When the King County Prosecutor refused to prosecute Ian Birk, I was pretty angry at Mayor Mike McGinn for not doing something tangible to make things right. I felt that his speeches after the fateful decision were long on words and short on substance. I thought then, and still do, that he should have fired the Seattle Police Chief.
I also wretched several times when, during the State of the City address, the Mayor repeatedly “accepted President Obama’s challenge” to do one thing or another. If the Mayor is not aware that the presidency is a dog and pony show put on by corporateers and their figurehead of the moment, then I submit that the guy is more than a little naive. Frankly, I wouldn’t accept Obama’s challenge to eat when I’m hungry, and I’m not even a Republican.
Later, when the parking rates Downtown and on Capitol Hill went up, I again found myself somewhat critical of the guy (and the Council of course). I hate to see people driving cars down here, but I’m not sure if it’s fair to rent to the public their own spaces at a premium. Get rid of the parking, or give it to the people for a fair rate, but don’t shamelessly money grab. At the very least, make it free for residents of Seattle proper.
These caveats being noted, I’ve come to the conclusion that we could do worse that Mike McGinn. Much worse.
You see, it’s becoming very apparent that Mike McGinn is a true “city” mayor. A mayor that has no love for the auto culture of the Eastside, or the carpetbagging corruption of the Olympia elite.
As much as I disagree with him about some things, I realize that for every one of his positions I oppose, I agree with him on two others.
For instance, he vetoed an anti-poor-person law that would have made folks from Redmond feel more safe in Downtown Seattle. It would have made me feel more safe Downtown too. Hell, it probably would have made Mike McGinn feel safer as well. This doesn’t mean that it was the right thing to do, however. He who sacrifices safety for liberty gets neither safety nor liberty and all that.
Then, there’s transit.
Mike McGinn is not a fan of the almighty automobile. He obviously thinks it is a clear cause of Seattle’s transit woes, and I do not know an intelligent person who could disagree with this.
As a matter of fact, it has become apparent that those who hate McGinn the most, are those who worship the private automobile the most.
Then, there’s this … check out the Walk, Bike, Ride campaign, championed by Big Mike himself:
That, my friends, is what you call an appropriate solution for a dense, urban area (along with mass transit expansions).
For crying out loud, the guy actually rides a bike to work! This alone garners mad points from yours truly.
Mike has also spoken out for residency requirements for the SPD. Although he does not himself have the power to make it happen, he has at least floated the idea that new recruits to the Seattle Police Department should actually, you know, live in the City of Seattle.
Now, the guy wants to give the people of Seattle a vote on the deep-bore tunnel running under Downtown. Before moving forward with the multi-billion dollar project, he thinks the people should have a say.
Again, what rational person could disagree with this?
McGinn may be a lot like myself in some ways (probably not something he would want to hear). He’s probably not overtly evil, greedy, or corrupt. He’s simply misunderstood. He’s passionate about a lot of things that piss off moneyed suburbanites and the campaign contributions that they control.
This is why he constantly draws ire from Christine Gregoire and other politicians, which in my opinion, can only be a good thing. I’m sorry, but that lady is about as genuine as Monopoly money. When Mike stated publicly that he couldn’t trust her, my respect for him went up 1,000 fold.
Being right is always more important than being popular, and this is yet another principle that I share with McGinn.
Now, look, is the guy perfect? No. Is he completely void of self-interest? Certainly not. Is he right most of the time? I doubt it. It’s very difficult to be elected to a public office in the USA if you have integrity. Some say it’s downright impossible.
That being said, he’s no Marion Barry either.
I think Seattle could do a lot worse than Mike McGinn, and dare I say it … I kind of like the guy.
In my opinion, his ideas are far more rational than those of his detractors, and as time goes on, I find myself becoming more and more of a fan.
It will be with a heavy heart that I defeat him in the 2013 elections.