This is what democracy looks like. (Democracy is often fluorescent-lit.)
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  • This is what democracy looks like. (Democracy is often fluorescent-lit.)
Just kidding! It's only 43 people, that new mayoral transition team. So some people (my boss) are calling it a loya jirga. So they're only one person short of four soccer teams. So what? It's adorable! So friendly! And they all spent this lovely afternoon, while Murray's team was announcing who's getting canned at city hall, passing the talking stick around a Seattle Center conference room and using "I" statements. Like "I can't hear you from over here, number 39, I feel like you should speak directly into your walkie-talkie."

Today's three-hour meeting was a "work period" for the team, so they could start the process of brainstorming ideas for the new administration and offering input on how the city can best serve the communities each member is there to represent.

And for all the jokes about the team's size, it's diverse and full of smart, interesting people. I chatted up Mohamed Hassan, director of Afrique Services Center and a commissioner of the Office of Immigrant & Refugee Affairs, to ask what it really meant to be on the transition team. "It means a lot to us," he said of representing immigrant communities, especially East Africans. "People are realizing we're here, and we're contributing members of society." Being on the transition team, he said, allows him to communicate to city departments that "this community has a stake in this administration."

In head-coach-in-a-baseball-movie style, Ed Murray gave the team a speech, in which he called himself a "quote queen," then quoted former presidents. He talked a lot about JFK, his working-class background, "bridging what divides us," and how Seattle should be a "model of government effectiveness." He used the phrase "my friends," which no one should do because it makes you sound like John McCain or Mitt Romney.

After his speech, when the transitioners were sitting in circles, nibbling cookies and journaling about their feelings, Murray told the press he was soon going to mayor school—like, real, literal mayor school at the Kennedy School, proving once and for all that Mayor Mike McGinn's campaign quip "There is no mayor's school" was tragically untrue, after all.

I asked Murray about the $15 minimum wage, an issue he ended up campaigning on and which has a lot of traction in the city, with Kshama Sawant's win and the win in SeaTac. On the trail he didn't give a real timeline for how to get there, but today he said, "We'll begin our process immediately... We're having our discussions in the transition team already." He wants to "bring people to the table" (a politician? Who knew?!), and says "if we end up in a labor-business war, it won't happen." He also wants to be "especially sensitive to our small neighborhood businesses—like the Pike/Pine corridor," he laughed.