Sept. 13–Mayor Ed Murray did the right thing resigning Tuesday. Allegations from his past were getting in the way of Seattle’s present and its future.
He denied the latest accusation — that he sexually abused a young relative more than 40 years ago — but said “it is important that my personal issues do not affect the ability of our city government to conduct the public’s business.”
For the city’s sake, there was no other choice. Four other men had accused the mayor of sexually molesting them years ago. Much to the chagrin of victim advocates, Murray unfairly used the drug use and arrests in those accusers’ backgrounds to attack their credibility.
The latest accusation comes from Murray’s younger cousin, a dialysis technician and Air Force veteran. He was alerted by a family member to the work of Seattle Times reporters Lewis Kamb and Jim Brunner, who doggedly investigated the accusations for months.
Joseph Dyer, 54, said he was 13 when Murray forced him into sex when the two shared a bedroom at Dyer’s mother’s home in Medford, New York, in the mid-1970s.
Murray, 62, dismissed Dyer’s accusation as the result of a rift in the family. Murray dismissed the previous four accusations, alleging they were part of a political takedown effort because of his progressive politics and record as a gay-rights champion. Nonsense.
On Tuesday, Murray was a no-show at a news conference to introduce a deal that promises a major makeover of the Seattle Center’s 55-year-old KeyArena that could lead to a return of an NBA team and a new NHL franchise. He also was supposed to welcome state, national and international officials attending the two-day Cascadia Innovation Corridor Conference but skipped it.
The city deserves better.
Murray said in his statement that Council President Bruce Harrell would become mayor and decide within five days whether to fill the remainder of Murray’s term, which runs through the end of this year. Two candidates — Jenny Durkan and Cary Moon — are campaigning to succeed him in the Nov. 7 election.
The mayor’s resignation may mean some unsteadiness in the next couple months, but the city will be better off without a disgraced, distracted leader.
Editorial board members are editorial page editor Kate Riley, Frank A. Blethen, Donna Gordon Blankinship, Brier Dudley, Mark Higgins, William K. Blethen (emeritus) and Robert C. Blethen (emeritus).
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