There have been numerous calls for Seattle Mayor Murray to step down in the aftermath of documents uncovered by the Seattle Times on July 16, detailing an Oregon caseworker’s report that concluded that Murray had sexually abused Jeff Simpson, his foster son in 1984.
Among those voices were Seattle Councilmember Lorena González and the Seattle LGBTQ Commission, of which half of members were appointed by Murray. The commission stated that Murray “remaining in office erodes our civil institutions and commitment to justice.”
In contrast, four former Seattle mayors, Wes Uhlman, Charles Royer, Norman Rice, and Greg Nickels, released a statement that said, “We firmly believe Mayor Murray should continue to lead the city through the remainder of his term. A transition merely months before electing a new mayor would be messy and time consuming, and would present serious challenges to the day-to-day operations of the city.”
The mayors comprise all living former Seattle mayors, except Mike McGinn. McGinn is a mayoral candidate and has also called for Murray’s resignation.
Last week, Seattle Council President Bruce Harrell stated that while the Council does have the power to impeach the mayor with a two-thirds majority vote, such action is premature.
“The mayor is entitled to a hearing, due process, an attorney. We would be in a situation to make factual and legal determinations of something that occurred 30 years ago and in another state, which is a tall drink of water,” Harrell said on July 17 at a city council meeting.
At this moment, Northwest Asian Weekly is not calling for Murray’s resignation, in the interest of the City of Seattle.
If Murray were to step down or be removed from office, Harrell would be next in line to fill the vacancy. This would result in the city council being down one member and also down a tiebreaker (the council is made up of nine members.).
While the mayor has said things we have disagreed with in response to the very serious allegations levelled against him, we also cannot advocate trying him in a court of public opinion.
Murray has five short months left on the job. Last week in a letter to González, he proposed a joint committee between his office and the city council to ensure that there is a smooth transition between himself and the next Seattle mayor. We urge this transition committee to be thorough and prepared to tackle a number of different outcomes, for the good of the city.