too soon old, too late smart" writ large. By the time the folks (excluding the developers) who are backing this wholesale remake of our city realize they've been had, it will be too late to undo the most egregious mistakes, i.e., the tenements, the trains and streetcars that carry hardly anyone, the buses spewing smoke & filth that poisons our air and our bodies, all in service of one segment of society--the ones who work downtown--I've pretty much lost hope for my hometown. There's very little left that I can appreciate.

mspat

Posted Sun, Oct 27, 1:06 p.m. Inappropriate

????? I live in Seattle and have a nice little house and yard, garden, fruit trees, and nice neighbors. I work downtown and get there by decent bus transport or bike in the nicer weather. I own a car but try to keep driving during the week to a minimal, walking for groceries and such. It's pretty livable to me - - but I don't think either candidate is going to swing things too far, one way or another.

Downtown and transportation hubs should be dense. Surprise, it's a CITY. It's just much easier to develop a transportation system based on a hub and spoke - sure, getting to and from downtown Seattle is easy. But try and commute to say, Kirkland or Bellevue and you're kinda stuck. People make choices. I've vowed never to take a job where I can't bike to --- why in dog's name would someone want to spend some much time going back and forth in a line every day?

Lily32

Posted Mon, Oct 28, 11:18 a.m. Inappropriate

The part of your comment that stands out is "I work downtown." Yes, if one works downtown buses are fine, but I don't. I work in Tacoma. I live near Greenlake. I love my job and haven't been offered a comparable one in downtown Seattle. If that should come to pass I might use the bus and sacrifice the convenience of being able to do my shopping and other errands on the way home. However, I'd negotiate hard for paid parking and keep driving because I don't like to waste time in a tube crammed full of other people and not going directly to my destination.

I hope you are always in a position to take only jobs you're able to reach by bicycle, but life has a way of surprising us and presenting challenges to do things differently from time to time. I wouldn't count on the stars remaining aligned in support of your choice.

I see that you value the same things I do for yourself--i.e., a yard, a garden to go with your little house. Unlike you I don't have a reasonable grocery, or any drugstore or hardware store, or anything but martial arts schools, within walking distance, so I must drive for groceries. Good for you that you have those things now and I hope they stay for you. I used to have them within walking distance, too, but now they're gone. Things don't always stay as we wish them.

As for the appropriateness of downtown and transit hubs being dense, well, I don't see any evidence for that beyond your opinion. And as my comment stated, I was talking about livable as I define it, not as anyone thinks it "should" be. I volunteer at 3 different entities downtown and find it quite onerous to deal with difficult parking and some of the impaired folks I encounter going to and from my activities. Would I live down there? Not if you gave me the condo and paid me inhabit it. Not my idea of livable.

You appear to be enjoying that period of life when everything you believe is obviously the truth. Just consider that it may not always be so.

mspat

Posted Wed, Oct 30, 7:44 a.m. Inappropriate

Downtown is dense - it's a city, isn't that what they are supposed to be for one of what? 500k folks? And while I work downtown I would not want to live there either - condo downtown just not my thing. I also will never take a job where I can't commute by bike - if I can't it's too far. It's worked for 40 years so far.

As far as dense transit hubs -there's lots of evidence across the country - ask any urban planner and take a look at Portland, SF, D.C. or any city that has a rail line. In Seattle the Roosevelt neighborhood is a good example. Real estate folks get interested in the long term plan of a stop on 65th - and the city planners have designated it a growth transit node - that goes back even before Nicholes.

The other, non-planning alternative is to just let growth happen willy-nilly, allowing no density limits across other neighborhoods. Yea, we could just ignore the growing city and keep a lid on density, then prices for real estate would even go higher and folks who work in Seattle would have to go out to Federal Way to afford a home, which would make for more commuters and traffic.

We all make choices. You choose to live here and work in Tacoma. I'd never make that one, but good for you.

Treker

Posted Thu, Oct 31, 7:07 p.m. Inappropriate

Yes, take a good look at Portland, if you dare. It has a downdown-centric hub-and-spoke rail system, but ALL of the net private-sector job growth in the region -- yes, ALL of it -- has occurred outside of that system's reach. The closer you are to the hub, the worse it gets: The city of Portland hasn't generated a single net new private sector job in more than 20 years.

Those are facts, but if there's one thing that binds "progressives" and wingnuts to each other it's their mutual unwillingness to consider any facts that contradict whatever fetish objects they hold dear. The cities of the Western United States have NEVER in the modern era been anywhere close to as downtown-centric as the Eastern cities that "progressives" try to mimic out of some odd belief that re-casting ourselves in Manhattan's image will somehow confer a degree of legitimacy that "progressives" believe to be lacking here.

Fixed rail, and especially downtown-centric fixed rail, is self-evidently out of place on the West Coast. Will "progressives" see this any more than wingnuts will see that, say, "abstinence-based sex education" or "intelligent design" are wildly out of step with social and scientific reality?

Nope! In the contest between faithful fetish and fact, the zealots will always reject fact.

NotFan

Posted Mon, Nov 4, 11:08 a.m. Inappropriate

"The city of Portland hasn't generated a single net new private sector job in more than 20 years."

--this is an ignorant comment. Shoot - the private company I work for has a downtown Portland office that has gone from 8 to 47 staff in the past 4 years. The one I recently left has gone from 10 to 52 in the past 6 years. Dumbass.

As far as commuting to Tacoma from Seattle. I worked with a fellow at my last job who used to commute to Seattle from Portland on the train every day - he seemed to like that approach. But he finally did leave after he found another job - a 15 bike ride from his Tacoma home.

Treker

Posted Mon, Nov 4, 4:44 p.m. Inappropriate

Whatever your company has added, someone else has eliminated. Oh, and Portland's in-city standard of living is falling further and further behind not only its suburbs, but the other big cities of the Pacific Coast. If that's what you and the other smartass "progressives" want to emulate, then you'd better ask yourself how we're going to fund the next bunch of boondoggles you want.

I think I'll wait for more blather out of you before I publish the proof of everything I've said in the last couple comments. Keep digging, so I can pour the maximum amount of dirt back into your hole!

NotFan

Posted Tue, Nov 5, 8:24 a.m. Inappropriate

And here's an exerpt from a recent OPB report:

During the 1980’s and 90’s, he says, companies started to follow, going where there was available land — and people.

“Corporate campuses, Nike, Intel, Tektronics, Nautilus, moved out to the suburbs where their workers were and they enjoyed the same, less expensive real estate and freeway access for moving their products around,” Kaylor says.

Kaylor says for decades, economists thought of Portland as a doughnut, with all the growth and new jobs ringing the downtown area.

But he says, things have changed.

“Now the people, particularly the highly educated professionals are moving back into the center of that doughnut, they’re moving back to the urban core and to some degree the jobs are following them. Over the next 10 or 20 years we may see that pattern follow of companies following their workers. If that’s true, it’s a very good sign for the city of Portland’s economy, over the next 10 or 20 years.”

Kaylor says when you look at job creation, population and economic activity, inner city Portland looks like the booming suburbs of the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s.

Treker

Posted Tue, Nov 5, 1 p.m. Inappropriate

Multnomah County, Oregon is synonymous with Portland. There is an 80% population overlap. If anything, using Multnomah statistics overstates Portland City's health, but there are many more numbers for Multnomah than there are for the City of Portland.

- Multnomah County has 33% of the metro area's income, compared to 50% of the income 30 years ago.

- Between 1997 and 2009, private sector employment in Multnomah County fell by 7%. Private sector employment has risen 13% in the surrounding counties.

- Between 1997 and 2009, Multnomah County lost 26,000 private sector jobs while Clark, Clackamas, and Washington counties together gained 51,000 private sector jobs. Multnomah County gained about 10,000 government jobs during the period, and therefore had a net loss of employment.

- Multnomah's job losses make its rank last among all the counties in Oregon in job growth/loss. Among counties in CA, NV, OR, WA, and ID, Multnomah ranked 198th of 199 counties.

- Multnomah County gained about 1,900 "management of companies" jobs between 1997 and 2009. This is what Treker is talking about when he sees great things there. This is so typical of "progressives" who sniff the droppings of the rich while pretending to care about anyone else.

- In every year between 1992 and 2006, the average income of people moving from Multnomah County to suburban Clark County, Washington exceeded the incomes of people moving into Multnomah from Clark County.

NotFan

Posted Sat, Nov 2, 12:07 p.m. Inappropriate

Yes, I "choose" to live here and work in Tacoma. I chose to work in Tacoma because that was the only job I was offered after completing a very expensive course of graduate school for which I had, and have, school loans to repay. That choice was between a job and unemployment.

I choose to live in Seattle because I've been in my house since 1975 and love it and my neighborhood, plus all my family live here, plus I'm not all that fond of Tacoma although its grown on me in the 9.5 years I've worked there.

I feel fully entitled to resist what I believe is a mistaken course of action for my city. I don't feel the need to move to Tacoma and leave all my close family and friends in order to be qualified to voice my dissent. If transit is so great, why can't it take me to and from my job in SW Tacoma in less than 2.5 hours and at less than it costs to drive? Not that it would work anyway since my job requires me to travel during my working day.

The current activity occurring in Seattle flies in the face of the fact that we've reached, and likely exceeded, our geographic carrying capacity. Living literally on top of one another doesn't suit me, and there is plenty of evidence that overcrowding creates problems. If the housing becomes to expensive in the city, perhaps those who want to live in this area could try the south end, or Tacoma. After all, although my employer cannot allow it for business reasons, many folks work remotely these days. Why not promote that and leave a bit of breathing room for the rest of us?

mspat

Posted Mon, Nov 4, 11:13 a.m. Inappropriate

Logistics of commuting can be tough. Another reason while I've avoided it for almost 35 years.

Seems a lot of folks at my firm work remotely regularly, which is one of the reasons they have a low turn-over rate I suppose. But being an employee-owned firm they are not the regular corporate-owned entity. And yes, encouraging more of this seems to make sense, especially given how connected businesses are these days.

Treker

Posted Mon, Nov 4, 4:48 p.m. Inappropriate

So tell me, does your plumber work online? How about your building contractor, or your house cleaner, or your exterminator, or your gardener, or your home health care worker? How about your waiter, your barista, your police officer, your firefighter? How about your delivery driver, or your mailman? Not to mention all those Boeing workers. Remember them? You sure will when they're gone.

But wait, they're all blue collar, and the high-smug "progressives" of Seattle don't count them. But what about all those drones soon to occupy Amazon's new towers, or even the architects, lawyers, and assorted other shills who pack the zoning committee meetings every time some well-connected, deep-pocketed developer wants another exemption from the laws that everyone else has to obey?

NotFan

Posted Mon, Nov 4, 5:04 p.m. Inappropriate

So if the point is "not eveyone can tele-commute", congratulations on another blantly obvious conclusion. When companies who recognize that theirr capital is there employees, and for those that it makes sense, tele-commuting is just an SOP. It benefits their staff AND others who do have to commute by taking more cars off the road.

So lawyers, Amazon "drones", and architects and other "shills" don't merit any consideration as professionals. I'm not inclined to name-calling and respect all works, whether they do it by hand or are more in-office workers. Most folks I know are just trying to keep even, give their kids a good life, and make a decent retirement for themselves. Having worked in factories, depots, and cabinet shops, and auto shops while in HS and to get through college and graduate school, I have a huge amount of respect for folks through the range of skill sets.

I'd recommend being less derisive of anyone doing an honest days work.

Treker

Posted Tue, Nov 5, 12:14 p.m. Inappropriate

It's hard to respect the architects of Seattle when they can't stop hitting us with the ugly stick.

NotFan

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