Former Seattle council member Richard McIver dies at 71

SEATTLE - Former longtime Seattle City Council member Richard McIver died Saturday night, city officials said. He was 71.

McIver joined the City Council in early 1997 and served there for more than 12 years before retiring in 2009. After that he served for a time as interim executive director of the Rainier Valley Community Development Fund.

McIver was known as a strong advocate of civil rights and for the residents of south Seattle and the Rainier Valley. He served as chairman of the council's Finance and Budget Committee and sponsored more than 700 bills during his time as a city council member.

His decision to retire came after a series of personal problems and health issues. But in the end he was warmly toasted at his retirement and remembered for his many accomplishments in office.

Mayor Mike McGinn issued a statement Sunday saying, "Richard was warm, funny, well-loved and dedicated to his city. My thoughts are with his family and his friends. He will be missed."

The Seattle City Council also issued a statement:

"It is with great sadness that we mark the passing of our friend, the Honorable Richard McIver. Richard committed his life to improving the lot of others. His community development career, including his years as a member of the Seattle City Council, was grounded in a quest for equity of opportunity, justice, and elevating quality of life for people in need.

"Richard's deep knowledge of economic development strategies and belief in the positive power of government action made him a valuable ally not just for people of color and small businesses, but for a just and equitable future for the city as a whole.

"Richard employed terrific dignity, a wicked sense of humor and a sharp ear for equivocation in pursuit of a better city for all. We will miss him greatly."

McIver is survived by his wife, Marlaina Kiner-McIver of Seattle; a daughter, Mimi McIver; and a grandson Michael, both of Texas.