Editorial: Ed Murray Should Channel Peter Steinbrueck on Seattle’s Industrial Interests

Seattle Times Editorial, August 11, 2013, Seattle Times

A THOUGHT about one of the losers in the Seattle mayor election, Peter Steinbrueck. This page did not endorse Steinbrueck, but he did have the most sensible things to say about Mayor Mike McGinn’s Sodo arena deal: that putting another pro sports venue so close to Terminal 46 could undermine the maritime and industrial future of Seattle.

Alone among the top four candidates, Steinbrueck seemed to understand that a 21st-century economy still needs people who know how to overhaul an engine, melt scrap, lay a keel or conn a ship, and that the interests of the workers who do those things need to be considered in city decisions about roads, taxes, utilities and zoning.

Most such decisions are too boring to excite voters. Even the proposed arena might have slipped by if it hadn’t been kept alive by Steinbrueck.

This page has endorsed state Sen. Ed Murray. Of all the contenders in the primary, he most clearly has the political skills and connections Seattle needs in its mayor.

Murray was, however, vague on the arena, saying that it wasn’t his deal. He also hasn’t made a particular issue of Seattle’s maritime and industrial lands. Steinbrueck had that issue and that constituency.

That constituency is now up for grabs. Most of the people in it don’t speak JavaScript or eat sushi for lunch. They are not in vogue, and they know it.

They do create much of the city’s wealth and sustain thousands of good jobs, however. They also have a solid economic future if their municipal government will not keep sacrificing their interests.

Murray needs to become their champion.

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