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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Mayor's Office Mourns the Death of Someone Who, It Turns Out, Is "Alive and Well"

Posted by on Thu, Feb 27, 2014 at 4:31 PM

The weirdest press release of the day comes in two parts. Part one, at 3:53 p.m. today:

Mayor Murray mourns the loss of Jim Diers

SEATTLE (Feb. 27, 2014) – Seattle Mayor Ed Murray had the following statement today regarding the death of Jim Diers, former Seattle Department of Neighborhoods Director and community advocate:

“I’m very saddened by the death of Jim Diers. He was an innovator in bringing communities together and made a significant contribution to the foundation that makes Seattle special. His work with neighborhoods was passionate and progressive. His service to this city was unmeasurable. My thoughts go out to the Diers family. He will be missed.”

And part two, at 4:22 p.m.:


The Mayor’s office was mistakenly informed of the death of Jim Diers. He is alive and well.

How did this happen? I'll update this post as soon as I find out. In the meantime, congratulations on being alive, Mr. Diers.

UPDATE 5:26 p.m.: The mayor's office hasn't returned repeated requests for comment, but in the meantime, a message from Jim Diers himself on his Facebook page:

I'm getting inundated with messages asking if I am alive. Apparently, the mayor issued a press release mourning my death. I genuinely appreciate the mayor's concern, but I want to assure you that I am very much alive.

I returned from work in Ontario at 1:00 this morning, participated in a conference call at 6:00 a.m., gave a talk in Tacoma, and am now preparing to teach my class at the UW tonight. I'm dead tired today, but otherwise, I'm feeling great! Thanks, everyone, for your concern but I really don't have any time for death.

UPDATE 6:21 p.m.: Mayor Murray's communications director Jeff Reading, by way of explanation, politely states the obvious: "This office did not adequately confirm what was sent in the press release."

And this concludes tonight's hilarious episode of Press Release Schadenfreude. Tune in next week!


Comments (25) RSS

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roddy 1
I'm guessing someone confused him with Joe Dear, who, it seems, actually did pass away:…

With condolences to his family.
Posted by roddy on February 27, 2014 at 4:39 PM · Report this
So Diers... didn't?
Posted by moo on February 27, 2014 at 4:42 PM · Report this

Can they do anything w/out screwing up? They must feel really snakebit by now.
Posted by gnossos on February 27, 2014 at 4:56 PM · Report this
I'm waiting for part 3: "We apologize for the error, Pugel told us he'd died."
Posted by Hanoumatoi on February 27, 2014 at 5:00 PM · Report this
MacCrocodile 5
@4 - "Records left by the McGinn administration indicated that he was dead. The records have since been misplaced, probably by McGinn's people."
Posted by MacCrocodile on February 27, 2014 at 5:06 PM · Report this
@4 & 5: thanks! Comedy gold. this may not be such a bad 4 yrs after all...we'll at least have things to laugh about.
Posted by gnossos on February 27, 2014 at 5:07 PM · Report this
rob! 7
Can't stop laughing!
Posted by rob! on February 27, 2014 at 5:13 PM · Report this
Storbaker 8
Good thing he's paying his staff so much. What was that about paying for top notch professionals for Murray's office? I'm super glad City Council added so much money to the Mayor's budget after Murray won the election last November.
Posted by Storbaker on February 27, 2014 at 5:56 PM · Report this
Teslick 9
My biggest complaint about McGinn was his ham-fisted way of doing things, but really? Nobody could verify this information? Yikes.
Posted by Teslick on February 27, 2014 at 5:59 PM · Report this
DOUG. 10
Is this performance art? Is Andy Kaufman our mayor?
Posted by DOUG. on February 27, 2014 at 6:04 PM · Report this
Jim and Ed, close, man - like brothers. They will be missed.
Posted by Richard Wells on February 27, 2014 at 6:26 PM · Report this
Gern Blanston 12
Meanwhile, I can report with absolute certainty that Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead.
Posted by Gern Blanston on February 27, 2014 at 6:36 PM · Report this
raindrop 13
A delightful anecdote for Seattle's history.
Posted by raindrop on February 27, 2014 at 7:01 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 14

Just sometimes

It pays to take your time and make sure someone isn't pulling your leg before posting.

Like on page 1 of the SR-99 Broke Tunnel Report where it says "if we find a magic pile of money" that they can finish the tunnel late.

Before the Zombies get us, that is.
Posted by Will in Seattle on February 27, 2014 at 7:37 PM · Report this
seatackled 15
I'm really sad that the likelihood is fading that there will be a Friday press conference at 5:00 pm with the Mayor standing behind the death notice.
Posted by seatackled on February 27, 2014 at 7:46 PM · Report this
seatackled 16
Geez, wait a second. Did these people apologize at all? The passive voice correction just says that they were "mistakenly informed," and the other guy sure didn't apologize.
Posted by seatackled on February 27, 2014 at 7:51 PM · Report this
The Beady Eyes of Mayor Ed Murray 17
I'm the. You don't. Wait til I. These eyes are dry with flustration.
Posted by The Beady Eyes of Mayor Ed Murray on February 27, 2014 at 7:51 PM · Report this

Please, tell me you're joking and you don't actually think they could have really been so stupid as to have confused the two gentlemen? If so, I'll have to rank this as beyond cringe-worthy, probably somewhere close to face-palm territory.

But regardless, it does lead directly to the question @4&5 humorously pose: where IS this press release they claim as the source of the misinformation? A simple reading of that should solve the matter of which pooch got screwed and by whom once and for all. Unless of course, it too has mysteriously disappeared, in which case I'd politely suggest the Mayor immediately fire whomever in City Hall is in charge of documents retention, because they suck at their job.

If nothing else iit would be the first dismissal in Murray's administration to actually have a point to it...
Posted by COMTE on February 27, 2014 at 7:59 PM · Report this
sperifera 19
Posted by sperifera on February 27, 2014 at 8:01 PM · Report this
stonato 20
Many kingdoms throughout history would simply kill the subject of the condolences to bring reality in line with the press. I admire the His Honor and staff for presumably not considering that option.

Looking at the last few weeks, it does seem that some of the top notch professionals in Murray's office need to be replaced with different top notch professionals. That's simple enough, unless Murray is the problem. This is a minor gaffe when you look at a few other bold moves he's made. It's not like we don't have a massive volume of historical data on the gentleman (positive, negative and other.)
Posted by stonato on February 27, 2014 at 8:40 PM · Report this
seatackled 21
No, no firings. You get what you pay for, and top notch professionals deserve top dollar. These are individuals who have sacrificed opportunities in the private sector to work in public service, so they need to get raises. Let's contact the City Council now and ask them to add another million to the Mayor's budget.
Posted by seatackled on February 27, 2014 at 8:46 PM · Report this
Comte @18: per Seattle Times, they really for realz did confuse Jim Diers with Joe Dear.
Posted by gnossos on February 27, 2014 at 9:49 PM · Report this
Thanks for the belly laugh so early in the a.m. Hilarious! Wishing Diers a long life.
Posted by Patricia Kayden on February 28, 2014 at 4:38 AM · Report this
The mayor needs to fire the buffoon he took on as the neighborhoods outreach liaison in his office and hire Diers. That would be a suitable apology for all of us, and correct a mistake that dates back to Greg Nickels.
Posted by hmmmmm on February 28, 2014 at 7:29 AM · Report this
If Diers was a cop, Murray then send out another press release saying he has a 24-hour bug, and will be back to work tomorrow.
Posted by brucedene on February 28, 2014 at 8:40 AM · Report this

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