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Mayor Murray Hires Kate Joncas, “Highly Influential” Downtown Business Advocate, As Deputy Mayor
by Ansel Herz
on Wed, Jun 11, 2014 at 11:28 AM
MAYOR MURRAY AND DEPUTY MAYOR KATE JONCAS Their heads—they're perfectly aligned!
Calling her a longtime collaborator going back twenty years, Mayor Ed Murray appointed Downtown Seattle Association CEO Kate Joncas as deputy mayor today, replacing Andrea Riniker, a temporary appointment. "Hopefully it sends a message that we recognize the value that business brings," Murray told reporters. As the head of the DSA, Joncas represented hundreds of downtown businesses, including some of the wealthiest interests in the city.
She has a history of delivering results, Murray said, which incidentally is why we named Joncas one of the smartest people in Seattle politics last year. During election season, the DSA raised a hue and cry about an escalating crisis of downtown crime. There wasn't one, but the DSA's campaign resulted in a new public safety initiative called City Center—a testament to her ability, as Murray described it, to be "highly influential."
In 2010, Joncas' influence ran up against the forces of humanity and reason on the issue of so-called "aggressive panhandling." Joncas strongly backed a measure which would have singled out the poor for criminalization, contrary to the recommendations of the city's human rights commission. Then she pushed unsuccessfully for a city council override of then-mayor Mike McGinn's veto.
What will she do as deputy mayor? She didn't name any big priorities, other than improving collaboration and communication between city agencies—a task she'll be well qualified to take on. During the press conference announcing her hiring, veteran journalist Joel Connelly joked that there isn't a committee or task force around on which Joncas hasn't served. The mic caught Murray leaning over and asking whether she'd served on his controversial minimum wage committee. "No, thank god!" she exclaimed.
After this year's May Day, Joncas complained that the city spent "millions of dollars" to police the unpermitted anarchist march that wound around the city for hours. "I would have put that money on youth employment this summer," she said. Maybe she should jump on that, given the string of youth murders over the past few months.
Her annual salary will be $170,000, up more than $40,000 from her predecessor in the McGinn administration.