The state of our city is—well, he didn't actually say. Today's "State of the City" speech by the mayor to the full city council was an overview of some political jibber-jabber ("stakeholders," "summits," etc.), some Olympia jokes, and a couple of really great promises, though pretty qualified ones. It opened heavily focused on social justice and affordability, talked about climate change, and acknowledged some of the frankly embarrassing racial disparities in education and homeownership that force us to look at structural racism if we want to really work on the city's affordability and accessibility for all.
Some of his commitments (a link to the full text is at the end, after the jump):
• Citing the fact that "every year since 2000, the top 20 percent of income earners in Seattle have brought home more than the bottom 80 percent combined," he said he's "committed to a process to raise the minimum wage in this city, and have set $15 per hour as the goal." Committed to process! That's our mayor.
• "I am committed to making affordable preschool available to all children in Seattle before they reach elementary school—and I am working closely with Council President Burgess to develop a strategy to make this a reality this year." (You're welcome, Goldy.)
• He said the city's goal should be 75 percent of commuters walking, biking, using transit, or carpooling to work. Currently, he noted, we're one of five US cities where under 50 percent of commuters use single-occupancy vehicles. Bike share—coming soon!—and streetcars are two examples, he said, of what the city can do in the very near future to achieve that goal.
• Calling the city's Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs "understaffed and underfunded," he said he'd send a proposal to better fund the office to council soon and ask them to act quickly on it.
• He announced that his administration will issue a "comprehensive, citywide environmental performance report card—not just of government operations, but of the city as a whole," releasing a report on the city's progress and on goals this Earth Day.
• He'll be convening a neighborhood summit on April 5.
• He plans to work with Council Members Sally Bagshaw and Jean Godden to present a funding measure, this August, to create a "sustainable funding source" for the city's park system.
A bit of the reaction on Twitter:
Tim Burgess is basically writing MASH notes to Murray at this point. #SOTC— Seattlish (@seattlish) February 18, 2014
In the future, we'll all be members of one of @Mayor_Ed_Murray's community stakeholder groups.— Erica C. Barnett (@ericacbarnett) February 18, 2014
I will freely admit the McGinn Administration slacked badly on hoverboard development. Huge failure by us.— Robert Cruickshank (@cruickshank) February 18, 2014
why are politicians always talking about "weaving" things? #gomakeatapestryalreadybro— Anna Minard (@minardanna) February 18, 2014
And the best moment? When Sam Bellomio got up to speak in the post-speech public comment period, and complained that people clapped too much and that the people Murray was honoring in his speech stood when he asked them to. It culminated in possibly the best trolling I've ever heard Bellomio commit:
"How many times did he say 'Please stand up?' We have a real Slim Shady here!" God bless you, IRL troll.