OK, here's the scenario: The neighborhood planning group on First Hill says keep on-street parking on Madison Street for neighborhood businesses, but the fun-loving Seattle Transportation folks are scheming to pull the parking and create a mini-freeway. The question posed to the city council candidates was "What would you do?"
Charlie Chong didn't hesitate: "I'd tell Sea Trans to go to hell." This remark earned laughter and applause from those present.
Of course, as this political forum was co-sponsored by the neighborhood planning group on First Hill, this was clearly the correct answer, if a bit overstated for effect. But the next group of candidates up to the dais included ex-TV anchor Jim Compton, who is busy touring the city touting his superior values and ethics. "I think that's very dangerous talk," he boomed in his big anchorman's voice. "You'll never hear me say that kind of thing."
Given that this is the first indication Compton has given as to what he'd do once in office, political insiders were naturally intrigued. According to a super-secret memo illegally obtained by Seattle Weekly, the Compton campaign plans to expand his personal civility crusade once he sweeps through the primary election. As a new council member, Compton will also pledge to:
*Refrain from greeting council colleagues with his trademark "real hard shoulder punch."
*Never point to "something" on City Attorney Mark Sidran's shirt and then pop him under the chin when he looks down.
*Leave the whoopie cushion in his KING TV locker.
*Avoid referring to Mayor Paul Schell as "Gramps."
*Keep the volume down when playing his beloved Metallica records.
*Put a lid on the Friday afternoon office keg parties.
When his primary opponents were asked to comment on Compton's planned civility campaign, Alec Fisken looked uncomfortable, Andy Scully said he'd consult the neighborhoods, and Dawn Mason delivered a three-minute monologue on installing more sidewalks throughout the city.
Dispatches from the campaign
*With the Seattle City Council endorsements of the two Seattle daily newspapers in print, the big winner is Judy Nicastro, who managed the sole endorsement from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer plus a dual nod from The Seattle Times (which also tabbed Daniel Norton). The big loser was Heidi Wills, who had to share the Times endorsement with Charlie Chong and saw the P-I go with Thomas Whittemore, the third candidate in the race. How big a vote of no confidence in Wills was the decision to make her share the wealth with Chong, the Times' former public enemy number one? Well, people were spotted ice skating in Hell after last Wednesday's edition hit the stands. And it seems that former state rep Dawn Mason has stolen Chong's former role as the candidate the establishment most fears, as both dailies were careful to endorse her two top opponents (even though the P-I only made single picks in all other council races).
*Even though she can't charm her way into the hearts of the daily newspaper endorsers, Wills' money-raising skills continue to amaze. On the last day of August, she banked $8,060, a haul which included a $400 donation from the Puget Sound Tourism coalition, $100 donations from each of six major hotels, and a total of $300 from employees of the Seattle-King County Convention and Visitors Bureau. Hmmm, wonder if she'll support more tourist-oriented projects for downtown?
*A big oops to the Jim Compton campaign, whose otherwise attractive blue-and-yellow yard signs somehow ended up with the candidate's last name printed in white letters on a yellow background. His most valuable campaign asset will be but a blur to the elderly primary voters Compton is counting on to advance him to the final.
*Speaking of which, what ever happened to yard signs? Other than the home neighborhood blitzes by the likes of Queen Anne's Andrew Scully and Ballard's Thomas Whittemore, the familiar election season icons are few and far between this year. Are the signs going out of style? "I hope so," grumbles one political consultant, obviously embittered by hours behind the staple gun.
*Among the few folks unamused by the lighthearted "Margaret Pageler—Fearless Fighter" campaign flyer was her major opponent, Curt Firestone. Fortunately, his campaign's response included a drawing of Firestone in superhero mode, rather than an actual photograph of the candidate in tights.
Not your usual candidate
A successful career in the shipping business is one avenue to the Port of Seattle commission. Unfortunately, commission candidate Ernie Ludwick's brief shipping career landed him in federal prison in 1986, after he pled guilty to traveling to Florida with the intention of purchasing cocaine for resale. Bellevue resident Ludwick admits what he calls "a youthful error" earned him six months in the federal clink. A libertarian, Ludwick says he is opposed to the War on Drugs as public policy, but doesn't advocate the breaking of any laws. "It was a get-rich-quick scheme," says Ludwick, who adds that he petitioned to have his voting rights restored after serving his time. "I don't think it's terribly relevant to my candidacy, but if people want to know about it, OK." Not the best r鳵m頦or a political career, although, come to think of it, Ernie's "frequent flier" status might help him fit in with his globe-hopping fellow commissioners. Just so long as we don't see any fact-finding inspections of the Bogota Airport.