Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Mayoral forum on livable streets that happened TONITE...

I went to it, and learned who not to vote for. That would be Charlie Staadecker, who before he made his pitch not to get involved in divisiveness between cyclists and drivers decided to explicitly call out younger generations as being less attentive drivers than his generation. I went to this event in part to be seen as a person under 30, because so many politicians get the idea that young people don't vote or don't turn out for local politics, so that left me with a bad taste in my mouth.

As for the other candidates, from right to left:

  • Peter Steinbrueck has never appealed to me very much. He's not running as a technical or administrative expert, but as a vision guy; at that, his vision is unclear. His platform seems to be, "Trees are pretty and change is bad." He didn't do anything to change my mind tonight.
  • I'm not that concerned when people call McGinn divisive; his willingness to stand up against things he opposes is one of his best qualities, and the really divisive rhetoric has come from his opponents and the media. I'm not that concerned when people say he pushes patchy and incremental fixes for transit or cycling, because his patchy fixes are opportunistic, and he's being incremental when everyone else in power wants to stand still. I'm somewhat more concerned with challenges of his effectiveness, leadership ability, and grasp of the city. I think he performed OK today; with this crowd, on this subject, he can actually point to his record instead of confronting his critics, and that's basically what he did. He could get away with telling easy lies instead of hard truths, and he did that a few times, too.
  • Mary Martin appropriately rejected the framework of every question asked. I sympathize with someone of her stripes finding the subject matter trivial, but she had ample opportunities to tie in her rhetoric to that subject matter and did not do so.
  • Staadecker mentioned above. He came off as a crumudgeon.
  • If Joey Gray is as good an administrator as she boasts she'll do fine work in the private sector, non-profits, or appointed office. If she aspires to elected office she'll have to improve as a politician and probably aim lower to start.
  • I don't know what Ed Murray is doing here. Is mayor of Seattle a step between the state senate and governor's office? He's polished enough but are his issues city issues?
  • Kate Martin sometimes sounds a little spacey and unpolished online. She sounds surprisingly plausible in person. Maybe she's a natural in-person politician and activist that badly needs an editor and strategist.
  • Bruce Harrell is pretty intriguing; he's a good speaker, has a grasp of issues and finances, and in contrast to someone like Murray he just sounds like someone that belongs in city politics. He honestly addressed the pedestrian master plan question (asked how long it would take to implement top priority items, he gave the longest time frame and actually defended his answer, while the other candidates mostly seemed to make up numbers based on nothing), and I imagine his answer to similar questions about the bike master plan would be similarly sobering.
  • Deb Salls and Tom Fucoloro are definitely the front-runners... oh, wait, they were the moderators. OK. They might have been able to get candidates to differentiate themselves more by asking questions about specific places and proposals. If they were trying to get candidates to promise things they could be held to later, or trying to demonstrate general support for cycling and walking among Seattle politicians, they did a ton of that. Maybe that's as important as anything; I'd hardly claim to have a better idea what they should be doing than they have...