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C200: This Is What A City Makes Possible

2011 April 5
by Mike McGinn

Sarah Palin and other figures on the right like to talk about “small town values” as being “the real America.” We know better. These are our values:

Pike Place Market
We have great urban places, where people can live and shop in the same building. And we protect them.


Lifting Pilothouse No. 2
We’re proud of what we build…


Fresh fish
What we catch…


What we brew…


Environmental Innovation Challenge 2009
and what we cook up.


Seattleites create and use urban spaces – their way. From the bottom up. Because tennis courts aren’t just for tennis.


cafe vita
We support local business.


We like to use the walk-up window.


Met new Obama supporters at Marra Farms
We take care of each other – and we feed each other.


Election Day
No car? We want to give you a safe, affordable ride.


No yard? We’ve got a place for you to play. And organizations like Solid Ground help ensure everyone can enjoy it.


Exit to nowhere
Hey Olympia! We don’t like these…


A northbound train pulling in to the Columbia City light rail station
…but we love these.


Molly Moon's ice cream chalkboard menu
We’re not scared of new ideas.


Editing in Room 12 a
We think idealism is a virtue.


Storm vs Sparks - 25
Here in Seattle, we play hard – and we play to win.


Parkour in Seattle
We play like it matters, because it does.


Real Change
We stand up for each other.


We believe everybody deserves a chance to learn…


…or a chance to learn a new skill.1


If you work hard and you play by the rules, you’re a real American.


Roberto Maestas
And sometimes, it’s American to break the rules. Rest in peace, Roberto Maestas.


We share our cultures with each other. And the music, the art, the food…is astounding.


Children's Day 02
Hey, Glenn Beck. We love race and social justice.


We expect our youth to achieve.


Park(ing) Day 2009
President Barack Obama called on America to win the future. Mr. President, the people of Seattle are ready.


Click on each image to view photo credit.
1Photo by Jennifer Richard for Seattle Jobs Initiative


Mike McGinn is the mayor of Seattle.

68 Responses leave one →
  1. lisa permalink
    April 5, 2011

    love it! gorgeous photos. you’ve gotta give mcginn one thing – he really does love his city.

  2. Mary Johnston permalink
    April 5, 2011

    Lovely to see the South Park Library in this essay!

  3. Jack permalink
    April 5, 2011

    The pictures are great! Too bad McGinn is wrong on so many levels.

  4. Beatriz permalink
    April 5, 2011

    I’m Brazilian and I’ve been to Seattle once. I must say it’s the BEST CITY IN THE US! If I could, I would move there!
    Congrats, keep the city as wonderful and as diverse as it is.

    • irene permalink
      April 5, 2011

      please do-you will NOT regret you did!

    • Charles permalink
      April 5, 2011

      I grew up in Seattle and every time I think about moving I look around at many of the things in these pictures and I just cannot bring myself to do it. I love this city and never want to live anywhere else.

  5. Sarah Cox permalink
    April 5, 2011

    Why exactly did this, otherwise fantastic message, need to be polluted with the writer’s political biases? Why can’t we just celebrate our city for being wonderful without alienating a third of its residents? Shame on you!

    • Michael Hintze permalink
      April 5, 2011

      We even love all the ultra aware, super smart ninnies keeping us in check all the time.

      • Tim permalink
        April 5, 2011

        Sarah’s 100% correct. What a waste of some great photo’s (and otherwise, great article).

        • JOEL permalink
          April 5, 2011

          Hold on, sarah is not right. there were political jabs in his comments. So if he realy wanted to keep it all about the beautifull city of seattle he should have left those out. I am offended that he used our city to make those jabs and you should be too. Doesnt matter whether your left or right he was wrong to use them.

  6. Lynn permalink
    April 5, 2011

    I get his message: slam Beck and Palin and vote for Obama. We don’t share the same values.

  7. Alberto permalink
    April 5, 2011

    Keep it up! Very inspirational.

  8. April 5, 2011

    I really miss the Tacoma/Seattle area, i used to live there. Great place and great people, very diverse!

  9. Ben permalink
    April 5, 2011

    Thanks for using this “essay” as a chance to make political statement, take cheap shots at people with different views than you, and basically say nothing about “values” at all. I love Seattle and the NW, but the fact that we try different latte flavors, play in the park, build ferries, and such, DO NOT have anything to do with values. If you wanted to write a piece about being proud of Seattle, I’m right there with you. Until then, please leave the platforming and bandstanding alone, and do your job, Mr. Mayor.

    • JOEL permalink
      April 5, 2011

      I agree with ben here. Lets enjoy all the the nw has to offer and not play games pretending to be doing something of value to bash others.

    • Sharon permalink
      April 5, 2011

      I completely agree with Ben! I am born and raised in Seattle and though I do not live there now, my heart and soul is Seattle. I am proud to be from such a cultured and diverse city. This is disappointing that this photo essay by Mr Mayor has taken such a political stand with the nasty jabs. What a poor political representation of what I still consider my city and my home.

  10. TheLastDon permalink
    April 5, 2011

    This is such a joke on so many levels.

    “If you work hard and play by the rules you are a real American”
    Is that why Seattle is a sanctuary city? To protect all the ILLEGAL immigrants that don’t play by the rules.

    “We have great urban places, where people can live and shop in the same building. And we protect them.”
    Why don’t you try protecting your citizens from the drug dealers, drunks, and even your own police! Then we could actually enjoy these great shops and buildings! Also, you protect these great businesses how? By raising parking rates to the highest in the nation? By trying to cause gridlock on the roads to this city by putting in your stupid green lanes?

    “President Barack Obama called on America to win the future. Mr. President, the people of Seattle are ready.”
    Translation: Your highness your loyal subjects are ready to carry out your orders.

    “We expect our youth to achieve.”
    You do? Then why are your schools so horrible?

    “We share our cultures with each other. And the music, the art, the food…is astounding”
    Haha, if only you heard Macklemore bashing you on one of his songs.

    “And sometimes, it’s American to break the rules. Rest in peace, Roberto Maestas.”
    Translation: If it’s something libs don’t agree with then it’s ok to break the law.

    “Here in Seattle, we play hard – and we play to win.”(Picture of the Storm)
    This is laughable. You were glad to get rid of the Sonics and make the Key a worthless arena. Imagine how much money you’ve taken out of local businesses, by taking away the biggest draw to the Key for 41 days!

    “No car? We want to give you a safe, affordable ride.”(Picture of metro bus)
    Oh yeah, in Seattle we let people murder the tuba man without any punishment and then let them ride the bus with you and rob you!

    “We take care of each other – and we feed each other”
    Good, glad to hear it. Now I don’t want you to take one dime of federal, state or county money to feed people since you guys have it all covered.

    “We like to use the walk-up window.”(Picture of street vendor)
    Oh yeah, you’ve done your best to push street vendors out of town by tripling their license rate!

    “We support local business.”
    How? Raising parking rates and taking away roads HURTS local business, not help it. You ever wonder why Bellevue is growing so fast right now and you’re not?

    Mayor McGinn and Seattle City Council, you are a joke!

    • April 5, 2011

      You’re clearly very unhappy here, TheLastDon. I’m curious where you’ve chosen to live and what you’re doing to better align your community to your values. If you have any values beyond basketball and puppies.

      Why has Mom and apple pie given way to such vitriol?

      • sammer permalink
        April 5, 2011

        why should he leave where he grew up?

    • April 5, 2011

      THE mayor sucks ,I love Seattle hate the pastive aggresive
      the wine is good,

  11. Gordian permalink
    April 5, 2011

    Yes, because we all come to expect essays on Dan Bertolet’s blog to be puff pieces about pretty cities without any sort of “opinion” or “argument” contained therein. I was also shocked to see an elected official make political statements. Finally, please, for God’s sake, more puppies. No one disagrees with puppies.

    • Gordian permalink
      April 5, 2011

      @ Ben above.

      • JOEL permalink
        April 5, 2011

        Gordo no one is saying you cant have a opinion just dont hide behind pretty pictures and fluff pieces. That just makes you a wimp and a pimp. The mayor just used the city to make a political play. If this was a rep mayor using seattle to make a statement you would be all over that. But because it fits your purpose your all good. Witch by the way if this is the best you all have is a bunch of pic’s and pimpin that wont get it done. I would have had mor respect for the mayor had he just came out and said ” I hate beck and palin, GOGOGOGOGOGO obama. Weak pimp is what he is.

        • doggril permalink
          April 7, 2011

          When Republicans back off from their non-stop claptrap about “real” (read: “white”) Americans and “small-town” (read: Republican) values, then I’ll support the notion that McGinn shouldn’t offer an alternative vision. But they haven’t. So I’m glad he did. And, considering that the majority elected him, it’s not really a stretch to claim that he speaks for the majority of Seattleites. And considering his primary opponent was also a Democrat, it’s not really a stretch to claim that Seattle is a city with Democratic (as well as democratic) values.
          It’s stupid to argue that because you don’t agree with everything he says, he shouldn’t say it. Of course he should. If you don’t like it, then you’re more than welcome to campaign for someone else. Or move.

  12. Tim permalink
    April 5, 2011

    Yeah – would have been fantastic if he simply left 3 names out. I would be reposting to facebook and tweeting this in a heartbeat because I love Seattle and all the values he notes. Instead, it’s a great piece with wonderful photographs that will not only be forgotten by me, but alienate and leave a sour political taste for many of the people that read it. I hate to say it Mr. McGinn – but you almost made me a big fan. In my opinion, there was little-to-no-reason to mention Palin, Beck, or Obama in this piece. Articles like this (from either party) likely spoil the original intentions of the writer and simply turn folks like me off of the entire political process.

    • April 13, 2011

      i agree..would of been a sweet pleasant read without including names palin, beck and obama

  13. Tim permalink
    April 5, 2011

    I wholeheartedly agree with this comment from The LastDon…I actually laughed (and cried a little) when I saw the picture of the Storm (God Bless ’em)…and thought about how well the former Sonics are doing these days, just about to make a playoff run:

    “Here in Seattle, we play hard – and we play to win.”(Picture of the Storm)
    This is laughable. You were glad to get rid of the Sonics and make the Key a worthless arena. Imagine how much money you’ve taken out of local businesses, by taking away the biggest draw to the Key…

  14. April 5, 2011

    I hope not to grow up as cynical as those who’ve attacked Mayor McGinn for being honest and ‘walking the walk’ instead of just ‘talking the talk’ as most pols do. Calling out the far right radicals makes a statement about where he stands. Note to other politicians: saying what people want to hear, double-speak to avoid tough calls and flowing with the status quo is no way to go. At least the ‘Mikes’ tell it like it is…how refreshing whether you agree with all or part of what they say…at least they say something.

    • Tim permalink
      April 5, 2011

      People already know where McGinn stands in regards to the far right. It wasn’t a statement that was necessary through a piece like this. This was a sweet article that was for all people of Seattle…and sort of cheapened by throwing political darts. I guess in my opinion, it just didn’t add anything to the article (regardless of where you stand), didn’t really have much of a point (he could have elaborated), and it only stood to take something away.

  15. Mackenzie P permalink
    April 5, 2011

    That’s awesome!

  16. Matthew 'Anc' Johnson permalink
    April 5, 2011

    Wow. Some people here really hate McGinn!

    I agree with the Mayor. As someone who grew up in rural America (S. Alabama) I disagree with many on the Right who say that cities are wretched hives of scum and villainy with no sort of values or moral compasses. For many of the reasons the Mayor points out I choose to live my life in the city. I also agree that the future of America lies in our cities, and that of the major American cities Seattle is one of the most well positioned cities for leading this drive to the future.

  17. Timothy permalink
    April 5, 2011

    Hey @TheLastDon…

    Macklemore wasn’t singing about McGinn in that song.

    • TheLastDon permalink
      April 5, 2011

      Oh ok. My mistake. Must have been talking about the last boob we had. Nickels. By the way, Macklemore’s song about Seattle is a song everyone should listen to if you want to have some civic pride in Seattle. It’s AMAZING!

  18. Sandy Wallace permalink
    April 5, 2011

    I like the points; too bad it’s written by an incompetent, lying douche (yes you, Mike).

  19. Dibble Guy permalink
    April 5, 2011

    Well I’m glad to hear that I’m not the only one who could do without the Palin/Beck references. Quite petty, Mr. Mayor. Otherwise a great set of photos! I don’t mind the reference to the President because he’s an elected official (didn’t get my vote, though) and the office of the President belongs to all Americans.
    To me, local government stands a chance of doing better than the national partisanship that’s so typical and so brain dead. Drop the D and R – let the people vote for ideas, policies and commitments that they like. More independents, I say.

  20. Shut up about Palin already, douche permalink
    April 5, 2011

    I hate Sarah Palin and you are a total douche for invoking her name.

  21. Shut up about Palin already, douche permalink
    April 5, 2011

    “We think idealism is a virtue.”

    “Hey, Glenn Beck. We love race and social justice.”

  22. buster permalink
    April 5, 2011

    Why is that fat f*g pimping off ferry boats if he doesnt want us driving. For that matter how much damage have the enviros done to Seattle’s and the PNW shipbuilding industries.

  23. buster permalink
    April 5, 2011

    Im curious where the raw material and food comes from to build theses great things, cook the amazing and new foods, and brew the great brews. Becuase less of it comes from the city then he thinks

  24. Naive White Seattle Progressive permalink
    April 5, 2011

    “We think idealism is a virtue.”

    “Hey, Glenn Beck. We love race and social justice.”


    Extrapolated from the article “List of 2008 homicides in Seattle” from the Seattle PI

    selected from the list of the 28 Seattle homicides in 2008….

    Allen Joplin, Jan. 4 — black killed by black

    De’Che Morrison, Jan. 10 — black killed by black

    Maurice “Moe” Allen Jr., Jan. 26 — black killed by black

    Degene Barecha, Jan. 30 — black killed by black

    Perry Henderson, Feb. 6 — black killed by black

    Stephan Dwaine Stewart, April 2 — black killed by black

    Eldora Earlycutt, July 4 — black killed by black

    James Paroline, July 10 — white killed by black

    Troy Peters, July 22 — black killed by black

    Pierre Lapoint, Aug. 5 — black killed by black

    Jane Kariuki, Oct. 16 — woman of undisclosed race killed by black man

    Quincy S. Coleman, Oct. 31 — black killed by black

    Edward McMichael, the “Tuba Man”, Nov. 3 — white killed by multiple blacks

    Nathaniel Lee Thomas, Nov. 23 — black killed by black

    Seattle is 8% black. Black males (about 4% of Seattle) were the killers in at least 14 of the 28 homicides in the Seattle area in 2008. At least five of the other killers were latinos.

    Now let’s take a look at 2009!

    The link above is to the Seattle PI’s article on homicides in Seattle in 2009.

    At least twelve of the 21 homicides in Seattle in 2009 were committed by black males, only about 4% of Seattle.

    Black males were the killers in at least 7 of the 17 homicides in 2010. Look it up. It’s in the PI!!!

    Of the 27 officers that were shot and killed by criminals in the last 20 years in King and Pierce county, 21 of them were shot by black men, even though black men make up less than 3% of the population.

    Therefore, if the police ARE NOT “racially profiling” black males in Seattle, then the police are being negligent of their duty.

  25. sammer permalink
    April 5, 2011

    Wait didn’t people like McGinn kill Seattle and the PNW’s shipbuilding?

    Also where do you all think the raw materials and food that gets turned into the wonderful creations come from… Hint it isnt from the city

  26. sammer permalink
    April 5, 2011

    Nothing like living in a city with a dieing middle class

  27. Matt the Engineer permalink
    April 5, 2011

    Well, Dan wanted more comments. McGinn mentioning Palin. Yep, that’ll do it.

    • Wells permalink
      April 5, 2011

      The people who love Palin, hate Mcginn?

      • phil permalink
        April 5, 2011

        People who hate Palin, hate McGinn

      • Matt the Engineer permalink
        April 5, 2011

        I’m just guessing here, but find any Seattle Times article about McGinn and you’ll probably find hundreds of flame comments. Not that McGinn’s so special, he’s just in the role half the people love to hate as Seattle’s mayor – a search for Nickels would probably give the same results. Adding Palin is like pouring gasoline to the flames – everyone has some opinion about her as well.

        Next up: Michael Moore will do an opinion piece about Dick Cheney.

  28. spambot permalink
    April 5, 2011

    I like how is new ideas is about food that is typical of white progressive

  29. McSchwinn permalink
    April 7, 2011

    This comment was deleted because it was both stupid and offensive. On top of that, the commenter was anonymous — in other words not willing to stand up for what he/she wrote.

    In over 3 years of blogging I’ve never deleted a single comment before. Oh well.

  30. Facts for naive white Seattle progressives permalink
    April 7, 2011

    Blacks commit fully half of all murders and 80% of all violent crime in Seattle. Seattle is only 8% black. When is the mayor or any of you naive white liberal censors going to do anything about it besides whining “racist” at those who point out the facts?

    • Matt the Engineer permalink
      April 7, 2011

      What do you propose? Would you support affirmative action to try to reduce poverty and crime?

      • Facts for naive white Seattle progressives permalink
        April 7, 2011

        That has been tried and it has completely failed. In fact it has made things worse. Detroit, Camden, East St. Louis, Seattle Public Schools, etc etc etc…

        • Matt the Engineer permalink
          April 8, 2011

          My point is that maybe the reason people call you a racist is because of your proposed solutions, which you’re hesitant to list here.

          • Facts for naive white Seattle progressives permalink
            April 8, 2011

            A doctor doesn’t have to have a solution to pronounce a terminal diagnosis.

          • Matt the Engineer permalink
            April 8, 2011

            Yes, and clearly you have a Ph.D in race relations.

          • Facts for naive white Seattle progressives permalink
            April 8, 2011

            I don’t need a Ph.D in “race relations” to state plain and verifiable facts about reality, and actually people with Ph.Ds in “race relations” are usually sheltered white naive ivory-tower “academics” with no actual real-world experience or contact blacks. I see and deal with more blacks in one day than most white Seattleites do in a month. You people are naive, which is WHY you are liberal/progressives. What an amazing coincidence, the two most liberal/progressive cities in the USA, Seattle and Portland, are also the two whitest cities in the USA.

            But forget whitey-white seattle where all the ultra-naive sheltered white liberal pollyanna do-gooders live, what about other REAL cities in the USA?

            How about New York City?


            New York Times – New York City Interactive Homicide Map:

            Blacks = 61% of the killers, 60% of the victims

            Whites = 7% of the killers, 8% of the victims

            Blacks = 26% of NYC population

            Whites = 35% of NYC population

            What about Dallas Texas?


            Homicides in Dallas Texas – 2008

            Race of Suspect – # of Homicides – Percentage
            White – 9 = 6%
            Black – 72 = 47%
            Hispanic – 24 = 16%
            Unknown – 49 = 32%

            Therefore, even if the every single one of the 49 “unknown” murderers were whites (and I can practically guarantee that none of them were, because I’m not naive and have many resources of data), the “known” black murderers would still outnumber them!!!!!

            To really put it in the proper perspective:


            Dallas Population Racial Data:

            Hispanic – 547,781 (44.6%)
            White – 355,922 (29.0%)
            Black – 274,087 (22.3%)

            You naive sheltered white liberals in Seattle need to wake up to the ugly facts of reality.

          • Matt the Engineer permalink
            April 8, 2011

            It’s unbelievable that you’d ignore the history of race in our country and our cities when citing these facts. What is the income levels of those involved in the crimes you listed? How about the education levels? How did these income and education disparities arise?

            I think crime has everything to do with income and education and almost nothing to do with race. We’ve set up the playing field on a slope, and you’re blaming those that started downhill for not winning. Classy.

            I’ll tell you what your unstated solution probably is. Lock e’m all up. Which is an easy thing to say about a group you don’t belong to. And will just further slant the field. You are the problem.

            How about this for the beginning of a solution. Rainier Beach High School currently as a 2% pass rate for science in the WASL. Let’s throw education money at poorer areas until these issues are fixed and the field is a bit more level.

          • Matt the Engineer permalink
            April 8, 2011

            Ok, I’m done arguing with the white supremecist troll. But one more comment. Written language was indeed invented in Africa. You might have heard of the Egyptian hieroglyphs? For all we know the first wheel was invented there too – it’s hard to tell since that’s pre-history.

            It’s true there’s no such thing as equal, and I’m quite sure most Africans would be happy not to be considered equal to you.

          • Facts for naive white Seattle progressives permalink
            April 8, 2011


            The human-genome project
            Ten years after the reading of the human genome, humanity is about to confront its true nature
            Jun 17th 201

            “Humanity’s foibles will be laid bare. The species’s history, from its tentative beginning in north-east Africa to its current imperial dominion, has already been revealed, just through being able to read the genome. It is now possible, too, to compare Homo sapiens with his closest relative—not the living chimpanzee, with whom he parted company perhaps 5m years ago, but the extinct Neanderthal, a true human. That will do what philosophers have dreamed of, but none has yet accomplished: show just what it is that makes Homo sapiens unique. The genome will answer, too, the age-old question of original sin. By showing what is nature, it will reveal what is nurture—and thus just how flexible and perfectible the human animal really is.”

            “It may turn out, however, that some differences both between and within groups are quite marked. If those differences are in sensitive traits like personality or intelligence, real trouble could ensue.”

    • Joshua Daniel Franklin permalink
      April 8, 2011

      Mr Facts, thank you for documenting so completely the racism in our criminal justice system. You may also be interested in bringing to light information about the private prison lobby’s role in the high percentages of incarcerated minorities.

  31. April 9, 2011

    Are we really upset that this hopeful gushing of love for our city made references to the forces that threaten it? Isn’t unrealistic hopefulness without pragmatic politics what everyone’s upset about from Obama’s first 2 years?

    Also, he’s mayor. Not spokesman.

    Thanks, Mike, for not just drawing attention to the beauty of urban life but for standing up for it. Jane Jacobs would be proud of this post, and so am I.

  32. Fred Gruben permalink
    April 19, 2011

    Wow. Thats great. A wonderful 9th grade art collage. Who knew he was so talented.

  33. Howard's Johnson permalink
    April 19, 2011

    Well obviously what Seattle needs is more blacks. Imagine how wonderful it will be in Seattle when it becomes 20% to 30% black, instead of the measly 8% black it is now. Gee I wonder what that will do to the violent crime rate there?

  34. April 25, 2011

    Really loved the pictures. Don’t care for the Liberal/Pro-Obama message. It’s also too bad that most of the sentiment/s about Metro and SoundLink, feeding people, social justice, Seattle Public Schools being awesome, etc. ain’t actually true. But go ahead and drink the Kool-aid my Lefty Seattle friends. I still love ya oodles, choose to call you home (hopefully for the rest of my life) and I sure won’t ever quit ya, even if you lean to the Left more than I’d like, and even when the going gets tough, which it clearly has. XOXO’s

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