Former Seattle City Council member Peter Steinbrueck (who served from 1998-2007), the third-place finisher in the August mayoral primary, formally endorsed state Sen. Ed Murray today in the mayor's race against incumbent Mayor Mike McGinn. (Murray finished first, and McGinn a close second, in the August primary.)
Murray is currently ahead in the polls by as much as 20 points, according to KING 5. And today's Steinbrueck announcement—along with recent endorsements from the firefighters' union, the police union, five City Council members, a group of high-profile nightlife business owners, and the Service Employees International Union 775—with the election less than three weeks away now, added to a sense that Murray has the momentum. However, McGinn's campaign says KING 5 polling is off-base and puts Murray's lead closer to the high single digits.
During his own mayoral bid, Steinbrueck appealed to voters who were skeptical about the (now-in-limbo) SoDo basketball arena deal. Steinbrueck appealed to the "neighborhood" vote in the primary, drawing support from those who don't like McGinn's emphasis on density, development, and bike lanes. Steinbrueck also appealed to voters who were skeptical about the (now-in-limbo) SoDo basketball arena deal; Steinbrueck was a vocal critic of the proposal because he thought it would be bad for the industrial SoDo district. He also regularly, and derisively, referred to it as a "backroom deal."
At a press conference at a coffee shop in North Seattle's Maple Leaf neighborhood this morning where Steinbrueck enthusiastically endorsed Murray, Murray released a couple of white papers, including one that gave a shout-out to Seattle's neighborhood planning era of the 1990s and focused on reengaging Seattle's neighborhoods in planning and development decisions. Under the header "Reinvigorate neighborhood planning," Murray's neighborhood white paper states: "Seattle city government once had a fully integrated community-based planning model. Today, Seattle’s 38 neighborhood plans, developed through thousands of hours of citizen involvement in the 1990s, have languished."
The verbose white paper was shy on specifics, though, and used canned talking points, promising to "identify and track neighborhood changes and needs."
The second white paper—checking the box on Steinbrueck's other big issue—focused on Seattle's maritime and industrial sectors, calling them a "regional resource and economic engine ... supporting more than 50,000 jobs, the largest concentration of family wage jobs in Puget Sound."
The plan says Murray would grow the sectors by prioritizing investments in frieght mobility—like working to fund the Lander St. overpass, so there is a viable east-west freight mobility connection between I-5 and the Port.
However, Murray did not endorse Steinbrueck's anti-SoDo arena position. Murray spokesman Sandeep Kaushik says: "Ed remains supportive of the [memorandum of understanding] that the Council negotiated. But he agrees with Peter that regardless of what happens with the arena, we need to do more to preserve and build our manufacturing, maritime, and industrial base in the Duwamish area, Interbay, and Ballard."
We have a call in to Steinbrueck. We want to hear what specifically about Murray's white papers appealed to him—calling for a neighborhood summit?