Michael Harris for Seattle Mayor
ABC NEWS JOURNALIST, CONSERVATIONIST & FORMER EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF PACIFIC WHALE WATCH ASSOCIATION
LOOKING BACK AT OUR CAMPAIGN…
"MAYOR'S RACE 2017 / Candidate Profile: Michael Harris / The dark horse mayoral candidate said he's a "radical" centrist.
Kendall Candioglos, Seattle Met Magazine
July 29th, 2017
After 34 years in Seattle, TV producer Michael Harris wants to bring "radical centrism" to the city. What exactly does that mean? "We've left a lot of people out," Harris said. "I am a moderate in this race. I'm a vegetarian at the BBQ." Harris, now 52, said Seattle has gone "too far to the left," opposes any new taxes, and,,, supports Seattle's sanctuary city policy and wants the city's environmental efforts to go much further.
"Michael Harris, 'Radical Centrist' Candidate for Seattle Mayor"
John Carlson, 570 KVI
July 27, 2017
An anti-tax realist running for Seattle mayor, Michael Harris, joins KVI's John Carlson to talk about his campaign, in which he aims to be a pro-business progressive.
"The Jason and Burns Show / Mayoral Candidate Michael Harris"
June 15, 2017 (19:03 in)
GUESTS: Mayoral candidate Michael Harris and his father, Chris Harris, the first British-born person to play in the NBA, discuss with Zac Burns and guest host Colleen O'Brien building an arena in SoDo and bringing back the Sonics. He says Ed Murray chose the worst arena plan, and he talks about his traffic solutions. He also says, if elected, he'll quash the income tax.
"Thiel: Seattle Mayor's Has SoDo Arena Fan"
Art Thiel, SportsPress
July 3rd, 2017
One of the 21 people seeking to become Seattle's mayor is a basketball fan. Michael Harris comes from a hoops family, and doesn't like what he sees between Mayor Murray and KeyArena's developer.
"One-on-One: Michael Harris, Seattle Mayoral Candidate"
Herb Weisbaum, KOMO Newsradio
June 29th 2017
Most of the 21 candidates for Seattle's next mayor talk about how progressive they are. One candidate, Michael Harris, says he is progressive, but fiscally moderate. Harris says he really wants to hear what conservatives in the city have to say. Harris is a TV news photojournalist and an environmental activist, known to many as "The Whale Guy." On the KOMO Midday News today (weekdays 1-3pm) we went one-on-one with Michael Harris.
"21 candidates crowd Seattle mayor's race"
Essex Porter, KIRO 7 Eyewitness News
May 19th, 2017
Michael Harris paid a filing fee of $1,951.86 to become the 17th candidate to file for Seattle mayor. A whale conservationist and TV producer, Harris is fighting to be one of the two candidates who will get past the August primary.
"The Jason and Burns Show / Rantz ranks current crop of Seattle's mayoral hopefuls"
Jason Rantz, KIRO Newsradio
May 12th, 2017
He's charismatic and can be a clear communicator. He's been effective at telling us why some of Murray or McGinn's policies haven't worked. He seems like a moderate Democrat… He should be an attractive candidate to the same folks who like Durkan or Hasegawa. If he can get his name out there, he poses a legitimate threat.
"The Jason and Burns Show / Seattle-based TV producer Michael Harris joins mayoral race"
BY KIRO Newsradio Staff
May 8th, 2017
Seattle-based TV producer Michael Harris is stepping into the mayoral race. Michael Harris, who has regularly contributed to several television networks, declared his candidacy for Seattle mayor on KIRO Radio's Jason and Burns Show Monday evening… Harris also says he, unlike several of his opponents, is opposed to new taxes.
Michael Harris, Candidate for Mayor 2017
"Pro-Business Progressive" Democrat, one of only seven registered Dems in this race.
Endorsed by GM Nameplate, the largest manufacturer in Seattle.
Endorsed by Clipper Navigations (Victoria Clipper), the oldest and largest private company on the Seattle waterfront.
Endorsed by Adm. Len Hering, formerly the top Commander of U.S. Navy Region Northwest.
Endorsed by Victory Studios, the oldest and largest (and last remaining) post production facility in the Pacific Northwest.
Endorsed by numerous eco-tourism companies in WA and BC.
Endorsed by Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart (for his whale conservation work).
The only other endorsement sought was from Teamsters #174 — according to a brother, Mr. Harris "came in second" to Bob Hasegawa, their former President.
No endorsements sought from former or current elected officials, particularly from City Councilmembers (Michael has been very critical of City Council).
Credentials: 11-time Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker (45 Emmy nominations) and 30-year broadcast network journalist, the last 15 years as Producer, Photojournalist and Wildlife Specialist for ABC News. Stories covered for ABC include Oso mudslide, I-5 Bridge collapse, Washington wildfires, OK tornadoes, and over 13 mass shootings, including Lakewood massacre in 2009 and Seattle Pacific University shooting. While doing ABC and other journalism work, served five years consulting (half-time 2011-2016) as Executive Director of Pacific Whale Watch Association, the ONLY administrator and spokesperson for a transboundary eco-tourism industry representing 37 businesses in WA and BC. Under Michael's tenure, PWWA went from negative growth in 2011 to $144 million annually in economic impact to the region, growing at between 8.3% and 10% a year — making it now close to $200 million/year. Operating guidelines citations among fleet dropped from 18 in 2010 and 12 in 2011 to zero in 2015 and 2016, and no regulative action taken on the industry by NOAA Fisheries or Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Widely considered now a world paradigm for sustainable wildlife viewing.
World-renowned conservationist: The global media intelligence firm Meltwater Group, which has 55 offices on six continents, estimates that between October 2015 and November 2016 Michael had a total reach in traditional media (TV, radio, newspapers) of over 2.4 billion, appearing by name in every country they monitor. Together with his historic victories on behalf of Puget Sound's Southern Resident killer whales — incl. a victory against the G.W. Bush Administration in U.S. District Court to win ESA protection for the orcas — his lead role in the historic rescue of Springer the orphaned orca in 2002-3, and his last three years producing and narrating "The Whale Report," one-minute spots airing during drive time each Thursday morning on KOMO and other Sinclair Group outlets as well as his frequent appearances in regional media on breaking whale stories, Michael is unquestionably the best-known whale expert in the Pacific Northwest. And per Meltwater, specifically as regards Puget Sound's endangered orcas, Michael may be their best known and most effective advocate in the world.
Advancing in the August 1st, 2017 primary were Jenny Durkan and Cary Moon.
Why didn't we win? A major fundraising fail. In politics, no bucks, no Buck Rogers… Even in a race where donations are restricted to $500 per individual, Michael had to compete with Big Money — corporate money funneled through compliance loopholes, and personal loans to campaigns from very wealthy candidates. Somehow Ms. Durkan quickly procured a $600,000 war chest, and Ms. Moon loaned tens of thousands of dollars to her campaign.. Prior to agreeing to file for candidacy, Michael was assured by the team recruiting him that his team would begin the race with an estimated $100,000 or more from pledged donors to begin the race, which would've put the campaign #2 in money behind the incumbent. Inexplicably, none of that funding ever materialized, leaving the candidate unable to launch his campaign and widely announce his run and publicize at the critical startup phase. This was exacerbated by the fundraising team being unable to install campaign-specific Anedot online donation program for several weeks after filing date, preventing people from donating over the campaign website. Further, FaceBook shut down campaign website for two weeks after filing date because too many administrators attempted to access site and FB determined it was a security risk. By the time campaign was finally able to accept donations, the prevailing media story was that 21 candidates had filed for the race, a concern for potential and even pledged donors. Moreover, Mayor Ed Murray muddied the waters by flirting with a potential write-in campaign — and then when he dropped out, again, he publicly endorsed Jenny Durkan.
Why no attention from Democratic establishment? Michael was the first and most vocal “no new taxes” candidate among the Democrats, which includes not supporting Prop 1 which would raise sales tax. Michael’s “radical center” platform also includes reform of the B&O tax and other small business help, including negotiating a pro-rated minimum wage. Vocal also against soda tax and “Wealth Tax,” both largely supported by the Democratic leadership. In fact, despite living in Ballard and the 36th District and being just one of seven registered Democrats in the race, AND being invited by Chairman Jeff Manson to be interviewed by the 36th back in May, the District has ignored at least a half-dozen requests on the part of the campaign. Michael harbored no allusions about winning the endorsement of his 36th District Democrats, but it’s clear that his moderate positions on taxation have prompted Mr. Manson and his board to actively prevent District voters in the District from learning more about Michael. And in fact, Mr. Manson told members at its endorsement meeting in May that he recommended that the District not endorse any candidate for Mayor at that time because “we have seven good Democrats in this race and we need time to to learn more about some of them before endorsing.” However, despite a half-dozen attempts to schedule time with Mr. Manson — as he specifically invited the campaign to do in May — there was no response whatsoever. Michael would be the only registered Democrat in the race for Mayor not to be interviewed in any way by the 36th District, again his home district.
Why not more attention from Seattle media? Largely, local media decided to build a heirarchy entirely on the only poll done in the race — the KING/KUOW poll done in early June — and on money raised and “likes” on FB pages at that time. Due to the campaign’s fundraising fail and Facebook page shutdown for the first critical weeks, Michael fell far short on that criteria of money raised and FB likes in May and early June, and therefore was pegged by Seattle Times, the Stranger, the Weekly and local television news outlets as not a serious candidate in the race. Voters literally had no idea that Michael was running for Mayor, even though he had more name recognition than most candidates. In fact, voters clearly were in the dark about their options. In that mid-June KING/KUOW poll, 38% of the 500 respondents said they were “undecided” with 4% answering “other.” Even KING reported that the race was “wide open.” And yet no other poll was done since early June, and based on that early and flawed poll, a “top six” was soon arbitrarily picked by most outlets for coverage — which of course only made fundraising that much more difficult for everyone.
A little interference run from the right? The Baltimore-based attorney for the controversial conservative media conglomerate, Sinclair Group, which owns KOMO, was alerted by someone that Michael was doing his weekly "Whale Reports" on its radio stations and, citing FCC concerns, pulled him off air for the duration of the campaign. We believe it was overreach based on recent concerns about Sinclair potentially violating FCC rules by pushing "must-run" political messages on its stations. It further instructed KOMO TV and radio not to call Michael during breaking whale stories, even though he's the best-known and highest-profile expert in the region. KING and other stations followed suit. And Michael also voluntarily stepped down from taking assignments from ABC News during the campaign. All in all, "the Whale Guy" never got to be the Whale Guy during this campaign, and we're told by other candidates that this came as a relief. Many reasonably feared that Michael's media acumen and connections would make him a real threat in this race, as KIRO Newsradio anchor Zac Burns called him in May. In fact, despite being progressive on nearly every issue, Michael's become a favorite among many moderates and even Republicans, the latter representing 28% of the voters in Seattle.
HOWEVER… We didn't advance in the primary because of money — but NOT because we didn't have the right message. The following media stories and Seattle Times Editorial Staff opinion pieces clearly show that our platform and positions were more in line with the voters of this City than any other candidate. The "radical center" isn't so radical at all. WE STILL WILL RIGHT THIS SHIP!
Stay involved, stay connected to this campaign, keep committed to the cause. Thank you for your support.
"Two more suits filed to block Seattle's new income tax"
"Proposition 1, King County's culture and science sales tax, has been rejected"
"Voter rejection of Proposition 1 sends message about tax measures"
"Job No. 1 for Seattle's next mayor: Be ready to stand up to City Council"
"'Everything reshuffles': It's an entirely new landscape in Seattle mayoral race"
The 59-year-old Durkan is clearly hoping experience matters. In interviews after the primary, she emphasized her record as a U.S. attorney from 2009 to 2014, when she was instrumental in bringing about a court-monitored reform of the Seattle Police Department. As the first openly gay U.S. attorney, she also pointed to her advocacy for LGBTQ issues, including same-sex marriage.
"I have a decades-long record of getting results in this city on issues people care about," she said. "Policy without reality is just a dream."
The implication is that her opponents can't say the same — although Moon, 54, insisted Friday she has as much experience. She cited leadership roles while working as a planner, a three-year stint in her early 30s running her family's Michigan manufacturing business and her best-known effort: heading up the fight for a waterfront park rather than an Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement.
"Hoping for a leftist revolution in Tuesday's vote? Not so fast"
"Moon wins second spot on November ballot for Seattle mayor"
"Seattle council may revive debate on homeless living in vehicles"
"Seattle Councilman Mike O'Brien clarifies controversial car-camping ordinance"
"An act of compassion that could make Seattle's homeless situation worse"
"Seattle set to prevent landlords from considering applicants' criminal records"
"Cities With The Best Police Force"
"Federal monitor finds Seattle police are conducting proper stops and frisks"
"Outraged crowd mourns shooting death of Charleena Lyles, rages against police brutality at community forum"
The Seattle King County NAACP this past week called for the City Council and Mayor Ed Murray to host a public hearing with Police Chief Kathleen O'Toole, but the chief declined to attend Tuesday's forum.
"If Chief O'Toole is not available to answer questions tomorrow, it will reiterate to the community that a business-as-usual investigation will not result in justice for Charleena," Councilmember Kshama Sawant wrote Monday in a letter to Councilmember M. Lorena González, who hosted the forum. González, who chairs the council's public-safety committee, said the forum wasn't meant to be "a public deposition of Chief O'Toole," but an opportunity for the community to engage elected officials about police accountability, mental health and other pressing issues.
In a letter Monday, O'Toole responded to what she described as Sawant's "disappointing level of ignorance of SPD policies and clear disdain for the investigatory process and review that SPD is court-mandated to follow."
"Facts matter and pre-judgment of this incident by any of us would be completely irresponsible," O'Toole wrote.
'The citizens of Seattle are not going to pay blackmail for constitutional policing'"
"Fox Business show slams Seattle as 'socialist hellhole'"
"Seattle's soda tax falls flat"
"Illinois appeals court upholds order blocking state soda tax"
"Podcast: Is Seattle's proposed income tax a good idea, or even legal?"
"NBA commissioner Adam Silver: Expansion 'inevitable'; Seattle on a 'short list'"
"For victims of sex abuse, allegations around Seattle Mayor Ed Murray are triggering"
"Bellevue bans safe-injection sites for heroin users"