For the last few weeks, things have not been going well between Mayor Mike McGinn and Seattle Council President Richard Conlin. Actually, ill feelings between the two have lasted a long time. The latest issue is in regards to replacing the viaduct with a tunnel. Conlin wants this done, while McGinn does not.
How they react to each other is not pretty if you follow The Seattle Times’ coverage. Both the mayor and Conlin were invited to Gee How Oak Tin Family Association’s New Year dinner last Sunday at the House of Hong Restaurant. I am sure McGinn was just as surprised to see Conlin as Conlin was to see him.
When they come to Chinatown, we prefer the elected officials to see each other in a different light.
However, that was not the case. “We don’t talk about politics,” said Larry Chan, president of the association. “I told the mayor to come and relax.” Chan was delighted that McGinn and his wife, Peggy Lynch, showed up. This was the first time McGinn attended a Chinatown event since becoming the mayor.
Chan was diplomatic. The mayor and councilmembers, including Tom Rasmussen and Bruce Harrell, had a chance to speak to the audience. Chan sat with McGinn at the head table. Councilmembers sat right behind the head table with other guests, including Bellevue Deputy Mayor Conrad Lee and King County Councilman Joe McDermott.
Coincidentally, McGinn and Conlin stood up and walked toward the door at the same time to leave.
That’s when the meaning of the Lunar New Year hit me. It’s a time for unity, harmony, prosperity, and joy.
“Will you take a picture with the mayor?” I asked Conlin.
“Yes,” he said without even thinking.
“Will you take a picture with Richard?” I asked the mayor who was nearby. He was stunned by my suggestion.
“What do you want to do with it?” McGinn asked, looking at me suspiciously.
“Can you shake hands?” I directed them. Instantly, they did.
Mayor, I just want you to know that this was not a trick. Meanness is not a part of my bones. I just want you guys to be working together, moving forward. Let bygones be bygones for the sake of our city in the Year of the Rabbit. ♦