“I do not trust elites,” outgoing Mayor Mike McGinn told Seattle Post-Intelligencer columnist Joel Connelly, in one of his last interviews as a public official.
Has McGinn looked in the mirror lately?
Evidently, after four years of service as the top official in the city, he hasn’t realized that he was elected to be among the elite — and that he used that power accordingly to push his own agendas.
While the New York-born business lawyer got his Seattle start as a neighborhood activist, he’s forgotten the grassroots support that got him elected, and he’s continually proven he’s not among the “commoners.”
How many of us rile state leaders by saying we distrust the politicians in Olympia — which McGinn did in 2011, when he publicly denounced (again) the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement after promising to not impede its progress?
How many of us have backroom dealings for nine months with multimillionaires like Chris Hansen to negotiate the financing of a new SODO sports arena (including the possible giveaway of KeyArena) and then extol the said arena to NBA commissioner David Stern in New York?
And how many of us can hire consultants to get the desired results — like McGinn did with the viaduct-replacement tunnel and a proposed homeless encampment in SODO — while slashing funds to various needed services from the city budget? Early on, McGinn even created a city position for a former Cascade Bicycle Club lobbyist and gave a hefty raise for his new communications director.
Throughout his term, McGinn forced his own agendas of bike lanes and streetcars, increased density and rapid South Lake Union development — at the expense of other neighborhoods throughout the city that are languishing with vacant storefronts, disintegrating roadways and continued crime.
And McGinn failed to tackle the bigger issues challenging the city. He said his oversimplified “20/20” (“20 Changes in 20 Months”) plan would solve the numerous, ingrained problems the Department of Justice found within the Seattle Police Department. His dismissive interpretation of crime statistics contradicted with what his constituents were saying they experience on a daily basis, especially in the downtown business core.
These actions are unquestionably representative of the “elite” McGinn seemingly despises.
McGinn’s disingenuous political moves are what ultimately cost him the votes in the last election. It’s a good thing that voters don’t trust elites, either.