NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tuesday, September 12th, 2017

Ed Murray resigns as Mayor of Seattle after fifth man steps forward alleging abuse

Ed Mur­ray has decid­ed to call it quits and resign as May­or of Seat­tle, effec­tive tomor­row evening at 5 PM, hav­ing evi­dent­ly con­clud­ed that attempt­ing to serve out the remain­der of his term is no longer remote­ly fea­si­ble now that a fifth man has stepped for­ward to allege that Mur­ray sex­u­al­ly abused him years ago.

Mur­ray’s fifth accuser is Joseph Dyer, an Air Force vet­er­an with no crim­i­nal record who is a younger cousin of Mur­ray’s. Dyer says he has not seen or spo­ken to Mur­ray since the peri­od of time the abuse alleged­ly took place decades ago.

Mur­ray — who denies the new alle­ga­tions as well as the pre­vi­ous­ly report­ed ones — has rebuffed calls to step down for months, includ­ing from Coun­cilmem­bers Kshama Sawant and Lore­na Gon­za­lez, argu­ing that his res­ig­na­tion would not be in the city’s best inter­est. But that posi­tion became unten­able imme­di­ate­ly after Dyer came for­ward in this sto­ry pub­lished around 11 AM by The Seat­tle Times.

Mur­ray was quot­ed in the orig­i­nal sto­ry as say­ing he still intend­ed to serve out the remain­der of his term. With­in just a cou­ple of hours, how­ev­er, Mur­ray and his inner cir­cle real­ized his remain­ing bas­tions of sup­port had van­ished — or were about to.

“While the alle­ga­tions against me are not true, it is impor­tant that my per­son­al issues do not affect the abil­i­ty of our City gov­ern­ment to con­duct the public’s busi­ness,” Mur­ray said in a press release. “[I]t has also become clear to me that in light of the lat­est news reports it is best for the city if I step aside. To the peo­ple of this spe­cial city and to my ded­i­cat­ed staff, I am sor­ry for this painful sit­u­a­tion.”

“In the inter­est of an order­ly tran­si­tion of pow­er, Coun­cil Pres­i­dent Bruce Har­rell will become May­or upon my res­ig­na­tion, and will decide with­in the fol­low­ing five days whether he will fill out the remain­der of my term. Dur­ing this time, Direc­tor of Oper­a­tions Fred Podes­ta has been tasked with lead­ing the tran­si­tion.”

Sev­er­al of the men who say Mur­ray sex­u­al­ly abused them have told The Seat­tle Times and oth­er mass media out­lets they’re relieved he will no longer be in a posi­tion of pub­lic respon­si­bil­i­ty, but wish it had hap­pened soon­er.

Mur­ray has tried unsuc­cess­ful­ly to sweep aside the alle­ga­tions by lash­ing out at his accusers and their legal coun­sel — behav­ior that led many staunch advo­cates of equal­i­ty and equi­ty to first sug­gest and then demand that Mur­ray resign.

As Dan­ni Ask­i­ni put it in an April guest post for Slog:

The mayor’s choice to pub­licly attack mul­ti­ple alleged survivors—whose sto­ries are spread out over 30 years and share mul­ti­ple sim­i­lar­i­ties— while simul­ta­ne­ous­ly avoid­ing answer­ing tough ques­tions him­self has been an ugly choice for a leader I once sup­port­ed.

It is exact­ly these kinds of unpalat­able choic­es that lead me to believe May­or Mur­ray will only con­tin­ue to tar­nish his rep­u­ta­tion and the rep­u­ta­tion of our city if he con­tin­ues to mount his very pub­lic defense on city time.

Giv­en this, I believe it would be best — for the city, for the LGBT com­mu­ni­ty, for the caus­es he cham­pi­ons, for sur­vivors, and May­or Mur­ray him­self — for the may­or to step down and address these alle­ga­tions as a pri­vate cit­i­zen.

And now, final­ly, that is what is hap­pen­ing.

As a con­se­quence of Mur­ray’s res­ig­na­tion, who­ev­er wins the Seat­tle may­oral con­test (almost cer­tain­ly either Jen­ny Durkan or Cary Moon) will become the city’s next leader as of the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of the Novem­ber 2017 gen­er­al elec­tion in late Novem­ber… a month pri­or to when Mur­ray’s term was set to end.

Mur­ray’s res­ig­na­tion as May­or of Seat­tle will also open up a spot on the Sound Tran­sit Board of Direc­tors, which will be filled by King Coun­ty Exec­u­tive Dow Con­stan­tine as required by the Revised Code of Wash­ing­ton.

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