Clear Fog Blog

Political musings from Warren E. Peterson

Write-in for Seattle Mayor

Posted by Warren Peterson on August 30, 2009

It seems that the 38.45 percent of the electorate that bothered to cast a vote in the Seattle Mayor’s race just didn’t choose wisely. Voters were so fixated on which of the seven candidates would be selected to oppose Mayor Greg Nickels in the General Election that Nickels failed to make the Primary cut. A minor panic has resulted. Unions (public employee and construction) and businesses with close ties to Nickels (Paul Allen’s Vulcan) are rumored to be polling the chances for State Senator Ed Murray as a write-in candidate for mayor. Seattle Times columnist Joni Balter lent her support for Murray in an August 26th piece – “Sen. Ed Murray for mayor? Let’s hope so for Seattle’s sake”. Her thesis is that neither Mike McGinn nor Joe Mallahan has enough political experience or inside knowledge of how government operates to hit the road running. After all, Nickels had worked for then City Councilmember Norm Rice and spent “many years on the County Council” before winning his first of two terms as Mayor. She worries “about the somewhat scary prospect of a novice running City Hall.” Another concern is the City Council would fill a power vacuum resulting from a weak mayor. I wonder if she has similar concerns at the national level but I don’t want to bring up consistency just now.

Among Murray’s qualifications according to Balter are he’s a “Democrat”, helped “secure two gas tax increases” and he’s a “crusader for gay and lesbian rights.” That’s enough to make any Seattle liberal swoon. But you pretty much get all that with either a
Joe Mallahan or Mike McGinn but at least in the case of Mallahan, some real, live private business experience too. Seattle could use a dose of that. I didn’t support either of them in the Primary but of the two finalists, Mallahan is clearly the better choice. The problem with a Murray write-in is that it may well siphon enough votes away from Mallahan to give McGinn the winning plurality. McGinn is blindly anti roads and wants to reopen the Viaduct/tunnel wounds, positions that will ensure nothing gets done until “The Big One” drops the Viaduct in a heap of rubble along the waterfront. He supports the City taking over the Seattle Public Schools. The Seattle City Council already acts as an amateur utilities commission, adding the school system to their plate makes little sense.

We had a primary election. The voters chose Mallahan, in the face of a negative campaign by the unions against him, and McGinn to advance to the General Election. Pick one.


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