Isn't It Weird That

Isn't It Weird That ...

Some weird things we noticed about Murray legislation.

By Erica C. Barnett October 22, 2013

Isn't It Weird That ... State Sen. Ed Murray (D-43), who's currently leading in the race for Seattle mayor, won a $437,000 earmark for a new connection between the existing town of Pacific Beach and the new town of Seabrook at the request of his longtime friend Tim Kerr—who lives in Seattle but owns a second home in the town—shortly before Kerr maxed out to Murray's mayoral campaign?

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The earmark, or "member request," came at a time when the state was cutting social services and struggling to fulfill the state's basic mandate to fund K-12 education. 

Kerr—an investment banker, onetime lottery winner, and former monorail board member—gave $1,400 to Murray shortly after he declared for office in December.  Murray's first two contributions came from Kerr and his wife.It sure would've been nice to have that $437,000 for Metro.

As the NW News Network's Austin Jenkins reported in September, Kerr "pitched the idea" of linking the two towns "to his state senator and friend" Murray and found a receptive audience. 

McGinn campaign staffers are up in arms about the earmark. But it isn't quite as bad (from the urbanist, pro-alt-transportation standpoint) as they're portraying it. The project isn't a "boulevard," as one McGinn staffer put it on Twitter, it's a bike and pedestrian path—the sort of spending McGinn backers typically support.

And Seabrook, which was featured as this year's "Idea Town" in Sunset Magazine, is modeled on the principles of new urbanism—front porches, outdoor "living rooms," and everything you need within walking and biking distance.

It's usually Republicans who bash Democrats for prioritizing green transportation in lean times. Only in Seattle would you see two green candidates (McGinn's endorsed by the Sierra Club, Murray's endorsed by the Washington Conservation Voters) debating about which kind of bike lane is better—urban cycletracks or small-town trails. That said, it sure would've been nice to have that $437,000 for Metro.

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