Monday Jolt: The Mayor and Local Journalism
The day's winners and losers.
Today's winner: Mayor Mike McGinn.
McGinn started his term with the support of an unlikely alliance of social justice lefties (like Real Change director Tim Harris) and urbanist greens (like the Sierra Club, where McGinn once served as chairman); typically those factions are at odds, with the social justice activists criticizing the urbanists as bourgeois and the urbansits criticizing the social justice advocates as provincial.
McGinn had some success keeping the coalition together, vetoing the panhandling ordinance for example. But as he pushed hard on urban density and light rail he has rubbed some advocates for the city's lowest-income and homeles sresidents the wrong way; they've argued that density and high-cost rail transit increase the cost of living for Seattle's poorest.
Today, however, Real Change's social justice lefty Harris rushed to defend McGinn's downtown public safety and human services plan, arguing in an editorial that the proposal, unlike previous ideas to address "street disorder" in the center city, is inclusive of not just downtown businesses but human service providers, residents of downtown housing, and the homeless. "
"Mayor McGinn has convened a roundtable to discuss how the downtown can work for everyone, and people are listening to each other," Harris writes. "They understand that this is complicated stuff. They see that quick, victim-blaming fixes aren’t really solutions at all and that everyone wins if we can deal with real problems in real ways."
McGinn has kicked off a new Center City Initiative to help improve the on-the-street experience downtown; under his proposal, the city would sell ads on bus stops, benches and kiosks to pay for public-safety and other improvements in the neighborhood.
Today's loser: Civic Affairs Reporting
A couple of weeks ago, to little fanfare, KCTS decided to cancel "KCTS Connects," the show hosted by Enrique Cerna.
The move by the public-television station comes the same month that KING 5 announced its decision to cancel Robert Mak's long-running public-affairs show "Up Front."