Marilyn Monroe once said that “it's better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.”
This might be absolutely true for movie stars, but not local political candidates. As Tacoma prepares to choose a new mayor this year after two generally tame terms under the even-keeled Marilyn Strickland, we hope election season proceeds in boring fashion, thank you very much.
Nobody should wish for the kind of lurid accusations that have caused a national buzz around Seattle’s mayor race.
Tacoma likes to take occasional kid-brotherly delight when the city up the freeway gets knocked down a peg. But this isn’t a time for schadenfreude. The stakes are too high, the allegations too serious and the reputations too vulnerable to irreversible damage.
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, currently running for a second term, is the subject of a lawsuit filed last week by a man who said Murray sexually abused him over several years for money. The accuser says this went on when he was a drug-addicted high school dropout who met Murray on a Metro bus.
Murray squarely denied the claims, as well as old, unsubstantiated accusations that have resurfaced alleging he abused two boys in the 1980s while working at a Portland center for troubled youth.
It is to be hoped, for the sake of Seattle citizens, that the full truth comes out and that a long public service career is not ruined on the basis of hearsay and gossip.
The story took a turn toward the ridiculous this week, with rhetoric about political hit teams, blame-the-messenger attacks on The Seattle Times and the revelation of exculpatory evidence that’s stranger than fiction. The mayor’s lawyer shared a doctor’s report showing no identifying mole on Murray’s anatomy where the plaintiff said it should be.
Nothing boring about that.
Tacoma should be relieved that the loudest uproar to emerge in our mayor’s contest is criticism of a so-called term-limits “loophole candidate.” The fact that the race has only two declared contenders, Victoria Woodards and Jim Merritt, five weeks before filing deadline is regrettable but hardly sensational.
Boring has its drawbacks; it doesn’t sell newspapers. Even so, we’re glad Tacoma is free of any Seattle-like soap opera and has avoided sex scandals like those that embroiled mayors in the Northwest’s two other largest cities — Portland and Spokane — in recent decades.
Knock on wood.