Mayor McGinn on seeking second term: 'All signs point to yes'
SEATTLE -- Shaking hands with schoolkids outside a North Seattle classroom, Mayor Mike McGinn talked quiet roads and safe streets Wednesday. It's what he said right after that, however, that perhaps paves the political path for next year.
"All signs point to yes," McGinn said, smiling, when asked if he is running for re-election. "I'll sit down with the family and talk it through over the holidays before making my final announcement. I am looking forward to 2013."
McGinn isn't the only one; just three weeks since Vote 2012, and already others are talking 2013.
On Tuesday, Seattle City Councilmember Tim Burgess tossed his hat in the race, sending an email to supporters and telling reporters that the time finally felt right to run for mayor.
"Frankly, the reason I'm running - and it's pretty obvious - I think I'll be a more effective mayor," Burgess said Tuesday. "I had people back in 2009 encouraging me to run then. I didn't think I was ready. I'm ready now."
Other possible candidates are still trying to determine if they're ready, including State Senator Ed Murray (D - Capitol Hill), who, while interested in running, isn't able to raise funds while the state legislature is in session.
"It's something that has interested me in the past and it's something that I'm thinking about," said Murray, a vocal proponent of Referendum 74 in the most recent election. "I think the city is at a crossroads and I think there's significant issues related to infrastructure, related to the type of city we want to be in the future."
The city's police department - and use of force issues - will likely be a central topic of discussion in next year's race. On Tuesday, new video surfaced of Seattle police officers trying to detain a suspect in October. In the video, one officer holds the suspect's throat while two others hold his hands down; the suspect then spits toward the officers, and one of them punches him twice - including once in the face.
The video is the latest in a series of incidents caught on tape that raised questions about use of force. Earlier this year, the Department of Justice found Seattle Police routinely used excessive force and showed evidence of biased policing.
"I don't think we can afford to have our police department and a group of our citizen antagonistic to each other," Murray said. "I think that is going to require real leadership to bring people together."
"This campaign's about who the mayor's going to be. The selection of a police chief is probably a mayor's biggest responsibility," Burgess said. "I think there needs to be new directions in the police department. I'm not going to talk about specific individuals or that type of thing."
McGinn - who joined police leaders in discussing safer streets Wednesday - said some progress had been made with police reforms but still more was needed.
"It's a serious issue. I think we're making progress on that," McGinn said. "We've been out in precinct after precinct, holding meetings with the public and police officers."
"We have a lot of work to do in that regard and I'm looking forward to the work we're going to do in the coming year on that," he added.