Former mayor Mike McGinn wants his job back, Seattle learned Monday morning. McGinn was defeated by Mayor Ed Murray in 2013, and has remained a vocal critic of the mayor ever since.
Joined by his family the once and maybe future mayor met with reporters on the front lawn of his Greenwood home. Reading from a script later handed out at the event, McGinn said, “For the past three years, I’ve been watching Seattle change in ways that I think we should all be concerned about. The economy is growing, and for a reason. We have a wonderful city and major employers want to be here. That’s great. But the same people who have helped make this city what it is, who have made it so attractive, are the people being pushed out by growth.
“If you wanted to design a system to drive out working and middle class residents, this is what it would look like. Growth that benefits the top, with the impacts paid for by those in the middle and the bottom.” McGinn emphasized his own accessibility as mayor to residents and neighbors, in contrast to Murray’s comparative aloofness.
In a press release, McGinn listed his focuses as follows:
- Review city operating and capital budgets to look for waste and new efficiencies, before passing any new taxes. McGinn said that if and when he calls for new taxes, it will be in the form of an income tax (which is theoretically illegal in Washington, but passing one here would give the state Supreme Court a chance to change that fact) instead of “regressive” sales and property taxes.
- Increase safe housing for Seattle’s homeless. Asked whether he would support proposed legislation to only allow the city to evict unauthorized homeless encampments if there is somewhere else the campers can go, McGinn said yes.
- Expand affordable housing. (Duh.)
- “Get back to basics: politicians love expensive projects, but good government is about doing a lot of individual things right.”
Seen McGinn’s full comments this morning, minus fielding questions from reporters, here:
Mayor Ed Murray’s campaign responded to news of McGinn’s announcement in a press release contrasting Murray’s approach of “bring[ing] diverse constituencies together to find common ground” against McGinn’s “failed and divisive governance”:
“Mike McGinn’s divisive and confrontational style led to years of paralysis, dysfunction, and infighting at City Hall. As mayor, Mike McGinn picked fights with everyone under the sun. He attacked our Democratic governor, calling her a liar. He fought the Obama Dept. of Justice on police reform. He fought with our U.S. Attorney. He fought with our City Attorney. He fought with the City Council. As mayor, Mike McGinn led a flawed and failed search for a new police chief. Mayor Murray, on the other hand, led a widely praised search effort that led to the appointment of Chief O’Toole. As mayor, Mike McGinn created an affordable housing task force that led nowhere and produced nothing. Mayor Murray created an affordable housing task force that led to a Grand Bargain that is creating thousands of additional affordable units across Seattle. As mayor, Mike McGinn proposed a ballot measure to fund transit that the voters rejected. Mayor Murray, by contrast, has passed major ballot measures to expand funding for transit, transportation, affordable housing, parks, and quality pre-K.”
McGinn is the first major candidate to enter the mayor’s race since the Seattle Times published a story two weeks ago about three men who accuse Murray of sexually abusing them in the 1980s. But he probably won’t be the last. We’re told that another serious candidate plans to announce her candidacy for mayor this week. Nikkita Oliver of the Peoples Party has already challenged Murray, as have a handful of other candidates.
Daniel Person contributed to this report, which has been updated.