James Keblas. Image: Chase Jarvis.

Isn't it Weird That

Last year, Seattle Met, with Erica and my help (we double as news and politics editors at the Met) identified the 50 most influential people in Seattle.

Man, how times change.

The only three city staffers we put on the list—Craig Engelking, James Keblas, and Peter Hahn, the city's lead lobbyist in Olympia, the city's director of film and music, and the city's director of transportation respectively, have all been cast off by the new mayor, Ed Murray. 

Engelking, a Sierra Club lobbyist before coming to the city during the Mike McGinn years, has been replaced by Scott Plusquellec, who served as Murray's legislative aide in the state senate for the past three years.

Seattle's lobbyist in Olympi, Scott Plusquellec, served as Murray's legislative aide in the state senate for the past three years.

Keblas, a hero to the film community for helping foster a vital film scene in Seattle (including his innovative "Commercialize Seattle" campaign), is being replaced, it was announced last week, by Kate Becker. Becker is a longtime music community advocate (she co-founded Rookiemag-style teen venue Vera with Keblas). And most recently, since April 2013, she worked for Mcginn in the city's Department of Finance and Administration, focusing on nightlife and marijuana legalization issues. (Keblas contributed $250 to McGinn during last year's election while nightlife community support for Murray provided an existential boost for the challenger; many city directors and employees, of course, kicked in to incumbent McGinn. Becker herself gave $700 to McGinn. She gave $100 to Murray ... after the election in January. )

Hahn, a veteran of regional agencies—the 14-year Public Works Director at Snohomish County and the Deputy Planning/Building/Public Works Administrator for the City of Renton—before heading up Seattle's SDOT, hasn't been formally replaced yet; his former assistant, Goran Sparrman, former Bellevue transportation director, is now the acting director.

To save face as political pundits, I'll point out that we also put Service Employees International Union Local 775 NW leader David Rolf, among non-city employees, on our big deal politicos list last year. Rolf is currently a driving force behind the $15 minimum wage movement, both devoting union resources and muscle to the fast-food workers movement (after his union led the fight in SeaTac) and heading up Mayor Murray's minimum wage task force.

Oh, also on last year's influentials list: Murray.

Ed Murray. Image: Robin Stein

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