1. While the mayoral candidates debate whether a Whole Foods-anchored apartment development should get a street vacation in West Seattle (Mayor McGinn says no, because Whole Foods is non-union and, according to McGinn, doesn't pay "livable wages"; state Sen. Ed Murray, D-43, and ex-council member Peter Steinbrueck disagree, arguing that land use shouldn't be used as a cudgel to guide social goals), the real deciderers are the city council. (McGinn uses the issue in a new YouTube video today).
Well, guess who was on hand in city council offices yesterday?
Representatives of Weingarten Realty, one of the two companies that are hoping to develop the West Seattle property. The company was making the rounds lobbying council members yesterday to grant the vacation—which would give the private companies the right to build over public right of way.
2. Yesterday, trying to dislodge incumbent Mayor Mike McGinn's reputation as the transit candidate (McGinn, who advocates light rail through Ballard, has been endorsed by the Seattle Transit Blog, the Cascade Bicycle Club, and the Sierra Club) a group of transit proponents wrote a letter endorsing state Sen. Ed Murray for mayor saying: "he is the only mayoral candidate who has made good on his promise to deliver hundreds of millions of dollars for transit in Seattle and statewide."
They touted Murray's record pushing for the state Regional Mobility Grant Program (which funds local efforts to improve transit mobility, including in Seattle for projects such as Metro Route 120 in West Seattle, Metro Route 44 between Ballard and the U District, Metro Route 7 improvements in the Rainier Valley, and the South Lake Union Streetcar.)
The seemingly new endorsements are less impressive when you look at the names on the list."[H]e’s the only candidate who can work with state and regional leaders to bring ST3 to the ballot in 2016 with a package that expands—and accelerates—light rail in Seattle and region-wide," the letter says.
Strong words. But the seemingly new endorsements are less impressive when you look at the names on the list: They include not just many of Murray's legislative pals (state Rep. Jessyn Farrell, D-46; state Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon, D-34, state Rep. Marko Liias, D-21, and state Rep. Cyrus Habib, D-48)—folks who've already endorsed him anyway, but also several people who already appeared in a Murray independent expenditure mailer, including the very people who funded or founded the Murray IE, Fuse Washington director Aaron Ostrom, former Washington Bus leader Thomas Goldstein, and Washington Conservation Voters director Brendan Cechovic.Certainly, some of these people are legit transit leaders, particularly Farrell, the former executive director of Transportation Choices Coalition and Candida Lorenzana, a transportation and planning policy analyst for King County Metro, but adding a few names (civil rights attorney David Perez?) to people who've already weighed in was a bit slight.
3. A more surprising Murray endorser? Former Mike McGinn super volunteer Christi Stapleton, who ran McGinn's southeast Seattle office in 2009, drove then-challenger McGinn around, and wrangled endorsements.
Stapleton, who recently served as NARAL Pro-Choice Washington's interim executive director, tells Fizz her reasons for switching her allegiance to challenger Ed Murray. (Stapleton, as we reported Monday, gave $100 to Murray).
"I had worked with a company to predict and remediate excessive force in first responders and that experience made me see a rare opportunity for Mayor and City Attorney to work together for substantive and lasting change," Stapleton says. "That’s turned out to be a huge missed opportunity for Seattle."
She adds: "I think [Murray's] skill, experience and style will translate quickly into governance, carefully deployed reforms that create measurable change, and clear the barriers to success for Seattle. ... I tend to believe that good governance can drive good policy to greater effectiveness. It's a different approach than policy, policy, policy.
4. The mayoral candidates began announcing their August 6 primary night party locations yesterday.
Match the spot with the candidate: China Harbor on Westlake, the Crocodile rock club in Belltown, and 95 Slide sports bar on Capitol Hill.
Answers: Peter Steinbrueck at the old-school political party haunt; Murray, who repealed the "dance tax," at the Crocodile, and McGinn (whose '09 victory party was at the then-War Room) tentatively at the now 95 Slide.
Results from the first round of mail-ins will be announced that night at 8:15.
5. See how your mayoral predictions stack up against those of Seattle city council members, consultants, self-proclaimed hacks, and PubliCola's own news crew at the annual Fong/Elliott election poll.
Usually, the stakes are high—a $5 entry fee gets you the chance to win the whole pot (more than $300 last year), or get your money back if you come in last. But this primary, they're throwing it open to everybody. Good luck!
6. Some Fizzworthy media news from a couple of days ago: Mediabistro reports that longtime KING-5 weekend anchor Allen Schauffler will be leaving to head up the Northwest bureau for Al Jazeera America, which is staffing up at 12 new U.S. bureaus; Schauffler has been at KING-5 for 20 years.