Today, the Bellevue-based Second Amendment Foundation finally received its holiday going-away gift from the City of Seattle and soon-to-be-ex-Mayor Mike McGinn’s administration, the $38,000 settlement check from SAF’s successful lawsuit over public records access, announced by this column several days ago.
SAF's attorney Miko Tempski took delivery of the check, noting that it hadn’t been necessary to take the same action against King County and Executive Dow Constantine’s office.
“We made the same records request to King County,” he recalled, “and the county was willing and able to be open to the public. It seemed like Seattle thought they were above it all.”
SAF Special Projects Director Phil Watson, who had made the original records request seeking all documents, including e-mails, related to the city’s gun buyback almost 11 months ago, noted that SAF is not the only entity that had problems with the city under the McGinn administration. As reported earlier, the Seattle Times also had to sue over public records, but that was aimed at the police department.
Still, both actions cost the city money, which would not have been spent had McGinn’s office been more thorough.
“The real losers,” Watson observed, “are the people of Seattle.”
McGinn has had other problems. Recall earlier this year when the Seattle Times revealed the bike-riding mayor and former environmental activist to have allegedly sat on a report about coal trains for more than a month. It took a public records request from the newspaper to get McGinn to disclose the contents of the report, which Lauri Hennessey, spokeswoman for the Alliance for Northwest Jobs & Exports, said he was “clearly not eager to release…”
“He asked for this report,” she told the newspaper at the time. “He didn’t like what this report said, so he just put it away.”
The New York transplant, who has been in the Northwest for a couple of decades, became known as “Mayor McSchwinn” for his bicycle advocacy. That he was vocally anti-gun and supported such notions as eroding the state’s model pre-emption act did not earn him any friends in the firearms community. His administration's stubbornness about the attempt to ban firearms in park facilities strengthened, rather than hurt, the preemption law.
McGinn’s gun buyback, which even Washington Ceasefire’s Ralph Fascitelli advised against, was not the mayor’s only political misstep. He forced a public vote on the underground tunnel in 2011 and suffered politically for it. This was after he had vetoed the city council’s plan to move forward on the tunnel project months earlier.
Tempski, a Seattle resident until a few days ago, observed, “We appreciate that this $38,000 will go to fight for gun rights rather than another unused bike lane.”