After deconstructing the mayoral candidates' "yeses," "nos," and "maybes" in a post we published yesterday about the lightning round questions at last week's mayoral forum in Wallingford, two of the candidates' campaign consultants—Mayor Mike McGinn's consultant John Wyble and Tim Burgess consultant Alex Fryer—contacted us yesterday to issue "clarifications" about their yes/no/maybe responses.
(Lightning rounds, it should be noted, are certainly a bit unfair: They don't allow for nuance; Candidate X may say he's against expanding the parks levy and have no opportunity to explain why.)
Today's Cola One Question: Of your one-word lightning-round responses, what would you like to clarify or expand on?
Burgess' spokesman, Alex Fryer, says the city council member responded "maybe" when asked whether he supported a new arena in SoDo (we reported that it was "an odd answer from Burgess, who has loudly taken credit for improving the arena proposal and making it a better deal for the city, while crediting Peter Steinbrueck for being consistent in his opposition) because Burgess didn't want to take a position on the best arena location before the completion of the state Environmental Impact Statement process.
"The question was specific to the location of the arena"—SoDo—Fryer says. "I think he would have said, let the [Environmental Impact Statement] process be completed before he would come out and say it should go in this location or that location. [But] he was not opposed to the SoDo location."
Arena opponents sued the city over this issue, arguing that the city selected the site in SoDo before the EIS process was complete, making Burgess' claim (that he didn't want to presuppose a SoDo arena) a little odd.
Meanwhile, incumbent Mayor Mike McGinn's consultant, John Wyble, wanted to make clear that the mayor's response to a question about whether the state should charge tolls on I-90, as some have proposed, to pay for the completion of SR-520, was indeed "maybe," but only because McGinn won't support I-90 tolls unless they help pay for transit on the bridge, not just road lanes for cars. "We need to support options for those that cannot afford tolls," Wyble says.
In fairness to the other major candidates, we contacted them to see there were any lightning round "yes," "no," or "maybe" repsonses they would have liked to clarify and why.
State Sen. Ed Murray says his "maybe" response to a question about whether he supports microhousing, or so-called "aPodments," wasn't intended to disparage the tiny, kitchenless units, which are popping up in neighborhoods like Capitol Hill and, detractors say, taking advantage of a llophole that allows them to be built without design review.
aPodments, he says, "are not for everyone, but there is clearly a demand for them, and they are an affordable housing option, allowing singles and lower income people to live in the city. ... I used my "maybe" card during the forum because I believe the city's needs to get its act together in terms of consistently regulating apodiments across city departments so that the system is not being gamed by developers, as has been happening recently."
And former city council member Peter Steinbrueck, who said he would "maybe" support zoning changes for aPodments, echoed Murray, saying he's "all for diversity of housing ... I would like for us to build more housing that’s affordable for different incomes. ... That said, they have got to meet health, safety, and occupancy standards."
Council member Bruce Harrell has not responded to a request for comment about which answer he would like to clarify and how.