Thursday Scan: McGinn pooh-poohs DOJ "shadow mayor" proposal

Mayor McGinn turns up his nose at the DOJ's proposed SPD monitor. Meanwhile, progressive funders are kicking Jay Inslee's campaign into high gear, charter school supporters are (apparently) Republican by default, and Nick Hanauer sparks TED Talks controversy.
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Mike McGinn addressing a Town Hall meeting at Nathan Hale High School in 2011

Mayor McGinn turns up his nose at the DOJ's proposed SPD monitor. Meanwhile, progressive funders are kicking Jay Inslee's campaign into high gear, charter school supporters are (apparently) Republican by default, and Nick Hanauer sparks TED Talks controversy.

"Shadow mayor" has the warm ring of something like "parole officer" or "court-appointed guardian." (And by definition, aren't lawmakers shadowy to begin with?) Mayor Mike McGinn has recast the Department of Justice's call for an outside monitor of the Seattle Police Department as a "shadow mayor," a clever use of political language that would resonate with the hoi polloi even more if he had said "shadow parent." Is the McGinn rhetoric just embellishment to foster anti-fed resentment?    

The Seattle Weekly's Nina Shapiro examines Cincinnati's experience with DOJ monitoring. She interviews its (real) mayor, Mark Mallory, and effectively upends McGinn's fear-Big Brother mantra. "The mayor is still the mayor. The chief is still the chief," Shapiro writes, quoting Mallory. "Mallory knows of what he speaks because Cincinnati had just such a DOJ-sanctioned monitor for six years after the feds investigated his city's police force and worked out a consent decree. While Mallory came to office several years into the process, missing its tense beginning in 2002, the mayor says he never observed the monitor trying to control police or city decisions on a day-to-day basis."  

Progressives are mobilizing (and collecting serious dough) to defeat Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna this fall. The Washington State Wire's Erik Smith has an illuminating piece on the political action committee, "Our Washington," which has collected $855,320 to benefit Democrat Jay Inslee (and/or to slam Rob McKenna, whatever works.) As Smith notes, it's a harbinger of an intense and probably nasty political season.

Who are Our Washington's underwriters?  "The coordinated effort includes $250,000 from the national Democratic Governors Association. Another $250,000 comes from the Washington Education Association, the state teacher’s union, which has endorsed Democrat Jay Inslee. The Service Employees International Union has put up $200,000. The trial lawyers’ Justice for All PAC has chipped in $100,000, and the Washington Federation of State Employees, $50,000," Smith writes.

No one likes litmus-test politics. For Washington Democrats, charter schools are a political third rail, although a few reformers within the party are pushing back. (State Democratic Party Chair Dwight Pelz says that charter schools are definitely not a disqualifier.) Picking up on a story that first appeared in the Washington State Wire, the Seattle Times' Joni Balter reviews the case of Democrat Guy Palumbo, who was told by the party chair of the 1st Legislative District, Nicholas Carlson, that his support for charter schools makes him a Republican. 

Balter quotes part of Carlson's email. "I cannot stress the importance of this enough — anybody who supports charter schools in the 1st Legislative District is a Republican, not a Democrat. This is an extremely sensitive issue to us because the Northshore School District, which dominates the legislative district, is one of the outstanding examples of public education in Washington. Only a Republican would want to destroy it. As far as we are concerned, your views are incompatible with the Democratic platform."

Anyone who has attended a showing of Late Nite Catechism knows that Catholic nuns can be intimidating souls. Insurrectionist nuns are so renegade and terrifying, in fact, that Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain has been commanded by the Vatican to ensure that the good sisters strictly adhere to church doctrine. It's a charge that has provoked pushback from Seattle-area Catholics, drawing protesters to St. James Cathedral.

Observing the protests, the's Joel Connelly writes, "With its guitars and folk songs, the St. James gathering evoked the era of the Second Vatican Council and Pope John XXIII, a half century ago, when the Catholic Church appeared to be opening itself to the modern world and embracing other faith traditions.  Future Seattle Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen was the youngest American prelate at Vatican II." 

Lastly, GeekWire's John Cook writes a fascinating post on local Nick Hanauer's TED talk regarding taxing the rich. Was it simply too controversial for TED to disseminate online? 

Link Summary

Seattle Weekly, "Cincinnati Insiders deflate notion of 'Shadow Mayor'"

Washington State Wire, "Progressive Coalition Going all out to beat McKenna--raises nearly $1 million" 

Seattle Times, "Can a Democrat support charter schools?",  "Strong Seattle support for U.S. nuns facing Vatican-ordered crackdown" 

GeekWire, "Too controversial: Why TED won't post Nick Hanauer's talk about taxing the rich"


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About the Authors & Contributors

Peter Jackson

Peter Jackson

Peter Jackson is the former editorial-page editor of the Everett Herald. Follow him on Twitter @phardinjackson