Different Campaign Strategies

Over the past week, the McGinn campaign:

Over the past week, the Mallahan campaign:

  • accepted a check for $30,000 from Joe Mallahan

And both participated in a debate sponsored by the Queen Ann Chamber of Commerce.

I hope my faith in google has not distorted the picture here, but I don’t see how I could possibly have missed enough Mallahan action to significantly alter the imbalance revealed above.

Such a weird mayor’s race.  McGinn is all hustle, while Mallahan appears to believe that all he has to do is be a warm body for business and labor.  So far neither campaign has been very successful at garnering donations from Seattle residents.  Mallahan has provided $232,000 of his campaign’s total $416,000, and recently said he will not contribute any more of his personal funds.  Meanwhile, McGinn continues to operate an all volunteer campaign, and total funds raised just crossed the $100,000 mark last month.

My unapologetically biased take on things at this point:  It’s hard not to conclude that Mallahan’s best hope is that enough people will be so afraid of the prospect of a world without a deep-bore tunnel that they will overlook his embarrassing lack of civic experience.  Conversely,  McGinn’s best hope is that his solid qualifications and progressive vision will not be overshadowed by a populace unwilling to face the urban transformations the future will inevitably demand.

27 Responses to “Different Campaign Strategies”

  1. huh?

    Apparently Mallahan just said on KUOW that parking taxes are too onerous and prevent the “most important tourists,” like those from Bellevue, Issaquah, etc., from coming into downtown to spend money.

    I am wondering how Mallahan expects to pay for the tunnel without those parking taxes – or how he is planning to replace the over $20M per year in the city budget that comes from commercial parking taxes. Does he really understand anything about the city budget? Does he even know how the tunnel is planned to be funded?

    Mallahan really is catering to what he thinks business wants to hear – and to the Eastside contributors who have been so generous to his campaign.

  2. dooby

    I’m glad to see this has turned (fully) into a political blog.

    Dan, hopefully Mike will give you a cushy job on his staff when he wins.

  3. slag

    Yeah. Why would anyone think that the Seattle mayor’s race has anything to do with Seattle’s urban planning and design? That’s just crazy talk.

  4. J David

    Dooby – This campaign directly affects how Seattle will grow in the future, a central them to this blog. Dan would be derelict to not engage the debate that’s going on (or, it seems, lack thereof in certain places). Last time I checked, he’s still writing many good pieces on non-political issues.

  5. wes kirkman

    “I’m glad to see this has turned (fully) into a political blog.

    Dan, hopefully Mike will give you a cushy job on his staff when he wins.”

    Booyah; take that bit of sarcasm Dan! Start pretending like there isn’t a Mayor election coming up and get back to bitching about six-packs and breadloafs.

  6. chrispy

    @2: Yes, one reason why this blog has lost a lot of credibility with me. I’ve been visiting here for a while and never remember it being so preachy and slanted.


    Then there’s the hatred for cars, people that drive cars, people that design roads for cars, etc etc. But I digress.

    Can’t we all just get along?

  7. dan bertolet

    @2: It’s even better than you suspect: Every time I post something that’s even the slightest bit pro-McGinn, I find a grocery bag full of cash on my porch the next morning. Sweet!

  8. Tony the Economist

    @2: Planning is inherently political, though the profession has long tried to pretend that it is not. Traditional planners like to pretend that they are above politics and that using reason and science they can devise the perfect solutions that the public should just accept because they, as professionals, know far better than the public what is in their (the public’s) best interest. This has never been true and it is not true today.

    Issues of land use, transportation, development regulation, housing, infrastructure and civic space are all about values and the decisions are made by politicians and voters, not by professionals.

    Every time Dan posts an opinion about anything having to do with planning, he is posting a political opinion. As such, this is and always has been a political blog. There’s nothing wrong with that, but there is something wrong with trying to pretend that planning either is not or should not be political.

  9. breathing is political

    There is a blog you may like more. It is called Crosscut. It pretends that it is not political and it will let you feel empowered about driving.

  10. breathing is political

    My comment at 9 was for chrispy @ 6.

  11. D'oh!

    Oh awesome! The daily McGinn report. How fascinating, informative and relavant! Everyone else is an enemy to proper, good planning.

  12. dan bertolet

    Hey all you folks who are sick of McGinnasscity: why don’t you contribute something positive and give us some examples of relevant ideas coming from the Mallahan campaign. Or better yet, tell us specifically what you think is wrong with McGinn. I suspect many readers think I’m seeing McGinn through rose-colored glasses — fine, so then let’s hear something intelligent about why you believe that.

  13. Joshua Daniel Franklin

    @7: It’s a reusable bag, right?

  14. D'oh!

    I’m speaking for myself, of course, but from the other discourse seen here on the blog, I think alot of other folks are trying to say the same thing:

    I’m not here reading this blog to better my understanding of a political candidate (I’m already voting for McGinn). There are plenty of blogs out there that dedicate themselves specifically to this type of stuff (PLENTY, A PLETHORA, A SHIT-TON). I come to this blog to engage in discourse surrounding design and planning – specifically geared toward Seattle. I already get more than enough of my daily political blather from the thousands of other outlets.

    This blogs specific focus on planning was enlightening to me, since I’m in the design community. I love the little things that are brought to the surface that one doesn’t see elsewhere. I like the bigger things, the broader issues, that are brought to our attention that you don’t find in other places (mainstream media, etc).

    But the continual postings specifically geared toward one political figure (I get it, Dan, you’re voting for McGinn – so is 98% of the readers here), are not shedding any new light on any of the issues the candidates face or any of the stances they’re taking -I read McGinn’s website and I also read Mallahans.

    We all know McGinn’s stance on the issues. Trust us, we do. So move on with it. Get back to the “ass” in hugeasscity and stop inundating us with the stuff we find elsewhere.

    The fact that you’re driving the point of “McGinn” so relentlessly (meaning lots and lots of postings about the divinity of McGinn), leads your most die-hard readers to suspect somethings up. Especiallly since it detracts from the planning emphasis of the blog – regardless of whether or not you think McGinn will save us all from environemental destruction. ‘Cause we already know. You said it 20 McGinn posts ago.

  15. dan bertolet

    OK, D’oh @14, fair enough. It’s not the first time I’ve heard that complaint. I have to say though, the level of animosity in your comments (it isn’t hard to guess your multiple aliases in this and other posts) suggests to me there’s more going on in your head than disappointment that hugeasscity isn’t delivering what you’ve come to expect. Do I owe you something?

    And really now, do you or anyone else seriously believe that McGinn might have promised me something? Absurd.

    I write about McGinn because I think it’s important that he wins, and I have this platform to use toward that end. Perhaps you are right that I’m preaching to the choir more than I realize. If so, that’s too bad, but all things considered I still believe the McGinn posts have the potential to influence people — and who knows, maybe it’s a tiny fraction of the readers, or maybe it’s more than you think, but every bit helps.

    And one more thing to you and all the other anonymous commenters: If you want to have a constructive dialog, you could start by using your real names. What are you afraid of?

  16. keith

    last time i checked, the idea of a blog, regardless of its subject matter, is that it’s a personal platform from which to express personal opinions, period. readers express their support or criticism for a bit and then conversation stalls, and so it goes…new post, new comments, ad infinitum.

    so, D’oh, you get dan’s position, you’re voting for mcginn, you’re hankering for new content related to planning: pick up a book, apply what you learn to seattle, and write/do something yourself.

    i actually appreciate the frequent mcginn updates because i’m interested in the election but have a SHIT-TON of other stuff to do. i’m sorry if dan can’t post enough for you to constantly consume but, damn, he has other things — most likely a SHIT-TON — to do.

    (no furthering a constructive dialogue here…maybe next time)

  17. Yankee

    I am going to go read crosscut this is so lame.

  18. ktstine

    dan why are your posts in times new roman font again? bleck!

  19. MyHugeAss

    For all who want to dictate the dialogue on the blog:


  20. Jared Mayes

    Dan & others:
    I voted for Mayor Nickels, but he lost the primary. Now I’m in the rare position of being “undecided”. I’m also kind of ignorant, so please persuade me.

    I haven’t heard anything about Mr. Mallahan that makes me want to vote for him, and he seems out-of-touch with Seattle values. Voting for him would kind of be like voting for my boss’s boss. I would rather not.

    I know more about Mr. McGinn, but that isn’t helping. I would like some answers to the following questions before he gets my vote…

    1) Has McGinn *promised* to stop the tunnel if elected?

    2) Will stopping the tunnel option mean that it will take longer – in terms of process, planning, and construction – to replace the viaduct? Getting cars off that thing is literally a matter of life-and-death, and the clock is ticking.

    3) I read about McGinn’s (vague) support for more light rail in Seattle, but couldn’t one argue that without opposition from him and the Sierra Club, we would be on track for more regional light rail than is currently approved?

  21. Ross

    To answer your question Jared:

    1) Yes, as far as I can tell. In other words, if he doesn’t stop the tunnel I’ll be very surprised and disappointed (and so will many of his supporters). Of course, we live in a republic, not a democracy, so he can change his mind, but unless there is a very good reason too, I don’t suspect he will. He has made it a cornerstone of his campaign, so I doubt he will change his mind.

    2) Maybe, maybe not. The clock is ticking, but I don’t know if anyone has really figured out the odds of dying on the viaduct vs. dying on, say, Highway 2 (the so called highway of death). Driving is dangerous. People die all of the time. We may not get “the big one” for 200 years, but we know more people will die on the road (by the way, I’m not a car hater, I drive quite a bit). To answer your question though, I would think that the fastest solution would be surface solution, followed by a new viaduct, followed by a tunnel. I think a fair amount of the planning work has been done for the first and the third (see http://obrienforseattle.com/2009/05/public-voice-ignored-in-viaduct-decision/ for information about the committee that studied the various proposals).

    3) I don’t think McGinn is a vague supporter of light rail. I think he was a strong supporter of the monorail, which was essentially elevated rail. As he correctly said, the monorail failed not because of an engineering failure (it was on budget) but because of a financing problem (the miscalculated the amount of money that needed to be assessed). I believe the Sierra Club has always supported light rail. I believe they supported the original proposal, which would have added way more rail. They didn’t support the “roads and transit” proposal, but that proposal would not have added more transit (just more roads). I think that was a very risky position to take (since it was possible for us to get neither) but if you are a fan of light rail, the risk paid off. There are a bunch of reasons not to support McGinn, but if you like light rail, you’ll him.

  22. Jared Mayes

    @21: Thanks for your thoughtful response, Ross. Your comments on the general risks associated with driving are well taken. Still, I think the plan might be farther along if the City Council had to work out of a portable trailer under the viaduct.

    It’s McGinn’s *plan* for light rail that’s vague. “Half-baked” would have been a better term. He didn’t address the practical challenges of placing a line in Ballard, Queen Anne, Belltown, and West Seattle. Also, it was misleading when he invoked Portland’s Green Line, since its devoted, graded right-of-way was planned and built along I-205 during the Carter administration.

    My point about Prop. 1 was that, among other things, the 2007 measure would have funded a 50-mile expansion, whereas the 2008 measure funded 34 miles. The Sierra Club lost my support when we lost those sixteen miles of rail. That is why I’m so annoyed with my probable vote for McGinn.

  23. Spencer

    As some of you might know I’ve been searching…and searching for McGinn’s positions on many different things. Essentially all things NOT THE TUNNEL. Until recently there really hasn’t been much.

    Here’s what I’ve noted so far regarding McGinn’s positions.

    The Budget. Cutting government jobs sounds suspiciously Republican. Also, in a time where we need jobs and less unemployment this sounds like an even worse idea.

    Public Out Reach. Sure as a line item in a budget report this sounds like a great idea. Placing few people in charge of multiple departments’ PR and outreach sounds like a lot of over worked people and even more under educated public on the happenings of our city. This is especially important since 1/5th of our city consists of immigrants. Lord knows the online “news papers” aren’t doing their part. This particularly concerns me when McGinn wants to increase public participation in policing our streets. Who is going to do this outreach?

    Anyone take a guess at what the cash savings are for McGinn’s consolidations? Anyone know?

    No Bid Contracts. Anyone know how many projects the city puts out there that are less than $260,000? I can’t imagine many.

    On crime: Planning a policy around Waterloo Iowa? a city that is 1/10th our size? Not convincing at all. I do love the job creation bit but what mayoral candidate hasn’t stated we need more police? I do like the Clean Dreams program, that at least gives an alternative to prison, and the Green Jobs idea. Maybe he can get Van Johnson to volunteer to run that program since we won’t be hiring any expensive consultants.

    Immigrants. This is a sound policy to me. I hope that he holds true to getting out to the immigrant communities but also to those later generational communities that already exist to explain and recruit to improve the services in their neighborhoods. Speaking of marginalized people, I wonder if he will visit Nicholsville regularly too?

    By the way, did the Times article really shed any more light on Mcginn’s other policies.

    Folks don’t get me wrong. I’ll likely vote for Mcginn because of his background alone and not really anything he’s saying now. I just don’t think he’s a perfect candidate. No matter who is Mayor either choice will be learning on the job.

  24. Joshua Daniel Franklin

    Jared, a couple quick points: McGinn has not presented a plan, he committed to bringing a plan to voters within two years:

    On Portland’s Green Line, it is true that the portion along I-205 was set aside long ago. However, Portland also built the Green Line through downtown from Union Station to PSU using the existing right-of-way of public streets. (The Yellow Line also uses this route now.) Even the downtown Portland portion was vastly less expensive per mile than Sound Transit’s surface line on MLK which required lots of land acquisition. Of course, running on streets also has its drawbacks–it would be guaranteed to be much slower than a tunnel, for example.

    I have mixed feelings about McGinn’s opposition to Roads and Transit–I voted for it myself (because I love devil’s bargains). I don’t feel too bad about the loss because suburban King, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties defeated worse than Seattle. They’re the ones who were supposed to vote for the roads.

    Hmm, that didn’t turn out to be “quick points.”

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  26. Ross

    @22 — Your original comment makes more sense to me now. I thought you were referring to the first RTA vote (back in 1995) which would have added a bunch of rail (way more than is currently proposed). After that original vote (which failed) they proposed a smaller version, which is what we have (or are building) now. I’m pretty sure the Sierra Club supported the 1995 proposal.

    They didn’t support the “roads and transit” proposal (the one you refer to) because there was too much road construction. Considering the fact that the 1995 proposal lost, this was a very risky strategy. However, it was successful (if you are looking at the ratio of transit to rail instead of total miles of rail). I’m curious (perhaps you know) what rail would have been built with the “roads and transit” proposal that won’t be built until we get another vote passed (or what rail has been delayed).

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