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McGinn Releases Community Comments on his Administration

By Erica C. Barnett December 2, 2009

Mayor-Elect Mike McGinn has released a summary of all the comments from his "transition ambassadors" about how he should shape his administration. (Ambassadors, who include environmental activists, social-justice advocates, housing activists, and others, were asked three questions: How do we build the strongest possible team?; How do we build public trust? and What is our greatest challenge?)

You can read the whole thing here, but a few themes pop out right away:

• People want openness, accountability, and diversity in city government.

• People want McGinn to be physically available to them, in their communities. McGinn's accessibility was a hallmark of his campaign; there seems to be some concern that now that he's "Mayor McGinn" instead of just "Mike," that may change.

• The most common suggestion: That McGinn hire a mix of outsiders (like the young volunteers who helped him win) and insiders (folks who know city government).

• Sidewalks remain a huge concern.

Aside from those predictable points, there were some interesting points and possible points of contention:

• The Transportation Choices Coalition, through lobbyist Bill LaBorde, urged McGinn to retain transportation department director Grace Crunican, whom McGinn said during the campaign he would replace. Crunican is now up for a job in Oregon; McGinn said today that he wasn't "going to talk about people" in his administration.

• Kwame Wyking Garrett, who also ran for mayor, suggests creating a third layer of police oversight (in addition to the Office of Professional Accountability, which investigates police-misconduct charges, and the Office of Professional Accountability Review Board, which oversees OPA): an "undercover civilian cop-watch that reports to the Mayor directly and operates  separately from the OPA, but shares information willingly with OPA upon request."

• Mariel Young, representing the Sierra Club, suggested that McGinn implement Low Impact Development requirements on major streets. LID is a green stormwater-management system supported by the Puget Sound Partnership (and already in place in places like Kent and Port Townsend).

• Kevin Fullerton, also of the Sierra Club, suggested that McGinn not "plaster your face on every city announcement," something Nickels was notorious for."Constantly credit others. Don't be afraid to play underdog mayor."

• Jack Bolton, an engineer, suggested creating "a dating service for people who want to contribute a public service to Seattle," as well as "an elected youth advisory board" made up of teenagers too young to vote. (He also suggests spending "as little as possible" on infrastructure like streets, sidewalks, and rail—a rare dissenter from the pro-sidewalk hordes).

• David Hiller of the Cascade Bicycle Club, representing a group of transportation advocates, suggested funding "sidewalk pothole rangers" who would respond to citizens' complaints about walking hazards in 24 hours, as Nickels' "pothole rangers" do for drivers now.

• Two different people suggested re-hiring Jim Diers, the popular Department of Neighborhoods director Nickels fired when he took office.

And Chris Martin, of Cleanscapes, suggested that McGinn "Take [public schools] over Bloomberg style!"

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