Murray drops reelection bid amid sex abuse scandal

Murray at 2017’s AIDS Walk. Sources say the mayor won’t seek reelection (Image: CHS)

A sex abuse scandal will bring down Seattle Mayor Ed Murray’s administration and seems likely to put an end to his more than 20-year political career.

Multiple sources are reporting that a morning meeting at City Hall informed insiders that Murray will finish his term as Seattle mayor but will not continue his run for reelection as he battles a lawsuit over allegations he sexually abused a teen in the 1980s. Murray called for a press conference Tuesday morning at Alki Beach, “the site of the landing of the first white settlers in Seattle on a cold, stormy day in November of 1851.”

UPDATE 10:52 AM: An emotional Murray announced his decision in West Seattle saying it was time to look to the city’s future. “The scandal surrounding them is hurting me and this city,” Murray said in the address.

The decades-old scandal involving Murray in his 30s as a young, Capitol Hill apartment resident, began unfolding this spring in a lawsuit brought against Murray by a victim who alleged the future mayor plied him with drugs and paid for sex with the teen he met on a neighborhood bus. Murray, now 61, denied the allegations and accused the victim and lawyer Lincoln C. Beauregard of being part of a political conspiracy attacking the city’s first openly gay mayor. Despite his deep roots in the state’s Democratic establishment, support for Murray in the face of the allegations was mostly quiet as the mayor’s reelection campaign raised concerns over its attacks on the alleged victim’s character. Meanwhile, calls for the powerful mayor to step down were few and far between.

After 18 years serving in the legislature in Olympia, Murray cruised to easy victory in November 2013, becoming Seattle’s mayor over incumbent Mike McGinn thanks in part to strong support on his home turf in the Capitol Hill neighborhood where the champion of LGBTQ civil rights has made his home since the ’80s. In past conversations, Murray has told CHS about his time as a tenant on Capitol Hill where he said he rented for 15 years before buying his North Capitol Hill home where he lives today with spouse Michael Shiosaki.

McGinn has joined a scramble of candidates who have entered the now incumbent-less race to replace Murray. While some like social equity and civil rights activist Nikkita Oliver stepped forward before the abuse scandal unfolded, other more establishment players like State Senator Bob Hasegawa are expected to jump in with Murray stepping aside.

With Seattle City Hall the target, Oliver fills Washington Hall in mayoral campaign kickoff

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With a platform based around equity, the fight against displacement, and the fight for social justice — plus a boost from left firebrand Kshama SawantNikkita Oliver kicked off her campaign to unseat Mayor Ed Murray from Seattle’s City Hall by filling the Central District’s Washington Hall beyond capacity Sunday afternoon.

“We need a mayor who has the courage to point out the obscenity of having two of the world’s richest people in our area when we have so many homeless,” Sawant said, warming the crowd up for the candidate’s speech.

For what it’s worth, neither of those extremely rich people are among the dozens who have already given to Murray’s reelection campaign. But while Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates aren’t on the contributor list, Murray has already tallied more than $300,000 in contributions at this point in the race. The Capitol Hill resident launched his campaign with a big head start last summer in a party at big time political PR executive Roger Nyhus’s home near Volunteer Park. Continue reading

Nikkita Oliver’s run for mayor: housing, education, and ending the ‘school-to-prison pipeline’

It's official. Nikkita Oliver turned in her paperwork Monday to enter the race to be Seattle's mayor

It’s official. Nikkita Oliver turned in her paperwork Monday to enter the race to be Seattle’s mayor

The newly formed Peoples Party of Seattle is putting all-in-one educator, attorney, spoken-word poet, and activist Nikkita Oliver forward as its candidate to take on Mayor Ed Murray for this year’s election.

Oliver’s decision to run and help launch the “community-centered grassroots political party” came after the election of President Donald Trump.

“I didn’t want to stand in a place of powerlessness,” Oliver said.

After the election, she started meeting people for coffee, talking about values and concerns. Oliver talked with the “aunties and elders” in her community about how people running on the same platforms yield the same results and maybe it’s time to try something different.

Over time, those conversations lead to the collective decision that “we need to transform our local government.”

The party formed and encouraged Oliver to run against Murray.

“I take what my community says to me to heart,” Oliver told CHS. “… I’m not going to act like I entered into this with ease. I take it very seriously.” Continue reading

Jayapal talks health care, climate change, fake news, battling Trump

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Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, representing Capitol Hill’s 7th District in Washington D.C., held her first town hall since taking office Monday night, appropriately enough, at a packed Town Hall Seattle.

“Some people have called me the anti-Trump, and I’m so proud,” Jayapal said in front of a crowd that put its “AGREE” signs to frequent use.

Jayapal’s office estimated 1,000 people attended the First Hill session.

Jayapal took questions about a number of issues surrounding work she’s done during her first two months in office and her fight against the president’s agenda.

Immediately notable as the first Indian-American woman to serve in the House of Representatives, Jayapal started her career in D.C. with an early stance of opposition against the new president when she declined to attend the Trump inauguration. Jayapal joined the protest against the first Trump immigration ban with a call for the release of individuals held at Sea-Tac and joined Governor Jay Inslee in declaring Washington a hate-free state.

Jayapal’s status as a resistance leader puts her in good company replacing Rep. Jim McDermott retired after representing the 7th District for 14 terms and was considered by many as one of the most left-leaning members of Congress. She sits on two subcommittees — the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security and the Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law, as well as the Committee on the Budget.

Monday night, the crowd greeted Jayapal with a standing ovation and signs supporting the congresswoman, making the event feel almost like a rally, but members of the public did ask her about the next moves for the seemingly pinned-down Democratic Party and how she and her fellow party members plan to fight the administration and Republicans in Congress on a number of issues. Continue reading

Womxn’s March Huddle: Action 2 0f 10

Next Up Huddles are part of the 10 Actions for the First 100 Days campaign, which launched at the Women’s March, and will mobilize millions to win back the country and world we want.

First we marched, now we huddle.
We’ll visualize what a more democratic, just, safer and freer world could look like four years from now — and we’ll work backwards to figure out what we need to do, starting today, to get there.
We will be starting at 6:30PM by watching a short video, and then breaking off into smaller groups of 10-15 to talk about what we’re passionate about, and how we plan on making a difference in the next four years.
Plan on being in groups for 90 mins, with time to socialize afterwards!
Big thanks to Fred Wildlife Refuge for donating their space and time to us!
Read up on the website so you know what to expect at the meeting:

https://www.womensmarch.com/100/action2

Live from Capitol Hill: the Last Week in Trump newsletter

64b84587-e4cb-4bef-9b0c-0546e9395aeeSeattle politics and government have offered plenty for Sol Villarreal to fill his two-year-old weekly newsletter Sol’s Civic Minute. And then Donald Trump got elected.

Capitol Hill resident Villarreal had sprinkled some Trump news into Civic Minute, but decided to test out a second newsletter focused on the president-elect. In early December he published a post on Medium about Trump with a survey asking readers if they would like the info in an email. The answer was “yes” so Last Week in Trump was born.

Since then, he has been refining the newsletter with the help of subscribers. The most popular part of the first post on Medium was the inclusion of the conservative side, providing most Seattleites with views differing from their own. He has continued to do that in his beta test of the letter.

“It’s important, I think, for the political conversations that we have (to consider the other side) because we can address each other more effectively if we are talking to each other instead of over each other,” Villarreal said. Continue reading

The plan for the Womxn’s March on Seattle and Capitol Hill Inauguration Week protests, rallies, and parties

The Womxn’s March on Seattle will travel from the Central District’s Judkins Park to the Seattle Center on Saturday, January 21st to protest the inauguration of Donald Trump, organizers have announced. It will be part of a week of demonstrations and protests large and small, and “actions” meaningful and just for fun.

While the start and end points hadn’t been announced, Seattle’s big weekend march has been in the works for weeks and thousands have said they plan to attend in solidarity with large marches planned in Washington D.C. and in cities across the country. In Seattle, organizers say the “Womxn’s” spelling is meant “to promote intersectionality in our movement” and “takes into account the impact of discrimination based not only on gender but also race, sexual orientation, gender identity, nationality, faith, class, disability, and other backgrounds.”

Womxn’s March on Seattle

The Saturday march is being planned as a silent protest. “Marchers will rely on large numbers and powerful signage to speak more loudly than any individuals ever could,” organizers say.

Seattle women, womxn, and those who love them have been preparing with sign making and pussyhat knitting.

UPDATE 1/18/17: The city has posted route details for the week’s marches. Here are the details for Saturday:

Rally at Judkins Park followed by a march to Seattle Center beginning at 11am. From 20th Ave S and S Weller St, the route heads north on 20th Ave S, west on S Jackson St, north on 4th Ave, west on Denny Way, and north on 2nd Ave N into Seattle Center.

About 30,000 people are expected to attend, according to officials.

CHS also found many at work preparing this past weekend at a town hall organized by District 3 representative Kshama Sawant as she raises support for the planned Socialist Alternative-backed protest starting at Westlake Friday night. “We don’t have a moment to waste in getting organized against Trump’s racist, misogynistic, anti-immigrant, anti-muslim, anti-lgbtq rhetoric, proposals, and cabinet members,” Sawant’s rallying cry reads. Continue reading

Seattle City Council veteran Burgess won’t seek reelection

Burgess -- and friends -- celebrating Prop. 1's election night victory in August (Image: CHS)

Burgess — and friends — celebrating Prop. 1’s election night victory in August (Image: CHS)

Seen by some as one of the few mature adults on the Seattle City Council and by others as one of the body’s most conservative voices, Tim Burgess has announced that he’ll serve his final year in the council chambers in 2017 and will not be part of the campaign for his seat next fall.

Burgess posted about the decision Monday:

After considerable and, frankly, agonizing thought, and after multiple conversations with my family, I’ve decided not to seek re-election to the City Council in 2017. In the end, it was clear to me and Joleen that its time for someone else to fill my seat. I’ve been elected citywide three times and will have served 10 years at the end of this term next December. When my term ends, I will be just a couple months short of 69. Time turn my focus to the next chapter for Joleen and me.

“What an honor is has been to serve the people of Seattle,” his statement concludes. “I look forward to continuing that service for another year and beyond in some capacity.”

So far, potential replacements for Burgess haven’t yet emerged though housing advocate Jon Grant has launched an exploratory campaign he hopes will be powered by the city’s new campaign voucher program.

Burgess began his time on the council before the change to the new district system and ran a successful campaign for one of the two at-large seats in the new structure in 2015. After serving as the council president, he has chaired the committee responsible for affordable housing, neighborhoods, and finance this year. Burgess has occasionally found himself as one of the lone voices in committee sessions opposing more progressive attempts at creating affordable housing solutions including the recently passed $29 billion housing bond plan. Still, he was with the crowd hooting inside Optimism Brewing this summer as Prop. 1 to renew and expand the city’s housing levy rolled to a landslide victory.

Fellow Burgess adult (to some) voice of the establishment (to others) Ed Murray has already begun fundraising and campaigning for a second term as mayor. Candidates in that race won’t yet be eligible to take part in the new voucher fundraising, by the way.

In February 2013, Burgess opened his campaign headquarters on E Pike as he made a short-lived bid to challenge Murray for the mayor’s office.

What it was like to run in the 43rd District state rep race

Wednesday night, the race for a seat in Olympia to represent the 43rd District heats back up as challengers Nicole Macri and Dan Shih face off in an LGBTQ-focused candidates forum on Capitol Hill. CHS will be there to cover the proceedings but, first, we wanted to take a look back at the candidates for the state’s House of Representatives who didn’t make it through the primary to hear their stories about the race and how this tier of politics can play out at the neighborhood level.

Postage stamps and pit bulls
The day before the August primary, Sameer Ranade was knocking on doors in a last minute push to advance in the 43rd District state House race. The feedback from voters was encouraging. Many said they would be happy to vote for him, if they had not already mailed their ballot. Continue reading

Capitol Hill Community Post | Seattle U to host Inslee vs. Bryant gubernatorial debate

unnamed (1)From Seattle City Club

Ensuring a broad cross-section of Washingtonians have the opportunity to participate in upcoming debates, the Washington State Debate Coalition will hold debates in Seattle, Spokane, Pasco and Redmond this fall.

Mon, Sept 26 – Seattle University, 8 p.m. PT (Gubernatorial)
Sun, Oct 16 – Gonzaga University, 7 p.m. PT (Senate)
Wed, Oct 19 – Columbia Basin College, 8 p.m. PT (Gubernatorial)
Sun, Oct 23 – Microsoft, 7 p.m. PT (Senate)

Want to ask the candidates questions a question? Here’s your chance. Click here to fill out the form.

Seattle University (Seattle), Gonzaga University, Washington State University-Spokane, Eastern Washington University, Community Colleges of Spokane, Whitworth University (Spokane), Columbia Basin College, Tri-Cities Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Tri-City Development Council (TRIDEC), Tri-City Herald, Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce, Visit Tri-Cities (Tri-Cities) and Microsoft (Redmond) will host a debate for Governor or U.S. Senator in their communities.

Registration information will be announced soon.

For more information, contact Allie Lindsay Johnson at ajohnson@seattlecityclub.org or 206.682.7395.

“Seattle University’s Jesuit education places a high value on civic engagement and a robust exchange of ideas, and we welcome the opportunity to partner with organizations in our city and region who value the same. It is a particular honor to host a debate as we celebrate our 125th year of empowering leaders for a just and humane world.”
– Stephen V. Sundborg, S.J., Seattle University president

“Gonzaga University is honored to partner with our regional higher education colleagues to host a 2016 gubernatorial or senatorial debate as part of the inaugural Washington State Debate Coalition. As a Catholic, Jesuit university, our educational mission is, in part, to foster an environment where students and our community can experience a wide range of ideas, seek truth that promotes justice and actively participate in the betterment of our society. Hosting a non-partisan debate of future leaders of our region and country contributes to the fulfillment of this mission.”
– Thayne McCulloh, Gonzaga University president

“The Tri-Cities is a rapidly growing and evolving community that will play a role in shaping Washington’s future. It’s great that the Washington State Debate Coalition, in recognition of that, has selected us to host this debate. The Herald is proud to partner with them, the chamber and CBC to make that happen.”
– Gregg McConnell, Tri-City Herald publisher