Mike McGinn won't kiss the ring: 'This city belongs to all of us' | KUOW News and Information

Mike McGinn won't kiss the ring: 'This city belongs to all of us'

Jul 26, 2017

After their formal interviews, we asked candidates to answer less traditional questions. Scroll down to read their handwritten responses. 

Mike McGinn, former mayor of Seattle, was known around town for biking everywhere. (His security detail also rode with him.) 

He's known here at KUOW for being a jovial presence in our green room, candidly holding forth with anyone down to chat. He once told us that he didn't beat Mayor Ed Murray because he refused to kiss the ring.

As he told Bill Radke on The Record: "I was taking on powerful interests from day 1. I never backed down and neither did they. Rich people and wealthy donors know who they like, but I’m going in for another go-round because I think this city belongs to all of us.”

Age: 59

Occupation: Former Seattle mayor, attorney, activist

Neighborhood: Greenwood

Hometown: Long Island, New York

Kayaktivism? Yes. Once kayaked to Bill Gates’ house across Lake Washington demonstrate for divesting from fossil fuels.

Why didn’t he beat Ed Murray in 2009: “I ended my four years a little bit of an outsider. The powers that be were not happy with me standing up to boondoggle projects." 

How racist is Seattle? “I was inside government, and I got to see the way in which large sums or policies went through without almost any examination.

“But when I pushed for Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative, the council blocked it. They said, ‘Where’s the data?’ When I pushed for Career Bridge — a program to aid returning felons — the council blocked it and said ‘Where’s the data?’

“I met with black pastors who said, ‘Why is it only the programs that support black people get that close level of scrutiny?’

“Donor and lobby class were very successful at directing dollars their way. I got into some trouble for questioning how much we were giving to some museum for rebuilding. At the same time, I was having to reduce hours at a community center.

“There’s a reason they call it institutional [racism].”

Position on Mayor Ed Murray sex abuse allegations: “In order to focus on the future, for the sake of survivors & the city, I feel @mayoredmurray should resign.” (Twitter, May 9, one month after lawsuit filed.)

To capture candidates laughing, our photographer Megan Farmer shared this Onion headline, "Seagull With Diarrhea Barely Makes It To Crowded Beach In Time." McGinn’s response: "Ha. You're funny."