Urban Politics #282: Mayor Elect Mike McGinn Reaches Out


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By City Councilmember Nick Licata.

Urban Politics (UP) blends my insights and information on current public policy developments and personal experiences with the intent of helping citizens shape Seattle’s future.

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I’ve used Urban Politics primarily to discuss pending and passed legislation, but this year I will also be providing more commentary on City Hall’s workings and politics and how I see them helping shape legislation.

Friday afternoon Councilmember Jan Drago stuck her head into my office and said in a jovial manner, “Hey if you want to see the new Mayor, come next door.” That would be Councilmember Sally Clark’s office. Drago and I found Mayor-Elect Mike McGinn in the middle of Clark’s office, smiling broadly (his seemingly ever present smile may become his trademark) and talking in a casual style to both staff and Clark. Councilmember Tim Burgess soon walked over and joined us.

McGinn explained that rather than making courtesy calls to all the Councilmembers, he thought it better to just walk over and meet face to face on a casual basis. This is a departure from Mayor Nickel’s style, which was to rely more on his deputy mayor Tim Ceis to walk the Council hallway.

In another way McGinn is making a more dramatic departure from not only the Nickels’ transition but others that have gone before him as well. Rather than appoint a distinguished list of civic leaders and activists to head up his transition team, he is relying on a more diffuse collection of community people. As one of them explained to me, “He wanted to avoid a sense of who was in and who was out in this effort.” And there still seems to be a lot of campaign volunteers willing to continue with their assistance. McGinn shared with us that up to six volunteers a day were currently working in the transition office in the Municipal Tower across from City Hall.

McGinn is also asking a number of community leaders to solicit opinions from their contacts in the general public by answering several questions. I received such a request from Sharon Lee, the Executive Director of the Low Income Housing Institute. And with her encouragement I’m passing on these questions to UP readers. For those who wish to answer the following questions, send your comments directly to Sharon at sharonl@lihi.org by this Friday. She will compile them and submit them to a smaller group working directly with Mayor Elect McGinn.

Mayor Elect McGinn’s Three Questions:

  1. How do we build the strongest possible team to achieve the policy objectives and values set forth during Mike’s campaign?
  2. How do we build public trust in the new administration?
  3. What do you view as the incoming administration and the city’s greatest challenge – what should we do first out of the gate?

I applaud this effort and wish him well in his administration’s first challenge: figuring out how to best use this flood of information. I hope he also shares the compiled responses he receives with the Council and the public This could be the start of an open and vigorous conversation on where Seattle should be headed.

Keep in touch…

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