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Bradley Meacham
Strategic communications pro turned Foreign Service Officer. Husband, dad & urbanist. Ran for Seattle City Council, '11.
Recent Activity
Seattle's voters took a bold step in 2013 when they decided to begin electing seven of nine members of the city council by district rather than at-large. The change meant that challengers with ideas and energy could win by connecting with voters rather than simply collecting enough donations to finance... Continue reading
Posted Oct 19, 2015 at
A newspaper's front page shows the Mexican military marching in a Bastille Day parade next to a video still of one of the top cartel kingpins escaping from his maximum-security prison cell. The headline cites a top government official blaming deference to human rights - not high-level collusion - for... Continue reading
Posted Jul 16, 2015 at
Longtime Seattle politicians are deciding to retire rather than face reelection under a new district-election system that requires them to talk to voters instead of just raise money. This is great news. City hall will get new talent and may ultimately be more responsive. There’s at least a chance for... Continue reading
Posted Jan 26, 2015 at
When I first saw a copy of Fire and Ashes, Michael Ignatieff’s recent book about his experience trying to become Canada’s prime minister, it seemed too decadent to actually pick it up. It was the sort of book I’ve mostly avoided in the three-plus years since my run for city... Continue reading
Posted Dec 29, 2014 at
When it comes to bold transit, Quito is a city to watch. The capital of Ecuador is building a 15-station underground metro that will complement an existing system of bus rapid transit (BRT), transit lanes and cycletracks. This makes sense for the traffic-clogged city of 2.5 million, situated in a... Continue reading
Posted Jul 31, 2014 at
I recently had a chance to visit Fallingwater, Frank Lloyd Wright's masterpiece in southwestern Pennsylvania, and it was even more impressive in person that I had dreamed. More surprising, however, was the time I got to spend in nearby Pittsburgh. Ahead of the trip, friends laughed when I said I... Continue reading
Posted Apr 28, 2014 at
As I've started preparing to move to Mexico City, I've been thinking more about the form of cities in the United States, how we got this way and how we might change. The other day I made the following points in a Spanish presentation about transportation in the U.S. The... Continue reading
Posted Mar 17, 2014 at
Until several months ago I thought of Washington, D.C. as a great urban success. With its booming, diverse economy, urban core and globalizing culture – all tied together by enviable transit – it has so much to offer. However every time I’m on the Beltway, experience the sprawl of Virginia... Continue reading
Posted Dec 31, 2013 at
Months into my campaign for Seattle city council, a neighborhood business owner invited me to meet voters (and potential donors) after the service at his synagogue. Doing my best schmoozing, I introduced myself hundreds of times. They had fantastic food, ranging from stuffed grape leaves to sweets -- all much... Continue reading
Posted Nov 25, 2013 at
I moved away from Seattle last month to join the U.S. Foreign Service but my hometown is still home. For everyone who has asked how I'm voting, here are a few thoughts. From my temporary perch in Washington, D.C. -- on my way to a tour in Mexico City --... Continue reading
Posted Oct 17, 2013 at
I was frustrated with politics in my hometown. Then I went to Bosnia. Best known among Americans for the genocidal wars of the 1990s, the country of Bosnia and Herzegovina today is a safe, fascinating place to visit with rich culture, great scenery and excellent food. Yet the divisions left... Continue reading
Posted Jul 31, 2013 at
Downtown Detroit is undergoing a renovation boom that's bringing new office space and housing to a long-suffering urban core. Despite the investment, however, the area seems almost hostile to people. At 4 p.m. on a recent Wednesday the main streets were almost devoid of pedestrians. While it's easy to be... Continue reading
Posted Jun 7, 2013 at
I didn't make it to the funeral for former Gov. Booth Gardner this weekend but still I'm in awe of the man and the inspiration he caused. The old photo I dug out reminded me of what public service should be. In the mid-80s I was a kid from suburban... Continue reading
Posted Mar 31, 2013 at
One of the best pieces of advice I've seen this year-end season is to read more broadly. As you may know, I couldn't agree more. If I'm asking people to read more, it follows that writers should up their game. More precise writing is high on my list of New... Continue reading
Posted Dec 31, 2012 at
I recently attended a fundraiser for a cause that almost everyone ignores: homelessness. That's where Operation Nightwatch comes in. The group provides basic services and housing for people who don't have shelter -- more than 2,500 people on an average night in Seattle. Read that again: that's TWO-THOUSAND FIVE-HUNDRED people.... Continue reading
Posted Dec 6, 2012 at
Imagine a growing mid-sized city just south of the 49th parallel that has a booming technology sector, a diverse, international population and innovative approaches to transportation and land use. My family and I recently visited this place: Montreal. Seattle and Montreal are roughly comparable in metro population and economic size... Continue reading
Posted Nov 1, 2012 at
One of the dirty secrets of the PR and communications business is that many people in it can't write. Everyone says they can, of course, but PowerPoint and "talking points" are no substitute for crafting paragraphs. One of the best ways to get better at writing is to read. That's... Continue reading
Posted Aug 20, 2012 at
Anyone who sticks their neck out knows one of the downsides of modern media: anonymous online comments. "They are ugly, they are racist," said former Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels during a conversation on KUOW radio. Until recently, "you had letters to the editor where you had to sign your name... Continue reading
Posted Jun 15, 2012 at
My campaign for Seattle City Council was a fantastic professional development experience. And it offers several takeaways that can help anyone get their message out. I learned to better articulate policy ideas, of course, by doorbelling thousands of households and speaking to community groups across the city every day. At... Continue reading
Posted Jun 7, 2012 at
Today's announcement of big changes at the venerable New Orleans Times-Picayune -- cutting 1/3 of its staff and printing just three days a week -- is the latest in a long slide for metropolitan newspapers that once tried to be all things to all people. The industry downsizing has cost... Continue reading
Posted May 25, 2012 at
Amazon is discovering a truism: the more successful you become, the more you're a target. In Seattle the company is increasingly criticized for keeping a low community profile. The hometown daily recently spent four days amplifying criticism of its philanthropy and business practices, adding to a string of controversies. Amazon... Continue reading
Posted May 18, 2012 at
Shell has received promient attention for its efforts on Facebook, including laudatory coverage by The Wall Street Journal. It looks like another company confusing tactics for a true strategy to engage with its stakeholders. Since May 2011, when the oil company launched its Facebook page, it's gained 946,000 "likes." This... Continue reading
Posted May 8, 2012 at
This video from Mexico City shows two types of drivers: the Everyday Driver, who drives no matter how much it costs, and the Shadow Driver, who drives only when it’s the most convenient option. Imagine the benefits if we made it easier to be a Shadow Driver. This is the... Continue reading
Posted May 1, 2012 at
Now that two of three candidates to lead Seattle's public schools have dropped out of contention, the appointment of a new superintendant is a mere formality As with Seattle's national search for a police chief two years ago, when our interim chief was the last man standing, this was really... Continue reading
Posted Apr 30, 2012 at
It's tempting to shrug off the report that Walmart illegally bribed government officials abroad in order to open new stores as yet another scandal around a company with a rapacious reputation. U.S. companies are bound by the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which makes it illegal to bribe foreign officials. That... Continue reading
Posted Apr 26, 2012 at