There’s a Gun to Your Head: Who’s Going to Be Elected Mayor in 2013?

The Stranger’s News Staffers—
Eli Sanders, Dominic Holden, Cienna 
Madrid, and Goldy, Plus the Interns—
Are Forced to Guess Who Will Run the 
City Two Years from Now

There’s a Gun to Your Head:  Who’s Going to Be Elected Mayor in 2013?

Kathryn Rathke

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It Will Be Ed Murray As Explained by Eli Sanders with a Gun to His Head

Why he can win: That current state senator Ed Murray can win is not in dispute—and if you disagree, he has your phone number and is leaving you an irate message in 4... 3... 2...

Simply put, Ed Murray can win because he knows how to win. He's been doing it in Seattle for the last 15 years—first gaining the state house seat previously held by Cal Anderson (namesake of the Capitol Hill park and Washington's first openly gay legislator), and then moving over to the state senate in 2007. He's openly gay himself; he has a touch of that fabled Irish-Catholic, uh, intensity; he knows he could do better running this town (and working with the people who hate us in Olympia) than any other professional local politician; and he's totally right on that last point. If you disagree, read the first sentence again.

Why he would be a good mayor: Ed Murray gets shit done. Community-college construction, mammoth transportation packages, domestic partnership rights that took literally decades to achieve, state budgets (he was chair of the House Capital Budget Committee and is now chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee)—the guy works. Fixing potholes and soothing nine crybaby council members? No problem, after laying down highways while working with 146 other crazy state legislators.

His weaknesses: That fabled Irish- Catholic, uh, intensity. Also: the ability to hear whispered criticism 60 miles away, plus thin skin and a touch of paranoia.

Representative on-the-record quote: "I think that guy has a very interesting argument."

Representative off-the-record quote: "I'm going to fucking strangle that guy. Why are you repeating his shit? You have it out for me! When are we getting a drink?"

Why he'd be better than the mayor we have now: He's a roller coaster, but a functioning one.

It Will Be Tim Burgess As Explained by Dominic Holden with a Gun to His Head

Why he can win: Sure, Tim Burgess is the most conservative member of the Seattle City Council. But he's also part eagle—just look at him in profile. See? And American voters love eagles.

As if that's not enough, Burgess has endeared himself to a business bloc capable of bankrolling his mayoral campaign and persuaded progressives that he's not completely evil. Take public safety. A former Seattle cop, Burgess has been tough on crime and has scrapped for enforcement in trouble spots—like cleaning up nasty ol' Belltown. But he's also been a leader on police accountability (popular with lefties) as chair of the council's public safety committee, issuing the most concrete directives yet to reform the police department.

Unlike most Seattle politicians—a bunch of mewling squirrels—Burgess is also unapologetically liberal when he's liberal and boldly conservative when he's conservative. He's earned progressive cred by staunchly supporting increasing density around light rail, banning plastic shopping bags, requiring a phone-book registry, and raising car-tab fees to fund transit. Meanwhile, he's won over the downtown business lobbies by pushing a bill to punish poor panhandlers, working to build more freeways, and freezing spending for transit planning. See? Clever eagle.

Why he would be a good mayor: Burgess can get along with enemies, compromise with opponents, lose with grace, admit when he fucked up, and keep going with a smile. It's almost like he's a real public servant—something we haven't had in a long, long time.

His weakness: Advocates for the homeless, hardcore progressives, and environmentalists will rightly oppose him because in Burgess's anti-crime zeal, he sometimes loses track of his ethical compass. That panhandling bill mentioned earlier was found to violate the city's human rights standards, but he pushed it anyway (and lost). Burgess is essentially a new version of Mark Sidran—that draconian city attorney who ran for mayor in 2001 and lost—but with an eagle's head.

Fun fact: Eagles can pick up prey animals and drop them from incredible heights to kill them—or just eviscerate them up in a tree.

Why he's better than the mayor we have now: Burgess can graciously compromise with his opponents and take a calculated political loss without having an aneurysm. The mayor we have now can do neither.

It Will Be Greg Nickels As Explained by Cienna Madrid with a Gun to Her Head

Why he can win: Former Seattle mayor Greg Nickels is an unemployed career politician who has nothing better to do with his time than draft new ordinances governing the operation of his West Seattle home (e.g., An ordinance relating to the eating habits of the Nickels family; whereas Sharon believes our sodium intake must be decreased, and whereas I believe salt licks should be a free and unalienable right for both cattle and men...) and obsessively plot his mayoral comeback while stroking his three mayoral chins. Also, Nickels has recently grown a beard, making him the new darling of Seattle's bear-loving swing voters—a key demographic in this town.

Why he would be a good mayor: Nickels has never held a job that he didn't win via popularity contest (except for a brief stint at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government in 2010), which means he's a shrewd man whose success hinges on learning from his mistakes. And he was never an incompetent mayor—he brought light rail to Seattle and led the nation's mayors in pledging to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. More to the point, Nickels's faults have been eclipsed by those of his clumsy successor, leaving Seattle voters filled with more regret than a goat on a sex farm. At the 2013 ballot they'll be thinking, "Let's pretend the last four years didn't happen. Rewind, rewind!"

His weaknesses: The weather. His long and storied hostility toward nightlife. His mulish personality. Carbs.

Representative on-the-record quote: "If I had the fire in the belly and I saw a series of issues that I thought I could make a difference, I might run [for mayor] again someday."

Representative off-the-record quote: "I would suck donkey cock for another shot at this job—in fact, consider that my first campaign fundraiser. Honest, you guys, I just really need to get out of the fucking house already. Fuuuuuuck."

Why he'd be better than the mayor we have now: Because he is not the mayor we have now.

It Will Be Sally Clark As Explained by Paul Holmes with a Gun to His Head

Why she can win: Some people consider her a mover and a shaker—she's the chair of the usually influential Seattle City Council Built Environment Committee, she's a three-time council race victor, and she's the most likely candidate to succeed Richard Conlin as council president. But Sally Clark would be the first to point out that she doesn't necessarily move or shake, although she can see the benefits to moving, as well as shaking. After all, as Clark herself would argue, some people have good reasons to shake, while on the other hand, some people have good reasons to move, while on the other other hand, some people have good reasons to be paralyzed.

When she was asked this summer at a forum whether she might run for mayor, and instructed to stand on one side of the stage if the answer was yes and the other side of the stage if the answer was no, she literally stood on the piece of tape dividing the stage in half. If she ever makes up her mind (there's a first time for everything), Clark has a healthy reelection campaign bank account—stuffed by lobbies that do business in front of the council—ready to seed a rock-star mayoral campaign. And that's after spending more than $172,000 this year to remind voters of Clark's crucial role in pissing off absolutely nobody.

Why she would be a good mayor: Clark's vague, noncommittal likeability would doubtless serve as her biggest asset. Next to people with "ideas," "opinions," and "passion," the pleasant Clark—always dripping with inoffensive humor and mildly complimentary publicity—doesn't give a lot to push back against. Her ability to outlast everyone else in the listening-to-other-people department could allow her to quietly put through an agenda, if she had one, which she very well might, although she might not.

Her weakness: Melts when asked a yes or no question.

Representative on-the-record quote: "It's up to you make that decision."

Representative off-the-record quote: "Like I said, it's up to you make that decision."

Why she'd be better than the mayor we have now: Unlike the mayor we have now, she'd boldly solicit positive public opinion.

It Will Be Anne Levinson As Explained by Marley Zeno with a Gun to Her Head

Why she can win: Anne Levinson is a renaissance lesbian—a contemporary polymath of politics, business, and law—with the connections to pave her campaign trail with cash. She also has a vagina! The last and only mayor of Seattle who had a vagina: sanctimonious teetotaler Bertha Knight Landes (1926–1928). Levinson denies she's definitely running for mayor, but that's what everyone says just before they run for mayor.

Why she would be a good mayor: Levinson already knows how to run the city. She was a Seattle Municipal Court judge, deputy mayor under Norm Rice, and legal counsel to mayors Norm Rice and Charley Royer; she served on the police chief search committee, and was most recently appointed as civilian auditor for the Office of Professional Accountability (the police oversight board). Plus, as former co-owner of the Seattle Storm, she knows business. Levinson could rule with an iron fist, but she's savvy enough to know when to wrap that fist in some velvet.

Her weakness: Levinson lacks the folksy warmth voters love so much. She'll need to kiss some babies or play some on-camera hopscotch with kids in wheelchairs.

Why she'd be better than the mayor we have now: She has credibility coming out of her ass.

It Will Be Ron Sims As Explained by Goldy with a Gun to His Head

Why he can win: Former King County Executive Ron Sims wins elections. Maybe not statewide, where he's had his ass kicked in races for governor and US senate, but here in Seattle he's six for six in local elections, even racking up an impressive 16-point win for a third term as King County Executive. (It's hard for executives to win third terms. Ask Greg Nickels.) To paraphrase Sally Field: "We like him, we really like him!"

Why he would be a good mayor: Honestly, a one-eyed baby could run City Hall, and apart from the occasional spitting up, who would notice any difference? I mean, the personalities change and all that, but in terms of the day-to-day policy stuff, the city's been running on autopilot throughout the 22-year McNickelschlachtenhaufenrice administration. Sims could do that. And he'd hug people. A lot. Most people seem to like hugs.

His weakness: As pointed out above, a one-eyed baby could run city hall, so why would Sims want to? And if he did run for and win the job, it's hard to see him not quickly losing interest. Sims is a big-picture kinda politician, while Seattle is an awfully small canvas, so apart from the state-voters-hating-him thing, he'd probably be better off running for governor.

Representative on-the-record quote: "Eli Sanders is an excellent reporter. This is well worth reading." —Ron Sims's Facebook page, 10/27/11

Representative off-the-record quote: "Wow! This is an incredibly thoughtful opinion piece by David Brooks." —Ron Sims's Facebook page, 11/2/11

Why he'd be better than the mayor we have now: The mayor we have now has never offered me a job, whereas there's always the hope that if elected, Sims might save me, the way he did Sandeep Kaushik, from the daily drudgery of writing fluff pieces like this for The Stranger. Run, Ron, run! recommended


Comments (30) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
I kind of like that you're doing flattering story art not of your favorite candidates as usual, but of yourselves. It's a progression of sorts.
Posted by gloomy gus on November 9, 2011 at 9:33 AM · Report this
Cienna Madrid 2
I asked to be drawn on a skateboard chasing boys, as I often do in my free time, but was overruled.

At least she perfectly captured Goldy's cowering.
Posted by Cienna Madrid on November 9, 2011 at 3:08 PM · Report this
Goldy 3
I'm not cowering. I'm sitting on the toilet, reading The Stranger, when I'm suddenly surprised to look up and see Dom, Eli, and Cienna in the bathroom with me. I think I even notice the gun.
Posted by Goldy on November 9, 2011 at 3:23 PM · Report this
Goldy 4
Of course, I mean "I don't think I even notice the gun."
Posted by Goldy on November 9, 2011 at 3:24 PM · Report this
Cienna Madrid 5
I can't help but monitor your BMs, Goldy. God knows what kind of shit would come flying out of your mouth if you *weren't* regular...
Posted by Cienna Madrid on November 9, 2011 at 3:25 PM · Report this
Shit, I'm already nervous about a Republican posing as Governor!
Posted by auntie grizelda on November 9, 2011 at 3:57 PM · Report this
JF 7
@2 That joke took me a moment to grasp, but I loved it once it clicked.
Posted by JF on November 9, 2011 at 4:07 PM · Report this
It is unlikely that the City of Seattle will have competent, serious government, anytime soon. This includes the Mayor's office. This is because Seattle, despite all its liberal, populist pretense, is in reality a corporate plantation. It's not really a city. It's a labor camp run by venture capitalists, magnates, and corporate interests.

The masters here are chosen from among the select few insiders who are smiled upon by corporate sponsors, downtown business interests, and regional magnates.

Get it? Seattle's city government is and will be a joke. It's a rigged system. You can have who Paul Allen has bought or who Paul Allen has bought. You can have a Microtoadie or you can have a Microtoadie.
Posted by Mob Barley on November 9, 2011 at 5:16 PM · Report this
Simply Me 9
I love how much gay is on this ticket of potential mayors!
Posted by Simply Me on November 9, 2011 at 5:27 PM · Report this
Cato the Younger Younger 10
Well...we know it won't be McGinn. I'm surprised he hasn't faced a recall at this point. But then again, can we actually do a recall of a sitting mayor in Seattle?
Posted by Cato the Younger Younger on November 10, 2011 at 11:56 AM · Report this
katrat 11
@ Goldy & Cienna, if you want me to draw you in the toilet you will have to establish a higher illustrator fee base!!!
Posted by katrat http://www.kathrynrathke.com/ on November 10, 2011 at 12:33 PM · Report this
You guys missed one of the biggest potential frontrunners. Peter Streinbrueck.
Posted by andrewjlewis on November 10, 2011 at 4:59 PM · Report this
Please let it be Mark Sidran. The fools mentioned above all suck and just pander to their favorite interest groups who want handouts of tax dollars. None of them know how to say NO much less HELL NO.Mark Sidran was the last person to run for mayor that had a vision I could back. He wasn't afraid of hurting someone's feelings if he thought his proposals could make the city a better place to live. There simply has to be someone out there that doesn't want to give away the store. PLEASE MARK! WE need you.
Posted by cbbear on November 10, 2011 at 6:34 PM · Report this
my vote is for sponge bob square pant's , like he could do any worse ?
Posted by whatsbeckgottadowithit on November 10, 2011 at 6:36 PM · Report this
I hope it's McGinn. You guys are assholes. All the other candidates are assholes' candidates.
Posted by TeeBo on November 10, 2011 at 7:49 PM · Report this
What dickheads U R. Everyone except McGinn is the dickheads' candidate.
Posted by TBo on November 10, 2011 at 7:53 PM · Report this
wisepunk 17
I saw Greg at the West Seattle QFC on Wednesday night, and he looks like he's lost a solid 40+ pounds since the last time I saw him. He was rocking a very McGinn like beard as well. Facial hair I mean, not his wife.
Posted by wisepunk on November 11, 2011 at 11:56 AM · Report this
TaylorB1 18
Someone asked if Seattle voters have the right to recall a Mayor. Answer is yes...Mayor Gill was recalled in the early years of the 20th century..although he later ran again and was re-elected.
Posted by TaylorB1 on November 12, 2011 at 4:15 PM · Report this
Be cool for a change and RUN FOR MAYOR AS A SOCIALIST!!!
Posted by 5th Columnist on November 14, 2011 at 5:59 PM · Report this
Earlier this year, Washdot presented their design for the I-5 CRC (Columbia River Crossing) bridges. The design didn't last a month before peer review concluded Washdot engineers are idiots and rejected it. The same idiots designed the Deep Bore Tunnel.

Unfortunately, Seattle has so many idiots at SDOT, so many cowards in other City Hall offices, and so many crooks in business, the fiasco continues. McGinn still has time to be proven correct on the DBT question and thus deserve re-election.

BTW & FYI, the occupy movement is a joke. The wealthy fraction of 1% find it amusing and useful.
Posted by Not another idiot on November 14, 2011 at 8:33 PM · Report this
Harrell you nitwits. Harrell. He out-businesses Burgess on the business side and out liberals Burgess on the liberal side. Murray is a complete snore, beloved only by a small ring of addresses in which The Stranger is situated as well as by a small outpost of Chopp's Fremontites. Nickels is yesterday, Sims would be a laughable demotion and Levinson - whaaa?? - she's three administrations ago. Don't ever bring up Mallahan. That goes double for McGinn.
Posted by gator bait on November 14, 2011 at 10:02 PM · Report this
For some reason, I've always imagined Goldy as having gray hair. Something about his curmudgeonly persona makes me see him yelling, "You kids! Get off my lawn!"
Posted by TechBear on November 15, 2011 at 6:28 AM · Report this
@TaylorB1 #18 - More specifically, the Seattle City Charter, Article IV, Sec. 2. Subdivision C: "All the powers of the City Council shall be exercised subject to initiative and referendum powers of the people as set forth herein. The members of the City Council shall be subject to recall in the manner provided by law." The charter can be found at http://clerk.seattle.gov/~public/charter…
Posted by TechBear on November 15, 2011 at 6:33 AM · Report this

It will be absolutely none of the above. The winner will be the person that has business and financial street cred, and who has a plan to create opportunites to increase private sector economic activity and jobs within the city and region.
Posted by Fairhaven on November 15, 2011 at 6:39 AM · Report this
DOUG. 25
I'd vote for McGinn before any of those listed.
Posted by DOUG. http://www.dougsvotersguide.com on November 15, 2011 at 7:37 AM · Report this
Please, please, please back Burgess will all the power, authority and punditry that is The Stranger. With your track record, it's the only way to save the city.
Posted by ScreenName on November 15, 2011 at 9:10 AM · Report this
seandr 27
Greg Nickels and Sally Clark are on here, but Pete Holmes is not?

When Pete Holmes is elected mayor, he's going to turn Seattle into a liberal Utopia with no crime, a courteous and helpful police force, marijuana vendors on every corner, and free glow bracelets to improve pedestrian safety at night. All city vehicles will be transformed into art cars, and our local economy will thrive as the world's best and brightest flock to Seattle to be a part of this wonderful new paradigm.

Except for The Stranger. Rest assured, Pete Holmes will make the Stranger pay for this callous omission.

Posted by seandr on November 15, 2011 at 9:55 AM · Report this
Really---is there a Republican out there, inside or outside the Seattle mayoral race---who ISN'T a total butthole?
Posted by auntie grizelda on November 16, 2011 at 12:22 PM · Report this
"If the SPD don't kill her first"
Posted by izzy on November 16, 2011 at 5:56 PM · Report this
Uh, oh. None of the Stranger's people think McGinn will be re-elected. With your track record, does this mean he's a shoo-in?
Posted by Mister G on November 18, 2011 at 7:24 PM · Report this

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