Division continues to grow between Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and parts of the city government as another commission urges him to resign.
In an Aug. 15 email to Mayor Murray, Seattle’s Human Rights Commission states that it is in the best interest of the city for Murray to step down immediately. It is the second city commission to ask him to resign. Murray has refused to leave office in response to previous requests.
The letter, initially obtained by Crosscut’s David Kroman, states:
We write this letter in solidarity with the LGBTQ Commission and in support of their July 24, 2017 letter urging your resignation. We share and echo their deep concern.
We believe it is in the best interest of our city, its residents, and its workers for you to resign immediately. We ask you to do so.
The Human Rights Commission is an advisory body made up of 16 members — seven are appointed by the mayor. Following the email Tuesday, the commission issued this statement to MyNorthwest:
The commission decided to send the letter to stand in solidarity with the Seattle LGBTQ Commission, which courageously took a stance on this issue in July. We believe this stand was particularly bold given that roughly half of the commission’s members are appointed by the Mayor himself.
Many of our commissioners were deeply troubled by both the mounting evidence against the Mayor as well as the disreputable manner in which the Mayor has responded to the allegations. While we do not want to play fact-finder as to whether he actually engaged in the alleged activity, we want to stand with our fellow commission and community leaders who have been highly critical of the Mayor’s handling of this situation. We believe that allowing the Mayor to stay in office sends the wrong message to survivors of sexual assault, and particularly those who have themselves felt silenced by tactics similar to those the Mayor has employed.
Others asking Murray to resign
It has been alleged that Murray sexually abused four minors in the 1980s. A lawsuit was filed this year, forcing him to give up his re-election campaign, but the lawsuit was dropped. It has also been revealed that an Oregon Child Protective Services investigation concluded that Murray did abuse one boy in his care and recommended that he not take care of foster children in the future. No charges were brought forth following that investigation.
In late July, the city’s LGBTQ Commission also sent a letter to the mayor asking that he resign. That letter noted that the mayor has denied the allegations, but criticized his handling of the situation. The LGBTQ Commission stated that Murray should not have used his accuser’s criminal history to discredit the man; that victims should be believed regardless of their social standing.
The commissions are not the only corner of the city that has called for the mayor to resign. Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez has also asked that the mayor step down and called upon the council to take action. She soon backed off that demand, however, and favored a more structured transition of the office. Councilmember Kshama Sawant has also spoken publicly about the issue. She has urged the council to make a political statement by getting the mayor to leave office. She said that while there are challenges posed by the early exit of a mayor, she believes those challenges have been exaggerated.
As Murray faced the push back from council members and the LGBTQ Commission, four former mayors came out stating that a sudden loss of a mayor would be harmful to the city, especially so close to the end of the mayor’s term in office.
Probably gonna get buried but the Seattle Human Rights Commission just called on Mayor Ed Murray to resign. pic.twitter.com/JqXoVpGfUw
— David Kroman (@KromanDavid) August 15, 2017