Seattle Transit Blog endorsements are primarily a function of a candidate’s transit and land use policies, and on those merits Mayor Mike McGinn is simply unassailable.
He has pushed for greater investment on all transit fronts. He initiated a badly needed update to the Transit Master Plan, sought to fund it through a $80 vehicle license fee, and used the TMP to open up the possibility of a Sound Transit 3 package in 2016 rather than 2020 or 2024. He has leveraged Seattle’s voracious appetite for transit to accelerate the entire region.
He has routinely produced the most aggressively pro-density proposals every time the subject arises. A city that enacted the Mayor’s proposals in full would create a better life for transit riders; more people, jobs, and activities well-served by transit; better public health and safer streets; greater housing supply and a more politically powerful Seattle; and a more environmentally sustainable future.
Of course, the Seattle City Council has not fully enacted the Mayor’s transit and land use proposals, often delaying and watering them down while not stating clear policy objections. Although critics suggest this means the Mayor is ineffective, this is a dynamic common to most Council-Mayor relationships. Moreover, we fail to see how electing a Mayor with a weaker pro-transit and pro-density reputation will increase the political potency of the positions we share.
Regarding those mayoral alternatives: Peter Steinbrueck, in addition to flirting with anti-rail rhetoric, displays strong anti-density instincts, consistently favoring replacement of a big building with a small building, and a small building with empty space. Councilmember Bruce Harrell has a poor density-and-transit voting record on the Council and continues to emphasize cheap and easy car access as a policy objective. We are hopeful that Senator Ed Murray would make a good mayor, but Olympia politics is so far to the right of Seattle that is difficult to discern where he stands on the real fault lines in City politics. He has not yet embraced the aggressively pro-transit and pro-density positions that would move us to abandon an incumbent with whom we agree almost totally.
Mayor McGinn’s first election victory was widely viewed as a fluke. He deserves an unambiguous mandate from the people of this City and a second term as Mayor.
The STB Editorial Board currently consists of Martin H. Duke, Bruce Nourish, and Sherwin Lee.