Caffeinated News & Gossip

1. The Seattle Neighborhood Coalition held its second round of "Mayoral Speed Dating" this weekend (the last one featured Mayor Mike McGinn and long-shot challenger Kate Martin). This weekend, city council member Tim Burgess, state Sen. Ed Murray, and ex-council member Peter Steinbrueck, appearing one after the other, took the stage.

First up: Burgess, who started strong with an attack on McGinn, saying that four years ago, Seattle voters chose their mayor from two people who had never been elected to any office—and that's when the conflict at city hall began. He then pledged to "protect" single-family neighborhoods while supporting "concentrated density," called himself "somewhat negative on district elections,” and said that not only would he hire a new police chief to replace John Diaz, “we will also have new top commanders” at SPD.
 
Next up: Murray, who noted that he's the only legislator ever to have chaired all three of the legislature's budget committees; talked about his record getting anti-discrimination and same-sex marriage laws passed after years-long battles; and, asked about aPodments, said it might make sense to allow them in some neighborhoods (such as the University District) and prohibit them elsewhere.

“There is a way to do density right and there is a wrong way to do it—I know how to do density right.”—Peter SteinbrueckFinally, Steinbrueck—the crowd favorite—argued that good design and  walkability are as important as simply creating density. “There is a way to do density right and there is a wrong way to do it," Steinbrueck, an opponent of the current South Lake Union upzone said. "I know how to do density right.”

In an indirect shot at rail-enamored McGinn, he said that buses, not light rail, are "the most cost-effective, proven mass transit system."

And, in a less indirect shot at McGinn, he added, “I know how to work effectively with the City Council—I also know how to work with the city attorney.”

2. Longtime city council member Richard McIver died this weekend after several years of health problems, including multiple strokes in 2010.

McIver, who was appointed to replace John Manning in 1997, was known at City Hall as a big-hearted, fun-loving guy with a sense of humor that transcended political lines.

A longtime Sound Transit light rail supporter and booster, McIver ended up frustrated with the agency when funding problems forced them to scrap the planned First Hill station; as an ST board member, McIver cast a lone vote against dropping the station, arguing that without the stop, light rail, missing the point, would bypass a dense community that includes thousands of elderly residents, students, and hospital and university workers. McIve'rs Quixotic battle to save mass transit through the dense neighborhood led to the the First Hill Streetcar line that's currently under construction through Capitol Hill. 

He was also famously hard-living, taking the elevator down from the second floor for his frequent smoke breaks and claiming the bar at the Four Seas restaurant in Chinatown as his second office. (Later, shocking his staff, he gave up smoking and started working out.)

His active council tenure was muddled in his final years when he was arrested in 2007 after his wife reported he had assaulted her (she later dropped the charges). McIver retired in 2009.

He later took over as head of the Rainier Valley Community Development Fund, an organization he helped create as a council member that helps small businesses and developers along the light-rail line.

McIver was 71. He'll be missed. 

The city council sent out a loving notice on Saturday afternoon:

It is with great sadness that we mark the passing of our friend, the Honorable Richard McIver. Richard committed his life to improving the lot of others. His community development career, including his years as a member of the Seattle City Council, was grounded in a quest for equity of opportunity, justice, and elevating quality of life for people in need.
 
Richard’s deep knowledge of economic development strategies and belief in the positive power of government action made him a valuable ally not just for people of color and small businesses, but for a just and equitable future for the city as a whole.
 
Richard employed terrific dignity, a wicked sense of humor and a sharp ear for equivocation in pursuit of a better city for all. We will miss him greatly.

3. The Tacoma News Tribune has a report on this weekend's gun rights rally at the state Capitol.

But here's something that wan't mentioned: Over the course of the day, about six people from the rally drew the attention of security when they made their way onto the gallery above the house floor carrying guns.

One woman, according to Mark Arras, Director of Security for the House of Representatives, had a bolt action rifle strapped across her body "which was alarming to people." The rifle wasn't loaded.

There's no law prohibiting guns at the Capitol, so Arras says he "contacted" the people, asked if they had "any plans to disrupt" the session and "closely monitored" her and the others.

One Seattle legislator noted in an email to Fizz Saturday morning following the scene: "Funny since you can’t bring a sign into the building, and they search lunch bags to get in the gallery."