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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

McGinn Brings Out His Base as He Launches Bid for Reelection

Posted by on Wed, Jan 9, 2013 at 5:05 PM

Surprise! Mayor Mike McGinn is running for reelection!
  • Goldy | The Stranger
  • Surprise! Mayor Mike McGinn is running for reelection!

In what can safely be described as one of the least surprising news conferences of the year, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn announced today that he will run for reelection. I mean, it's not like it was a secret or anything.

Still, an enthusiastic crowd of supporters and a gaggle of reporters packed into a small, hot room at the Filipino Community Center to hear McGinn tell them what he'd already told Dom: "I'm here to announce I'm running for reelection for mayor!" Cue the applause.

Of course, there's never much news at "news conferences" like this, but there was certainly a lot of color, demonstrating the strong support that McGinn still maintains in many of Seattle's minority communities. Campaign co-chair and El Centro De La Raza executive director Estela Ortega emceed the event, describing McGinn as "the first mayor who has come into communities of color and asked us what our needs are." Take that, Norm Rice.

For a city with a reputation for being one of the whitest in America, you certainly wouldn't know it from the folks in the room. McGinn won big in 2009 within the immigrant and minority communities of Southeast Seattle, and he may have to run even stronger here to have a hope of winning reelection. It's a base that none of his challengers (so far) can lay claim to, one that consultants and pundits ignore at their peril when handicapping this race.

When McGinn finally took the podium from his co-chairs he launched into a recitation of his accomplishments as mayor, a list that some people might find surprisingly long. Yeah, I know, McGinn's administration has supposedly been a "disaster." That's the narrative his opponents take for granted. But actually, Seattle has done quite well during his tenure.

While the county and state (and much of the rest of the nation) are still struggling to make ends meet, McGinn has consistently balanced the city budget without major cuts to social or other services, and without the bitter political wrangling we're accustomed to seeing elsewhere. Seattle is even on target to rebuilding its rainy day fund to pre-Great Recession levels. Not bad. And during McGinn's term in office, home prices, employment, manufacturing, and tax revenues have all increased faster than the national average.

Not exactly a disaster.

Sure, McGinn failed to block the tunnel, but he surrendered graciously once the people spoke at the polls. And it's certainly fair to criticize McGinn for failing to adequately address the cultural and management problems at SPD. There were also a handful of early initiatives (seawall and transit come to mind) that the council swiftly killed.

But after a year or so McGinn seemed to learn the ropes, and his accomplishments since then have been many, including a doubling of the Families and Education Levy, passage of Seawall and Library levies, and his shepherding of the Sodo arena deal that now looks likely to bring the Sonics back to Seattle for the 2013-2014 season. Add in the sick-leave ordinance, the mayor's veto of aggressive panhandling legislation, and successful starts to his school attendance and broadband initiatives, and McGinn starts to look quite accomplished.

As for the future, McGinn laid out a handful of priorities for his second term, including finding a Seattle-funded source (separate from Sound Transit) for investing in a transit infrastructure, and an initiative near and dear to my heart: A new early learning initiative aimed at gradually implementing universal access to high-quality preschool for all of Seattle's children. If the state as a whole won't fund this obvious reform, we should do it ourselves, I figure. And apparently the mayor agrees.

I know the conventional wisdom is that McGinn is "embattled," and that the odds are against him winning reelection. But at today's news conference he didn't have the feel of a politician who was beat.

McGinn won in 2009 not on the basis of his ideas—voters ultimately rejected his trademark issue—but because he was the only candidate to run with the support of an actual grassroots base. And judging from the people who packed the room today, that base is largely intact.

 

Comments (23) RSS

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28
@14 "He didn't just "fail to address" the culture at SPD - he passed on an opportunity to name a reformer to the chief position"

And this can't be chalked up to "newness" or stupidity. McGinn had the guidance he needed to bring in a reformer, he simply chose to ignore it because he's the smartest person in the room.
Posted by davkanist on January 10, 2013 at 9:58 AM · Report this
Original Andrew 27
@ 26,

Dan Savage is gonna keep his day job--but I hear Ed Murray is available!
Posted by Original Andrew on January 10, 2013 at 7:32 AM · Report this
seandr 26
People, this race is over.

Of the serious candidates, Burgess is way too bald and beady-eyed. Steinbrueck's ship sailed in 2009. Seattle is done with boring and pasty.

Our next mayor will be gay, Irish, Catholic, temperamental, and sometimes drunk. And he'll get shit done.
Posted by seandr on January 10, 2013 at 12:53 AM · Report this
seandr 25
@6: If he makes it through the low-turnout primary, he'll probably win re-election.

You can't be serious. McGinn won't even reach double digits in the primary, and if every other candidate suddenly died, Joe Mallahan would enter the race and beat him by a landslide.

@23: McGinn definitely started off stumbling, but he has grown into the role.

The first part is definitely right. Any improvement since then can be attributed to the fact that he's locked himself in his office and is afraid to come out.
Posted by seandr on January 10, 2013 at 12:30 AM · Report this
seandr 24
Who's Mike McGinn?
Posted by seandr on January 10, 2013 at 12:12 AM · Report this
Matthew 'Anc' Johnson 23
Posted this in the comments to Dom's piece, but works here as well.

McGinn definitely started off stumbling, but he has grown into the role.

I think a big issue is going to be how well The Powers That Be can keep the complete and utter fiasco that is the deep bore tunnel under wraps.

Who in the media is talking about how pretty much everything the Mayor said would happen: tolling will be SIGNIFICANTLY less than expected, already slashed from $400 million to $200 million; diversion rates are SIGNIFICANTLY higher, the legislature doesn't look to be in the mood to take Seattle off the hook (see our friends over in Bellevue putting 'retain cost overruns provision' in the legislative agenda for their delegation)...

Is the big money powerful enough, does the Seattle Times hate him enough that they squash all this until after the election?
Posted by Matthew 'Anc' Johnson on January 9, 2013 at 11:38 PM · Report this
22
Didn't McGinn kickoff his campaign last summer? I thought that's what the Stranger reported.

http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archive…

Posted by notsojadedinseattle on January 9, 2013 at 11:18 PM · Report this
Hernandez 21
@14 - No shit.

Given the magnitude of the SPD's misconduct, and who that conduct has affected the most, it's remarkably similar to the way poor evangelicals consistently vote Republican against their actual interests. It's mistaking platitudes and lip service for real concern and positive action. Holding photo ops with Seattle's minority communities while supporting a police force that's brutalized those same communities to the extent that the DOJ had to get involved. Yeesh.
Posted by Hernandez http://hernandezlist.blogspot.com on January 9, 2013 at 11:06 PM · Report this
20
I know it's difficult to admit it when you've backed a stinker, Strangerfolk, but you need to cut this dried up turd out of your asshairs and move on.
Posted by dak7e on January 9, 2013 at 10:36 PM · Report this
18
and fucking goldy here.

dude, how the fuck does some dude off the street talk to you yesterday (or cienna) about the corruption behind megan's new basketball team coming here, and then calls you all out, and then less than 12 hours later seattle gets a new basketball team?

its because the role is vital, dude.

"The whole world is getting in the game..."

reference:

http://www.uschamber.com/ads/congress-do…
Posted by tim koch on January 9, 2013 at 8:39 PM · Report this
17
I am curious about why Doug is so impressed.
Posted by howie in seattle on January 9, 2013 at 8:36 PM · Report this
kk in seattle 16
One of the most horrid mayors ever. He doesn't stand a chance. Goldy, were you drunk when you wrote this post?

While the county and state (and much of the rest of the nation) are still struggling to make ends meet, McGinn has consistently balanced the city budget without major cuts to social or other services, and without the bitter political wrangling we're accustomed to seeing elsewhere. Seattle is even on target to rebuilding its rainy day fund to pre-Great Recession levels. Not bad. And during McGinn's term in office, home prices, employment, manufacturing, and tax revenues have all increased faster than the national average.


Name a single thing that even one McGinn policy had to do with any of those outcomes. Well, he taxed the holy living shit out of us. True. We vote for taxes. That's why our government is not on the ropes. So I guess if you want to say McGinn has the balls to tax the hell out of us during a recession, then, you're right, he's way better than Dow Constantine, who actually, you know, worries about whether the low-income residents of King County can afford to live here. Seattle has the highest water rates in the nation, bar none. How helpful are higher taxes and utility rates to the poor in Southeast Seattle?

Broadband initiative? What a fucking joke. What broadband? He's had three years, all we got was a failed pilot program now mercifully killed off.

If you've ever had to actually deal with the Mayor, you know what a whiny, arrogant shithead he is, utterly unreceptive to any view other than his own stale, preconceived dogma.

He feuds with the Council, feuds with the City Attorney, is despised in Olympia, is sued by the Justice Department and is apparently without friends in the other Washington--doesn't this tell you something?

Is there a single senior staffer or department head in this administration that stands out for excellence (or, if he or she did, the mayor would have the confidence and grace to acknowledge)?

A dead possum could run on this record.

As for the future? If this complete bankrupt of a politician manages to make it through the primary, I'll be writing in dead possum before I'd vote for him.
More...
Posted by kk in seattle on January 9, 2013 at 8:32 PM · Report this
JonnoN 15
Not voting for McGinn as long as Diaz is still around.
Posted by JonnoN http://www.backnine.org/ on January 9, 2013 at 8:11 PM · Report this
14
He didn't just "fail to address" the culture at SPD - he passed on an opportunity to name a reformer to the chief position and has doubled down and defended them and the officer's guild during every effort at reform. He absolutely owns this issue and it's baffling that he still has support from minority groups that continue to see a disproportionate amount of use of force.
Posted by Hutch on January 9, 2013 at 7:53 PM · Report this
12
It's been fun to beat on McGinn, including here in The Stranger, but while he's seemed too meekly weak too many times (and he was following Greg Nickels), I still think his goals and priorities have been solid, so he has my vote as of today.
Posted by floater on January 9, 2013 at 6:46 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 11
I guess I'm not so much for McGinn as against Seattle's white bloc.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn http://youtu.be/zu-akdyxpUc on January 9, 2013 at 6:32 PM · Report this
raku 10
He really has to do something big about SPD before people start donating...
Posted by raku on January 9, 2013 at 6:12 PM · Report this
9
tim keck, dan savage, and the stranger staff are a front for the right-wing national chamber of commerce don't believe anything these people tell you.

(i had to post that again so i shows up right..)
Posted by tim koch on January 9, 2013 at 6:06 PM · Report this
6
I agree with Doug. If he makes it through the low-turnout primary, he'll probably win re-election. But getting through that primary is going to be hard. To get through the primary he has to fight off the old suburban "independents" in Green Lake and Wallingford who actually vote in primaries and complain how hard it is to drive into downtown now with all those bike lanes.
Posted by Lack Thereof on January 9, 2013 at 5:43 PM · Report this
DOUG. 5
I've lived in Seattle for 20 years, and McGinn is the best mayor the city has had during that time. He deserves four more years.
Posted by DOUG. http://www.dougsvotersguide.com on January 9, 2013 at 5:39 PM · Report this
4
He's a better politician than a manager or community leader.
Posted by howie in seattle on January 9, 2013 at 5:28 PM · Report this
3
Bet ya 20 bucks he doesn't make it out of the primaries due to his blind support of the SPD.

I mean we ditched Nickels -- an infinitely more experienced politician -- over snow plows.
Posted by Swearengen on January 9, 2013 at 5:26 PM · Report this
Teslick 2
Ya, and an arenaful of people for Ron Paul didn't make him the nominee, much less the President.

There is a reason why so many viable candidates are in this race already.
Posted by Teslick on January 9, 2013 at 5:22 PM · Report this

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