Morning Fizz

Morning Fizz: This Germane Fact

Caffeinated News & Gossip featuring John Fox, South Lake Union, Mary Martin, Kate Martin, I-522, the King County Democrats, and real estate.

By Morning Fizz September 25, 2013

1. John Fox endorses Ed Murray

At his "economic opportunity agenda" announcement yesterday, mayoral challenger state Sen. Ed Murray (D-43, Capitol) mentioned a couple of surprising endorsements: Lefty housing advocates John Fox and Joe Martin, of the Seattle Displacement Coalition.

As we reported last month, the Displacement Coalition (whose goal is to prevent the destruction of existing low-income housing) wasn't sure whether it would endorse in the general election after the group's candidate-of-choice, former city council member Peter Steinbrueck, lost in the primary.

Before the primary election—seeing incumbent Mayor Mike McGinn as a tool of big developers such as Vulcan and seeing Murray as a business-as-usual Democrat—the populist group wrote a piece trashing both candidates, accusing Murray of "demonstrat[ing a lack of concern or even knowledge of these critical [housing] issues" and being "embraced by corporate and downtown elites, including key insiders from past administrations."

But we guess they dislike McGinn (who they called "the most zealously pro-developer, pro-density mayor our city has seen") even more.

Or maybe they just like Murray's position on development in South Lake Union better? ...

2. Ed Murray Wants Developers to Pay More (Still Doesn't Have Licata Endorsement)

At yesterday's announcement, Murray said he believed the "incentive" developers are required to provide to build additional density in South Lake Union (funding affordable housing, child care, and parks) should be higher than what the city ultimately got.

McGinn, who conversely thought it should be lower (arguing that higher rates discourage development and so, backfire by ultimately providing less money)  proposed $15.15 per additional foot of residential density; the council, led, oddly, by McGinn's usual ally, Council Member Mike O'Brien, adopted a higher rate of $21.68.

Not good enough for Murray, though. "Eight years [of South Lake Union planning] and we didn't come up with enough affordable housing," Murray said. "I don't support any of the capitalist party candidates be they Democrat or Republican. I urge a write in vote for myself."—Socialist Mary Martin.

Now that he's got Fox's endorsement, maybe Murray is sidling up to get Fox's ally, progressive City Council member Nick Licata's support? Licata had proposed a much higher rate than the O'Brien's compromise; known, at first derisively, but then affectionately, as "the Licata Leap," Licata proposed developer rates as his as $96 per extra square foot in South Lake Union to go into the city's affordable housing fund. 

(Murray also said the city's Office of Housing had been "depopulated during this administration of the expertise we need to build affordable housing"—a reference to the departure of former housing office director Adrienne Quinn, who left shortly after McGinn's election and is now supporting Murray.)

3. Nobody Gets the Socialist's Endorsement

Speaking of endorsements—neither McGinn nor Murray (both of whom are trying to out-left the other in super liberal Seattle) are left wing enough for Mary Martin, the former socialist candidate.

"I don't support any of the capitalist party candidates be they Democrat or Republican. I urge a write in vote for myself, Mary Martin for Mayor," she told Fizz.

Despite the race to the left, the socialist stamp of approval isn't, evidently, a Seattle must-have. Martin came in eighth place in a field of nine candidates, getting 1.06 percent. 

And speaking of mayoral candidates named Martin: Kate Martin, brainy neighborhood activist, who got 1.75 percent of the vote, for a seventh place finish in the primary (and who was wearing a Murray pin at a recent meeting of the 36th District Democrats),  told Fizz yesterday that she is formally supporting Murray now.

Her decision doesn't come as much of a surprise; Martin and McGinn were bitter rivals when they both served on the Greenwood Community Council. 

"After being out on the campaign trail with both of these men for most of the last year, it was an easy decision on a personal level," she said in an email.

She continued: "I think that it’s absolutely essential for us to move on from McGinn’s very small circle of trust and his abrasive combative approach. I suffered personally from that approach for many years working with Mike in Greenwood, and I won’t miss his style at City Hall for even one day."

As for Murray, she says: "On a professional level,  Murray has the aptitude and experience to lead us away from single issue governance (bikes and billion dollar disjointed transportation projects) and gimmicks into a future with a mayor who is capable of successfully juggling all the essential balls of governance, not just a few."

4. In non-Mayor's Race News:

• A recent Seattle Times article about rising rents despite all the new units (7,200) that have come on line— failed to note one obvious explanation: All the new demand.

 The Times article was based on local analyst Dupree + Scott's regular real estate report, which, in addition to rising rents, noted—under the header "Supply and Demand" this germane fact:  

 Demand has outpaced new supply lately. Even though developers opened 7,200 new units in the past 12 months, vacancies fell. That’s because the region added demand for almost 8,200 units in the same period.

• The pro-GMO labeling campaign, Yes on 522, paid an actor to give a testimonial in their recent TV spot (which explains why all the other people in the ad—Dorie, Randy, Joie, and Chris—were listed as a Bellewood Acres Farm worker in Lynden, a salmon fisher in Bellingham, a naturopathic physician in Seattle, and a Pike Place Market worker in Seattle, respectively, but Deb, was, well, listed as simply Deb.

• The First Vice Chair of the King County Democrats, Sonja Rossman, who's in charge of fundraising for the organization, resigned last night (she was only bringing in about $222 a month) and the group had been relying on a professional fundraiser recently.


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