Ed’s note: We ask Mayor McGinn to publicly apologize for his administration’s role in Sakara Remmu’s firing. We condemn the use of the Mayor’s office to punish critics and ask that the McGinn administration swear off such tactics in the future.
On September 2, Sakara Remmu, who writes a political blog under the pen name Sable Verity, lost her job. In the weeks before, she had been critical of Mayor McGinn, much to the displeasure of his administration. Still smarting from her criticism about the city’s policing priorities, the Mayor’s office struck back with a textbook hardball political tactic — destroy your enemy’s livelihood. They had a talk with her employer, Tabor, Inc., a non-profit whose members depend on the City of Seattle for funding and expressed “discomfort” with the position Remmu held with the organization. Apparently fearful of reprisal, the organization swiftly terminated her employment to appease the expressed concern.
This is a clear and simple case of abuse of power. Though the predictable excuses have been made and the victim blamed, the truth is commonsensical — powerful people used their position to undermine what they determined was a political enemy, no matter that Sable Verity has both been critical of and praised the mayor. That in their conversations with Remmu’s employer, the Mayor’s office didn’t explicitly demand she be fired is only proof of their power — it was enough to frame it as a problem and then relate it to Tabor’s relationship with the city for the organization to get the message.
We see this latest power play as part of the larger pattern of belligerence and inflexibility from the mayor’s office. The impression McGinn and his inner circle give today is of an embattled minority beset by enemies they themselves have chosen. Where compromise would be prudent, they rush to confrontation; when facing vehement criticism, instead of listening or at least showing the adult forbearance that leadership demands, they seek revenge. We expect much better.
As Seattle voters and citizens, we the undersigned ask Mayor McGinn to publicly apologize for setting into motion a chain of events that any reasonable person could anticipate would jeopardize a person’s livelihood. We condemn the use of the Mayor’s office to punish critics, whether they come from the media or from the community. We also ask that the Mayor swear off such tactics in the future. Remember it is the citizens of Seattle that invest the Mayor’s office with its power and we demand that it be exercised with honor and integrity.
Mayor McGinn, we await your response.
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