Since Seattle council member Lorena Gonzalez called on Mayor Ed Murray to consider resigning on July 17, not much has changed—Murray insisted he wouldn't step down, and council members made it clear there wouldn't be a two-thirds majority to remove him. But now council member Kshama Sawant's throwing her weight behind mounting pressure with an op-ed published in The Stranger on Monday.
In the guest editorial, Sawant condemned Murray for his earlier responses criticizing his accusers' characters and wrote that the council has a responsibility "to send a clear message, both in what we say and the policies we enact, in regards to sexual violence." She said the council should remove him if he doesn't resign on his own, adding that it would be "a political decision, not a legal one," and wouldn't determine whether the allegations are true. Her editorial also follows other groups in the past couple weeks that stepped in to call for his resignation, including the city's LGBTQ Commission and, just today, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.
Murray has faced calls to step down since The Seattle Times reported a CPS caseworker in 1984 concluded he sexually abused Jeff Simpson, one of his original accusers. There's been no indication that Murray has budged, or that council members have changed their minds on the qualifications to remove the mayor. But as Sawant said today in a PubliCola interview, intense political pressure has swayed elected officials before.
"In politics nothing is static," Sawant told PubliCola.
The city charter specifies that removing the mayor should either be for a willful violation of duty or an "offense involving moral turpitude." Sawant declined to answer whether she believes Murray made that offense. Sawant said she was unsure whether there was another way to remove Murray, but that council members first should show the "political will."
"I think the first step is for the city council to show the political will to do what's needed," she said. "I'm sure the mechanisms be found."