I’ve kept my mouth shut, but I was assured several months ago by a couple of different sources that a copy of the thought-to-be-destroyed 1984 report by Portland authorities on allegations of sexual abuse of a minor by Ed Murray did, in fact, exist; that it was being sat on; and that it was pretty damning.
Now it’s out. And Murray can spin all he wants, but my sources were right. It’s pretty damning.
All this happened over 30 years ago, and even if Murray had been criminally prosecuted back then, it would have been for crimes now long past the statute of limitations. So I totally get the frustration and anger of Murray and people close to him. This probably WAS a political hit, timed to cause maximum damage to Murray and his career. And it has. The standards of acceptable conduct for an elected official are rather higher than simply staying out of prison.
Ed Murray knew all of this. He spent decades as an elected official, climbing the ladders of power, knowing that these allegations were buried in his past. And he knew that politics isn’t fair. For 20 years in Olympia he thrived in part by using strong-arm tactics; he became the sort of legislator who got his way by bullying rather than persuasion or negotiation. Now, legislators from both parties who served with Murray have been watching his downfall with glee. What’s good for the goose, etc.
In the big picture, none of that matters. A big city mayor has several major roles, the most important being: to steer public policy, to administer a major organization and its many thousands of employees, and to be the public representative of the city.
While I don’t particularly want six months of, say, Kate “Downtown Seattle Association” Joncas as my interim mayor, a lot of people can capably fill those first two roles for a few months. But Murray can no longer credibly do that third job. Ed Murray as Seattle’s representative to the world is now officially an embarrassment, one doing a lot more harm than good – not just to Seattle’s image, but in particular to the emotional health of sexual abuse survivors here and everywhere. Mayor Ed Murray, drawing a public salary and standing at a podium before the cameras, is a representative of Seattle. He’s also now the representative of every abuser and creep who ever got away with it.
Ed Murray needs to claim credit for all the good he’s done in his career, gracefully resign, and return to life as a private citizen. Now. Right now. It may or may not be fair, but it’s the right thing to do.