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Mayor Mike McGinn left office on January 1, 2014.
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City of Seattle

My vision

My vision for the transition

We are blessed with incredible creative, intellectual and social capital here in Seattle. We think it’s clear that the city will run best when we source ideas from all of Seattle’s citizens. So we’re putting our transition questions out to you, not just to the usual insiders. And we’re still asking for your best ideas for Seattle.

The other half of an open source transition is our commitment to transparency. You should know who Mike meets with, what he’s planning, and where he’s going. We’re putting Mike’s calendar and a Twitter feed of what our ambassadors are doing online. And we’ll be taking this commitment to transparency into office as well — creating new ways to open city information and data to our citizens. (Join that conversation on

Read about our transition team and process ›

Help us build the Seattle we believe in. Tell us your ideas for Seattle.

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Posted by: Skye Schell


Comment from Kris
Time November 17, 2009 at 3:57 pm

I voted for Mike and am refreshed at the new ideas so far. I do have one concern….it doesn’t make much sense to me to make one of your first priorities switching to Mac. First, is this really a priority? Seems there are a lot more constructive pressing issues in the city. Second, this is a Microsoft town and I think the Mayor’s office should be supportive of a business who gives so much back to this community. Just wanted to put my two cents in. Good luck!

Comment from AprilThomas
Time November 17, 2009 at 4:58 pm

Switching to a Mac platform is absolutely not a priority for the transition. We are exploring lots of possibilities in terms of information technology, but we’re just at the asking questions stage right now.

Thanks for commenting!

Comment from Mr. Baker
Time November 17, 2009 at 6:31 pm

Do more than visit neighborhoods. Update the neighborhood plans that were set in motion a decade ago with current ideas and renewed involvement.

A safe walk home never goes out of style.

Comment from Mr. Baker
Time November 17, 2009 at 6:36 pm

Note to you, webmaster; if you are going to go toward the mac platform then don’t forget that the iPhone does not run flash. Your “Vision” video on the top page is a pretty blue cube with question marks to me.

Comment from Eric Koszyk
Time November 17, 2009 at 10:29 pm

Hello, as a person involved in several local arts’ organizations, I would recommend that the mayor’s office do more outreach to the local artist community. In particular, I would like the McGinn administration to work with local artist organizations that promote participatory art (not just art that people go look at, sigh and walk away).

One of the best examples of the type of arts’ organizations which I believe the city should foster and encourage and work along side is Ignition NW, based right here in Seattle. Ignition Northwest is a membership based non-profit organization devote to radical self-expression, participatory art, and sustainable community through regional events, art grants, and information sharing and education.

One of Ignition NW’s greatest accomplishments was the Seattle Memorial Temple, which was a temporary art installation in memory of people killed in Capitol Hill in 2006. As participatory art, it allowed survivors of the murders (as well as the general public) to come and express their grief by actually writing on the Temple and leaving mementos. After three weeks at the Seattle Center it was taken to the Nevada desert and burned. Imagine what we can do with participatory art not requiring tragedy first?

Another example of great participatory art is the Burien / Interim Art Space next to Burien’s City Hall. It is located on a vacant lot originally intended for condo development. The art space is temporary and consists of art, urban gardens and a community gathering place.

Please reach out to organizations such as Ignition NW and the Fremont Arts Council and promote participatory and temporary art.

Thank you.

Comment from AprilThomas
Time November 18, 2009 at 3:05 pm

We’ll try to get that sorted out. Thanks for bringing it up!

April Thomas

Comment from Jon Hoskins
Time November 18, 2009 at 4:23 pm

Seattle government is filled with many talented committed professionals as well. Seattle is not an expansion team. I believe it is essential to look at the work of the last 20 years and, where appropriate, build on the skills and dedication of many who have chosen public service as a career.

Comment from Paul Andrews
Time November 18, 2009 at 5:42 pm

Go with the Macs. Networking is not an issue any more, and the Mac/iPhone combination is the easiest to use and most compatible with a vast apps reservoir.

Comment from Patrick Burns
Time November 18, 2009 at 6:14 pm

I am a total Mike McGinn and his ideas supporter. Put in many hours working on the campaign and enjoyed every minute of it. First time ever worked on a local campaign. I especially enjoy it now when I see the faces of many friends who said he couldn’t win. :~)

As a native Seattleite and fund raising consultant that works with non-profits in the area, I would be appalled if you were to switch the cities computer systems to a mac format.
Regardless of how cool the Apps are, this is not a Mac town

The vision and philanthropy that The Microsoft company and Foundation bring to us and the world has no equal anywhere in the world.

They are one of our major employers whose employees generosity is matched by the company dollar for dollar. Their generosity helps hundreds of local organizations, school districts, social programs, arts org’s and many others.

We have many generous, giving, wealthy leaders in our beautiful city, but in my opinion there are none more courageous, down to earth and simply fine human beings as Bill and Melinda Gates.(whom I have never met)

Please escort that idea re a mac platform out the door and send it to Silicon Valley or wherever the Mac headquarters are. (and maybe the one who thought it up).

An idea like this could sink the ship before it ever leaves port!


Patrick Burns
Mike McGinn Campaign Volunteer

Comment from David Rampersad
Time November 19, 2009 at 1:16 pm

Instead of Macs that cost an arm and a leg, why don’t you switch to FOSS (free open source software) like Linux and OpenOffice? You get the same security and administrative advantages of Macs (built on a BSD platform, a variant of *nix) but the city gets to keep its existing hardware.

Open source productivity software like OpenOffice provides another benefit in that the specs for document formats are accessible. Microsoft will never release their file format specifications. That means if a document format like Works stops being supported by Microsoft, we have no way of accessing our public records stored in that format. With open document specs, in a worst case scenario, we can legally write software to read our own records. With proprietary formats, it is ILLEGAL for us to do so. If open government is such a priority, storing public records in open formats is a great place to start.

Comment from Michael
Time November 19, 2009 at 4:32 pm

As mentioned, the city is not a Mac shop. I don’t think you would be so supportive of such a radical change if you knew how much it would cost, and the full implications of it for the city.

There already is an established open document format used for accessing records — PDF. The city has not exhausted the possibilites for that yet.

A viewer/printer is what is needed, not a change of format. Free PDF viewer apps are everywhere. There is also a long term commitment by Adobe to keep it the format free and open.

MS has pretty firmly embedded itself into City operations, and just recently deployed Outlook for the Email standard. OpenOffice, although adequate for most things, does not support many of the more advanced features of Word and Excel, and converting the millions of documents would be a nightmare and extremely cost-ineffective. Converting those exitsting MS docs are problematic in reality.

Besides, Excel has no real peer for that type of application, yet. You do want the city to use the best available, right?

There are other areas and types of files/objects where open standard formats would be more appropriate, particualrly in the GIS arena, and I hope those will be seriously explored before committing to additional proprietary formats.

Comment from AprilThomas
Time November 19, 2009 at 4:59 pm

Switching to a Mac platform is absolutely not a priority for the transition. We are exploring lots of possibilities in terms of information technology, but we’re just at the asking questions stage right now.

Thanks for commenting!

Comment from Christian Jacobsen
Time November 19, 2009 at 7:09 pm

As one of Ignition Northwest’s board members, it pleases me no end to see our community has already sung our praises to the Mayor-elect!

As a Mac user, fervent arts supporter, and expert in social media, it is truly a pleasure to see 21st century blood pumping in the Mayor’s office. Most importantly, I look forward to true transparency in the decision-making process. Whether you switch to a more reliable computing platform or not, simply publish your reasons why you make the decision. Want to create more public art? Throw the invite open to the community – not just the usual suspects – and see what wonderfulness burbles forth.

Make decisions. Stand behind them. And show us the data/evidence that backs up why those were the right decisions.

It would be nice to have elected leaders who can actually LEAD instead of putting every piddling decision to a vote.

Comment from Brian
Time November 19, 2009 at 7:14 pm

I am amused by all the comments on this being “a Microsoft town.” The Mayor and his staff are entitled to use whatever hardware and software they deem appropriate to best do their jobs. If Microsoft can’t produce a product that works as well as the Mac (and they don’t), then they should keep working on it until they do. Kudos to the everyone on the transition staff.

More to the point of this comment section, it seems to me that the city can create a host of new jobs by fixing the appalling state of the roads in our city. I drive a smart car and the poor little thing can barely handle the horrible condition of our streets. Also, if a construction project requires digging up the pavement, the road should, by law, be restored to it’s pre-dig condition. It seems now all one has to do is cover up the hole – no matter how poorly.

Thanks for the opportunity to comment. I wish the Mayor all the best in his new position.

Comment from Eric Koszyk
Time November 19, 2009 at 8:00 pm

When is the next outreach meeting?

Comment from Tom
Time November 20, 2009 at 7:59 pm

It’s happening right now at the New Holly Community Center. ;- )

Comment from Kevin M McCarthy
Time November 21, 2009 at 9:32 am

There is a published rumor that an employee of Vulcan (Paul Allen’s massive landowning and construction/development company) is in the running for the Director of the Department of Planning and Development for the city.

I think this would be like putting the lions in charge of the deer habitat at the zoo. It would also send the wrong message to the community about supporting big business, when you ran on a residential message.

Comment from Mike Anderson
Time November 21, 2009 at 8:07 pm

I’d love to see an info graphic website that shows how taxes are allocated. As it is it would be difficult for citizens to truly contribute as we’re mostly minimally informed—without proper data we operate off of what we’re passionate about, not necessarily what’s best for our community.

Comment from Mary
Time November 22, 2009 at 3:35 am

Having resided in North King county for over 40 years before ccomint to the Roanoke Park area, I am appalled over the condition of the side streets in such a high tax assessed area. We never had roads in such poor condition in the suburbs.

The community building (Miiller) in the nearby Montlake area appears to be groosly under used.even though the facilities appear to be modern. I was spoiled by the Northshore Senior Center that had over 6,500 members when I joined about 15 years ago. Their classrooms and gymnasium were in constant use compared to an empty building devoid of people other thatn a few employees. Maybe the fees charged cause the daily nonusage and lack ot energy inside building.

Comment from Mary
Time November 22, 2009 at 3:39 am

ccomint = coming
groosly = grossly
Corrections to my prior comment.

Comment from Denis Martynowych
Time November 22, 2009 at 12:21 pm

Think long term – help us visualize what Seattle needs too look like in 50 years from now in a post fossil fuel driven economy. How would a socially just, environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling city look like. Hire the most experienced people who share this vision. Make all you decisions in alignment with that lartger vision. Inspire us to change from that perspective.

Comment from skibip
Time November 23, 2009 at 5:14 pm

Hello???? Microsoft may be located in Redmond, but it is a huge contributor to all things good in Seattle. Switching to a Mac platform is so not necessary technologically, and really biting the hand that feeds us. Leave that one alone!

Comment from AaronPickus
Time November 24, 2009 at 2:50 pm

Thank you for your comment. I assure you that there are absolutely no plans to switch to a Mac platform. Our priority during the transition is community outreach through ambassadors and town halls. We hope that you can attend one of the three town halls next week and share your ideas for Seattle.

Comment from Hendrisue
Time November 25, 2009 at 11:16 pm

hello…I have read it, I thinks this is a nice post. Good information.

Comment from Greg
Time November 30, 2009 at 7:16 pm

I am a Mac user, but I agree that switching the government to Macs should not be a priority.

However (this is directed to the commenters, not to the city), it’s not accurate to say this is strictly “a Microsoft town.” Sure, Microsoft has a lot of employees around here. But Seattle has historically been a strong Mac town too. dBug, the Seattle Mac User’s Group, was founded in 1984, before Microsoft Windows even existed, and is one of the largest in the country. By the time the Apple store opened in the U Village, you could stand in Wallingford and be within 2 miles of three Mac stores run by completely different companies.

Here’s a quiz for you. Name the system on which the following three programs first appeared:
Microsoft Excel
Microsoft PowerPoint
Microsoft Word (the windows-and-mouse version)

If you answered “Windows,” you are wrong.
All three major Microsoft Office apps debuted on the Mac first. The Windows versions came out later. Even Redmond needed the Mac to get its best revenue streams going. They’re even copying the Apple stores now.

Seattle may be a “Microsoft town” at least in part, but in no way is Seattle a Microsoft company town, and we certainly would not want to act as if it was. Using a non-Microsoft solution would hardly be un-patriotic. But it should not be a priority for the city to switch.

Now that’s been set straight, let’s set aside this talk of computers and get to the real issues facing the city.

Comment from Helen
Time December 1, 2009 at 12:05 pm

I would like see this city government emulate Portland as an example for a progressive city which has created many programs and much infrastructure to be a vibrant and sustainable city in the future when fossil fuel dependency will pose serious issues for many cities.

1) Ways to get around without a car: better public transport, safer bike trails, utilize waterways more effectively (water taxis)
2) More local incentives to lower the ROI for home and business owners to convert to energy efficient heating; green building codes for developers
3) Increase food security by focused development of existing initiatives

Comment from HoBo
Time December 3, 2009 at 1:41 pm

My idea is to annex into the City of Seattle all remaining areas of the North Highline unincorporated area, ASAP.

Comment from glenda
Time December 4, 2009 at 11:08 pm

I voted for you sir, but with serious reservations. I have lived in West Seattle for almost 30 years, and I am worried about what you plan to do with the viaduct and travel from West Seattle.
Of a bigger concern is that I am also a City of Seattle employee. So far I haven’t seen much from you that looks encouraging in this direction as far as wanting to reach out. You are the big boss now, and I really hope you will treat your workforce with respect and consideration. Please keep in mind the city is doing much RIGHT already, and has a lot of good ideas, enthusiasm and talent ready to be used. I hope you’ll take the time to learn how the city all the city departments really operate before you make sweeping changes based on outside generalizations.
P.S. – Not here, but in general, I’m getting so tired of seeing comments about “lazy” government employees. Having worked in the private sector before coming here, I can honestly say I’ve seen MUCH more waste and inefficiencies on that side.
P.P.S – I’d also love it if we could switch to Macs, but city budgeting makes that really irresponsible. Making the city more Mac friendly however, would be great.

Comment from Chris
Time December 13, 2009 at 12:13 pm

I would love to see the City and city employees more into social networking. I was shocked to learn several months ago the city doesn’t use IM! I would like the City to have a Facebook site with basic services listed, I’d like to see blogs and wikis on topics pertinent to Seattle citizens, and I’d like to see more than 50 city employees listed on LinkedIn. It’s time for city govenrment to take it up several notches!

Comment from Scott Staton
Time December 14, 2009 at 9:06 am

Switch all computers to Mac…

Comment from Scott Allison
Time December 17, 2009 at 12:10 am

Welcome Mayor<
I have meet with you in person and I think you are a good man. Thanks for being you.
I have a few suggestions as to how you and your administration might shake things up a bit and they are simple and all encompass Seattle based businesses:
1 Ride an Electric Bike_ Electric Vehicles NW in Ballard is an incredible world-wide recognized company with some of the best products available to those that want to be green.
2. Take out an electric boat on lake Union sometime-
The Electric Boat Company is really cool and again totally green way to meet up with the boating community.
3.Drive an electric Car- MC Electric has a really nice selection of electric cars that really effective and eye catching tools to get around town.
4.Install solar energy systems where they can be seen in Seattle- thus far SEATTLE has but only a few very small systems installed around town, we need a sizable and recognizable solar array right in the middle of the city or along the freeway to show that this city is committed to renewable energy…(after all we did $250k for becoming a solar city last year)

5. Lets hold an all electric Grad Prix in the city this year!!
6.Summer solstice would be a great time to think about a renewable energy conference and expo.
I guess what I am suggesting is try out what this city has to offer and show off our champion greener sides of Seattle.
Scott Allison
PS Macs do use a lot less energy!!

Comment from Ben
Time December 17, 2009 at 5:53 pm

The mac/pc issue is a matter of what tool is best for their needs. If the use of macs makes for a smoothly operating mayors office then that decision makes sense. My last day job used macs and they were superior to the pcs I’d used at other jobs. Now that I have my own business I will switch to macs when my business can afford it, they are better for my business needs. A pc isn’t the solution for every user

Comment from electric heating systems
Time January 5, 2010 at 2:10 am

I really liked your blog!

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