Mike Bikes

When mayoral candidate Michael McGinn showed up at the King County Municipal League Awards ceremony last Wednesday night at the Seattle Art Museum, he strolled in lugging two big, bright yellow bike panniers.  The fact that he was slated to address a room packed with Seattle’s most prominent players and politicos did not stop McGinn from riding his bike to the event in his city clothes.  And it wasn’t just a stunt — it’s well known that McGinn rides his electric-assist bike everywhere.  It says a lot.

Yesterday the McGinn campaign released a critique of Mayor Nickels’ environmental record — Publicola has a good summary here.  Nickels has a relatively solid green reputation, which will no doubt be tricky for McGinn successfully challenge and not be perceived by some as a fringe environmental wacko. 

One thing that struck me about the official Nickels campaign response is the strategy to play on people’s anxiety over the economy.  Spokesman Sandeep Kaushik told Publicola that “[McGinn] seems to be out of touch with the people of Seattle who are worried about jobs.”  This is not the message of a visionary leader.  The kind of leader we need now is one who recognizes our current challenges as opportunities.  Now is not the time to go backwards and neglect progress toward creating a sustainable culture in which everyone will thrive over the long term.  Now is the time to be bold.


16 Responses to “Mike Bikes”

  1. right on

    nice points, dan, nice.

  2. David in Burien

    Yeah, but….

    Considering Nickel’s biggest political flaw seems to be some kind of compulsion to piss off politicos he should be forming political bonds to (especially, apparently, in the State Legislature, among other places…), how is McGinn an answer to that? Here’s a guy who’s a career government antagonist and litigation plaintiff. How’s he gonna get arrogant dopes like Haugan and Chopp to treat Seattle more fairly in the regional and statewide political process.

    Frankly I’m pissed off about how things are going for regional transportation and transit with Seattle being the center of the region. We’re all but cut out of the stimulus pie, and transit got socked in the gut this session. Alot of the blame lays at Nickel’s feet.

    But much as I love my bike and applaud the cycle-transportation community for individual do-gooder-ness, I want an effing mayor that uses the prodigious power of the Seattle Mayor’s office in this State to advance the damn ball for the city. McGinn’s symbolism is meaningless in that context.

  3. Gary

    “Now is the time to be bold.” Agreed.


  4. I (heart) McGinn

    David in Burien: How is Michael a, “career government antagonist and litigation plaintiff”? In all of my interactions with Michael, I have seen him as a positive and reasonable force who searches for a common ground between disparate groups. He is smart, builds relationships and bridges, and is creative in finding solutions. And, he walks the talk.

  5. Joshua

    Anyone who wants to see the difference between McGinn’s environmental cred and the mayor’s should watch the Stranger video of McGinn, David Hiller and Mike O’Brien debating Rob Johnson, Bill LaBorde and Sandeep in 2007 about the Prop 1 initiative (http://slog.thestranger.com/2007/10/as_promised_footage_from_our_prop_1_deba). In hindsight, it makes me cringe for Sandeep and Rob, but it also convinces me that when you have the right vision and know how to convey it, it doesn’t matter how big the opponents’ war chest… you win.

  6. Gary

    @ 2 David in Burien:

    Michael is not “a career government antagonist.” What are you talking about? Last year, he helped organize a positive, broad-based coalition of community organizations in support of a new parks and green spaces levy. Nickels opposed it, sure. But McGinn & co. did not “antagonize” City Hall; they offered a constructive, positive solution, and it worked. When Michael was president of the Greenwood Community Council, he worked with his neighbors and the city to improve the walkability of local streets. He has a record of working with people to achieve constructive solutions to our problems, and that’s what we need more of.

  7. Joshua

    @4 is exactly right. If you go onto the Great City website (www.greatcity.org), you’ll see that the guiding principle of that organization is to transcend traditional political ideologies to build coalitions that get things done (full disclosure: I’m co-chair of the board, so my bias is clear). It just happens that the mayor was on the wrong side of the issue on parks.

  8. JoshMahar

    Admittedly I have been very connected with the Great City Initiative but I am so, so excited that Michael is running for mayor! I think one of the biggest problems in this city, not to mention this country, is that politicians generally treat environmental issues as an afterthought. Michael truly understands the environmental issues that will (and do) present enormous challenges for our future and underscore all other areas of our lives. I’m confident that he will work hard to ensure that every citizen in this city has the opportunity (geographically and financially) to live a healthier and more sustainable life. That being said, he puts community above everything and will certainly not force anything down people’s throats, but rather work cooperatively so that neighborhoods can successfully come to creative solutions for a stronger and healthier world.

    I know this kind of sounds like political campaign propaganda but I’m being very honest. Over the past year or so Michael has really taught me a lot about how to inspire successful change for the better. Go Michael!

  9. max jacobowitz

    I love how the greenest mayor in the country becomes “relatively green” compared to some guy on an electric assist bike who lives in greenwood. If I get an electric assist bike am I green than you?

    If McGinn rides his electric assist bike everywhere how is going to get to olympia to fight for us?

  10. justin

    max it feels like nickels is more into greenwashing and stunts then making real change. of course most people don’t want serious change so he will probably be fine.

  11. Jeff

    i think he’s ugly.

  12. Nancy

    There is NOTHING green about Nichols.

  13. Stating The Obvious: Hugeasscity Wants You To Vote For Mike McGinn In The Mayoral Primary | hugeasscity

    […] and what’s with the Cascade Bicycle Club’s endorsement of Nickels? It is obvious—and the CBC admits it—that McGinn is more aligned with their values, yet CBC chose to […]

  14. Tracy Jennings

    Way to go Mike. Riding in a city is a big commitment given the time it takes and the risks, not to mention the physical energy involved.

    Seattle is a city moving to a new future where various eco-friendly forms of transportation (not yet imagined) will populate roads. See Wall Street Journal article, Sept. 24th 2009 “Invasion of the Golf Carts” for a preview. Mike gets this.

  15. Andrew 18 lives in ballard goes to nathan hale

    i met mike at the labor day union bbq cause my mom has a union there and i met him face to face he’s a cool guy not gonna lie he bikes….so? a lot of people do and people stop complaining about nickles he lost deal with we are trying to move into the future not stay in past. i know not many people know this but mike and malahan how ever u spell it both there kids go to the same school as me NATHAN HALE our school has a lot of bikers were a green school not gonna lie but to get to the fact mikes a nice guy and the other guy worked for t-mobile i say u worked for t-mobile stay out of seattle govt and go back to what ur good at cell phones…i am going to vote for mike even though grandparents hate his ideas but i will try and talk to him about the viadact cause with out that were screwed no matter what we do

  16. Questions That Lead To More Questions | hugeasscity

    […] control my skepticism.  Because McGinn has surprised me before—e.g. although I was an early supporter, all along I was skeptical that he could actually […]

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