Seattle Times: Newly-elected Mayor Jenny Durkan “offers best hope in years of improving city’s business climate.”

Seattle voters overwhelmingly elected Jenny Durkan mayor. As we wrote yesterday, what happens in Seattle matters statewide, both because of the city’s large population base and its outsize economic influence. The Seattle Times reports on the choice voters faced. One prominent Seattle politician framed the race in familiar terms.

Jeanne Kohl-Welles, a Metropolitan King County Council member who sided with Durkan, said many voters from the Hillary Clinton wing of the Democratic Party backed the lawyer while many from the Bernie Sanders wing got behind Moon.

The Seattle Times editorial board sees the election as an opportunity to address business conditions in the city. And they’re optimistic. 

The election of Jenny Durkan as Seattle mayor offers the best hope in years of improving the city’s business climate, which cannot be taken for granted and needs tending.

This is not just about making money. Seattle’s business climate must be strong to create opportunity and maintain the vibrancy of the city and region.

The city council, of course, continues to entertain unconventional policy proposals. The Puget Sound Business Journal reports one such idea on the agenda is the notion of creating a municipal bank

Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant has proposed allocating $200,000 to study the feasibility of a city-owned public bank.

The study would focus on the legality and practical feasibility of a municipal bank, plus participation of surrounding cities, banking requirements, community benefit loans and the ability to handle cannabis-related transactions.

The PSBJ reports the idea has some support on the council.

Sawant’s proposal is backed by councilmembers Mike O’Brien and Kristen Harris-Talley. The city council will continue 2018 budget discussions Tuesday. So far, the study is not on the day’s agenda.

A bill to create a state bank  didn’t get off the ground in Olympia this session. Seattle council members considered a municipal bank in 2014

Some constitutional experts have expressed doubts about the legality of a state or municipal bank, including local constitutional scholar Hugh Spitzer…

Councilmember Sawant, though not a member of the committee, brought what she believed were broad public concerns for the proposal. She warned against pushback from corporate banks that claim municipal banks are too risky to be sound investments.

Although San Francisco and Minneapolis – possibly others – have considered creating municipal banks, we’ve not found any city that has established one. Let us know if we’ve missed something.