“The economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the environment, not the other way around.”

Gaylord Nelson’s statement is a powerful standard by which to assess politics, and a revealing litmus test to apply to Seattle’s upcoming mayoral election.  I don’t think it’s a stretch to concede that Joe Mallahan is aligning himself with interests that have  it the wrong way around, while Mike McGinn’s core support comes from those who think like Nelson.

Seattle’s status-quo business establishment is lining up behind Mallahan—nuff said.  Mallahan has also bagged the support of labor, but why?  In large part because some union workers stand to make a pile of money building the deep-bore tunnel.  A quintessential example of putting short term economic gain before long term ecological health.

Some worry that McGinn is too antagonistic (or something), and who knows, he could turn out to be a total disaster as Mayor.  But one thing we can be sure of is that he understands and respects big picture sustainability, and that he will push hard for the kind of substantive change that reality increasingly demands.   It all starts with a strong vision.

To those who share McGinn’s values but are all caught up in hand-wringing over his possible flaws, a humble suggestion:  Let go of your liberal instinct for equivocation and take a gamble.  Make a choice and commit to it.

Which, coincidentally, brings me to the point of this post, that being, if you support Mike McGinn for Mayor, please consider actualizing your commitment by attending the upcoming Sustainability and Built Environment Fundraiser (details above).  McGinn is up a against a wall of money, and his campaign depends on small,  individual contributions.

BONUS:  For all you navel gazers who want to know which green urbanist rock stars you may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of at the fundraiser, you’ll probably want to get on over to facebook and start obsessively tracking the event’s guest list.

13 Responses to ““The economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the environment, not the other way around.””

  1. chrispy

    Dan –

    Who is this McGinn character of which you speak? I am not familiar… perhaps you could give us a little background on him and his views. Maybe tell us how you feel about him.

    Just a thought :)

  2. seven

    100 bones? I guess McGinn doesn’t like a lot of blue-collar folks hanging around him. No wonder he hasn’t received any union endorsements.

  3. J David

    That’s right, Seven. Joe Mallahan is sooooo much more blue collar…

  4. John D. Parsons

    Dan, what’s wrong with supporting or aligning oneself with the local business establishment?

  5. seven

    Very true J David. Very true. Then again, I wasn’t making comparisons.

  6. eldan

    seven: it’s called a fundraiser because it raises funds.

  7. dan bertolet

    John @4: Short answer: There’s nothing inherently wrong with it.

    Longer answer: It depends on the business. To take an extreme example, if you believe that government should enact policy to reduce fossil fuel use, then you’re not likely to support a candidate aligned with an oil company.

    On the other hand, I recently attended an economic forum alongside hundreds of business people with whom I would be honored to align myself.


    I am not anti-business, and neither is McGinn. But I strongly believe that we, as a city, need to make serious changes to how we do things to successfully meet the challenges of a resource-constrained future. By “status-quo,” I mean large, entrenched business interests that perceive that kind of change as a threat to their established way of doing things, and thus will use their power to stop such change.

    In your opinion, why is the business establishment backing Mallahan?

  8. Kathryn

    Good luck with that. The economy is an invention of human beings, who developed by taking everything they can out of the environment. It’s driven by competition over increasingly scarce resources. Governments exist precisely to manage the economy, else why bother with them?

    Dominant species stuff going on, and dominance of some within the species. The same people who abuse the environment in the interest of growth are the same people who rake it in and don’t really give a darn that the majority of human beings are powerless and pretty well have gotten the shaft.

    Social stewardship? In this country? Give me a break.

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