Isn't It Weird That

Isn't It Weird That ...

Some weird things we noticed about McGinn and Amazon and Whole Foods.

By Erica C. Barnett July 26, 2013

Isn't It Weird That ... Mayor Mike McGinn, who has vocally objected to a proposed street vacation for a Whole Foods-anchored development on the grounds that the company is non-union and relies heavily on part-time, temporary workers with no medical care or paid vacation time, loudly supported three street vacations—on blocks bounded roughly by Westlake Avenue, Sixth Avenue and Blanchard Street—for an Amazon development in South Lake Union? 

In his state of the city address last year, McGinn explicitly praised the Amazon development, which required the streetsaying, "We want them to build here." At the time, the mayor called out Amazon's commitment to provide new cycletracks, but was silent on the company's reliance on temporary, non-union workers with no health care.

In the positive words of one observer McGinn quoted in his speech, "'in terms of jobs for Seattle, this is off the charts.' We have put together a team from the city that is already working directly with Amazon to support their project."

In a GeekWire "open letter" to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos published yesterday, although he makes no mention of the Whole Foods issue, a former Amazon temporary employee writes, "if you really want to create a positive work environment and generate productivity and employee loyalty, give your employees some job security."

Regarding McGinn's inconsistency when it comes his criteria for supporting or opposing street vacations, mayoral spokesman Robert Cruickshank says McGinn's office has "no comment on this."   

As we noted yesterday, McGinn hasn't been consistent on the issue. At a union forum earlier this month, he said land-use laws were "difficult" to use as cudgels against anti-union businesses and suggested systemic change like increasing the minimum wage. But last week, obviously, he took the much harder-line view,  saying the proposed Whole Foods development simply shouldn't be allowed. As we also first reported, two of McGinn's rivals, Ed Murray and Peter Steinbrueck have also flip flopped on the issue.

And, Isn't It Weird That ...

City Attorney Pete Holmes' office has reportedly scheduled a closed executive session to advise the city council on the street-vacation issue (street vacations are up to the council, but the council is supposed to consider "public benefits"—and McGinn is arguing that living wages are a public benefit)—for August 5, the day before the primary election?

Why weird? Because Holmes has endorsed McGinn's opponent, state Sen. Ed Murray (D-43), who disagrees with McGinn on Whole Foods, and—in addition to briefing the city council—is hosting a fundraiser (with city council member Tim Burgess, a former McGinn opponent who decided not to run) for Murray at his Seward Park house this weekend. 

Holmes' office says the executive session could get postponed until after the council approves the mayor's budget in November.

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