The new KVI?

Is Seattle radio station KVI replacing its traditional "hot talk" with smart talk?

That's my impression after spending an hour on the air talking electricity with former Republican gubernatorial hopeful John Carlson. No matter how hard the host tried to stir up the debate, his many callers kept providing a steady stream of new information and thoughtful comments on my curiously cheerful take on the West's electricity woes ("Power trip," SW, 2/1/01). Well, there was one guy whose threatened response to the energy crisis was to make firewood of old-growth forests and another who asked what I was smoking when I wrote the article, but all the other callers were impressively cogent.

District distractions

Although many people still think the cheerleading of Seattle Times editorial columnists put Paul Schell in the mayor's office, the big newspaper editorialists haven't been able to repeat the trick.

Even though the paper's pundits continue to push for electing the Seattle City Council by neighborhood districts rather than citywide, no corresponding citizens' movement has emerged. Roger Pence, an activist who convened a discussion group on council elections early last year, says the group's membership was equally split between adherents of neighborhood districts and backers of that wacky European import, proportional representation. After a few meetings, the division remained, he says. "The people that wanted districts still wanted districts, and the people that wanted PR still wanted PR."

The election-year buzz around town is about mayoral candidates, not council districts, confirms political consultant Cathy Allen. "There's definitely interest, it's just not going to happen this year," she says.

Of course, a cash transfusion could do the trick. A 1995 district elections initiative made it onto the ballot using paid signature gatherers, but that measure lost at the polls and many of the campaign's donors were later found to have illegally passed along money given to them by Vashon Island businessman Tom Stewart. No such financial angel has yet appeared; Stewart apparently isn't interested in doing any more community service time.

They said it

*Former City Council candidate Daniel Norton on what it would take to get him into a race this year: "God would have to walk across Puget Sound, tap me on the shoulder, and say 'It's time, Daniel.'"

*Activist Matthew Fox on the possibility of a Paul Schell/Mark Sidran mayoral final: "In that scenario, I end up giving Schell $25."

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