Seattle mayor talks police chief, Bertha, $15 minimum wage

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by KING 5 News

KING 5 News

Posted on January 12, 2014 at 12:29 PM

Updated Sunday, Jan 12 at 5:44 PM

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray talked with KING 5's Mark Wright about changes to the Seattle Police Department, the Bertha digging project and the push for a $15 minimum wage.

In his first week on the job, Murray replaced Interim Police Chief Jim Pugel with former SPD Assistant Chief Harry Bailey.

Murray said it was important the interim chief not be in the running for the permanent job. Pugel said he's interested in becoming police chief.

The new mayor also said it's important to continue working towards the reforms handed down to SPD by the Justice Department.

Murray said he wants Seattle's Police Department to be a national model.

"That means other cities come to this city to learn how Seattle does policing in an urban, diverse setting," Murray said. 

Wright asked Murray about potential cost overruns in the Highway 99 tunnel project that has stalled for more than a month by a steel pipe that's been blocking Bertha.

Some state lawmakers have said Seattle taxpayers could be liable for additional costs in the delayed project.

"The issue of cost overruns; it is a state highway. It is a state road," Murray said. "I think we need to have conversations with the state."

Murray also talked about the potential for a city-wide minimum wage of $15 an hour. He said it's important to move poor people into the middle class and close the gap between the poor and the rich.

"I think business understands that if people don't have livable wages they're not going to buy things and stimulate the economy that we need to have stimulated," Murray said.

He added a new minimum wage would be phased in and stressed the importance of looking at how an increase would affect small businesses.

 

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