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Seattle pols: Condolences on Russell

Post by Lewis Kamb / The News Tribune on Sep. 9, 2009 at 2:14 pm |
September 28, 2009 1:33 pm

Local politicking had little to do with Russell Investment Group’s decision to pack up shop and head north to Seattle, pols in both cities say. Rather, Russell’s chance to occupy the newly vacated WaMu Tower was the deal-breaker, they say.

Still, the reasoning does little to blunt the loss for Tacoma.

While basking in their city’s own good news today, several Seattle City Councilmembers offered condolences to the City of Destiny. Here’s what some of them said:

Seattle City Council president Richard Conlin:

“It’s obviously a good thing for Seattle. It’s also good for the region – that they’re staying in the region.

Obviously it’s not a good thing from Tacoma’s perspective.

We did not do anything to poach them. We did not put any kind of package of our own together. I guess it’s analogous to the Port of Tacoma taking on some of the clients that the Port of Seattle once did. Private businesses make decisions. These things happen.”

Seattle City Councilman Tim Burgess:

I understand the feelings of Tacoma’s leaders, obviously. If I was in Tacoma,  I’d be very disappointed.

But I don’t think it’s fair to say that Seattle went out targeted Russell and stole them from the city of Tacoma. The company recently had a change in leadership, and decisions are made beyond the control of any of us.

I understand the feelings. But again, I think that Seattle – at least from what I know – was very passive in all of this. The city’s activity around this issue has been simply to respond very straightforwardly to the questions from Russell about (tax classifications).

City Councilwoman Jean Godden:

I understand that it is (a big blow to Tacoma). It’s something I regret very much, and certainly something I wouldn’t want to be a part of, if I can help it.

On the other hand, I must say that I’m pleased that if the Russell company decided it was going to move — and that’s apparently what they decided — that they’re going to stay in the region and settle here in Seattle.

City Councilman Tom Rasmussen:

I hope it doesn’t strain relationships at all. The fact that Russell was already looking at moving, it means to me that they had made some significant preliminary decisions that Tacoma was not the place where they wanted to be.

I can certainly understand why the City of Tacoma and its officials are disappointed.  I would hope that they know the City of Seattle was not trying to pull Russell away at all.

We all understand the importance of keeping jobs and businesses in local communities. And I have always worked cooperatively with my colleagues in other cities in that effort, and hope to continue to so. I also hope that the officials in the City of Tacoma will continue to work cooperatively with us in Seattle in this regard, as well.

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