Ed Murray and Uncertainty

wikipedia

In this interview with Capitol Hill Seattle Sen. Murray expresses some surprise his pro-transit credentials are in doubt:

Murray tells CHS he is genuinely baffled by some transportation advocates like writers at the Seattle Transit Blog who question his commitment to pro-density rapid transit and insisted his time in Olympia only bolsters his ability to get more done.

To be clear, interviewer Bryan Cohen told me he drew the inference to STB, and we did not come up by name in the interview. Nevertheless, I think there are some interesting points to be made:

1. It would be foolish to claim Sen. Murray is fundamentally anti-transit. However, “pro-transit” is merely the entry point to the race. In Olympia, even the idea that we shouldn’t gut bus service is controversial. In Seattle city races, every candidate rhetorically supports more Metro funding, supports light rail and Sound Transit, supports the streetcar network in the Transit Master Plan, and thinks the city should accept more density.

Where they differ is in priorities. In practice, streetcars may fall well below road maintenance, bus bulbs, and even low taxes as areas of emphasis. Bike or transit lanes can’t run afoul of customer parking for businesses. Density may be nice, but not if it offends neighborhood activists, casts shadows, or violates decades-old neighborhood plans. This is the true fault line in Seattle politics, and Ed Murray’s long and good fight against radical right-wing politics in the legislature tells us little about where he stands on these struggles.

2. In the aforementioned battles, Mike McGinn has consistently dismissed these excuses for inaction in defense of our future. A Mayor Murray might or might not do the same; he certainly hasn’t said much on the subject, including declining my offer for an interview. I certainly understand the impulse to not get pinned down on policy specifics in a primary, and the secondary importance of reaching STB readers. This is not an attack on Ed Murray. It’s a recognition of Mike McGinn’s solid record on transportation and land use.

3. A crucial argument of the Murray campaign is that he would get better results for Seattle in Olympia. I would not to presume to understand how things work in the legislature, but from my layman’s perspective the record is poor. The last truly transformative transit bill to come out of the legislature was the Regional Transit Authority that authorized Sound Transit in 1990. Since then, Olympia has let Community Transit go over the cliff and kept Metro afloat with temporary authority, and had minor transit spending attached to giant highway bills. I would not blame Sen. Murray for all that has gone wrong in the legislature, nor credit him with what little has gone right. This is not a question of his “commitment,” or doubt that Mayor McGinn has a had a tough relationship with some key figures in the capital. However, the very real constraints that stymied Ed Murray the senior Senator are likely to stymie Ed Murray the mayor.

About Martin H. Duke

Martin joined the blog in Fall 2007 and became Editor-in-Chief in 2009. He is originally from suburban DC, but has lived in the Greater Seattle area since 1997. He resides with his family in Columbia City and works as a software engineer in Lower Queen Anne.




Comments

  1. Ed Murray is a bona fide transit advocate. He’s worked in a sea of feckless suburban & rural legislators to try to get rational transportation policy for urban areas at the state level. To do that, you inevitiably have to compromise, and therein lies the rub. But there is no denying that he was the pioneering force behind getting the state to spend real money on transit through the regional mobility grant program, a true camel’s nose under the tent in what has otherwise been a western state highway department. So the real measure, I would argue, is about effectiveness, and which candidate is likely to be most effective in the mayor’s office actually getting things done. Let the debate roil.

    • “He’s worked in a sea of feckless suburban & rural legislators to try…”

      Do within 18 years or not do within 18 years. There is no try for 18 years. Regional Mobility Grants are a valuable resource for smaller agencies but have not even made a dent in the Puget Sound region’s transit needs.

    • Ben Schiendelman says:

      I don’t see how you say there’s “no denying” something that there’s little evidence of at all. I’ve seen Ed Murray go back and forth on these issues for years.

  2. Stephen F says:

    Ed Murray is a transit fraud and has done great harm to transportation in this state under his leadership both in the Senate and the Transportation Committee. He is antithetical to the needs of this great city and state.

    • Ben Schiendelman says:

      I’ve certainly seen him take poor positions, but I think you need evidence to back this up too!

      • Stephen F says:

        Crumbling roads, priortising new road construction over basic maintenance and replacement, intentionally screwing Metro, advocating regional transit and negating the importance of local transit, having zero understanding of the importance of multi-modal issues in Seattle like the BMP. The guy is a joke and he wants to lead this city? I fear, I fear.

  3. What’s bizarre is the claim Ed Murray can do better for Seattle in Olympia as Mayor than as a state senator or mere chair of the House Transportation Committee. If he were more focused on tranportation as a set of issues, he’d see the silliness in this line of reasoning.

    For better or worse, his focus is on other issues, and some other race beyond his use of the mayor’s office as a stepping stone. He needs to get his head out of the clouds and focus on what he has to offer in terms of running the City of Seattle. That’s the generous diagnosis. A less generious diagnosis is that he, or some of his supporters, are seeking petty vengeance for the mayor daring to try to stop the freeway tunnel, which is now a decided issue.

    • Nathanael says:

      This is the key point here. We can see what results Ed Murray got on transportation when he was senior Senator in the state Legislature. The results were terrible. Why does he think he’s going to be able to do *better* in the state Legislature as Mayor, where he’s not even *in* the state Legislature? The argument doesn’t make sense.

      Perhaps a Mayor who has no history with the state Legislature (and has made no enemies) would have a better chance — I could see that argument. Perhaps a state legislator who has a record of getting-it-done in the state Legislature might be able to claim that he has the connections to keep getting-it-done as mayor. But Murray cannot make either claim.

      Given that he has to campaign for Seattle based on what he’d do for Seattle, and on that he’s been… vague.

      • railcan says:

        “The results were terrible” This is a very short-sighted view. I don’t expect everyone on this blog to have a long memory, but Ed can credibly make the claim to be one of the people with foresight who helped save Sound Transit at its greatest moment of peril. Sure the agency turned itself around with good leadership at the local level and strong support from Patty Murray in DC. But at its darkest moments, Ed Murray saved ST by killing every attempt in Olympia to gut the agency in 2001-2004 as chair of the House Committee. He was mano-a-mano against the Kemper crowd in a very lonely fight when ST had zero friends in Oly. Jim Horn sent a bunch of anti-ST bills out of the Senate when ST was trying to convince FTA to restore federal funding for Link. Ed buried every one of them. You don’t always get a lot of credit for playing defense, but it is not a stretch to say that without him, we may well not have the Link system you see today.

      • Fair enough railcan. But Murray’s TV commercial claims he “funded transit.” That is a whopper.

      • Ben Schiendelman says:

        Railcan, I appreciate that – he needs to make those claims instead of making different, unsubstantiated claims.

      • East Coast Cynic says:

        It would also be great if Murray set out what he would like to do to improve transit in the city of Seattle rather than how he navigated the stormy political waters of Olympia, e.g., Light Rail to Ballard? Queen Anne? West Seattle?

      • It’s nice that he helped get some serious stuff done a decade ago, but what now? The game is totally different. Community Transit, Pierce Transit, KC Metro, CTRANS (Vancouver), Spokane Transit, Intercity Transit, Kitsap Transit, and Everett Transit (to name a few) have all had to slash service, institute fare increases, and/or raise taxes at a municipal level. And Olympia seems perfectly ok with this all happening while ramming though an underfunded SR99, underfunded SR520, a half-baked US395, and letting the CRC die. How about Murray discussing how he’s going to convince Olympia to convince us tax ourselves for transit and ST3? I hear nothing about the stuff that matters; just the usual “but I love transit too”. As a person who is going to see their route cut back soon, this is what I want to know more about.

        Also, how about some good ol’ proof that Murray saved Sound Transit? Burden is on you, man.

  4. Ed Murray may well be not to blame for all that has (not) gone down in the Legislature, both this year and throughout his tenure. But, at a minimum, the Legislature has not had a good enough record to give him credibility on transit. The way he could gain that credibility would be to explain, in detail, how he would like to improve transit in the City of Seattle. Thus far, he has not done that. Instead, he has contented himself with platitudes and stylistic criticisms of Mike McGinn. By itself, that makes him unimpressive on transit.

    But there something even worse, given that he is running for mayor. His focus on transit during the mayoral race, to the extent he’s had one, has been on regional transit. Regional transit, if you count what’s already funded and under construction, is in much better shape than in-city transit. The mayor of Seattle is not the governor, the county executive, or the board chair of Sound Transit. He should be advocating forcefully for the city’s interests. The fact that he is not implies one of two things: either he is disconnected from city residents and transit riders and doesn’t know any better, or he really has his eye on a regional or statewide office. Both, in my opinion, are strong factors weighing against him as a mayoral candidate.

  5. Honestly Murray’s criticisms of McGinn bother me more than anything in his record, because he keeps criticizing McGinn for doing what every city official should have been doing on the tunnel: making sure the traffic/revenue/diversion studies stood up to scrutiny and opposing the cost overrun plan because cost overruns are inherently unpredictable.

    • (To be sure, it’s not that I think Murray shouldn’t criticize McGinn. There are people I know that have worked with him in his capacity as mayor and have very pointed criticisms of the way he works with people, and that’s something I take seriously. I don’t think it’s a coincidence exactly that McGinn has attracted so much progressive opposition, and I also don’t think it’s a conspiracy. But Murray criticizes McGinn for doing his job defending Seattle’s interests without a satisfactory explanation of what he’d have done differently. There’s another part of the criticism that’s at least true, which is that McGinn grandstands against state politicians for political points with his base… I don’t mind that McGinn does this, but then again I’m just a blog troll, so whatever.)

  6. Mark Y. says:

    I read the CHS piece and a lot of it just baffles me.

    “He has also criticized the current mayor for not building broader regional coalitions in his plans for a Ballard-to-downtown light rail extension.”

    What does that mean? Why would Seattle need a regional coalition to build a line that’s entirely within the city limits and would be paid from North King subarea funds? And just who would be in this coalition, and what would be in it for them? It makes no sense, but it’s a dig against McGinn (“he doesn’t collaborate!”) so I guess it doesn’t matter that it’s non-sensical.

    “Murray said he supports increased density in Capitol Hill and microhousing should be a part of that, as long as it’s regulated.

    “The city has to first determine what microhousing is and where we want it,” he said. “We need strict guidelines for developers in how they build it.”

    Boy that’s a ringing endorsement. Following that process means nobody would build microhousing. Which I guess is the point.

    All these candidates have spent that past 6 months trying so hard to be the anti-McGinn that I don’t think they even know where they stand anymore.

    • AndrewN says:

      “He has also criticized the current mayor for not building broader regional coalitions in his plans for a Ballard-to-downtown light rail extension.”

      Imagine if only the City had partnered with a regional transit agency that has a board comprised of members from King, Snohomish, and Pierce counties…

      • Ben Schiendelman says:

        McGinn just did that successfully to accelerate Ballard planning, and then all of Sound Transit 3.

    • CharlotteRoyal says:

      North King Subarea refers to NORTH Seattle….Shoreline and Lake Forest Park. I don’t want “Ballard Only” coming out of my pocket when I buy goods, register my vehicles etc, here in Shoreline. Transit service today from Ballard pales in comparison to that in Shoreline and LFP. Mind you, Shoreline has a population north of 55,000.

      • Ben Schiendelman says:

        That’s not quite right. North King refers to all of Seattle, plus Shoreline and Lake Forest Park.

        Right now, my back-of-the-napkin calculations say that the Link service being built in Shoreline exceeds Shoreline’s tax contributions. So your comment comes off asinine.

      • David L says:

        Right now, the 48,000 people in Ballard are paying for “Shoreline [and UW and Northgate] Only.” You should reciprocate once their line is planned.

    • J. Reddoch says:

      Or at the very least, with officials from Shoreline and Lake Forest Park, which are also a part of the same subarea.

  7. Mike McGinn and Ed Murray are by far the two most qualified and transit friendly candidates in the race. Hopefully, they will both make it through the primary process. Steinbruek is by far the worst transit candidate. However, Steinbruek has a very good chance of making it through the primary if only a small percentage of voters actually mail in their ballots by election day, especially younger and more urban-minded voters.

    • Ben Schiendelman says:

      I would much rather Steinbrueck make it through the primary, so he can be properly trounced.

      • reality based commute says:

        You should want Murray and McGinn in the final, not just an automatic McGinn. We need a robust debate on effectiveness on transit issues between two supportive candidates.

      • I agree with rbc, get Steinbrueck out of the way and have a real debate, rather than 1960s vs. 2040s.

      • The only thing I am certain about Ed Murray is that he is not going to engage in honest debate in this race. I talked to him for about 15 minutes trying to get him to say one concrete thing he would do about transit. I failed.

    • If we have a low turnout this primary election and younger people stay home then Steinbruek may coast through to the finals and eventually win the mayoral race. http://www.seattlemet.com/news-and-profiles/publicola/articles/wednesday-jolt-july-2013. At this point, people shouldn’t be arguing over McGinn or Murray. They are both future-oriented candidates who are 100 times better than Steinbruek on transit and every other issue. Keep Steinbruek out of the finals! Remind your friends to vote for anyone but Steinbruek. Personally, I’m planning to watch the polls very closely in the next few weeks and to vote for the leading “M” candidate who is most likely to be beaten by Steinbruek if I don’t vote for him.

  8. Bellinghammer says:

    I really believe that when it comes down to it, Murray will be a solid advocate on issues we care about. Sadly he has been tone-deaf when it comes to talking transit in Seattle and the mayor’s role. Yes the mayor sits on the ST board, but our regional transit expansion is relatively assured, and citing his experience in a largely-failed legislative body when it comes to transit only hurts him. It’s true that any new revenue goes through Olympia, and I’m sympathetic to the argument that he will be better received down there than McGinn, but he can’t legitimately claim he and his Olympia colleagues have succeeded for transit by any reasonable standard.

    If he wants to win transit votes, he needs to champion that which has already begun (BMP, TMP, ST3 planning, etc) but mostly speak to Seattle’s intra-city transit inadequacies and the things he can do as mayor to fix them. He needs to get familiar with SDOT projects and talk about them A LOT. The mayor has a critical role in influencing SDOT, and that is the realm of TSP, bus bulbs, road diets, bike lanes, new trolley wire, higher frequencies, supporting upzones and TOD, and fighting for MVET.

    Give us a plan to spare us from the 20 minutes it takes to get from 3rd/Pine to Harborview. Tell us how you’ll make Ballard-UW bus trips less of an abject nightmare. Tell us how you’ll push for a 2016 vote for rail to Ballard. Tell us how you’ll push the County Council to address the vestigial madness in Metro’s route networks and vow to staunchly support the County Council and the RTTF guidelines for service changes.

    Until then, McGinn, whatever his faults, will continue to run away with the pro-transit vote, including mine.

    • Ben Schiendelman says:

      Right now, I’m hearing from staff from some Sound Transit board members that they want to eliminate subarea equity (which is an ST policy, not state law) so that more of the balance can be spent on Redmond and Everett and less in Seattle. McGinn has made it clear he understands that threat and will protect us from it. Murray has no idea it’s a threat.

      • reality based commute says:

        Ben–the subarea equity issue is way overblown. There is no serious effort on the ST board or anywhere else to get rid of subarea equity. The mayor’s folks have been trying to make this an issue, but there is no there there.

      • The impact could go anywhere, depending on what the board decides to do. So it’s impossible to say if the concerns are overblown or not. The real question here is what would happen in Seattle once Link is built and operational within the city limits? It’s outside Seattle to the south and creeping its way out to the East and West. So it’s not far off. Worse case scenario (and most likely considering a huge amount of money is in Seattle these days): Seattle could become the tax cash cow to extend Link all over the place without providing Seattle any additional relief. Right now, all the Link construction going on in Seattle (like ULink) is funded by the Seattle subarea and the money from the other subareas is getting banked to pay for their Sound Transit projects. While the efforts to extend Link everywhere should be applauded, Seattle needs additional relief and Sound Transit’s funding abilities is the best method we have at the moment to accomplish that goal.

  9. Murray’s television ad, released yesterday, boldly claims that he “funded transit” while in Olympia. (The audio hedges a bit, adding the word “helped”, but “FUNDED TRANSIT” is the assertion that appears on screen.”)

    Olympia does not fund urban transit. Olympia has never funded urban transit. At no point during Murray’s time as chair of the House Transportation Committee was there a proposal for Olympia to fund urban transit. At no point during his tenure as Senate Majority Leader did he try to advance such a proposal.

    Murray is a liar.

    • Martin H. Duke says:

      Regional Mobility Grants and aid to rural transit agencies are real things. They are insignificant for Metro-scale agencies, but they are transit.

      So it’s not a lie.

      • Matt L (aka Angry Transit Nerd) says:

        Because I’m sure what Ed Murray wants Seattle voters to think is that the state spent > $0 on transit-related projects and not that he saved their bus service from huge cuts next year.

      • Pardon me for expecting the words “funded transit” in an ad for a Seattle mayoral campaign should have some bearing on transit that is used by citizens of Seattle.

        I didn’t see any asterisks in the ad. “Funded urban transit” is absolutely what he implies. And it is 100% false.

      • Ben Schiendelman says:

        Martin, I think d.p. is right – I don’t see any Regional Mobility Grants for Seattle projects, at least not recently?

      • Mike Orr says:

        Seattle I’m not sure about, but the weekend extension of the 168 to Maple Valley is “funded by a grant from WSDOT” (which is expiring this year). I think the 164 is also funded by a grant. Both of these are expiring this year, and Metro is musing a Kent-area reorg to try to keep them running. (The 164 is well-used. The 168 east of the Wax Road turn, not that much.)

      • The only one I could find over the 2009-2011 biennium:

        King County Metro Transit
        To provide operating funding to sustain transportation services for special needs populations in King County and for the purchase of one indoor representational mock-up of a low-floor fixed-route bus, and eleven paratransit vans with fire suppression systems.
        $5,850,000

        This is like, 1% of Metro’s annual budget.

      • CharlotteRoyal says:

        Mobility grants are coming…it seems that a good chunk of money is headed to a few projects listed on page 31 of the long list of transportation projects.

        LEAP Transportation Mobility Grants (Current 2013-2015 Biennium)

        Seattle is getting 23rd Ave Transit improvement funding this biennium! Seattle didn’t get nothing! Rejoice!

    • Stephen F says:

      A d.p. snark I can jump onboard with!!! +1 +infinity

    • reality based commute says:

      Regional Mobility Grants are very important to Metro and to service in Seattle–it is a system, folks.

      And I will point out that Murray’s claim to have “funded transit” is no more ludicrous than McGinn taking credit for the Library levy. So, y’all chill out.

      • The library levy is $122.6 million. Regional Mobility Grants are how important to Metro exactly?

      • Taking credit for a collective accomplishment is normal for any legislator or executive. The problem is that Ed Murray has not made transit enough of a priority. I do not contest the fact that WSDOT spends a pittance on transit, when it did not before. Spending pennies on the dollar for transit in the context of megaproject construction is inadequate and inexcusable for our state. Murray’s transportation packages also shortchanged maintenance of existing roads, and contributed to the erosion of state and local gas tax matches.

    • As of 2008, Washington State was one of only two states that provided no significant direct funding for public transportation systems in its primary urban areas.

      I have no doubt that number has risen over the course of the recession and the takeover of multiple state governments by the “fuck you” wing of the Republican party.

      But in 2008 we had a robust economy, a Democratic governor, Democratic supermajorities in both legislative bodies, and Speaker of the House from Wallingford, and a Senate Majority Leader from Capitol Hill. And not once — not once — did Murray consider making a political priority the shouldn’t-be-remotely-controversial possibility of following the lead of 48 other states, by recognizing that the mobility of economically vital urban areas constitutes a state interest worthy of direct state support.

      “I funded transit”? What an insurmountable pile of b.s.!

      • Martin H. Duke says:

        I share your outrage, but Lisa Brown was the Senate Majority Leader.

      • Sorry, Vice-Chair. He did jack-squat as well during the next session, when he was the actual Chair

    • Not to pick nits, but Murray’s tenure as Majority Leader didn’t actually happen. The caucus voted to nominate him, but Rodney Tom was elected to that position by the full Senate.

      • Murray has served as both Majority Caucus Chair and Majority Caucus Vice-Chair during past legislative sessions. Wikipedia says 2009-10 and 2007-08, respectively.

  10. Will Douglas says:

    Ed Murray does not deserve the benefit of the doubt regarding Olympia’s transit funding failures, especially when he is running TV ads claiming he “funded transit” in a year when the State Senate spectacularly failed to save Metro. It’s even more egregious when Murray is basing his campaign on the claim that he is more effective overall than McGinn. He has a record on transit and it’s one of failure.

    I’d also add that Murray was not just a random State Senator. He was the Majority Leader, at least for a short while, and remained the head of the Senate Democrats. Olympia Republicans are not transit fans, but they did cut a deal on the state budget. A deal might well have been on the table that could have gotten us transit funding. It is worth asking Ed Murray to explain what happened this year and why he failed Seattle on this all-important issue.

  11. Chris Mealy says:

    I’m still mad about the tunnel. That was Ed Murray’s chance to be a leader for transit and the environment and he completely failed.

    • But he voted with a few Seattle colleagues for a symbolic amendment to remove the provision putting Seattle on the hook for all cost overruns, before voting for the underlying bill funding the project. Nor does he try to hide the fact that he has supported the project all alone.

      • Ben Schiendelman says:

        He touted supporting the project at the 36th Dems.

        For that alone, he should not be in charge of anything transportation related.

      • I respectfully disagree. We can vote however we feel based on who supported the tunnel. But the issue is decided. I am voting against Murray because I think our current mayor would be much stronger on transportation issues, social safety net issues, children’s issues, utility infrastructure issues, affordability issues, not to mention keeping down unemployment.

    • reality based commute says:

      The legislature would have never funded surface/transit. It is fine to oppose the tunnel and politicians who support it, but don’t pretend there was a real choice. The legislature would have simply torn down the viaduct and said to Seattle, you figure it out.

      • But Murray could not even get us the MVET for transit that was supposed to be part of the deal. McGinn is criticized for saying we couldn’t trust Gregoire, but it was she who vetoed the local transit funding option she promised. She went back on the deal mere months after signing it, and not a peep about this from Ed Murray.

      • Ed Murray has shown he is better at collaborating to collect friends and advance his political career. Gregoire’s endorsement is one additional (albeit minor) reason I will be voting against him.

  12. Superb post. I agree with every point that was made. I would also add that there is very little difference between the candidates and their approach for transit. They all want to increase funding for it. They all want as much high speed, grade separated rail as possible. There are minor differences with priority (e. g. should we build a new streetcar or add to BRT?) but those differences are minor compared to the real debate about density.

    So far, McGinn is the only candidate to stand up and say we want more density and here is how we accomplish it. At best, the other candidates seem to be trying to finesse the issue, probably as an attempt to get the votes of folks who are upset with new construction. It is possible that Murray has a nuanced view on density, but if he refuses to talk about it, then it is hard to guess. There are so many clear cut answers that he (or anyone) could give, but they refuse to do so. For example, where does he stand on Mother In Law apartment regulation? That seems like a great thing for the single family home owner as well as the renter, but some folks oppose it because of parking issues. I have no idea where he stands on this (or any other zoning) issue. Given all that, it seems crazy to assume the best about a candidate just because he is another Seattle liberal. McGinn may not be perfect, but he has done more than any of the other candidates to support the issues the folks on this blog care about.

    • Ya know, I have yet to hear a single policy on which Murray disagrees with McGinn. That’s not to say he actually agrees with all of McGinn’s policies.

      • Ben Schiendelman says:

        Yes – he opposed subarea equity at a time when it’s increasingly under attack, and we need to preserve it. McGinn recognized this attack and called it out.

      • David L says:

        He hasn’t quite said it, but the strong implication of his comments thus far is that he favors HCT for regional corridors only. McGinn is very clear about favoring HCT (even if it’s not necessarily always exactly the HCT we’d want) within the city limits.

      • Brent, it’s very hard to hear policy disagreements when Murray is so reticent to make clear statements on policy positions. I’ve read nearly every interview he’s done this election season, and I have attended at least 3 Democratic LD endorsement meetings (and another 2 or 3 forums), so it’s not like he hasn’t had the opportunity to make his actual stances known to me and others.

        And yet despite that, there are two differences given right here by Ben and David.

  13. Anyone find this line strange? “Murray says he has a strong record in the legislature bringing back transportation money for the city, including funds for the First Hill Streetcar.”

    If I’m not mistaken, that project is funded by Sound Transit as part of ST2.

  14. Geoff Simpson says:

    Ed Murray has done more to provide funds for transit in this state than any single person has ever done to my knowledge. I served with him as his vice-chair of the House Transportation Committee from 2003-2007. It doesn’t take much research to find the genesis of the State’s Regional Mobility Grant program. It was Murray’s 2005 legislation, HB 2124 (http://is.gd/sbl0xs). It’s provided $143.5 million since 2006, which has leveraged a lot of other funding – not sure any single person in state history can match that. That bill just barely scratches the surface of Murray’s transit credentials. Some of it can be attributed to behind the scenes efforts, like the First Hill Streetcar. I know for a fact that Murray himself made that happen. Ed Murray has probably forgotten about more of his personal transit successes than all of his opponents have actually delivered, combined. I won’t take any shots at the current mayor or his ability to get things done, but at least get your facts straight about Murray.

    • Thanks Geoff. And before you all take off after Geoff, keep in mind this is the man who pretty much single-handedly secured the the I-90 center lanes for East Link. There are wars over transit going on every day in Olympia that most of us never even see.

    • I appreciate hearing from the former representative. It took courage for him to do the things he did while representing an R-leaning district. If we can’t get the candidates to talk specifics, can we at least get each campaign to have a surrogate submit a guest piece?

    • David L says:

      That’s a nice group of accomplishments — for a candidate for governor. But, of the items on your list, only the I-90 center lanes benefited the City of Seattle, and only peripherally. Your list doesn’t address the central problem Ed Murray has, which is that he appears more focused on “regional” transit for suburbs than on transit for the City of Seattle, both in his legislative career and in his current campaign. That’s not an appropriate posture for a candidate for mayor.

      • ummm…wouldn’t you suppose “that’s a great group of accomplishments — for governo” because he was working at the state level and that once working at the city level, he will bring the same kind of focus and accomplishments? Kind of ridiculous to dismiss his transit success because it was out of the Seattle boundaries when he was NOT the Seattle mayor. What you should see is someone who has funded rail and now wants to run Seattle. To me, I would be thrilled to see that on his resume, not dismissive because it didn’t happen in my backyard.

        Frankly, I am relieved by all the pro-Murray talk and talk of his bona-fides and find all the criticism to be nit-picky. The most recent criticism — that McGinn has made an issue of ST dropping equitable while Murray hasn’t is particularly shrill. One, I don’t think an issue has every arisen that McGinn hasn’t found a way to grandstand (but not necessarily solve) and Two, I don’t see the suggestion Murray wouldn’t be alarmed as well — just that he hasn’t said anything yet. Wow. Harsh.

        Anyway…thank you STBlog…you’ve convinced me. I’m voting for Murray and I am thrilled he is as pro-transit as McGinn, but can actually get things done because he hasn’t alienated so many people (base included).

    • Seattleite says:

      Ed Murray has done more to provide funds for transit in this STATE than any single person has ever done to my knowledge.

      I don’t think anyone is challenging Ed Murray’s ability to take Seattle money and spread it around the rest of the state. What we’re challenging him on is his record on delivering FOR SEATTE.

      • please. dont be silly. when he worked at the state level, he did things for the state. when he’s mayor, he will do things for the city. its all in the job description. why would you think otherwise?

  15. Everyone, please keep this in mind. To an religious fanatic who goes to church 7 days a week, the person who regularly goes to church once a week seems lacking in faith. So when rail fanboys and transit freaks tells you some politician isn’t sufficiently enthusiastic or supportive of transit, ask yourself if that’s really true, or if the person doing the accusing is really just a wingnut.

    • True. It depends on how important we think transit really is, and how unsupportive the politician really is. Each voter should make those decisions in their own mind, after looking at the facts and taking into consideration the arguments.

      • I look forward to having him put forward some actual arguments against the mayor’s transportation policies.

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