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10 big challenges await Mayor Murray

The McGinn years hatched a lot of unhappy chickens - and they're coming home to roost. A primer on the tough road ahead for Ed Murray.
The new mayor may find less to smile about once he takes the reins at City Hall.

The new mayor may find less to smile about once he takes the reins at City Hall. Allyce Andrew

Outgoing Mayor Mike McGinn’s way to be gracious to Mayor-elect Ed Murray was to say that his successor would enjoy holding the post, because there was “no better job in the world.” Not so fast. More likely, the new mayor is going to be swarmed by chickens coming home to roost after four years of drift.

Many serious and deferred problems await Mayor Murray. So he is wise to be deploying real professionals, former city councilwoman Martha Choe and former city budget director Dwight Dively, as co-chairs of his transition committee. Murray’s first round of decisions on retaining and dismissing top department heads also showed a sensible restraint in not fighting on too many fronts at once.

Those personnel decisions show that Murray will be focusing on areas of his strength: transportation and dealing with Olympia. He played those cards by saying, first, that he wanted a new head of the Seattle Department of Transportation, where a more balanced and strategic approach to cars/transit/bikes/greenways/potholes is needed. And out went the lobbying office which, as Murray must know, has long been a clumsy presence amid all those Seattle-scoffers in Olympia. Other emphases: housing and human services.

Good start. He’ll need it, considering the mess at City Hall — some of it McGinn’s faults of omission and commission — that Murray must face. Below is my list of challenges for the new mayor. It’s no time for thanksgiving!

1. Central Waterfront Park
This massive project has limped along in the past four years while McGinn has scorned it as too expensive and too downtown-focused. The hugely ambitious undertaking faces three serious problems. The city has not made a good case that it can create, design and defend public spaces, so passing levies will be difficult. Down near the ferry terminal too many traffic lanes are accumulating (for ferry queuing, transit, freight, cars, bikes), compromising the open space. And the project has way too many cooks in its kitchen, badly needing a strong leader at city hall.

2. Economic jitters
Boeing is departing, either quickly or by drip-drip-drip, casting a large economic cloud over the region. Microsoft is in a dangerous and delayed transition. The Port of Seattle faces a crisis over container shipping, freight mobility, closer coordination with Tacoma and West Coast and Gulf Coast competition and finding a new CEO. The region’s big tech-driver, the University of Washington, is struggling to find a new model of financial sustainability, lest it be forced to retreat from excellence.

3. Talent exodus at City Hall
Many, like Dively, left during the McGinn years. The mayor’s office was stocked with campaign idealists and many departments failed to interest McGinn very much. Further, the wave of boomer/Kennedy idealists who entered public service in the 1960s and 70s is now about to enter retirement.

4. Stalemate at Seattle Public Schools
The school board is likely to remain fairly dysfunctional for Murray’s whole term, split between three disheartened “reformers” on the one side and the backlash faction of four members representing union concerns over testing issues and parents who want more direct control. This irresolution is a formula for weak leadership by the superintendent and small appetite for structural changes. The stopgap will be to push for free (to the needy) universal pre-school for 4-year-olds, but I wonder how popular that will be when the tax bill is presented.

5. Police
This is the biggie. While pressure for modernization from the Department of Justice and Murray’s chance to name a new chief will help, it is important to remember that police reform (both better treatment of minorities and the mentally ill and more effective crime-stopping) has eluded Seattle mayors for 40 years. The Police Guild is too strong and the assistant chiefs have been there too long and feud too much to make real solutions likely.


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Comments:

Posted Tue, Nov 26, 11:32 a.m. Inappropriate

Good luck, Ed.

gabowker

Posted Tue, Nov 26, 1:21 p.m. Inappropriate

Nice piece, David.

Ed is making a thoughtful transition.

Posted Tue, Nov 26, 2:48 p.m. Inappropriate

"an unusually competent and unified city council,"

The latter was true, the former not.

sarah90

Posted Tue, Nov 26, 4:34 p.m. Inappropriate

"A council of policy wonks will morph into pothole-counters."

Only if we voters allow parochialism to outweigh competent representation on both neighborhood and citywide issues (and beyond) when selecting candidates and electing council members. The two interests overlap far more than they are in conflict. I'm guessing we'll be smart enough to avoid potholers in most districts.

Making this prediction as if it's inevitable casts you into the same column as some other news bloggers around here.

louploup

Posted Tue, Nov 26, 6:52 p.m. Inappropriate

Ditto the School comments and a few other places where your biases break through. Nonetheless a fine and sobering job, David.

afreeman

Posted Wed, Nov 27, 9:45 p.m. Inappropriate

There is a bright upside to not fixing potholes: more damaged bicycles. Every time a bicycle hits a hole and mayhem results, an angel gets its wings.

NotFan

Posted Thu, Nov 28, 12:14 p.m. Inappropriate

We love you too, turkey.

louploup

Posted Fri, Nov 29, 3:25 p.m. Inappropriate

Kumbaya, poor thing. And watch out for those holes in the street when you're riding your bike. You wanted 'em, so you got 'em!

NotFan

Posted Sat, Nov 30, 7:16 a.m. Inappropriate

I am always amused by the use of "Kumbaya".
This is a song from the 1930s- and it was rerecorded, and popular, in 1958. If you are old enough to have any idea what NotFan is talking about when he uses this phrase, you need to have been a teenager or older in the late fifties.
That means, in today's terms, ancient and irrelevant.
NO Seattle Progressive under seventy has a clue what the old codger is talking about when he brings this up.

Ries

Posted Sat, Nov 30, 1:04 p.m. Inappropriate

Not so; I'm (still) well under 70 and I know exactly what NotFan meant. The spiritual song (apparently originating in Gullah culture and first recorded in 1926) persisted in the lefty folk music scene for a number of years beyond 1958. It became closely associated with the Civil Rights Movement. NotFan's usage of the word as a pejorative reflects a common theme among right wing reactionaries-- See http://www.npr.org/2012/01/13/145059502/when-did-kumbaya-become-such-a-bad-thing and http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/20/us/20religion.html?_r=0

And what's the knowledge difference between a "Seattle Progressive" and a Seattle anything else?

louploup

Posted Sat, Nov 30, 5:55 p.m. Inappropriate

louploup, you suddenly seem so angry!

http://tinyurl.com/hernibs

NotFan

Posted Sun, Dec 1, 1:54 p.m. Inappropriate

You wouldn't know anger if it bit you in the ankle (like your yapping feels like for many here). And FYI, I'm not bothering with your links. If you can't say it, don't post it.

louploup

Posted Mon, Dec 2, 12:05 a.m. Inappropriate

Wow, you ARE angry! And how could you not post on a link titled, "her nibs?" Kumbaya, louploup! You need it bad!

NotFan

Posted Thu, Dec 5, 8:20 p.m. Inappropriate

You really are a progressive. You believe human nature progresses and changes.

The reason that "voters allow parochialism to outweight competent representation" is because they are enrolled to vote from the human race.

Our founding fathers recognized this, not by trying to create a governing system that changed human nature, but by accepting human nature and dividing power into institutions and groupings that would check any one group.

Voters will behave as you fear, but they will need to build coalitions with voters and the elected councilperson from other districts. 5 votes is policy, not one. Further, two of the nine will still be elected citywide. Checks and balances, not some idealistic, humanistic, progressive faith, that ignores thousands of years of history, empirically demonstrating, over and over, the nature of the human species.

Posted Wed, Nov 27, 4:50 a.m. Inappropriate

Seattle is relatively well off compared to the last four years.

The trend looks good - especially if Boeing does what's actually expected - finds a way to make nice with its workforce - and grows around here.

David's piece is interesting, and maybe too negative enough for the new Mayor to overcome low expectations established by it.

One challenge not highlighted: Cleaning up downtown so it can thrive. That'll be the key to a better central waterfront too, which may not best be described as a "park."

Jan

Posted Wed, Nov 27, 8:04 a.m. Inappropriate

Mr. Brewster falls prey to a journalistic trap: pump up the negative and offer the worst case scenarios. It is not an illegitimate approach but hardly realistic. Boeing is unlikely to leave the NW. Assembly of the 737 variants will continue for the next 5-10 years. The 777X kerfuffle is a work in progress. How many state legislatures are prepared to offer Boeing the package Olympia and Gov Islee have passed? Where else is there a plug-in skilled workforce that can transition to 777X assembly with relative ease; even at the high cost of the machinists? The growth of Amazon (and others associated with its operations) hardly spells the diminution in property values in downtown Seattle. growing bubble may be a greater threat. The hallmark of Crosscut has been a measured and often intelligent approach to news analysis. Top ten lists are a crutch best left to others.

pherford

Posted Wed, Nov 27, 11:19 a.m. Inappropriate

But the surprise passage of the district elections initiative will refocus councilmembers on the 2015 election and parochial pressures in the districts. A council of policy wonks will morph into pothole-counters.

Typical Seattle arrogance. No wonder nothing ever gets fixed here. The downtown types that Crosscut speaks for think they're too good for maintenance. Who needs to fix anything when there are developer bribes to take and "sustainability studies" to publish?

NotFan

Posted Wed, Nov 27, 7:33 p.m. Inappropriate

Wow, I am sorry but most of this article makes no sense. Boeing is in Everett and Renton, Microsoft in Redmond. What does the mayor of Seattle have to do with those jurisdictions? Yes there is some leased office space and economic spillover, but not much policy related for Seattle to work on.

War on the suburbs? Only in your own mind! Most transportation funding is now suburban focused, people in Seattle have enough Seattle concerns to not worry about the majority of the region.

nerf

Posted Thu, Nov 28, 8:02 a.m. Inappropriate

Two other departments simmering on the back burner: Seattle Public Utilities and Information Technology.

SPU rates keep going up and so far, their big screw ups have escaped much notice - e.g.,brand new reservoirs that need to be re-engineered because they don't meet seismic standards, never ending planning and spending to justify retaining diesel fuel pumps in the watershed, cuts to the popular water conservation program of 40%, etc

And IT - well, that department is saddled with another of McGinn's hires - close at hand, but not qualified.

On the good news side, Murray starts off his term without the fever-pitch of expectations as well as knowing his way around government.

Saratoga

Posted Fri, Nov 29, 3:20 p.m. Inappropriate

Seattle City Light is a joke. They are the epitome of inherited laziness, right out of the Bush Crime Family playbook. They sit there operating a few big dams that someone else built, and act like they're smart. If they were smart, they wouldn't be jacking up their rates another 25% in the next few years.

One more example of Seattle "progressive" dishonesty and incompetence.

NotFan

Posted Wed, Dec 4, 9:49 a.m. Inappropriate

So, hmmm. SCL has "inherited laziness" as opposed to non-inherited laziness?? Could you provide several examples or is this another arm-waving exercise? Jack up rates 25%? I think that is close - if you don't count a modest inflation index of say 1.5% a year. Aren't you always whinning about how entities don't invest in keeping up their infrastructure? Are you aware that SCL relies primarily on hydro power and climate change is affecting their production curves? Unlikely.

I know a good number of folks at SCL and they are pretty bright folks, working at moderate incomes, and care about the stewardship of the public resource they are in charge of. It's pretty easy to spray along in internet forums without any kernel of proof. But that's why no one pays serious attention to any of your bile. Cheers.

Treker

Posted Wed, Dec 4, 12:11 p.m. Inappropriate

Thanks for post; I was on the team that negotiated renewal of the Skagit FERC license in 1989-1991, and I concur in your assessment of SCL culture (and of NotFan). Like any bureaucracy or other human institution, mistakes are sometimes made, but City Light is a very dedicated group of people and committed to their mission (http://www.seattle.gov/light/aboutus/).

louploup

Posted Wed, Dec 4, 1:08 p.m. Inappropriate

Thanks Loup - Can you believe it? It's almost time for SCL to start working on the relicense (again) for Skagit. They got their relicense for Boundary this year.

Treker

Posted Wed, Dec 4, 3:45 p.m. Inappropriate

The Skagit 553 license expires in 2025. I think SCL need to start workup for renewal about 10 years ahead; initial work should be in budget being adopted December 2014.

I do see that Boundary 2144 license was granted for 42 years (exp. 2055). When we were doing Skagit 553, FERC made it clear we would only get 30 years. I don't know why the difference or what's changed.

louploup

Posted Wed, Dec 4, 4:07 p.m. Inappropriate

Needless to say, utilities are interested in longer license periods (stability)and these longer licenses are becoming normal. Some excellent work came out of that Skagit Settlement Agreement (and still is) - some great partnerships with the Tribes, TNC, and others to buy up and manage lands in the basin. Best to keep things intact and easier than trying to restore damaged systems.

Treker

Posted Wed, Dec 4, 6:14 p.m. Inappropriate

We caught considerable anger from a number of the IOUs (and grumbling from some of the publics).

Much of the credit for the land purchase and conservation part of the Skagit 553 deal goes to Richard Rutz. (He was also a key force in the long process leading to the Elwha Dam removals.) I am largely responsible for the Tribal portions; those connections were a good part of why I was hired to be on the negotiating team at SCL. It is gratifying to hear that the good relationships we built persist. (And it makes me wonder who you are that you know so much about the deal!)

Bottom line is the utility acknowledged the need to do right by the impacted stakeholders, and didn't try to get the license cheap, making the deal doable. Randy Hardy deserves credit for the overriding tenor; he was a force for sensible management (http://www.historylink.org/index.cfm?DisplayPage=output.cfm&file;_id=3626). Seattle avoided a lot of potentially expensive hassles that way.

louploup

Posted Wed, Dec 4, 6:58 p.m. Inappropriate

So now the truth comes out about louploup: It is a self-satisfied city employee who thinks it's superior to the people who pays its salary, and thinks it does a fantastic job. Can anyone really be surprised?

NotFan

Posted Wed, Dec 4, 10:27 p.m. Inappropriate

I haven't been employed at the City for over twenty years (I left when the Skagit licensing was done). Didn't even stay long enough to vest a pension. You're like a broken clock--you keep trying to be right, but you only get a hit about once a day.

yap yap: Your rock is waiting for you.

Signed "it"

louploup

Posted Thu, Dec 5, 12:09 a.m. Inappropriate

Once a nasty, lazy, lying, arrogant "progressive" bureaucrat, always a nasty, lazy, lying, arrogant "progressive" bureaucrat!

NotFan

Posted Thu, Dec 5, 12:50 p.m. Inappropriate

yap yap snarl

louploup

Posted Wed, Dec 4, 11:23 a.m. Inappropriate

Oh, and as usual - you are wrong about SCL not building their dams, primarily Boundary (on the Pend Oreille and the largest power producer) and the upper Skagit Project. Both were built by SCL - pretty easy to look up on HistoryLink.org.

Next time you rant, you might try including a few facts to attempt to back up the arm-waving --- though I suppose a coherent argument is never the point.

Treker

Posted Wed, Dec 4, 7:07 p.m. Inappropriate

The average "progressive" manager at Seattle City Light has the I.Q. of houseplant and the diligence of an overfed basset hound. Really, only Seattle City Light could demand such huge price increases from a generating plant that doesn't need any fuel. These people have elevated stupid and lazy to an art form.

NotFan

Posted Wed, Dec 4, 9:03 p.m. Inappropriate

Like I said.

Bile and arm waving. No fact in sight. Care to back off any of you previous misstatements proven false?

Treker

Posted Thu, Nov 28, 10:51 a.m. Inappropriate

If they continue to work this quickly and intelligently, the Murray team will engage Peter Steinbrueck to lead the waterfront redevelopment.

Posted Thu, Nov 28, 11:20 a.m. Inappropriate

Still pushing the corporate suits' Big Lie about the "dysfunctional school board," I see. What will it take, David, to get you to acknowledge that we live in a democracy, and that the "parents who want more control" kicked the snot out of the suits' candidate, who followed your blueprint for getting elected to the letter?

That was almost a SEVENTEEN THOUSAND VOTE MARGIN, David, and we're already gearing up to dump Carr and Martin-Morris, and hold the McLaren seat, in 2015. Might it just be that you need to reexamine your basic assumptions? Because they don't appear to pass the validity test.

As for your snide comment about universal preschool, this is THE single best long-term investment in our region's future that we can make, and although I am retired on a fixed income, I will gladly pony up to make it happen, and do what I can to ensure its success.

ivan

Posted Fri, Nov 29, 3:22 p.m. Inappropriate

Yep, another sucker who votes for every levy like a laboratory rat punching the bar for another pellet of food. And then you wonder why this city's administration is so awful.

NotFan

Posted Fri, Nov 29, 10:14 a.m. Inappropriate

Finance of the City's retirement system should be added to the list. Only a few years ago costs were only about 8% of payroll but they have already risen to 12% and reasonable estimates show them rising to 22% in the future.

Without change there won't be enough left to finance other city needs.

The assumed of 7.75% on its investments is too high and performance is unlikely to reach that.

Changes which would result in a more sustainable system, provide good retirement to workers, and allow the city to remain competitive for attracting employees are possible and needed. But making those changes will take some political courage.

The rub is that much of the related cost will be in the future and that it will be tempting for Murray and the council to keep kicking the can down the road.

Citizen

Posted Fri, Nov 29, 3:24 p.m. Inappropriate

You can be sure they'll keep doing that. Just look around. The city streets are visibly falling apart, and they do nothing about it. Why would anyone expect these clowns to tackle an "invisible" slow-moving crisis? Hell, they'll just throw it in someone else's lap. It's what the "progressives" here do.

NotFan

Posted Sat, Nov 30, 1:22 p.m. Inappropriate

Wait, I thought you wanted the streets to fall apart so bikers would get trashed in the pot holes.

louploup

Posted Sat, Nov 30, 5:21 p.m. Inappropriate

I don't want the streets to fall apart, but I do recognize the one benefit to "progressive" neglect of the basics. Terrible pavement is an irritant if you're in a car, but it'll throw you into traffic if you're on a bicycle, especially if you're riding without a helmet in the dark without lights. Every so often, reality delivers a jolt of payback. You have to take what you can get.

Who knows, maybe when a bicyclist hits a hole in the street and gets killed by a bus, the "progressives" will suddenly discover the virtues of fixing the streets.

NotFan

Posted Tue, Dec 3, 2:43 p.m. Inappropriate

Interesting. In one forum you lights on bicycles, in this one you complain about bikes WITHOUT lights. Get a grip man! Oh.

For a minute I was thinking there was a consistent thought process here. Or at least a thought process. Or at least a thought, or....nevermind.

Treker

Posted Tue, Dec 3, 10:03 p.m. Inappropriate

I was expecting that there'd be a sentence structure here. Alas, not. The "progressives" view sentences as tyranny, no doubt. Or maybe the lack of sentences is a "first world problem."

NotFan

Posted Wed, Dec 4, 9:03 a.m. Inappropriate

Gotta love the village idiot of crosscut. Once an argument gets demolished or inconsistency pointed out - it's off to grammar notes. LOL.

Treker

Posted Thu, Dec 5, 12:12 a.m. Inappropriate

Wekll, Treker, I think it's pretty clear who doesn't respect whom! Hey, at least we got rid of your favorite mayor, and rejiggered the city council. On the other hand, your side stuck a communist onto the clowncil. Not that we'll notice the difference.

NotFan

Posted Thu, Dec 5, 1:04 p.m. Inappropriate

Hey yap yap:

Exchanges with you have nothing to do with respect. The issue is knowing where reality is; you clearly do not have a clue while you're ankle biting. I can't speak for Treker, but for myself--

I did not vote for McGinn.

I was one of the prime movers of the effort to "rejigger the city council." I am the lead author of Charter Amendment No. 19.

Kshama Sawant is not a communist, and her election has already made a "noticeable difference."

louploup

Posted Thu, Dec 5, 4:29 p.m. Inappropriate

I didn't vote for McSwinn either time.

With the NotFanOfLogic it's like one has stepped in dog shit and the smell just follows you around fro forum to forum.

Nothing will change on the Seattle bike culture no matter who is major. That's why the CrossCut village idiot is always so angry.

Treker

Posted Sat, Dec 7, 1:10 a.m. Inappropriate

Treker, are you feeling bloated?

NotFan

Posted Sat, Nov 30, 6:03 a.m. Inappropriate

Why does Murray have a transition team if nothing is going to change? Oh sure there are different people in the jobs, but it's the same party, the same philosophy in charge in Seattle. Can anyone seriously contend that Murray will clean up downtown crime and homelessness, improve traffic, repair infrastructure and enhance the business environment? Really?

Cameron

Posted Sat, Nov 30, 5:26 p.m. Inappropriate

You're right. I voted for Murray, but not with any expectations of improvement. My vote was entirely against McGinn. I noticed that Murray stuck the bicyclistas on his transition team, which makes me question his political acumen.

Why reward people who pulled out all the stops to keep you from being elected? My guess is that Murray regards the mayor's job as a stepping stone to running for Congress when McDermott retires or dies with his boots on. He'll need bicyclista support to take over McDermott's seat, so he'll cater to them no matter what.

NotFan

Posted Thu, Dec 5, 8:01 p.m. Inappropriate

You are one angry dude.

You need a hobby. Maybe bicycle riding? :)

Treker

Posted Sat, Dec 7, 1:06 a.m. Inappropriate

Actually, the angry one is louploup. A "progressive" who seethes with rage in every post. You sound a little pissed off yourself, Treker. Did you forget to take your kumbaya pills?

NotFan

Posted Sat, Dec 7, 3:50 p.m. Inappropriate

yap yap

louploup

Posted Sun, Dec 1, 12:45 p.m. Inappropriate

About time somebody counted potholes. And Ed has more than enough political insight to understand the value to any Mayor or city of occasionally fixing a few.....

Posted Sun, Dec 1, 7:08 p.m. Inappropriate

The school board is likely to remain fairly dysfunctional for Murray’s whole term, split between three disheartened “reformers” on the one side and the backlash faction of four members representing union concerns over testing issues and parents who want more direct control

And your proof of that is..? Because the Board voted about 95% of the time in unison. (You can look it up.)

Sherry Carr (who I assume is one of your "disheartened reformers") has never truly been a reformer. Carr is an independent thinker - sometimes her former PTA president self, sometimes the Boeing executive that she is now and sometimes a reformer. But always someone who listens AND thinks.

How Brewster can believe that four members "represent union concerns" is baffling. The union IS the teachers so any Board member would be well-advised to take that into account. But union negotiating is the staff's job, not the Board's.

As well, I don't think parents want more "direct" control - they want a well-run, well-managed district so that they can direct their efforts to their child's education and school. The capacity management plan - and the nearly 7-hour meeting to approve it - shows that yes, parents need to pay attention.

I think the Board will work together - as the last one clearly did - and not listen to those who would pump up the "dysfunctional" volume. Let's give them a chance, shall we?

westello

Posted Tue, Dec 3, 9:33 a.m. Inappropriate

I don't get the "dysfunctional" label put on the school board, and I don't get what the Mayor has to do with them.

Just how is the School Board dysfunctional? Give us a short list of examples of this dysfunction. I would love to see such a list. I know how and why I think that the Board is dysfunctional. I think they are dysfunctional because they don't do their job of writing and enforcing policy, but I don't think those are Mr. Brewster's reasons. I would like to know Mr. Brewster's reasons for applying that label.

And just how are the schools any of the Mayor's problem? The Mayor has no role in the schools. None. Which is too bad because the School District's biggest challenge right now is finding space for all of the students. The city has approved lots of new residential space but has failed to collect any impact fees for the construction of schools in those new neighborhoods full of children. Thanks, City of Seattle!

If the Mayor really wants to help the schools he can deed them the space created on the reservoir lid at 75th and 12th for an elementary school, find space for a high in Interbay, and find space in the ongoing development in Lake City for an elementary school there.

I will say this for Mr. Brewster's weird view on the School Board, at least he makes it clear that the "reformers" are anti-teacher, since they are on one side and teachers (they are synonymous with their union) are on the other.

coolpapa

Posted Tue, Dec 3, 2:47 p.m. Inappropriate

In reviewing the comments it appears the readers are much more informed with the school issues than Mr. Brewster. Not a wisecrack - but maybe one of you folks could put an article up on CrossCut discussing some of these issues? Seriously - I think it would be a great perspective.

Treker

Posted Tue, Dec 3, 11:15 a.m. Inappropriate

Does Brewster just recycle the same old trite garbage every election? "...three disheartened “reformers” on the one side and the backlash faction of four members..." At first I thought he was referring to DeBell/Carr/Martin-Morris. What a shock! He's referring to newly-elected board member Stephan Blanford as disheartened! Gee, wish I'd known that before voting for him (the alternative was laughable). And the "backlash faction" whiffs of the "insurgent" label he smeared Peaslee and McLaren with 2 years ago.

Brewster is deliberately dense. He insults his readers if he thinks we don't recall his previous uninformed opinions. Try as I might, I cannot.

Barney

Posted Tue, Dec 3, 2:40 p.m. Inappropriate

Central Waterfront "Park?" How about 12 lanes of traffic going through that "park?" I am bitterly disappointed to be losing the viaduct to developers and the wealthy, who will now be the only ones to enjoy that fabulous view, but I take some small comfort that they'll be having 12 lanes of traffic as atmospheric music right outside their door. Before I learned about the coming waterfront highway I thought the plans for the "park" were absurd. Now I see that it will be as much a "park" as Westlake "Park," and will probably attract the same users, or it will be much, much less. Here's a link to The Stranger's story on this: http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2013/07/18/city-proposes-waterfront-highway-on-top-of-tunnel

mspat

Posted Sat, Dec 7, 1:08 a.m. Inappropriate

Anything that pisses off the "progressives" is fine by me. I'll see your 12 lanes and raise you two. Besides, what would a new "park" be if it wasn't another holding pen for addicts?

NotFan

Posted Wed, Dec 4, 7:38 a.m. Inappropriate

I didn't initially read David's by-line and was wondering who could so concisely encapsulate all these issues. Nice summary, David!

A number of commenters here write that things like schools and Boeing are beyond the Seattle mayor's ability to do something about, but he will be the leader of the biggest municipality in the region and the one at the center of everything. Lacking a strong metropolitan government, we will need leadership from him to do something about these.

Today it's up to cities and regions to make themselves strong, and education and economic development lie at the heart of that. Simply making the region more livable, at the neighborhood level, will help with that, but we still need our core institutions, like schools, to do a better job, and here in Washington State our school districts have been particularly resistant to change. Yes, there are good districts on the East Side, but with many Millennials preferring to live and work in the center city, we need our central city schools to be far more competitive, especially if we want the next generation of entrepreneurs to keep their companies here when they grow to the point of hiring more workers, especially those with families.

Most of these are livability and "housekeeping" issues, things like making sure the schools are good, electricity rates are reasonable and the police don't harrass an increasingly diverse population. Yes, it would be nice to have a fancy waterfront, but there's going to be little consensus for putting lots of money into that if the mayor doesn't first take care of the basics.

Posted Sun, Dec 8, 4:54 p.m. Inappropriate

Urban_Observer, check your glasses. Your observations are fuzzy.

"here in Washington State our school districts have been particularly resistant to change" What does this mean? More to the point, what does it mean in the context of Seattle Public Schools? Seattle has shown itself to embrace change. The District has created a large number of alternative schools with STEM programs, Montessori programs, language immersion programs, experiential learning and more. The District embraced a revolution in the student assignment policy. The District has a cutting edge agreement with the teachers' union that was out in front of the State law by two years. What change is Urban Observer not seeing?

"we need our central city schools to be far more competitive" They are. Seattle Public Schools beats the state averages on pass rates in nearly every grade and subject. The number of families leaving the district when their children reach school age has fallen dramatically. That's why our schools or overcrowded. How can Urban_Observer claims to care about these things but doesn't appear to know the facts. Amazon isn't leaving for the suburbs. Millennials and entrepreneurs are staying in Seattle - even when their children reach school age. And they want to enroll their children in Seattle Public Schools. That's why the DSA wants the District to open an elementary school downtown.

coolpapa

Posted Wed, Dec 4, 8:43 a.m. Inappropriate

Most of these are livability and "housekeeping" issues, things like making sure the schools are good,

If you think public education is a "housekeeping"issue, just one more thing on the checklist to do, you'd be wrong. If it were that easy, don't you think more districts and states would get it right?

westello

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