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Mallahan: Victorious, Terse

By Erica C. Barnett August 21, 2009


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Just got back from Joe Mallahan's press conference at his campaign office on Eastlake, which lasted—literally—nine minutes. Mallahan was the first-place finisher in the race against Mayor Greg Nickels, who conceded the office in a gracious press conference this morning .

The obvious question for Mallahan at this point—and the first question asked at his press conference—was this: Given that you've spent the entire campaign contrasting yourself with Mayor Nickels, what happens now? How will you differentiate yourself from Mike McGinn, the other candidate to make it through to the general?

Mallahan's response: "I have a track record of effective management, and that's what we're going to need to move this city forward. ... My message is going to remain the same - executive management, open and accountable leadership, safe neighbhorhoods, effective transportation, and cleaning up Puget Sound. I will leave it to Mike McGinn to differentiate. I'm sticking with the clear message we've laid out to date."

I pointed out that, based on my interviews, most city council members don't have a sense of who Mallahan is. Many have never even met him. In contrast, Mike McGinn is a well-known fixture at city hall, from his work on the parks levy, the anti-roads and transit campaign, and his advocacy against the waterfront tunnel. Did Mallahan have plans to reach out to city council members and other city hall officials to seek their insight and support?

"I've already had a number of conversations with council members and they're delighted to have me in the race," Mallahan said. "One of my first points of business as mayor is going to be giving council members free and open access to department heads," something they've complained about during Nickels' time as mayor.

Asked whether he would be able to work with labor (given that his company, T-Mobile, has had a track record of fighting unions in its midst), Mallahan said, "I've reached out to labor leadership. I've told them I'm not a vindictive guy.... I value unions ... and absolutely support the right of workers to advocate and bargain collectively."

After just a handful of questions, Mallahan's spokeswoman, Charla Neuman (above, right) said he "has plans to spend time with his family" and escorted him out of the low-ceilinged room.
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