News Clips— Mayor Sidran?

Seattle's tough prosecutor may switch races.

CELL PHONES all over town have been dropped over this political gossip: Seems City Attorney Mark Sidran, Seattle's own Rudy Giuliani, had a little sit down with Mayor Paul Schell over Sidran's intention to form an exploratory committee for a mayoral run of his own. Schell spokesman Dick Lilly confirms that the two men met. Although Lilly claims, "I don't have any idea what the content was," he quickly adds, "It was a courtesy of Mark to come and do that." Another source close to the mayor confirms the content of the meeting. However, Sidran hasn't yet registered his campaign with the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission.

Sidran is a hero to local law-and-order types, who have applauded him for promoting laws against sitting on the sidewalk, peeing in public, and other quality-of-life crimes, all aimed at restoring civility to the mean streets of Seattle. His opponents accuse him of leading a crackdown against the homeless for petty offenses that are unavoidable if you live on the streets.

The city attorney has been quietly exploring his political options in the last few months. Consultants like Cathy Allen and Greg Dewar as well as politicians like City Council member Peter Steinbrueck have noticed Sidran's unusual attendance at community events and heard about quiet conversations between the city attorney and important political strategists and funders.

How would the Emerald City's toughest prosecutor do in a mayor's race? Most observers feel he would strengthen Mayor Schell's reelection chances. Sidran would, at minimum, divide the anti-Schell primary vote with declared challenger Greg Nickels, and the field could be further crowded by the entry of West Seattle populist Charlie Chong. The prospect of a bare-knuckled primary with such a lively cast of characters has politicos licking their chops. Steinbrueck chuckles contently, "We may have a free-for-all after all."

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