Cary Bozeman, quarterback at Lincoln High School more than a half-century ago, likes being in a charge. He may be closing in on 71, but


'Rough and Tumble' Cary Bozeman Mulls Seattle Mayoral Bid; Waterfront Redevelopment Is Top Priority

Cary Bozeman, quarterback at Lincoln High School more than a half-century ago, likes being in a charge. He may be closing in on 71, but Bozeman, who served three terms as mayor of Bellevue and two terms as Bremerton's top dog, is not yet ready to take himself out of the game.

See Also: Handicapping Seattle's 2013 Mayoral Race

Bozeman says he expects to decide by mid-January whether he will join what is shaping up to be a crowded field of Seattle mayoral contenders seeking to depose Mike McGinn.

"I'm not close to making a decision," he says. "Maybe I'll write my first novel."

If he does write, let's hope it's a memoir, as that will make for some interesting reading.

Born in Port Arthur, Texas -- birthplace of Janis Joplin -- Bozeman's childhood was the stuff of a Dickens novel. His parents were drifters, alcoholics. His desperate father,

Sam Sharp, an oil field worker, deposited him and his brother and sister in a New Orleans Catholic orphanage.

As the Kitsap Sun, in a profile of Bozeman back in 2005, elaborated, the Sharp children were "rescued by a strong-willed aunt, Margie Bozeman, and her husband Ray. The children eventually took the Bozeman name, and the family bumped around the country before Ray a landed a job in Seattle."

After a few years in Seattle, Bozeman's uncle got transferred to Texas and the family moved on. Bozeman, then a sophomore at Lincoln High of Seattle, decided he had enough of the transient life and stayed in the Pacific Northwest. He bounced in and out of foster homes, and the last six months of his senior year he lived out of a 1949 Ford he bought for $250.

He says his rough-and-tumble upbringing molded him into the person he is today -- motivated by fear of failure and uncertainty about what might lie ahead.

"I've been driven by my own insecurities," he said. "Bottom line is I'm scared of failure. And I'm very much pushed by that. ... I never had a fall-back place. There was no option, and it was scary."

Bozeman has spent most of his life in Seattle, but has lived a good many years in Bremerton, where he remains today, not far from the ferry terminal . "We love it here," says the thrice-married Bozeman, who earlier this year entered a state of semi-retirement after leaving his post as CEO of the Port of Bremerton.

Though he declines to comment on McGinn's electoral vulnerability, Bozeman says the next mayor, whoever it may be, must put redevelopment of the Seattle waterfront at the top of the to-do list.

This has long been a not-button issue with Bozeman. At a conference of mayors speech in 2009, as The Seattle Times reported, Bozeman called the downtown waterfront "an insult to American ingenuity."

He want on to say, "Seattle I used as an example of having neglected its biggest opportunity, which is its waterfront. And they've done a few little things, but down where it really connects to the city and where they want people to live, that's where the opportunity's been lost. It's been lost since I was a young boy going to school there. It's the same, it hasn't changed, and it's just because there's been a lack of vision and leadership, and it's a shame."

Bozeman's view have not changed.

"The waterfront looks pretty much the same as it was in the fifties," he complains. "I think the tunnel was right and tearing down the viaduct is right, because the waterfront needs more public access. That has to be the main priority for the next mayor."

Striving to create a better schools along and a safer downtown are Bozeman's other two areas which he believe needs to be addressed.

On public safety, he says bluntly, "There's way too many people being shot in Seattle. Downtown Seattle is not safe."

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