By Assunta Ng
Recently, I was dining with a group of friends, and the mayor’s name came up. Some of them went with Mayor Mike McGinn to Seattle’s sister city, Chongqing, in March.
The report card for the mayor’s leadership was not satisfactory.
They shared one scenario where a high-level Chinese official hosted a lunch for more than 50 members of the Seattle delegation. The Chinese official toasted our delegation, and the mayor didn’t know how to respond.
The mayor sat there and did nothing, while the other members of the delegation felt awkward, looking at each other with disbelief. No one had the guts to get up and tell the mayor to reciprocate the hospitality of the Chinese official.
Would the mayor take it personally if they told him what to do?
Finally, they decided that Joseph Borich, executive director of the Washington State China Relations Council, would be the appropriate person to intercept.
After 20 minutes, McGinn got the message from Joe, and toasted and thanked his host. Seattle delegates said he did fine. I was amazed when I heard the story. Hadn’t anyone thought to brief him on the proper customs before he left for China?
Even at Cinco de Mayo …
Another similarly awkward situation with the mayor was during a Cinco de Mayo celebration held at the Columbia Tower Club. Several elected officials, including Mayor McGinn, was invited to speak. At festive occasions, elected officials usually make some short remarks about the Hispanic community and offer congratulatory statements.
However, McGinn spoke about the Seattle Police Department and talked for seven minutes. The emcee had to step in. He refused to let go of the mic and said, “This is important.”
Here was an instance where McGinn wanted to stay on his soapbox, but did the audience listen?
No. The audience was annoyed, and started talking amongst themselves. It seems that he lost some respect from the community that day.
Here we go again, McGinn acts out of line
I also read in a June 12 article in the Seattle Times that McGinn paid a visit to NBA Commissioner David Stern in New York City. Chris Hansen, the hedge-fund manager proposing to spend millions to partially finance a new arena and buy an NBA team, had no idea about this meeting.(end)