City Hall

Mayor McGinn's State of the City Address

By Erica C. Barnett February 15, 2010

Tomorrow afternoon at 2:00, Mayor Mike McGinn will deliver his first-annual State of the City address in council chambers at City Hall. We have no idea what he'll say (he has a habit of a making surprise announcements), so we're looking forward to it. It's sure to be a departure from former mayor Greg Nickels, who was known for his almost comically predictable and scripted speeches.

We endorsed McGinn in the August primary and in November's general. Here are a few things Josh and I would love to hear the mayor do in his speech tomorrow:

• As transit advocates, we're inclined to agree with McGinn's proposal to put high-capacity transit on 520. We want to hear him make a booming case for the plan.

• The City Council and the state legislature have made it clear they aren't going to budge on the downtown tunnel—in particular, the legislature isn't going to change the provision that makes Seattle taxpayers responsible for cost overruns. So what's his plan going forward? We'd like to hear the final word on this. Is he still committed  to stopping the tunnel and going with the green surface/transit plan?

• During the campaign, two major themes McGinn stressed were open government and accountability. While the mayor has given citizens a lot of avenues to talk to his office, openness is a two-way street. What specific steps will he take to create real transparency in his administration over the coming year?

• Spending on the bike master plan is projected to fall nearly 70 percent short by 2017, when the bike plan is supposed to be complete. As a longtime cycling advocate, will McGinn try to boost city spending for bike infrastructure, and how, given the ongoing budget problems at the city?

• Lay out some specific criteria he'll use in selecting a police chief—and set a deadline for the hire.

• McGinn has been lukewarm on the idea of adopting carbon neutrality as a goal for the city, saying he'd rather focus on specific goals like building transit on 520. Are steps like that enough, and is going carbon neutral a realistic goal?

• Candidly address his original plan to cut 200 managers and strategic advisor positions. Has the outcry over his proposal to cut those positions altered his plan and if so, how?
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