Seattle Has Become a Graveyard for Mayors



Seattle mayors have failed in the modern era of our city because there is a small powerful set of interests who just want everything to stay the same, and a large, less-powerful set of interests who recognize that the city will change no matter how much people wish it wouldn't, and we need to adjust to those changes.

It's 2020, and the public debate about more housing, more low-income housing, tiny-house villages, etc. comes down to the same issues they always have. For the powerful "where will I drive and park my car like it's 1986, and will the poors be easy for me to ignore?" For everyone else, we're asking what will bring rents down, get people in houses who have lost them (mostly due to high rent), etc.


What you’re going to gloss over the one-term wonder of Mike McGinn??? The special Seattle blend of wokeness and ineffective policy that leaves you with...yeah I can see why you left it out, the net effect of his administration was meh.


Sorry, I don't buy it. I think there are two explanations:

1) Just bad luck. If people don't find out about Murray's past, he probably wins reelection. Schell was done in with the WTO and Mardi Gras riots. That, and Boeing leaving for Chicago.

2) Too many mayors with no experience in city government. Schell, McGinn, Murray and Durkan knew nothing about city government. No experience whatsoever. In contrast:

Rice was a city council member before becoming mayor. Nickels actually worked for him, when Rice was on the city council. So while Nickels wasn't a city council member (he was a county council member) he at least had a good idea of how things worked in the city and had a good idea of how to work with a council.

We just need to get someone from the city council. I think the obvious choice is González, since she heads the council. But Mosqueda (the other at-large member) would be good as well. Both would likely win reelection, unless they get unlucky (or decide to pursue some other office).


@1, the Lesser Seattle folk do not wield any power in Seattle government. This city is suffering under the same stressors as any large-ish American city - nobody has enough affordable housing or transportation. That’s just a fundamental of being a place where lots of people live: all the people clog the roads and drive up rent.


Charles, you came close, but never actually got to the source of our problems with the mayor's office. The mayor's race is the one citywide race where more conservative actors -- property owners, the business community, and the police union, can give an establishment candidate an edge with early and generous funding. So we get pro-business mayors that don't have the government experience or the community connections to do well at the job. It also tends to give that new mayor an incentive to see themselves as a bulwark between preventing significant change.


I've lived in Seattle since 1992. During that time, Mike McGinn was the only mayor who actually walked the liberal talk. The rest have been phony progressives (at best).


@4, Your right. This City has seen boom and bust several times in just the last hundred years. Boom, no affordable housing, not enough mass transit etc. Bust, real cheap rent and vacancies everywhere but no jobs. We are having a boom now (covid aside) and we should expect what we should expect. People like Charles think this current trend is permanent and there will be an unending source of Tax Revenue.


I've long felt Norm Rice was underappreciated as a mayor.. When F & N closed, and downtown sucked, Rice led the renewal of the central core and Belltown. He ushered in a huge capital expansion of downtown Seattle.


The part of this I agree with is: by letting so many problems fester (homelessness, housing prices, climate, police-violence etc. etc.) the city has put itself into a pressure cooker where there is so little trust or patience you can't even go through the steps to develop far-reaching, effective public policy.

The activist community sees any kind of slow process as a sham to kill momentum and instead pushes for punchy slogan-based policy that doesn't achieve anything (see Amazon tax, see GND, I can go on). The mayor and council lack the credibility to lead us through meaningful processes that lead to real police reform, real housing reform, real climate progress. So, we just lurch around between sloganeering and backlash. Our next mayor needs credibility with progressives but a commitment to outcomes more than slogans to move on from this.


Astute observation, Charles. All of the smart people are leaving Seattle, meaning only morons will die here.

(Wait, what?)



Seattle's left eat their own for not being left enough. See: Juneau, Best, Durkan...


Once again, Charles, you correctly observe the phenomena but fail to connect the dots...

Seattle’s mayors have largely been a string of failures bc they have taken their eye off the ball and ignored the core function of any municipal government: to ensure public safety and operate working infrastructure.

Instead they’ve become distracted by the yapping nuisances of the Activist Class. We are constantly putting the cart before the horse by obsessing over a relative handful of malcontents and malingerers (see: vagrants [most aren’t even from Seattle], BLM Inc., etc.). When Mayor Schell failed to make an example of ‘bullhorn’ Garrett and maintain order during WTO, he sent a clear signal that Seattle leadership didn’t have the stones to stand up to the professional crybullies. Twenty years of ever-growing anarchy has followed.

Is it time for a new attitude? The common thread that runs through the most dysfunctional of America’s cities are hyper liberal leadership cliques that are more concerned over a person’s ‘intersectionality’ rather than whether they can actually do the damn job.

Maybe it’s time to go back to basics. Let’s spend less time worrying about what pronoun or bathroom to use and concentrate on cleaning up the streets, keeping the lights on, the busses running, and the bridges from falling down. Everything else will follow in time. You can’t have Social Justice without Order (but if you don’t provide the former after you’ve established the latter, you’re going to have trouble!).


In other words, Seattle is failing bc we’re letting the tail (BLM Inc., the Homeless-Industrial Complex, Socialist Alliance, etc.) wag the dog. Time to put people in their place.


@15 Fascist much?


Didn't Nickels lose his office due to the failure to quickly plow streets after one of Seattle's rare snowstorms? The bread and butter issues come first.


A High Point in Seattle history and politics was the two-time defeat of the horrific (yet universally aclaimed by the mucky muck elites) evil monster called the Seattle Commons that dominated the landscape from 1991 to 1996. Every mayor since selected has been of low caliber, non-gravitas, no stature, little accomplishment conventional wisdom consensus. Seattle gets another shot at redemption in 2021 with an open mayor race and the possible replacement of extremely low end city council members. Maybe Seattle should switch to the strong city manager form of government.


I'm going to disagree with Charles specifically about Harbor Steps. Absolutely right I cannot afford to live there. I have enjoyed the afternoon sun on the steps, better now with the viaduct down. I've seen music there and I can afford a drink in nearby establishments. I like the public space which came with that development.


Seattle citizens are too smart to be governed. They are the leftist rednecks that think they know better. And they prove it by voting for machine Democrats. And wondering why it doesn't work.


Would honestly be hard for somebody to give a more biased, fact less, bs ideological crap sandwich than what you wrote right here.


Nothing special about mayors. Seattle takes everybody down.


@5, @6, @7, and @11 are right.