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#5 from 10: The unmaking of Mayor McGinn?

Mike McGinn

Mike McGinn has not been mayor of Seattle so long as to build up the list of critics and adversaries that any big-city mayor will develop over time. But while seemingly much more easy-going than his harder-edged predecessor Greg Nickels, he has moved quite a way down that path.

His big issue during the mayoral race was opposition to the Alaskan Way viaduct tunnel option, a stance that put him into flat opposition with many of the other regional powers. Here’s one summary from Wikipedia: “After the election, requests for state employee emails revealed a discomfort with the McGinn campaign by state government and transportation officials over McGinn’s anti tunnel position. Ron Judd, an aide to Washington Governor Chris Gregoire, sent emails to staff and DOT officials saying McGinn’s position was “BS” and accused McGinn of stoking populist angers and relying on voter’s ignorance about funding details to advance his anti-tunnel stance.”

And there was much more. The city council started making on its own announcements traditionally made by the mayor – acting independently to astunning degree. After McGinn made statements that seemed to accuse the governor of lying, Gregoire seemed to diss him totally, with statements emerging that apprently cut off relations with the mayor’s office in favor of the council (and working through Council President Richard Conlin). Nor does it seem that Olympia and the council is all; other power players, including much of business and labor, seems put off as well. Some liberal groups still cheer McGinn on, but he’s lost a lot of the rest.

Seattle Times column Joni Balter, running through some of this, concludes, “McGinn may be a one-term mayor because he has lost contact with the silent middle in Seattle.” She may be right.

All this is important to transportation issues. Beyond that, something significant is being reshuffled in the Seattle power structure.

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