by Mike Andrew -
SGN Staff Writer
Calling Seattle 'a city of visionaries,' state senator and mayoral candidate Ed Murray laid out his vision of a 'vibrant, dynamic, 21st-century' Seattle under a Murray administration, at a public event held at Columbia City Theater on October 3.
Murray was introduced at the event by Pramila Jayapal, former executive director of the immigrant rights group OneAmerica.
'This is one of the most diverse ZIP codes in the country,' Jayapal observed, and the crowd of Murray supporters reflected the diversity of the Columbia City neighborhood. Sikh and Somali cab drivers stood next to firefighters, police officers, and union staffers, as well as such current and former political heavyweights as Tim Burgess and Tina Podlodowski.
'SENSE OF TOGETHERNESS'
Early on in his speech, Murray repeated one of his central themes - that incumbent Mayor Mike McGinn lacks the ability or the will to bring all of the city's diverse interests together for a common goal.
'We are better off together, rather than playing the politics of division,' Murray said, referring obliquely to his opponent.
In his speech, Murray returned again and again to the central themes of his campaign: his working class roots, his career fighting for progressive causes in the state legislature, and his commitment to coalition politics, what he called a 'sense of togetherness.'
'When our sense of togetherness fractures and some among us do not see themselves reflected in visions of Seattle's prosperous future,' Murray warned, 'our dropout rates increase, threats to our safety begin to wear at our quality of life, and even our roads and bridges - the physical manifestation of the togetherness of a city - begin to fall apart.'
In another slap at his opponent, Murray added that 'it shouldn't just be what City Hall is working towards, but how City Hall is doing its work.'
'Finger-pointing and scapegoating may get you sound bites, but they don't help you accomplish a purpose,' he added, to applause from the crowd.
CHANGE AT SPD PROMISED
Most of the speech addressed the three key issues of Murray's campaign: public safety, public transit, and education.
Murray promised a public safety policy based on 'equal protection and accountability.'
'We can't allow public safety to have different meanings in different communities and different neighborhoods,' he said.
Toward that end, Murray said he would 'select a new chief of police that has an unwavering commitment to reform - a track record of implementing cultural change and ensuring accountability.'
FIGHTING DOMESTIC ABUSE
Murray also promised action to curb domestic violence by restoring the City's Office of Domestic Violence, lost in a previous budget cut.
'The mayor may say crime is down,' Murray stated, 'but when the rate of domestic violence is up 60%, crime is not down!'
On transportation, Murray called for a 'Move Seattle' strategy to 'integrate all the modes of transportation. Seattle doesn't have to be a city of cars vs. bikes.'
While acknowledging that the City does not manage the Seattle School District, he also said he wanted to take Seattle from being 'an educated city, to an education city.'
'I want to be able,' Murray said, 'after four years as mayor, to go to the Ethiopian or the Somali communities, where there are terrible graduation rates, and say, 'Now your kids are graduating and going on to college, and they're going to have jobs in this city!'
STEINBRUECK IN AUDIENCE
A surprise attendee was former mayoral candidate Peter Steinbrueck, who ran third in the field of nine primary candidates.
Steinbrueck told SGN he had not decided if he would endorse Murray for mayor, but was attending the event 'to do my due diligence.'
'I want to be sure I feel good about endorsing whoever I do finally endorse,' he said.
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