Hello to all you twilight Sloggers, you lurkers in the night! In just a few minutes, KING5 kicks off the first of three breathtaking teevee debates featuring our two favorite mayoral candidates—Mayor Mike McGinn and state senator Ed Murray. The debate, which airs at 7 p.m., actually took place earlier today (here's what Twitter had to say about it), but we here at The Stranger were too busy shouting at Sam Bellomio with mouths full of Sally Bagshaw's undercooked brownies to participate. So we'll be watching it "live" with you, a pitcher of margaritas, and several cow's worth of cheese, and leaving our drunken knee-jerk reactions in this here post. Old tymy style! Feel free to watch along and leave your comments in the, uh, comments.
Cienna: Only three minutes to go! Eeee!!! This is more exciting than a trip to the post office! Host Dennis Bounce [Bounds, apparently] is taking his job seriously, talking about picking a mayor like it's the decision of a lifetime. Personally, I don't expect a mayor to last longer than any of my marriages.
Okay, here's the format: One minute answers, minute and a half discussion, then the candidates get to challenge each other with questions, time limits enforced by Bounce [Bounds] and his Bouncing Battle Ax [and now this joke makes even less goddamn sense].
Dominic: Every time Murray calls McGinn "divisive," drink twelve shots.
Cienna: Every time Murray mentions "gay marriage" drink a gay shot (add glitter! If you run out of glitter, improvise with essence of lavender!)
Dominic: Murray opens with an attack on McGinn's efficacy, citing the problems with SPD and that the council refused to work with the mayor there were problems with the council and mayor the last four years.
Cienna: I see Murray's lips moving but I can't concentrate on his words. Who the fuck did his makeup? He looks like a tarted up marionette doll. Ed! I WILL DO YOUR MAKEUP FOR FREE! CALL ME!
Dominic: How much bronzer did the mayor put on? It looks like McGinn is made out of mahogany.
Cienna: Jim Brunner question on leadership: McGinn's clashed publicly with everyone and your dog, how the fuck can he be effective? McGinn has a smart answer—he asks tough questions and if he didn't, he'd be guilty of neglect. He says his style is taking tough issues head on.
Dominic: Jim Brunner at the Seattle Times begins with a scandalized question about politicians who didn't want to work with the mayor. Uh, Jim, way to open with a people-and-players question instead of something substantive! McGinn admits he "took tough issues head on" and acknowledges you gotta break a few eggs to make an omelet.
Cienna: Murray responds, "Taking tough, tough issues isn't one I'm unfamiliar with." Talks about women's choice, gay marriage (DRINK!), and talks about restoring cuts to education. Brunner presses Murray on King's alleged embezzlement and cuts n' shit.
Dominic: Brunner, to his credit, jumps in by pointing out that under Murray's leadership in the senate, money was embezzled from Dem coffers and that the GOP took over. Props.
Goldy: Jim Brunner seemed to be channeling me in asking his question about Ed's failure! And Ed refuses again to take personal responsibility.
Cienna: Murray looks pissed. Brunner hits him on failing to answer the question on education, punts on transportation. Murray counters by talking education: We committed to passing an ed reform bill right before the great recession hit, he says.
Dominic: Murray says, "I will take my share of the responsibility" for Dems losing control of senate after senate campaign money was embezzled. McGinn pounces. He points out that one key senate race in the senate was lost by 74 votes, a race that might have been won if the senate Dems didn't lose money—while Murray was asleep at the wheel.
Goldy: God… why can't Ed just say "the buck stops here"…? That's all he needs to do and the issue is done with.
Cienna: McGinn quickly counters that we're still ranked 43rd in the country in education.
Dominic: Linda Brill, from KING, is upset about McGinn vetoing a bill to fine aggressive panhandling and implies that McGinn is to blame for some people being nervous about panhandling downtown. "Which one of you is going to rid downtown of aggressive panhandlers" asks Brill. But Brill is being deceptive here. She's omitting the fact that aggressive begging is already a crime. The issues is not about passing new laws, but enforcing the laws we do have. McGinn says he's deployed more cops. Murray says we need to get out from under the consent decree to reform police, which is a total dodge.
Goldy: Murray also says that "perception" is an important part in how safe people feel in Seattle. Perhaps we'll all feel safer once he is elected mayor and stops campaigning on how unsafe we are?
Cienna: Someone asks a question about affordable housing but I got distracted by a text from an insider informing me n' dom that THE MAYOR REALLY IS THAT TAN—it's not a Hollywood makeup trick.
Dominic: Murray calls microhousing (aka aPodments) "part of the solution" for affordable housing. Hurrah!
Dominic: On creating more affordable housing, McGinn calls for more housing and more subsidized housing. He supports microhousing, while supporting letting idiot NIMBY fucks have more public comment.
Dominic: Dennis Bounds wonders if building stuff in a city will make it awful, like less trees and hills and mountains and lakes and streams. Are you painting a goddamn Bob Ross painting, Dennis? If you want a nature trek, leave town.
Cienna: Fuck, his name is "Bounds?" Ah, well. Slap my ass and crown me Queen of Margaritaville! Sorry for the mistake, Dennis! But have fun on your nature-hike death march to a more "natural" city!
Dominic: Dave Ross suggests that raising minimum wage will push business out of town. That was the same BS argument we heard against sick-leave. Since we approved sick leave, we've seen Seattle unemployment rate drop far, far below the state rate.
Dominic: Murray is worried this is becoming a debate over his time in legislature, not the mayor's race. Sorry, bro, but you can't run on your record in Olympia and run from your record in Olympia at the same time.
Cienna: I feel like all of these questions are written by agoraphobic shut-ins. Every time you feel the same way, take a drink! Now they are talking about catching up on the backlog of roads and bridge maintenance.
Goldy: McGinn and Murray bitterly agree on minimum wage and street vacations.
Goldy: Judging from the activity in our comment thread, nobody the fuck is interested in this debate.
Goldy: This Seattle mayoral debate is yet another reminder of why no Seattle mayor has ever gone on to higher office.
Cienna: Linda Brill asks about homelessness. Her hair looks great, btw. Very windswept and casual. McGinn talks about how encampments should be part of the solution, and how the city has backfilled state and fed cuts, injecting more money into shelters and DV support. I just can't wait until the 10-year plan to end homelessness is up and homelessness is solved. Murray talks about meeting a victim of domestic violence that one time.
Cienna: Oooh! Now the candidates get to ask each other questions! "Tell us how you've brought government closer to the people," asks McGinn of Murray. "Sure, where do I begin?" Murray answers, talks about his forever record in Olympia and talking to people. Man, the dislike between these two is palpable.
Goldy: Ooh! McGinn uses Viaduct cost-overun controversy to accuse Murray of being divisive! How divisive of McGinn!
Dominic: Murray wants to know how we can trust Mayor McGinn, who said he wouldn't oppose deep-bore tunnel, which McGinn did oppose, and said guns from buyback would be melted down for a plaque, not rebar. McGinn says never intended to mislead anyone on gun buyback. Future guns from buybacks will be used for proper meltdowns. McGinn pushes back on tunnel. Murray claims he opposes the law that says Seattle must pay cost overruns on tunnel (which he voted for, is already behind schedule, and lacks millions in funding) and says he'd fight the law as mayor. (But, you know, he couldn't do anything when he sponsored the bill that authorized the $4.2 billion project.)
Cienna: McGinn talks about how the governor is now gone and doesn't have to deal with the consequences of cost overruns, should the occur, and how we're at the legislature's mercy. McGinn then smartly pivots and points out that Murray assured us that we wouldn't be on the hook for overruns... before voting in Olympia to put Seattle on the hook for those overruns.
Cienna: Murray whines that it wasn't his provision in the bill that put Seattle on the hook for cost overruns, before admitting when pressed that he voted for it. Is it me or is Murray absolutely terrible at owning his decisions? Fucking own it, dude. You voted for it, don't whine about someone pointing that vote out.
Goldy: If you're choosing a mayor by which candidate is most capable of forcing a smile onto his face, Mayor McGrin wins by a long shot.
Cienna: If you're choosing a mayor based on who can go the longest without blinking, I think Murray wins with the year 1985.
Dominic: It's pretty clear that Ed Murray is running to be the 10th member of the city council, not the mayor.
Cienna: We're still talking about keeping Seattle from cost overruns, which brings us this gem from McGinn: "I'd like Senator Murray to stay in Olympia and make that happen—because he sure couldn't get it done before. Maybe he needs a couple more years." Zing!
Goldy: Murray says, "Having passed the largest transportation package in state history… I think I know how to get transportation done." Great. Except that transportation package had almost no transit in it.
Dominic: Murray says McGinn put a transportation package on the ballot that failed. Actually, the $60 car-tab package was proposed by the mayor, tweaked heavily by the council. The council put their version on the ballot, and that's what failed. The mayor's was no better, IMO, but Murray's attack is wrong.
Dominic: McGinn says he took a zillion years to reach agreement for SPD reform because he wanted to bring community groups to the table. That rings hollow. There was plenty of time to bring them to the table early, not wait till the 11th hour.
Cienna: They're talking police reform now. Murray is endorsed by the conservative police union, SPOG, and its resident mustache, Rich O'Neill.
Goldy: Murray says, "I've spent some time with the US Attorney's Office…" Translation: "I had drinks with Jenny."
Cienna: McGinn says what's awful is that we had police brutality for 20 years and did nothing It should take that long to fix this problem (not simply drinks with Jenny).
Goldy: McGinn says, "I've heard Senator Mayor say it's embarrassing we have a consent decree." Well, it wouldn't be so embarrassing if Dom was constantly embarrassing SPD officers by bringing it up.
Dominic: This is some serious bullshit right here: Murray claims he'd get the SPD out of a consent decree under the five-year timeframe by hiring a consultant from the Obama administration. He seems to miss something obvious: We're not trying to beat the clock, to pick the lock of some algorithm in the consent decree, or trying to find some way to cheat on the test. We don't want to charm Obama into letting us off the hook. THE CONSENT DECREE IS A WONDERFUL TOOL TO IMPOSE REFORM ON A RELUCTANT POLICE DEPARTMENT. Murray doesn't get it. We should take every opportunity to wield the federal pressure to mandate reform from the foot-draggers in the department and force our racist, abusive police union into complying with a new policing culture. McGinn is correct: He says we need to "take the time to get it right."
Cienna: They're talking about how parking rates supposedly hurt small businesses now. Murray talks about how he's talked to small business owners and things need to change. McGinn is so eloquently catty that it gives me shivers. He says, "Sounds like Senator Murray has the same solution to multiple problems: Something's wrong, I'll take a look and fix it but not tell you how."
Cienna: They're on closing statements now. Neither is particularly impressive.
Goldy: Murray stands to give closing statement. Would have been a nicer touch if he had then proceeded to actually look at the camera.
Goldy: You can gauge the public interest in this debate by the hypnosis commercial that immediately followed it.
Cienna: Has anyone ever told you that you should run for office, Goldy? Because you totally should. And when you do, I volunteer to paint on your eyebrows. I'll make 'em real patriotic.
Dominic: Well, that was... something. In the end, Murray had a good show simply by not losing his shit or saying something paranoid. Murray's best attack was against McGinn's handling of the SPD. Which it should be. And Murray drove it home, even if his argument actually showed more naivete about the problems with the SPD—he doesn't realize the settlement is actually an asset—than shed any light on solutions. But McGinn was right to smack Murray for losing control of Olympia, the Dems losing money and races under Murray's watch, and the Dems failing to do any of the education-funding, tax-equalizing stuff Dems ostensibly stand for. Those hits made sense. After all, Murray can't run on his legislative record and run from his failures at the time time. It was an even match.
Cienna: I mildly disagree that Murray had a good showing here. Those eyebrows, combined with his inability to blink—as if blinking were a weakness—and his lack of personality make even his good points seem vaguely shifty and combative. I often leave an interaction with Murray feeling like he's trying to sell me an autographed Bible out of the trunk of his car.
And on that note, thanks for watching, folks! And have a wonderful night!