NOTE: Middle East Eye just published my latest contribution, a report on the not-so-secret visit of a senior Saudi prince to Israel to discuss the deteriorating strategic position of their regional alliance. I hope you’ll give it a read and promote it via social media.
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, besieged by a fifth victim of his alleged sexually abusive behavior, resigned today. The resignation was sudden and unexpected. Only a month ago or so Murray, beset with the four previous allegations, announced that he would not run for a second term. He pointedly refused to resign then.
His ordeal began when two adults, who were child victims at the time of the alleged sexual abuse, came forward with the first charges against him. He denied them and hired StandWithUs attorney, Rob Sulkin to defend him, though Sulkin is not a criminal lawyer. This is an indication of how close Murray is to Seattle’s pro-Israel community.
I wrote a Seattle Times op-ed criticizing him for accepting an Israeli government, expenses-paid junket to Israel where he keynoted an international conference touting Israel as an LGBT mecca. I also wrote here about StandWithUs’ decision to give a ‘human rights’ award to Murray in the midst of these allegations. It all seemed like the most venal form of exploitation and self-interest by both parties. SWU shamelessly offered no regret for its decision and stood by its man. Self-awareness and moral candor doesn’t seem to be this group’s stock-in-trade.
Murray did not only himself, but the city and especially the LGBT community a huge disservice through his stubborn refusal to bow out of his office near the outset of the crisis. If he’d done so, he could weather the charges now being brought against him as a private citizen, rather than in the glare of the public spotlight. Whatever career he would’ve sought for himself after leaving office is now much-diminished by the series of lurid allegations plaguing him.
Whatever sympathy one might have for Murray as a young gay man forced to live a twisted, repressed secret life is totally erased by his choice of paying minors for sex, exploiting the troubled lives of the foster boys he was supposed to mentor, and getting away with it for decades before he was finally exposed. I’m only glad he was named and shamed now, rather than finding he ran for office and was elected governor or U.S. senator at a later date, only to have the news come out then.
Even before these charges surfaced, I opposed Murray despite his supposed liberal credentials. He championed the state’s gay marriage law and rode to electoral success on its coattails. But he was always a corporate Democrat. Seattle politics, as in so many cities, is beholden to developer interests (not computer developers!). We face a veritable land rush due to the major expansion of Amazon’s corporate footprint throughout the city. There are seemingly more empty holes in the ground filled with construction equipment than there are extant office buildings. Downtown traffic is zooey around these projects. The noise is deafening. Real estate values are going through the roof. Nor does the city value its architectural heritage. It is erasing landmarks right and left, including the little house that was at the heart of the film, Up. Seattle can no longer be called a livable city unless you are a venture capitalist or computer engineer working for a well-paying tech company. If you are a young family just starting out in life, you will likely be closed out of living in the city unless you are willing to make major financial compromises.
As an example, I find the response by Seattle’s 1% to Amazon’s announcement that it would open a co-headquarters in a second U.S. city, to be ludicrous. Despite the fact that Amazon has added tens of thousands of new jobs here during its current expansion, when the company said it was beginning this new project, the vulture capitalists attacked the city’s leaders for planning a new city income tax. Washington State, with no state income tax, has one of the most regressive tax structures in the nation. The leader of the campaign against the city tax bemoaned Amazon’s announcement and claimed the city’s ‘hostile business climate’ was the reason the company was “leaving town.” The truth is that Amazon is not leaving Seattle. Nor has it ever complained about the city’s business climate. It has a solid commitment to the city of its birth that will not weaken.
Though Ed Murray didn’t start this political bromance with the city’s business interests, he embraced it with gusto. He never met an office development project he didn’t like. He essentially sold the city lock, stock and barrel to developers. And they repaid him by replenishing his coffers with campaign donations which might’ve carried him to much higher office had not the fates and his past intervened.
Murray’s political demise doesn’t mean that the corporate Democratic impulse is dead. On the contrary, there is another candidate ready to take his place. Former U.S. attorney, Jenny Durkan, is a mirror image of Murray. She has the support of the Chamber of Commerce types and their pocketbooks as well. She stood by Murray till the bitter end, only calling on him to leave office one hour before he resigned. Murray had endorsed her candidacy as soon as he announced he would not seek a second term. They are birds of a feather.
It remains to be seen whether this cozy relationship will hurt Durkan. Her progressive opponent, city planner Cary Moon, pointed our that she had called for Murray’s resignation month’s ago. Moon has far better credentials than Durkan in terms of standing for a social justice and equity agenda. Further, Seattle politics has taken a decided turn to the left in recent years. We have the only Socialist CIty Council member in the U.S. in Kshama Sawant. We also have two other strong feminist progressive Council members. The most conservative Council members have retired or been replaced. In the Trump age, centrist candidates have fared increasingly poorly here.
But though Seattle has a liberal reputation in the rest of the country, we are generally cautious liberals. We like to think we are liberal, but we don’t like radical change. And we really don’t like confrontation or in-your-face politics. So how Durkan fares in the fall election is an open question. It would nice to think that Seattle could become a second Burlington and birth a true progressive political movement here in the Pacific NW.
You seem to take the position that the allegations against him are true and a point of fact. I’m not sure why you would take this position since in fact the police and prosecutors looked at all the evidence, including records hidden from public view due to privacy and didnt even feel it strong enough to even call a Grand Jury. Durkan probably sympathizes with him as a lawyer since regardless of actual guilt the law found him innocent and the mob rule that has brought up these complaints sooo many years after they were investigated and were found lacking is a miscarriage of justice. Very akin to what happens in China or Iran but an embarrassment in Ameirca where we claim to have due process rights.
Richard Silverstein says
@ Evrett: My comment rules note that you must have one handle and only one. You’ve used this handle plus “Joe” plus “Joe Benoliel.” Assume one identity here & stick to it.
Your claims are false. The Oregon state investigator in fact looked at the evidence 2 decades ago and thought he was guilty as sin:
Her problem was that the victims were deeply troubled, unstable and she couldn’t get them to show up for the trial. So she was forced to drop the charges, though she believed he was guilty.
Durkan doesn’t sympathize with him “as a lawyer.” She sympathize(d) with him because he was a city power broker who could smooth her way to the mayoralty. Now that he’s done, he can’t help her any more and she dropped him like a hot potato.
The law did no such thing. The law found the victims couldn’t be relied on to appear in court to testify, so it was forced to drop the case.
You clearly have a vested interest in this case. What is your vested interest? Because no one in Seattle feels the way you do, except perhaps his husband.
Oregon child-welfare investigator is the caseworker I’m referring to as a potential religious nutjob. CPS caseworkers are rarely police. They are social workers. We have no idea what this person’s issues are or what her work history looks like. The prosecutor saw the full picture and disagreed with this caseworkers very strong assertion. The law found the “victim” had a history of manipulative behavior and frankly I’m surprise they said that publicly. AKA hes a liar.
Regarding my personal stake, my family has been trying for 10+ years to pass legislation providing foster children lawyers independent of CPS. I actually spoke with Durkan a few times over the phone trying to get Gregioure to support our cause.
Richard Silverstein says
@ Joe: There is absolutely no evidence that the child welfare investigator had any religious motivation. Further, what you’re doing is evidence-free speculation. I abhor this, detest it. Don’t do it. Comment rules clearly state that on controversial issues where there is disagreement you may not state your own opinions as fact unless they are bolstered by credible evidence.
Further, the investigators claims were bolstered by statements from the district attorney herself that she supported them. Your attempt to peel off Murray’s accusers is a major fail. Of course investigators are not police. They’re not supposed to be. They investigate. That’s their job. And their investigation leads to prosecution much of the time so they know what burden of proof is necessary for a charge to stick & in this case they had the goods on Murray. But the personal damage suffered by the victim was too much to enable him to participate in the prosecution. That’s the only reason Murray got off. But as with most predators, he knew how to pick the most damaged kids to exploit. That’s why he picked Simpson. And this choice is what enabled him to skate free after his crimes were exposed.
Nor is there any evidence there was any disagreement between the prosecutor and investigator. Both understood that despite their strong conviction of guilt, the victim was the linchpin in the case & they didn’t have him. So they couldn’t go forward.
THe law found no such thing. Simpson had no history of manipulative behavior. None. This is bullshit spewed by Murray & his cabal. As for lying, it’s you who are a liar. I despise lies.
You claim you support legal defense for foster children, yet you attack a foster child victim in this case. What you’re doing flies completely in the face of what you claim your values are. You are one strange dude. And I continue to suspect who you are & what your motivations are.
You are done in this thread. I will be watching your future comments closely. If I suspect more shenanigans on your part your comment privileges may be restricted. THere is something suspicious about your presence here generally. I can’t put my finger on it. So you are free to continue participation in other threads. But not this one.
[Ed., You apparently can’t read as i explicitly told you you were done in this thread. Since you refuse to follow the rules you are moderated. Only future comments which respect the rules will be published henceforth.]
n. dayan says
this has nothing to do with this article
but i had to bring up another marketed item from the country that is commercializing the occupation
a very interesting item in THE INTERCEPT , points out the militarism marketed by Israel
“Israel Security Forces Are Training American Cops Despite History of Rights Abuses”
can anyone ring a bell into the americans minds in general and not only of jewish faith about this .
how can “black lives matter ” not come to life when this is what YOUR policeman is trained to do, not to police BUT TO HATE AS A PROFESSION.
you mention the alt right that is peanuts as far as population percentage goes compared to the ratio of policemen being trained to kill and hate anything that is not white
you fear the north korea nut job, people wake up you ought to fear your corner cop who is not a cop anymore but a military security agent in disguise
Richard Silverstein says
@ n. dayan: I did read that. An excellent article.