Primary 2013: WTF has Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn done?
Since Seattle’s mayor has been in office there might be a few people who’ve been wondering, what the heck has he accomplished?
A 29-year-old resident is asking that question in a slightly different way through a just launched election website.
“WTFhasMcGinndone.com and I think most people know what W-T-F stands for,” says Graham Klym.
The deliberately provocative title leads online users through a series of facts about Mike McGinn, who is seeking a second term in office as mayor of the state’s largest city.
On a simple blue background, white letters proclaim he’s “Brought together a coalition of 47 mayors across Washington to develop a bipartisan proposal in legislature to save Metro transit funding.”
Click on a box below and it says, “big deal, what else.”
Another statement with a source citation appears, “Brought unions and Waste Management back to the table to end the 2012 garbage strike.”
“That doesn’t affect me personally, so who cares?”
Through a series of clicks, statements, questions and more clicks, voters read 70 accomplishments with more to come.
The site co-creator works for a “big law firm in downtown Seattle” doing what he says is “nothing fancy” just administrative work.
“I’m not being paid by anybody. This came out of my own pocket,” says Klym.
“Honestly, I wasn’t even a huge fan of the mayor for the first election cycle of 2009, but over the years he’s won me over and I’ve become kind of obsessed about the race in the last few months.”
Obsessed enough to set up a website designed to appeal to young voters. It’s easy to share through Facebook and Twitter, and follows a format used during President Obama’s re-election last fall.
Klym says the first few years of McGinn’s term in City Hall proved he “wasn’t a typical politician.”
“It was a little rocky and you saw The Seattle Times and some other folks beat him over the head with any little failing, but after that first year or two of learning the ropes I’m really, really impressed with how quickly he’s moving on things.”
One thing Klym has noticed after looking through thousands of articles and documents about McGinn is that people often have a perception of the Seattle Mayor as a “bumbling guy who doesn’t get much done,” but the evidence shows otherwise.
The common narrative about McGinn changed on several major issues. The Elliott Bay Seawall project is one of them.
“McGinn said pretty early on if we’re going to build one of the widest deep-bore tunnels in the world right next to a crumbling seawall through soft soil, we better do it right. A lot of editorials were saying it can’t be done, and McGinn is ineffectual, etcetera, etcetera,” he says. “All of a sudden there it was on the ballot and it passed with overwhelmingly.”
In fact, 77 percent of Seattle voters approved a property tax levy to raise $290 million to replace the city’s downtown seawall, which is vulnerable to failure in an earthquake.
Klym says he would like to meet the Mayor. He hasn’t talked with him about the website yet.
Seattle’s mayoral race is shaping up to be a four-person contest between McGinn and three challengers who want to make it past the August 6, 2013 primary – state Senator Ed Murray, Seattle Councilmember Bruce Harrell and former Seattle Councilmember Peter Steinbrueck.
In a recent KING-TV poll of likely voters, McGinn led with 22 percent, followed by Steinbrueck’s 17 percent, Murray at 15 percent and Harrell with 12 percent. That poll taken last month shows 23 percent are undecided.
None of the other candidates received more than four percent of the vote. They are: Joey Gray, Kate Martin, Mary Martin, Douglas McQuaid, Charles Staadecker.
Here are bios on the other candidates who will appear on the Seattle primary ballot in August:
Joey Gray is an information-systems consultant and trainer. Gray is also an environmental activist and bicycle advocate.
Bruce Harrell is serving his second term on the Seattle City Council. Some of the issues he’s advocated for include having police wear body cameras and overseeing police reform efforts.
Kate Martin is a community activist from Greenwood. She ran unsuccessfully for Seattle School Board in 2011. She is running for mayor with a focus on youth, public safety and solving Seattle’s pressing problems.
Mary Martin states in her campaign documents that she represents the Socialist Workers’ Party. Says her top advisors in the campaign are Karl Marx, Rosa Luxemborg, Malcolm X and Fidel Castro.
Doug McQuaid is a West Seattle attorney who ran unsuccessfully last year for state Supreme Court. McQuaid does not have a campaign website yet.
Ed Murray is a State Senator in the 43rd Legislative District. Previously served 11 years in the state House of Representatives. He was a prime sponsor of the state’s marriage equality law.
Charlie Staadecker is a real estate broker who was elected twice to Vashon Island School Board. The areas he’d like to focus are jobs, education, public safety and quality of life.
Peter Steinbrueck is the son of urban preservationist Victor Steinbrueck. He’s an architect and urban planner who served three terms on the Seattle City Council. He led the charge against putting a new NBA arena in Sodo.
Tim Burgess withdrew from the race last month. The Seattle City Councilman says he still wants McGinn out of office but “with so many qualified candidates in the field, my continued candidacy may dilute the chance of achieving the positive change Seattle needs.”
By LINDA THOMAS