Monday Jolt: Mayor McGinn at Westlake

By Afternoon Jolt October 10, 2011

It may not have solved his larger political problem---how the hell is the populist mayor going to get all those protesters out of Westlake Park in time for the next permitted event?---but Mayor Mike McGinn's official appearance at the Occupy Seattle protest today (he showed up informally yesterday, bearing coffee)---almost certainly helped soothe protesters' tempestuous relationship with him.

Last week, McGinn caused a bit of a furor when he ordered protesters to remove tents from the public plaza, where camping has never been allowed, told them they could not use umbrellas as shelter, and allowed police to ticket drivers who honked to express their support after 10 pm, in violation of the city's noise ordinance.

Today, he took the initiative, taking the stage in front of a skeptical crew and saying his piece. McGinn's brief comments focused largely on budget cuts in Olympia and the federal government's failure to protect the poor. "In Olympia, they're making $2 billion in cuts. The question I ask you is, is $2 billion in cuts to education and human services going to make our economy better? It's going to be hardest on the people who have been hit hardest by this economy, who are not the ones who broke this economy," McGinn said.

McGinn also urged protesters to hold elected leaders accountable, though he steered clear of mentioning any of the protesters' recent complaints about his policies at Westlake. "The fact is, and I have to say it, for far too long ... the politicians of both parties, my party included, haven't had the guts to do anything about" growing income inequality, McGinn said. "You've got the guts to stand up."

Meanwhile, in New York City, Mayor Micheal Bloomberg said today that the protesters could stay in Zucotti Park as long as they obey the law.
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