Another Endorsement For You Know Who

WARNING:  The following post is political, and not only that, it’s about  Seattle mayoral candidate Mike McGinn.  For those HAC readers who find such content upsetting, I beg you, close this browser window now before it’s too late!

( Editor’s note:  Alan Durning is the founder of Sightline, one of the Pacific Northwest’s most respected sustainability think tanks. Alan wrote the endorsement below to share with his 869 facebook friends (no lie!) and it reflects his personal views, not those of Sightline, which does not endorse candidates. Alan’s endorsement is posted here with permission. )


The short story: I whole-heartedly endorse Mike McGinn for Mayor of Seattle. I made a donation to his campaign. Would you do the same, please? (Link below.)

The whole story: I know Mike McGinn well. He shares my values and beliefs about what’s right for our city: better schools, more-affordable housing, better transit, better pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, stronger communities—and no $4 billion-dollar freeway excavated under downtown.

I almost get physically ill when I consider that the price tag of this tunnel would be enough to fund, for example, the current Seattle Schools budget shortfall for 200 consecutive years. My son Peter’s favorite highschool teacher lost her job this Spring, because of that shortfall. And we’re going to dig a #%$@ underground freeway?!  (See this Sightline post for more perspective on the deep-bore tunnel. **

Unlike his rival (who has a spotty record of even voting in city elections), Michael has been active in civic affairs and city policy for a very long time. He’s served on countless boards and panels and advisory groups, including several where I’ve also served. And he knows a very wide array of grassroots community leaders across Seattle, because he founded and directed the Seattle Great City Initiative—a local organization that brings together a diverse coalition for good urban development. I’ve sat in many meetings with him and watched him work effectively with groups large and small. He’s both tough and charming.

Does Mike have the management experience to be mayor? Wrong question. Does he have better management experience than his rival? Yes. Running a democratically minded city like Seattle is completely unlike running a mid-sized division of a national mobile phone company, which his opponent did. City governance is all about coalition building, cajoling, and organizing. It’s a nonstop campaign. And that’s what Mike does best.

Some of my friends wonder if Mike can win against a fresh-faced centrist.  Ahem:  Mike McGinn just ran the most surprising campaign in recent Seattle history.  He was outspent about seven to one, yet he finished first! (FIRST!) Having watched his campaign—and his previous, successful campaigns for parks and transit—I have no doubts Mike can win.

But only if we help. For all McGinn’s grassroots strength across the city, he’s up against a wall of money. His opponent has put hundreds of thousands of his own dollars into the race, and establishment types are unlocking their vaults.

You can help by:

1. Making a large donation here: (How much to give? If it doesn’t hurt, you haven’t given enough.)

2. Telling your friends that you’re with McGinn, and asking them to support him as well. You could forward this letter or write one of your own.

Thanks for you attention!

Alan Durning

**Yes, I know. We can’t just spend the same money on schools instead—at least not without amending the state constitution. But the principle remains: a billion-dollar freeway tunnel is a preposterous allocation of resources in a climate-constrained age. In a time when our president is leading us in a long-needed transformation of our energy economy to stave off more oil wars and catastrophic climate change, when our cities are remaking themselves to be walkable, bikable, and transit-oriented, why would we sacrifice other public needs to rebuild a second freeway through the heart of our city? Vancouver, BC, for example, doesn’t even have one freeway through its downtown, much less two.

And yes, I know, it may be too late to stop the tunnel. Even if it is, the tunnel is a perfect litmus test of leadership instincts on future questions. Mike passes. His opponent fails. More on the tunnel controversy here.

12 Responses to “Another Endorsement For You Know Who”

  1. Joe G

    Thank you for sharing Dan! I know Mike can win and he will win. We have forty some odd days till the election and I am sure that the majority of voters will wake up and smell the coffee. McGinn is the right guy for this job and will certainly lead this city right to our reputation!

  2. Ellery

    I respect Alan Durning a lot, and am happy to read this endorsement. But I would have liked to have heard why, if the tunnel is so critical, Durning supported Nickels in the primary. I think there are a lot of Nickels supporters out there, wavering, unsure of either remaining candidate, and there is an opportunity that Durning has here to explain why those voters should go from Nickels to McGinn. And the tunnel can’t be the main reason now if it wasn’t reason enough in the primary.

  3. chrispy

    Awesome! I’m glad to finally see that Dan woke up and smelled the coffee and embraced his McGinn-ness.

    I just can’t wait to hear how I’ll be told to change my lifestyle to be more “green” and save the earth from immediate annihilation. Perhaps McGinn has a fantastic idea for how I can recycle/compost my own feces to run those buses I’ll be riding everywhere. Killing two birds with one stone, eh?

    Excuse me: I need to go make a few discretionary trips across the viaduct, then run over some babies and kittens in my Hummer.

    (It’s sarcasm people – obviously Dan has a great sense of humor)

  4. David in Burien

    I consider myself a HAC fan and have no problem with your injecting city or even regional politics. That said, and while I have personal reasons for disliking Alan despite having respect for his body of work and somewhat sharing his urbanist values (if not quite living them myself), I have a problem with this endorsement.

    Make no mistake, Seattle politics matter in Burien, so I care about the outcome of this election. And I think Mallahan is at best a grossly underwhelming candidate. But other than reiterating the old “tough/charming” saw as a way of expressing McGinn’s ability to work in politics, there’s been no evidence in this election year of his capacity to sew together coalitions amongst diversly situated groups. Instead, all I have is a sense of his thinking he can buck the county or the state on this single fricken’ issue.

    And now he’s polling well behind his useless opponent. All while that opponent is gathering up a borad roster of endorsements he can’t possibly deserve.

    Consider this a statement of frustration with McGinn despite your enthusiasm. The tunnel bothers me too, although it would to a much lesser extent if it had downtown exits and capacity for transit. I can’t vote in this election, but I can’t see a good outcome here at all.

  5. John D. Parsons

    I endorse McGinn also. Now…is that suppose to be worth something?

  6. old timer

    The tunnel is a ‘single issue’ only for those who choose to make it a single issue.
    In the many, many other matters of importance to Seattle, Mr. McGinn has well thought positions.
    The Mallahan guy, however, has only scads of cash made through the execution of orders from head office. As to Seattle, he has no clue, he just wants to administrate.

  7. Mike H

    @4 Very well said. I agree completely.

    I would really like to hear how McGinn intends to work with others to accomplish his goals and what his plans might be if outcomes he’s campaigning for are blocked. For Instance, if the tunnel does turn out to be largely a done deal, how will he work with the State to ensure overruns are minimized. McGinn is a polarizing candidiate, I think I like him, but he does exude an aura of anti-cooperation with other state and regional governments which have to be included in talks to accomplish several of his goals (Sound Transit West Seattle-Ballard Line for one).

    Another big “what if” is how he’s going to work with the county if closet-conservative Susan Hutchison is elected executive (god forbid). Might be another good campaign for HAC to get involved in.

  8. Chris

    viaduct aside, McGinn is spot on with respect to transit and density issues. But I, too am concerned about his willingness to cooperate and compromise with those f divergent opinions.

  9. David Schraer

    “And yes, I know, it may be too late to stop the tunnel.” Alan’s offhand comment illustrates the problem with McGinn’s campaign – he is raising artificial issues in an extremely cynical way. My analysis here:

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