It is hard to question the environmental credentials of Mike McGinn and Mike O’Brien, both having served as strong, vocal leaders in the Cascade Chapter of the Sierra Club. So why are these two passionately green candidates having so much trouble picking up sole endorsements from the broader environmental community in their respective races for mayor and city council?
Well it could have something to do with the Sierra Club’s well-earned reputation under the two Mikes’ leadership, for not working and playing well with others.
Talk to folks active with other environmental organizations and you’ll find that there’s still a lot of residual bitterness left over from the way the Sierra Club broke rank (and promises) during 2007’s failed Roads & Transit ballot measure campaign. And Sierra Club only rubbed salt in these festering wounds with their early endorsement of Dow Constantine in the King County Executive race, just a week before next Tuesday’s heavily promoted Green Choice Debate at Town Hall, sparking a flood of angry emails within the coalition of environmental organizations sponsoring the event.
“This was supposed to be an impartial forum,” one environmental leader complained to me. “Now, thanks to Sierra Club, Dow gets to come in there with the upper hand.”
Apparently, Sierra Club never promised to hold off on their endorsement until after the forum, which is why they’re not listed as part of the sponsoring coalition, but still… they couldn’t wait one week? No, that’s just not their style.
Now, after years of snubbing their noses at the broader environmental coalition, McGinn and O’Brien are asking these same organizations to hold their noses and endorse their respective candidacies. Yeah, well, good luck with that.