Rebutting his nightlife colleagues' endorsement of Ed Murray for mayor on Wednesday, Spitfire and Neumos bar owner Jerry Everard stood up for Mayor Mike McGinn's first-term nightlife agenda in an e-mail to KUOW, which was also shared with The Stranger.
I find Everard's statement worth posting because it's light on political platitudes and more focused on McGinn's progressive nightlife policies. That said, it begins with an insidery criticism of Dave Meinert, owner of the 5-Point Cafe among other things, for "attacks" on McGinn and John Roderick that I'm not familiar with, maybe because I'm chained to a meeting room. Here is Everard's letter, with Meinert's rebuttal after the jump:
Dave Meinert is my friend and fellow advocate. We have worked on many initiatives benefitting the music and nightlife communities together and we do not often disagree, but given his recent attacks on Mike McGinn and musicians such as John Roderick I feel compelled to make a few points.
Dave does not speak for the music community. It is Dave’s opinion (shared by a small percentage of my business partners) that Mayor McGinn has been an ineffective leader on music and nightlife issues. Dave’s opinion is not the opinion of the Music Community and he does not have the right to appoint himself as spokesperson.
As someone who has had to work in the trenches of the music business at the club/venue level for 20 years I need to remind everyone (and Dave in particular, as someone who has only owned nightlife businesses under this Mayor) that under McGinn’s administration, for the first time we are able to operate music venues with respect and without the constant threat and fear of being shut down by what has historically been an antagonistic and hostile city government.
Have we forgotten that the Mayor’s inaugural ball was at the Showbox and featured musicians performing hip hop? That would have been unthinkable pre-McGinn. Under the Mayor’s leadership the Music Commission was formed and venue owners developed a positive, collaborative relationship with the police which prior to that time was an extremely adversarial relationship to the detriment of public safety. Before the Mayor became our advocate in Olympia the Liquor Board was citing venues when a musician would have a drink on stage and then holding those citations over our heads as a threat to shut us down if we didn’t abide by the City enforcement team’s view of what types of music we should promote. McGinn got the Liquor Board to change that rule. Remember when we weren’t allowed to serve a drink outside unless the outside seating was connected to our businesses? Dave asked McGinn to help with that so he could have seating in Chief Seattle park and the Mayor successfully lead that fight.
Prior to Mayor McGinn taking office the established mentality at City Hall was that commerce after 8pm was not something that should be allowed to thrive. Under the Mayor’s leadership the City has come out of the dark ages and actively supported the expansion of our City’s economy during the “other” 12 hours of the day.
We started McGinn’s term with an 8 point plan and 7 of 8 were accomplished with his leadership. Pinning failure of what we all agreed was the most aggressive of the proposals (24 hour service) on McGinn is disingenuous. We got farther than we thought we would and I for one believe we would have succeeded but for the timing of that proposal with the sweeping changes at the LCB brought on by privatization and marijuana legalization.
Is the music community better off now than it was before McGinn took office? The answer is a resounding Hell Yes!! Dave is simply choosing to ignore the facts when he says that McGinn has not been a leader and a damn effective leader in supporting and promoting the music community. Different people in the community will support different candidates since they both support music and arts but it is wrong to bash Mayor McGinn after he has been our friend and advocate; I don’t believe the music community would do that or that it supports those attacks.
Owner of The Spitfire, majority owner of Neumos and long-time nightlife leader in Seattle
Okay! Here we go with Dave Meinert's response. Sorry for all the block quotes, but I didn't want to sacrifice content for readability.
1. I have never represented that I speak for the music community. No one does, as like every community, it exists with of a multitude of individual voices. In this and the last Mayoral race, there are people on both sides (some nightlife leaders supported Mallahan last time around) However, 19 nightlife/ music community leaders came together and did a joint endorsement for Ed Murray. I speak only for myself, and I think, if you look at the list of other endorsers, you'll see 18 other very successful, intelligent, independent people who would not want me speaking for them. Nor do they need me to.
2. The folks endorsing Murray stated clearly that we appreciate the good work that McGinn did for the music community. We are not attempting to trash McGinn. We simply believe we should support the best candidate for all of Seattle, and that candidate is Ed Murray.
3. I owned the Mirabeau Room with Jeff Steichen during the Nickels administration, and have booked and run venues, and worked with city and state government since 1992.
4. I never 'attacked' my good friend John Roderick, nor have even commented on him to anyone. John and I speak regularly and spoke just after we both did interviews on this topic. Jerry's statement is purely 100% false. I would never attack anyone for supporting a position or candidate different that mine. We should all be able to express our opinions, and still be friends. I certainly hope this campaign doesn't change that.
5. At least two liquor board members stated to me they did not pass the extended hours pilot because they did not believe the city was run well enough, especially the SPD. This was a direct critique of Mayor McGinn's inability to manage the city, and is a perfect example of why I feel we need a new Mayor.
6. While Mayor McGinn has done some good, in fact, great, things for the music community, he failed to support our efforts to change or get rid of the Opportunity to Dance tax. He also botched an historic chance to reform the SPD, and has failed to come out with a plan for the waterfront redevelopment, the largest capital project this city has ever taken on, and one that is important the long term future of Seattle. The Mayor and his staff knew I was concerned about these issues when he announced his bid for re-election. Nothing he has done since changes my opinion on them. Ed Murray is better on these issues.
The Mayor's response to a large number of high profile, active, music community leaders coming out to endorse his opponent is to try to make the music community look divided, and attack the people who endorsed his opponent. This in a nutshell is one of the the problems I have with the Mayor. His is truly divisive, and his campaign is mean spirited and dishonest. These tactics might make for a good activist, but they make for an ineffective government executive.
End of the day, Jerry and I are friends, and I respect the hell out of him. He even helped me purchase my home. His statement here attacking me personally is bullshit though. And full of factual errors. But hey, we all have to shit sometime. It's also proper to note that Jerry has not endorsed either candidate but JERRY HAS DONATED TO ED MURRAY'S CAMPAIGN FOR MAYOR.