Isn't It Weird That ... Mark Sidran Edition

An endorsement that could come back to haunt Ed Murray.

By Josh Feit August 8, 2013

1. Slight tweak. File this one under Isn't it worth noting that...?

Isn't it worth noting that ... state Sen. Ed Murray endorsed former Seattle City Attorney Mark Sidran for mayor in 2001?

Why? Because the 2001 Sidran vs. then-King County Council member-Greg Nickels mayor's race was a defining moment in this city, establishing the liberal vs. conservative (for Seattle) divide. Indeed, it set up the very framework that Mayor Mike McGinn is trying to take advantage of today, casting Murray as, well, the Mark Sidran of this year's race—the conservative "establishment" candidate. (Sidran lost, by the way.)

Sidran was the panhandling ordinance advocate of his day, passing a series of "civility laws" such as the parks exclusion ordinance, a no sidewalk sitting ordinance, an anti-panhandling ordinance, and on a related note in his war on the poor, the clearly classist (and since overturned) car-impound ordinance.

Sidran was also an enemy of city nightlife; he passed a poster ban and tried, and failed, to pass an "added activities ordinance," which would have created an additional license for clubs that had dancing and music to make them responsible for street activity around their clubs. (Funny, Murray repealed the Sidran-esque dance tax in Olympia this session). Here's a primer I wrote on Sidran's Giuliani-like agenda when he declared for mayor in 2001.

In the current election, where "who's more progressive?" is becoming one of the central questions of the race—so much so that Murray's mailers, TV ads, and press releases never fail to use the adjective "progressive" before every noun and Mayor Mike McGinn can sometimes sound like recent primary candidate, Socialist sage Mary Martin—Murray's status as a former Sidran man could come back to haunt him.

Something else that was published back in 2001: Murray's op/ed endorsement of then-mayoral candidate Mark Sidran. (I was news editor of the Stranger at the time and paused during my series of anti-Sidran editorials, asking then-state Rep. Murray to make his case for Sidran.

He began:

How could a Democratic legislator like me ... endorse Sidran? Given how some of Sidran's opponents sound like the far Right with their intolerant characterizations of him, I can understand why my endorsement might confuse them.

Their portrayal of Sidran as a right-wing Republican--because he supports civility laws that a liberal Democratic city council voted for and Norm Rice signed into law--reflects the unwillingness of Seattle's politically correct Left to accept a diversity of ideas.

Now that Murray himself is running for mayor, his old op/ed is worth reading in full.

I wonder if Sidran will return the favor and endorse Murray. And I wonder if, given that McGinn wants to cast Murray in the proverbial Sidran role this election season, Murray will accept.

2. And now for a good old Isn't it Weird That ...

Isn't it weird that the McGinn campaign is always talking about the "Sonics fans" who support them? The Sonics don't exist. And haven't for five years.

Is there a metaphor in there somewhere?



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