James Keblas, a cofounder of the Vera Project who's been heading up the city's Office of Film + Music since way back in 2005, just sent out an e-mail this evening announcing that "Mayor Murray has decided to not reappoint me to the position." He goes on to say:

I have been working with Seattle's creative community since the early '90s and have never seen it better. While we have enjoyed success in the past, this time it feels more authentic. Forget "world-class." We are "Seattle-class." Thanks to the hard work of so many individuals and business leaders, I look forward to seeing this work continue.

While I am sad to leave the Film + Music Office, I feel very confident that the staff will continue to serve the film and music industries well, and execute the day-to-day work smoothly.

The mayor's office could not yet be reached for comment (UPDATE: See below); Murray is spending at least part of his night at a meet & greet event with youth at the Royal Room, organized by his youth outreach director Rahwa Habte. The mayor's likely to face some tough criticism over the choice to can a well-respected and well-connected staffer like Keblas. For example, since the news is out on Twitter:



Guess we'll find out what Murray has to say about his choice in the morning.

UPDATE 8:04 p.m.: And the mayor's office has responded with some interesting news: “I’m pleased to name Kate Becker to the position of director of the Office of Film + Music,” says Murray in a press release. Becker is quoted as saying she is "honored" and calling the position "a dream job," while Murray adds, "I want to thank James Keblas for his nine years of service to the city."

As you may be aware, Becker, like Keblas, is a longtime all-ages music activist, having founded all-ages venue the Old Firehouse in Redmond, helped defeat the Teen Dance Ordinance in the early '00s, and served on the board of the Vera Project—when Keblas left Vera to take this position with the city in 2005, Becker even came back to Seattle from LA to help with the transition process.

It's late, people. More info surely will come out in the morning. In the meantime, Keblas's full letter is below the jump, and I've added the mayor's press release after that for good measure. Good night, all!

UPDATE 8:31 p.m.: I know I said good night, but remember when I said the mayor would face "tough criticism" for dropping Keblas? Well, a Change.org petition to reinstate him has already been created and is making the rounds, being tweeted by the likes of Lynn Shelton. Hmmmm. (All right, really good night now!)

To all my friends and colleagues,

I am writing to inform you that Mayor Murray has decided to not reappoint me to the position of Director for Seattle's Office of Film + Music.

It has been an honor to serve this community. My goal has always been to make Seattle better by making it a great place to make a living making film and music. Over the past nine years we have moved well in this direction. Seattle has earned a reputation as a film friendly destination and most importantly, our local filmmakers are having success. Just this month Seattle was ranked the 5th best city to live and work as a moviemaker. By all of our economic measurements business is up, and the Commercialize Seattle campaign is established to continue this trend into the future.

Seattle is now the City of Music. From showcasing our local musicians at the airport, during Seahawks games, and at Chamber of Commerce events, our community has embraced its musical identity tighter than any of us ever thought possible. There are more live music venues thanks in part to the live music incentives and nightlife initiatives we implemented. The business of music is strong in our community with labels, radio, retail, management, and tech-companies that have broken the old models and made new ones.

I have been working with Seattle's creative community since the early '90s and have never seen it better. While we have enjoyed success in the past, this time it feels more authentic. Forget "world-class." We are "Seattle-class." Thanks to the hard work of so many individuals and business leaders, I look forward to seeing this work continue.

While I am sad to leave the Film + Music Office, I feel very confident that the staff will continue to serve the film and music industries well, and execute the day-to-day work smoothly.

I will be staying active in Seattle and I'm sure our paths will cross soon.

Sincerely,

James Keblas

FROM THE OFFICE OF THE MAYOR

Mayor Ed Murray names Kate Becker as Film + Music Office Director
Thanks James Keblas for nine years of service

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announced today that he is appointing Kate Becker as the new director for the city’s Film + Music Office.

“I’m pleased to name Kate Becker to the position of director of the Office of Film + Music,” said Murray. “Kate has strong industry relationships and a passion for music, nightlife and film in Seattle. I’m looking forward to the energy and creativity she brings to my leadership team.”

Becker has most recently served as a strategic advisor and code compliance team facilitator in the city’s Department of Finance and Administration, working on nightlife, marijuana and I-502 implementation policy since April, 2013.

“I am so honored to be appointed to this important position,” said Kate Becker. “It really is a dream job for me. I look forward to deepening my relationships with the film and music communities and working to advance those sectors in Seattle.”

Prior to joining the city, Becker served in leadership roles with the Seattle Theatre Group, Art Share LA in Los Angeles, and at the Vera Project. She also founded an all ages venue and teen center, The Old Fire House, in Redmond, WA and led that program from 1992-2003.

“I want to thank James Keblas for his nine years of service to the city,” said Murray. “During his tenure, the Office of Film + Music has had strong success at promoting Seattle as a place to make a living making film and making music, and the City of Music and Commercialize Seattle initiatives promote our robust music and film industry sectors.”

Becker has a Bachelor of Liberal Arts with a major in filmmaking from Hampshire College. She will start at the office on February 24.