Clear Fog Blog

Political musings from Warren E. Peterson

Seattle Mayoral Candidates Debate

Posted by Warren Peterson on September 14, 2009

On September 10th, the Seattle Chamber of Commerce hosted a debate between the two candidates for Mayor of Seattle, Joe Mallahan and Mike McGinn. There were about 375 people in attendance and it was streamed on the net and shown on the Seattle Channel but beyond that, I suspect very few voters took the opportunity to watch it. Fortunately, it is still on the web. The whole debate lasts one hour and seventeen minutes including much too long introductory comments by the host and the moderator, which you can skip with no loss. Click here to view the debate.

On a question about jobs, both candidates seemed to say jobs are created by business but Seattle government should provide a competitive advantage that both supports current business and attracts new companies. McGinn talked about a city that works by fostering affordable housing, great (mass) transportation, great schools and investing in the future (fiber optic cable). Mallahan wants to move Seattle forward by creating an effective transportation system, good quality of life (public safety), efficient and effective management so we’d have the funds to pursue Seattle’s “progressive values” of “social justice and environmental stewardship.” They both supported developer-community agreements prior to launching a project to avoid contentious disputes but both also hinted that they favored a requirement for developers to use union labor as part of such agreements. McGinn favored a city takeover of schools. Mallahan felt the city had enough to do without adding responsibility for the school system They spared over the tunnel replacement for the Alaskan Way Viaduct with McGinn calling it a $930 billion dollar “tax increase” with the city being responsible for the inevitable cost overrun. Mallahan called McGinn’s opposition to the tunnel “disingenuous” saying we have spent eight years coming to stakeholder agreement on the tunnel solution and we need to get started for safety reasons as well as transportation improvement.

If all I had to go on was this debate, I’d say be prepared for His Honor Michael McGinn. If Joe Mallahan wants the “His Honor” title, he needs to quickly hone and sharpen his talking points, clearly define his differences with McGinn and demonstrate he understands the issues in depth.


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