Sunday, April 23, 2017

Mayor Murray and His Record

The mayoral race is picking up steam with the addition of activist Cary Moon to the major candidate group including Mayor Murray, former mayor Mike McGinn, activist Nikkita Oliver.  As for the Mayor's legal problems, I'm sure we will all learn more as the court case goes on but his record is what voters should really look at.

To that end, a guest column from parent/activist Carolyn Leith (SPS parent of two students). 
On November 2, 2015, one day before the general election, Mayor Ed Murray held a press conference on the steps of Olympic View Elementary to promote The Levy to Move Seattle.

Students wore their orange safety patrol vests, parents applauded enthusiastically, and the Mayor promised that a YES vote would mean sidewalks, always promised by the City - but never delivered, would finally be built on 8th Ave. NE.
Here’s what ​Q13 reported​ that day:
Outside of Olympic View Elementary on Monday afternoon, the mayor said the lack of sidewalks in the neighborhood is one reason voters should approve Proposition 1, known as the “Let’s Move Seattle” transportation levy.

"This is one of many Seattle neighborhoods that lack basic infrastructure like sidewalks," said Mayor Murray.

At a cost of $930 million, the levy would replace the Bridging the Gap levy that expires at the end of 2015. The plan seeks to repave 180 miles of arterial streets, reinforce bridges and add new bike lanes and sidewalks. It would be paid for with a property tax that would cost homeowners $275 dollars a year on a $450,000 home, which is $145 more than they pay now.

"Ultimately, I'm giving you my word we are going to deliver these projects on time and on budget," Murray said.
The next day, The Levy to Move Seattle ​won big​. YES earned 58.67% of the total vote, NO just 41.33%. Mayor Murray’s last minute push for support seemed to have eased concerns raised by the opposition group, Keep Seattle Affordable. Many levy supporters were worried efforts made by this and other opposition groups, would sour voter enthusiasm for the levy in North Seattle.
So, Where are the Sidewalks?
Given such a high profile promise from Mayor Murray, it would be reasonable to expect Olympic View’s sidewalk problem to be at the top of the list of projects funded by the levy.

Amazingly, that’s not the case. Of the ​29 44 projects planned​ for the first five years of the nine-year long Move Seattle Levy, Olympic View Elementary didn’t make the list - at all.

I have a big problem with the Mayor or any other public official making a promise to a school community during a campaign and then forgetting about it once the election is over. I’m guessing many parents probably feel the same way.

I also understand there are many schools in our district in desperate need of sidewalks and other safety improvements. Olympic View is far from alone on this issue.

However, at this point, sidewalks are really a side issue. My concern is trust and accountability. If simple campaign promises can be ignored without consequence, how will that play out with our elected officials ever growing desire for even more say and control over how our public schools operate.

When Mayor Murray uses a school community, like Olympic View Elementary, as prop to further a short term political goal, I believe the Mayor needs to be held accountable for this type of pandering. In addition, when Mayor Murray makes a huge public promise to any school in our district, I expect him to keep it.
end of guest thread

I want to add my own story which is about the high-profile "Education Summit" that occurred in the spring of 2016 at Garfield High School.  During his remarks, Mayor Murray said this (bold mine):

In addition, the homelessness crisis that is gripping this city and this nation is also affecting Seattle Public Schools, where over 2,900 students are homeless. Half of whom are African American, compared to a city population of 8 percent. And a quarter of whom are Latino, compared to a city population of 7 percent.

And in the last year alone, on any given night, there were at least 66 children with no shelter, attending our public schools.

Given the wealth in our city, this is unacceptable. I call upon all those with resources to partner with the City and the District to ensure that by the end of this year, the number of students who are sleeping on our streets is zero.
When I asked him about it at another event at Garfield earlier this year, he said no, he said 2017.  That is not what the official remarks reflect nor what my own notes at the time reflect.

I do believe it was within the Mayor's power to have made this particular promise fulfilled (especially for the 66 SPS students who had no shelter).  I'm sure had he done that, we would have all heard about it.  I'm also sure that it won't be done by the end of this year, either.

Yes, the Mayor has a habit of making promises to average citizens that do not seem to come to fruition but if you are a developer in Seattle, it would seem there are plenty of promises kept.


Bill M. said...

There are sidewalks on 5th Ave NE and on Roosevelt Ave NE and the city did add them to to one section of NE 95th St (which leads to Olympic View Elementary) not too many years ago. So, honestly, the walk to Olympic View isn't so awful. But the fact that almost 1/3 of the city has no sidewalks is a major equity issue in terms of student safety and school accessibility. Students can't even safely walk around the perimeter of some of this city's schools. 28% of the city's blocks have NO sidewalks. The dept. of transportation has a Safe Routes to School Walking Map site if you want to look up walking routes to your school. I warn you, though, major inequity warning here. Some Seattle students apparently don't deserve safe walking routes to school as much as corporations need tax cuts.

Double Talk said...

There is no reason to trust Mayor Ed Murray. His statements are inconsistent and politically motivated:

"....it is current Mayor Ed Murray who will dominate news recaps of the event. Not only did he say he supported allowing duplexes and triplexes in single-family neighborhoods (a policy he’s backed down from once before) and not only did he say he did not support the homeless sweep policies of the city (which have grown under his watch), Murray also reversed course on his stance on a city income tax."


Anonymous said...

Murray also in 2008 violated campaign finance laws using $18,000 in donations to defend against child rape allegations then lied about the expenditures.

This guy should not be re-elected.

Seattle voter

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Whatever he did or did not for Seattle, a potential pedophile has no place in running for anything. There is no smoke without fire. If there is a shadow of a pedophile past, he does not deserve my trust, vote, effort or energy. I am VERY liberal in my opinions - but do not touch the children. Sick to my stomach to hear him defending himself for politics' sake, mole and all, but no word on how he does not condone pedophiles and their actions.

Copied because poster didn't sign the post. But post needs to be read.


Anonymous said...

As for the Mayor's legal problems, I'm sure we will all learn more as the court case goes on but his record is what voters should really look at.

Hmm. Yes, we should look at his record, but I disagree that's ALL we should look at. The charges against him are worthy of consideration in our decisionmaking--in fact, to not consider them would be irresponsible. The presumption of innocence is important in legal matters, but we don't have to apply the same standard to our voting behavior. There's nothing wrong with erring on the side of caution if you feel so inclined. And really, why isn't a politician's personal life and past behavior out of office also part of their "record"? If they are elected to represent us, they represent us on and off the field.


Anonymous said...

I think McGinn will easily win if he tones down the McShwinn ideas that hurt him last election. Our kids went to school together and I found Mike a decent smart guy.

I'm still wondering how we elected such an unethical person as Murray.


Melissa Westbrook said...

I didn't say you couldn't look at all things about the Mayor. Indeed I always find it interesting that people don't understand that lying in your private life and yet presenting yourself as a moral person in your public life quite troubling.

I do believe in innocent until proven guilty but I, too, find many of the statements the Mayor has made on his court case troubling. As well, I don't believe these accusers are out for money or fame; I think they have a story to tell. I also agree with CM Sawant that so often victims of sexual abuse are not believed and that it makes wanting to tell that story a scary proposition.

Anonymous said...

You would think there would be more outrage and calls for Murray to resign. Seattle is the strangest political theater in the nation.


Anonymous said...

Have any mayoral candidates mentioned collecting fees from developers to help fund additional school capacity and infrastructure (sidewalks, crosswalks,etc...) around schools?

-North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

Just saw this:


Nicely put.

The Deleted One (from 4/24/17, 9:53 AM above :-))