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McGinn the activist

Mike Mcginn

Mike McGinn

Well, now. For a second time, the attorney and environmental activist Mike McGinn has edged past businessman Joe Mallahan in the race for mayor, and this time it seems likely to stick: After several days of leading by only a few hundred votes, with the returns in today (giving him a lead of 2,384), the odds have become very strong that McGinn will be the next mayor of Seattle.

Could be an interesting mayoralty. Or maybe not so much.

The interesting potential comes from that background as a Sierra Club activist, someone schooled in the harder edge of issue advocacy more than the governance universe where compromise and conciliation – either that or ultimately not get far at all – are dominant.

Not only that. Mayors in Seattle, who sometimes have been liberal and sometimes a little less so, have tended to have a fairly close relationship with the downtown business and organizational power structure. The city has not elected many true outsiders as mayor, and when the widespread presumption ran (yes, in this space too) that Mallahan had the edge, that was one less-often stated part of the reason. McGinn came from outside. Put this Times thumbnail of him in your head: a “former Sierra Club leader who quit his job at a downtown law firm two years ago to run the nonprofit he started, Great City. He rode his bike to most campaign events and passed out ‘Mike bikes’ stickers featuring his helmet-clad head.”

So there’s that possibility of an actual boat-rocker taking over in city hall.

Or maybe not so much. Remember his ease-back on the viaduct tunnel deal, how he didn’t vow guerrilla warfare against it after his election (though campaigning consistently against it). There’s also good reason to think he’ll want to take it cautious.

This will be interesting to watch.

Concurrance. A few days ago we made the call here, again, for Washington to adopt the Oregon system of mail-in ballot deadlines – to require that ballots actually reach the courthouse by election day if they’re to be counted. Washington, instead, just requires they be post-marked, which has created no end of problems.

Secretary of State Sam Reed has proposed the change. Now the Seattle Times has joined in: “Voters deserve a more modern and speedy ballot-processing system.” Is the mo building?

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