Council backs Conlin on tunnel-related document
The Seattle City Council gave near-unanimous support to its president Monday, saying Richard Conlin was justified in signing a tunnel-related document last month, despite the continuing protests of Mayor Mike McGinn.
Seattle Times staff reporter
The Seattle City Council gave near-unanimous support to its president Monday, saying that Richard Conlin was justified in signing a tunnel-related document last month, despite the continuing protests of Mayor Mike McGinn.
Conlin stepped in Sept. 23 to sign on the city's behalf after Mayor Mike McGinn said he needed another week to review the document, a supplemental draft environmental-impact statement.
Conlin said he signed it to ensure the city could share leadership in the state's environmental review.
In response, McGinn accused Conlin of usurping his power, violating the city charter. Conlin accused McGinn of trying to stop the tunnel.
Monday's vote was the latest example of an increasingly tense relationship between the mayor and council.
The council vote got loud applause from pro-tunnel business and union leaders at the meeting, who said they are tired of dithering and wore yellow stickers that read, "Enough."
Councilmember Mike O'Brien, McGinn's ideological ally on the council, was the only one to oppose the measure.
Afterward, McGinn called the vote "almost meaningless" and said "it doesn't actually clarify anything."
The bill "reaffirms" that the council wants to share leadership responsibilities with the state on the tunnel project. McGinn says that's not really possible until the state and city agree to a definition of co-leadership. The council offered a Sept. 29 memo from the state defining the cooperative status. McGinn says that isn't an agreement.
Things clearly are not resolved.
Conlin said signing the document followed the "spirit of the law." Under the letter of the law, he pointed out, he was technically the acting mayor Monday with McGinn out of town, and could go ahead and sign the ordinance into law.
But Conlin said he would wait and let the mayor sign it or veto it when he returns.
In response, McGinn quipped: "Better late than never."
Emily Heffter: 206-464-8246 or email@example.com
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