6:42 PM: We’re with a standing-room only crowd at South Seattle Community College‘s Georgetown campus for the first big forum of the Seattle mayoral campaign, co-sponsored by the 34th District Democrats along with two other Democratic organizations on the south side of the city. All eight declared candidates are here, along with news media galore. We’ll be updating live, and we’re recording it on video too. (Added: Here it is in its entirety, starting with quick intros from Holly Krejci of the 11th DDs and Marcee Stone-Vekich of the 34th DDs:)
The eight candidates are starting off answering a question about the moment when they decided to run for mayor.
7:06 PM: The wi-fi signal in here is intermittent, which is preventing reliable live-chronicling. So we’ll point you to Twitter for the rest of the way – look for hashtag #seamayor (can’t get a direct link right now but find it via our account at twitter.com/westseattleblog).
7:16 PM: Question now for some of the candidates – which comes first, transportation or development, and do you support impact fees? Mary Martin starts by saying she doesn’t like the question. Tim Burgess says they should happen simultaneously but it doesn’t go that way, and we’re only now talking about zoning for light rail, “we should have done that four years ago.” He says infrastructure for transportation is an issue of social justice too. Kate Martin says she agrees with him, that transportation should be concurrent with growth – and freight must be kept in mind too.
7:25 PM: Next – should we move Nickelsville, and where? Bruce Harrell is asked first, and he says, “yes.” He says people shouldn’t be living with rats and no water hookups, “we can do better than that.” He has no specific location in mind. Peter Steinbrueck says, “We should not have to endure Nickelsville in the first place … no neighborhood should endure indefinitely those kind of conditions, nor should the people wh seek shelter have to endure those kinds of conditions.” Mike McGinn answers next and says it’s a “problem” that people prefer that situation to shelters. “I think we’re going to have to find a way to (change the situation) but I need the City Council to step up, and they haven’t.” (Some in the room boo that answer.)
7:33 PM: Subsequent questions include how to close the gender gap for wages – Bruce Harrell drew applause for saying “institutional practices,” after Tim Burgess quipped that “if everyone had daughters like mine,” the problem would “self-correct.”
7:45 PM: What’s the most surprising thing on your iPod? Steinbrueck says he doesn’t have one. How about most interesting app on his phone? He says, One Bus Away. Staadecker says most interesting thing on his iPod is his just-born granddaughter. Murray says he has an app for a new puppy. McGinn says he started listening to more local bands – but Seattle RainWatch is his favorite. Mary Martin says she prefers to talk to people face-to-face. Kate Martin says she collects vinyl records, and has a BlackBerry so no apps. Harrell says he has an app for estate sales. Burgess says he doesn’t have an iPod either but best thing on his iPhone is picture of his 15-month-old granddaughter, and another app tracking another daughter’s current pregnancy.
Next question, how to best get to know you as a candidate? Steinbrueck: Come over and have homemade pizza. Staadecker says to ask people about his authentic qualities. Murray says he likes to talk, so talk to him. McGinn: “Look at my budgets; come on a walking tour with me out in a neighborhood.” Mary Martin: Walk on May Day, to “unionize, organize.” Kate Martin: “Call me or have coffee with me, invite me over,” and come check out her vinyl collection. Harrell: “come by my campaign office and imagine with me, imagine a new Seattle.” Burgess says go meet his wife and daughter who are here (one of his three daughters), and look at the reading list on his “city blog.”
7:48 AM: Should Seattle annex White Center, West Hill, and “the sliver”? That drew mixed responses (we have most on video – it’s a lightning round so we’ll have to consult later). Next lightning questions, your three closest advisers. Then, which endorsement matters the most, that you’ve already received? And then – which two candidates will make it through the primary? McGinn said “me and somebody else.” Staadecker also said himself and (question mark). Harrell said himself and “waffle.”
7:54 PM: The forum is wrapping up, after yet another lightning-round question about “what was your favorite part of the forum?” Closing statement: Why should you be the next mayor? “We have lots to be thankful for,” said Steinbrueck, talking about transportation projects, and the 150,000 people he says are headed to Seattle – how do we balance growth and quality of life? Staadecker said the two most important issues are the qualities of a mayor – including trust, collaboration, integrity – and the long-term vision for the city: “jobs, education, city services, safety, infrastructure, and fun – life is too short …” Murray: “this race is about leadership and I think I have the leadership this city needs. … Look at my record; I’ve worked on contentious issues with people who disagree, but we turned defeat into victory because we found ways to bring people together …” McGinn said, “We worked to change the debate in Seattle,” including talking about education. “They said Seattle can’t do transit – we have a master transit plan …” and touted more initiatives he’s working on “to make the city what it can be” before mentioning Sierra Club and Cascade Bicycle Club endorsements and that he was called “the most progressive mayor in America” and wants to make Seattle “the most progressive city in America.” Mary Martin says “the capitalist system is in crisis” and adds that “the working class has no voice.” She says she’s not just running to be elected, but also to seek solutions – “once and for all remove the capitalist system and put workers and farmers in power.”
Kate Martin lists her resume of activism and parenting and “I invite all of you to join me on that journey … but it’s not going to be issue to issue, this is who I am: When it comes to children, I am a radical. When it comes to health care, I’m a socialist,” and she lists other beliefs including “when it comes to the bottom line, I’m conservative,” before pitching for contributions. Bruce Harrell begins, “There’s a reason why 7 people are challenging this mayor – they want (a mayor) who is fighting for us … imagine a city where the mayor demonstrates listening abilities … that’s what my candidacy is all about,” and says he has “walked the talk all my life, and I think that’s what Seattle is looking for … I hope to wake up Seattle, because I am tired of the same old/same old … we want to reset the norms on how we look at this beautiful city of ours.” Burgess: “This campaign is about leadership … to fulfill the promise to our children … It’s about leadership to help fulfill the promise to future generations, to protect the environment, it’s our promise to you that we’ll fulfill that, that you’ll be able to get to work on time and back, live in a safe neighborhood, grow old and reflect on life here in our great city … unleash the power of innovation … and the quality of leadership in the mayor’s office that will restore your trust and confidence in city government.”
And at 8:04, moderator CR Douglas thanks the candidates and the legislative district organizations (including the West Seattle-headquartered 34th District Democrats) and it’s over, with mingling and handshaking following. We’ll be adding photos and our video of the entire forum once we’re back at HQ.
P.S. The candidates, as they were seated from left to right, each one’s name linked below to her/his campaign website if available:
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