Seattle mayoral race heats up over crime, mental health issues

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SEATTLE — Mayor Mike McGinn promises more cops on the beat in the wake of the latest deadly attack downtown.

“Today, we are announcing funding for 15 new police officers,” McGinn said at a news conference Tuesday.

mcginnThe announcement comes after a college professor was stabbed to death and his girlfriend was stabbed and seriously injured as they walked to their car in Pioneer Square Friday night after a Sounders game.  Police say the suspect has mental health issues.

McGinn also wants more funding in the city for mental health services and says it may take a new tax to accomplish that.

“If this is a priority, and the public believes it’s a priority, and there’s a fair tax source for it, then we’ll move ahead with that.”

The mayor believes the state should pay its fair share for mental health services, and he contended his opponent in the mayoral race, state Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, helped kill legislation that would have done that.

“Senator Murray was chairman of the (Senate) Ways and Means Committee, and that bill died in his committee,” McGinn said.

Murray, in turn, said he wants the mayor to stop blaming the Legislature and points to new legislation that will help those with mental problems.

“The mayor doesn’t seem to understand that this Legislature this year enacted the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare,” said Murray. “That is going to provide an incredible amount of mental health funding for those very individuals.”

Murray said McGinn should have done more the last four years about crime in the city and helping the mentally ill.

It’s an issue that is beginning to take center stage in the race for mayor.

Seattle’s current mayor said he thinks hiring 15 new officers is a step in the right direction.

“You know people want to be safe, and we respond to that,” McGinn said.



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