The candidates in the race with incumbent Mike McGinn to go through to November’s mayoral election got their chance Thursday night to say how they would have handled Seattle’s May Day 2013 differently.
Hosted at Wallingford’s Hamilton International Middle School the 36th, 43rd (that’s us!), and 46th District Democrats sponsored the forum that fell just 24 hours after the violent end to the day’s rallies and protests.
Council member and former police officer Tim Burgess said the police response was a “vast improvement” over 2012, but that “in our society, I don’t know if we can absolutely stop [damage] from happening.”
“I do not accept the fact that every May Day we have to go through anarchy,” said Council member and chair of the public safety committee Bruce Harrell.
Candidate Kate Martin noted that Seattle should have a “zero tolerance” policy with people intent on causing property destruction, while state senator Ed Murray switched gears and focused on the larger problems around SPD. “It is a travesty that we are under a Department of Justice consent decree,” Murray said.
Mayor McGinn, meanwhile, described the positive points of the day –- especially the peaceful gathering of thousands that took place earlier in the day — but said he believed police responded appropriately to the disruptive evening protest.
Staadecker thanked Mayor McGinn for his handling of May Day before adding “the mayor needs to set clear expectations.” He said that lawful demonstrations should be protected, but not those where people are ready to destroy property.
Candidates also responded to how they would select a new police chief for Seattle.
Harrell said “I want passion in my police chief,” as well as setting clear expectations, and a transparent process of selection. Martin said, “We need someone who has a track record of no excessive force or racism,” noting public involvement is critical.
For how the candidates weighed in on Seattle’s public schools, here’s CHS coverage of the forum on education held earlier this week at Garfield High School.