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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Mayor Ed Murray's State of the City Speech

Posted by on Tue, Feb 18, 2014 at 4:37 PM

The state of our city is—well, he didn't actually say. Today's "State of the City" speech by the mayor to the full city council was an overview of some political jibber-jabber ("stakeholders," "summits," etc.), some Olympia jokes, and a couple of really great promises, though pretty qualified ones. It opened heavily focused on social justice and affordability, talked about climate change, and acknowledged some of the frankly embarrassing racial disparities in education and homeownership that force us to look at structural racism if we want to really work on the city's affordability and accessibility for all.

Some of his commitments (a link to the full text is at the end, after the jump):

• Citing the fact that "every year since 2000, the top 20 percent of income earners in Seattle have brought home more than the bottom 80 percent combined," he said he's "committed to a process to raise the minimum wage in this city, and have set $15 per hour as the goal." Committed to process! That's our mayor.

• "I am committed to making affordable preschool available to all children in Seattle before they reach elementary school—and I am working closely with Council President Burgess to develop a strategy to make this a reality this year." (You're welcome, Goldy.)

• He said the city's goal should be 75 percent of commuters walking, biking, using transit, or carpooling to work. Currently, he noted, we're one of five US cities where under 50 percent of commuters use single-occupancy vehicles. Bike share—coming soon!—and streetcars are two examples, he said, of what the city can do in the very near future to achieve that goal.

• Calling the city's Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs "understaffed and underfunded," he said he'd send a proposal to better fund the office to council soon and ask them to act quickly on it.

• He announced that his administration will issue a "comprehensive, citywide environmental performance report card—not just of government operations, but of the city as a whole," releasing a report on the city's progress and on goals this Earth Day.

• He'll be convening a neighborhood summit on April 5.

• He plans to work with Council Members Sally Bagshaw and Jean Godden to present a funding measure, this August, to create a "sustainable funding source" for the city's park system.

A bit of the reaction on Twitter:

And the best moment? When Sam Bellomio got up to speak in the post-speech public comment period, and complained that people clapped too much and that the people Murray was honoring in his speech stood when he asked them to. It culminated in possibly the best trolling I've ever heard Bellomio commit:

"How many times did he say 'Please stand up?' We have a real Slim Shady here!" God bless you, IRL troll.

If you want to watch the speech yourself (NERD!), video is here. If you want to read the whole thing, you can find a PDF of it right here.


Comments (16) RSS

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The Establishment 1
No discussion about creating a municipal broadband utility?
Posted by The Establishment on February 18, 2014 at 5:44 PM · Report this
@1 you totally beat me to my question. thanks for bringing it up.
Posted by I Got Nuthin' on February 18, 2014 at 5:51 PM · Report this
Also nothing about new mass transit beyond the one streetcar connector. We need dedicated funding to give to Sound Transit, so they can expand the reach of ST3 in 2016.
Posted by kpt on February 18, 2014 at 6:09 PM · Report this
No one commutes via streetcar.
Posted by DOUG. on February 18, 2014 at 8:34 PM · Report this
Matt the Engineer 5
Damn. Erica with the Ellsworth Toohey jab.
Posted by Matt the Engineer on February 18, 2014 at 9:00 PM · Report this
OMG, Murray mentioned bikeshares publicly. Maybe he's becoming McGinn.

@1, no municipal broadband talk, just survey talk. Speaking of surveys, don't forget to weigh in on Comcast (for video service, because apparently they can't franchise agree on internet or something).…

from pg 18
Broadband and technology
Part of making Seattle vibrant, affordable and connected is looking at how Seattlites connect to the internet. This spring, the City is releasing its first Information Technology Indicators Survey in four years which will give the city hard data on how residents currently use the internet and mobile devices across the City.
While we know that while it will show Seattle is a connected city, unfortunately we also know that it will also show that across the city there are disparities in connectivity. We will use this data to inform our policy decisions and set priorities
Posted by ChefJoe on February 18, 2014 at 9:33 PM · Report this
Why didn't he talk to some of his recently-former colleagues in the Legislature about giving King County the right to stave off the transit cuts? Assuming he wants more transit riders, that is.
Posted by sarah70 on February 18, 2014 at 11:09 PM · Report this
Ditto DOUG.

Also, the non-SOV work-commute modeshare about which Seattle politicians love to pat themselves on the back refers only to those who work downtown.

Taken as a whole, the commute-trip non-SOV modeshare for all residents of Seattle proper hovers in the teens, which is not cause to get especially excited.
Posted by d.p. on February 19, 2014 at 1:40 AM · Report this
Will in Seattle 9
I am ashamed of the continuing War on Flying Cars by this mayor ...
Posted by Will in Seattle on February 19, 2014 at 9:25 AM · Report this
Matt the Engineer 10
@8 "non-SOV modeshare for all residents of Seattle proper hovers" at 46.8% (ok, 41.1% if you ignore "worked at home"). That's pretty far out of the teens.
Posted by Matt the Engineer on February 19, 2014 at 11:37 AM · Report this
Sorry, @10. Late-night mistype.

I meant to say that work-commute transit use for all Seattle residents hovers in the teens. Which is accurate, and unimpressive for a city that wants to view itself as non-car-centric, but which is unsurprising when we have a nearly 90% rate of car ownership and a transit system that sucks for getting anywhere but downtown.

As for the other categories: The walking and biking ("other means") percentages seem about right to me, but that self-reported 10% carpool rate looks like bullshit. Maybe once-per-week carpoolers. Maybe.

Regardless, the mayor claimed we're "one of five US cities where under 50 percent of commuters use single-occupancy vehicles." That's a lie -- 53.2% do (higher if you ignore those who work from home), by its own most flattering statistics. Downtown does not a city make.
Posted by d.p. on February 19, 2014 at 1:07 PM · Report this
Matt the Engineer 12
My point is that *it's a lie - his number is off 300%* and *it's a lie - his number is off by a factor of 6%* are pretty different things.

Anyway, late-night mistype forgiven.

Oh, and I at least kind-of believe the 10% carpool number. Couples commonly carpool, as do parents and children (and with Seattle schools' recently-dead open enrollment system, commutes to school were often across town).
Posted by Matt the Engineer on February 19, 2014 at 1:58 PM · Report this
Matt the Engineer 13
(remove "a factor of")
Posted by Matt the Engineer on February 19, 2014 at 1:59 PM · Report this
I don't think dropping your kids off at school and then driving alone the rest of your way counts as "carpooling". And if it does, it probably shouldn't.

Murray made a clear statement about what a majority of commuters do. And, as usual, that statement was derived from a statistic about those who work downtown (regardless of point of origin), and ignorant of all other trips being taken within city limits or by city residents. That makes both his wording and his back-patting false.

Downtown-centricity is a problem if you desire to stitch together a functioning urban area. Real cities do more than shuttle between downtown towers and living room sofas.
Posted by d.p. on February 19, 2014 at 3:01 PM · Report this
Matt the Engineer 15
Meh. If his largest flaw is being downtown-centric I'm ok with that. I'm more afraid of much, much larger flaws such as not knowing Seattle politics at all, not caring, and using the mayor position as a step to get to a higher office. Not that I know he has these flaws, but I am certainly afraid he does.
Posted by Matt the Engineer on February 19, 2014 at 8:52 PM · Report this
@ d.p. - the most recent 1-ACS data estimates 49.2% of workers commute alone by car, which was quickly spun into the exciting factoid that Seattle was joining the elite rank of four cities where SOV commuting is <50%. What got lost is that the MOE is +/-1.7%. And that in the other four cities (Boston, DC, NYC, & SF) well under 40% of people commute alone by car.
Posted by northquirk on February 20, 2014 at 9:34 AM · Report this

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