Michael Maddux, the onetime council candidate-turned-policy wonk advisor to freshman city council member Teresa Mosqueda, resigned over the Thanksgiving holiday after sending a series of tweets criticizing Mayor Jenny Durkan’s office and staffers, including one specifically directed at deputy mayor Shefali Ranganathan (whose initials were included in the tweet). It read: “If your job includes carrying water for rich white folks who actively work to suppress working people at every opportunity (SR) – fuck you. You made your choice. You knew what you signed up for. Own it. It is who you are. Enjoy your wealthy, white supremacy paycheck.”
The series of tweets apparently began with one about Durkan’s comments during a Queen Anne town hall over the weekend, when she suggested that new rules that would make it easier for homeowners to build accessory units might encourage developers to “speculate” by building triplexes in single-family areas.
Ranganathan, the former director of the Transportation Choices Coalition, is Indian American; Maddux is white.
Maddux posted the tweet at about 10:00 this past Monday night after posting several other tweets critical of the mayor’s office throughout the day. He has since removed those tweets.
Mosqueda declined to talk on the record about Maddux or his tweets, but did provide the following statement:
“Recent tweets by one of my staffers were inexcusable, inappropriate, unprofessional and have no place in [the] City.
“I have personally apologized to the Mayor and Deputy Mayor Ranganathan, as there is no justification for personal attacks ever. I asked Michael to apologize to Deputy Mayor Ranganathan and he has reached out.
“Michael’s policy expertise is unparalleled and he has been an valuable member of my team who has advanced innovative policies that will undoubtably improve the lives of our community. But Michael’s tweets do not reflect the values of my office, nor do they meet the standard I expect. Michael recognizes this and is offering his resignation, which I am accepting.
“I strive for civility and dialogue in politics and policy making, no matter if there are disagreements. Civil servants should be treated with respect, and act respectfully.”
Maddux is out of town until Monday and declined to comment. Ranganathan also declined to comment.
During his short tenure on Mosqueda’s staff, Maddux developed a reputation as a hard-headed policy wonk with an eye for detail and a flair for writing sharply-worded policy papers defending Mosqueda’s proposals. He was also known for being brash, opinionated, and often unfiltered—qualities that can conflict with the backseat role of a legislative aide.
Mosqueda and Durkan clashed during the budget process over funding for the Navigation Team, a group of cops and human service workers who remove unauthorized homeless encampments and give the people displaced from such camps information about shelter and services. Mosqueda wanted to use some of the nearly $500,000 increase in Navigation Team funding Durkan proposed in her budget to provide small wage increases to all human service workers who contract with the city (Durkan’s budget only provided the 2 percent increases to workers whose jobs are funded through the city’s general fund); Durkan characterized this smaller budget increase as a “cut.”
This post has been updated to include a screen shot of the tweet and to reflect the precise wording and timing of the tweet.