So the eight leading candidates for Seattle mayor say the biggest decision the winner will face is selecting a new police chief. While it’s the most important appointment the new mayor will make, this emphasis on a new Seattle Police Department chief puts the cart before the horse. The new mayor’s first priority should be to lead the restoration of public trust in city government.

For years, city officials have been engaging in far-left activism instead of governance. City policies should be fair to landlords as well as tenants, businesses as well as employees, neighborhood residents as well as protesters, and should hold criminal violators — including misdemeanor offenders — accountable under the law.

The next mayor can’t do all this alone but can set goals and exercise leadership. Moving city government back to responsible, fact-based governance would go a long way toward building a more positive relationship with not only the general public but with the police officers remaining in Seattle. And that would make the selection and hiring of the next chief much easier.

Phillip Johnson, Seattle