Seattle’s new Mayor Tim Burgess will serve until a newly elected mayor takes over Nov. 28. If you were in his position, what issues would you tackle first? Columnist Nicole Brodeur asked Seattleites.
The circumstances that created Seattle’s whirlwind three-mayors-in-one-week were pretty dark.
But there have been some bright spots.
Not long after mayor and accused child molester Ed Murray stepped down,Council President Bruce Harrell took the oath of office and went to town, signing four executive orders before vacating the Big Chair for Mayor Tim Burgess, who will serve until a newly elected mayor takes over Nov. 28.
In one order, Harrell stated Seattle’s intent to compete for Amazon’s second headquarters. Another created a task force to find alternatives to incarcerating youth offenders. A third order instructed the city’s chief technology officer to assess the risks related to the city’s data management. And the fourth ordered city departments to identify 10 “priority sites” for litter removal and increase the city’s response to illegal dumping.
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That last one is my favorite, for it speaks to every citizen who wonders if City Hall sees the same piles of crap that we do. Like a parent standing at the door of his kid’s room, Harrell brought the hammer down (“Our city has become filthy”) and demanded that this place get cleaned up. Now.
Which begs the question: If you could run the city for 71 days, as Burgess will, what would you do? I started asking around — knowing that every suggestion would be easier said than done.
The responses ranged from trimming trees so people could better read street signs to punishing pedestrians who walk through construction zones. But homelessness was first on almost everyone’s agenda.
Author Sherman Alexie would stop the raids on homeless encampments in the city.
“I would be issuing as many executive orders and proclamations as I could about ending homelessness,” he said. “More housing, mental-health care and addiction treatment for homeless people.”
“I couldn’t get much done as mayor in 70 days, but I could put maximum political pressure on the incoming mayor.”
Alexie, who just released the 10th-anniversary edition of his celebrated young-adult novel, “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” would also take a lesson from the Murray scandal.
“In light of what…