Send money

Seattle officeholders take credit for the city's three successful ballot issues approved over the last three years, but how many have actually written a check to the campaigns?

According to city records, Mayor Paul Schell is the only city official with easy access to his personal checkbook. Hizzoner and his wife, Pam, have anted up $250 each in all three elections (1998 library bond, 1999 community centers levy, and 2000 parks levy). Surprisingly, only two council members are represented on the donor rolls: Ex-council member Sue Donaldson gave $150 to the community centers levy, and Richard Conlin gave $100 to the parks effort and a whopping 15 bucks to the library campaign.

As for Schell's potential November challengers, only Charlie Chong made a donation to any of the campaigns ($100 to the community centers levy). County Council member Greg Nickels and City Attorney Mark Sidran must have given at the office.

Trashy logic

Seattle Police officials probably had the right idea when they removed trash cans from Pioneer Square after the first night of trouble at the Mardi Gras celebration.

The cans could end up being tossed in the streets or through store windows, police theorized. While disturbances later in the weekend proved them correct, it also meant extra work for other city workers on Monday morning—crews had to be called in to pick up trash around the Square.

In their own words

With all the money the costly Sound Transit project spends on public relations, you'd think they could buy a clue.

Instead, the agency unwisely decided to get its money's worth on a ghost-written commentary decrying media criticism of its property acquisition plans. First published in The Tacoma News Tribune on February 25 under the byline of Sumner City Council member (and Sound Transit Vice Chair) Dave Enslow, an almost word-for-word copy of the piece reappeared the following day in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, this time purportedly written by Seattle City Council member Richard McIver.

Elected officials attaching their names to commentaries written by anonymous staffers is hardly unprecedented, but you have to marvel that Sound Transit could so completely botch this chance to speak in its own defense. At least this clumsiness and inattention to detail tends to support the contention (made by Enslow and McIver) that the agency is unlikely to make a profit through later re-sale of property it acquires along the light-rail route. There's little doubt the Sound Transit brain trust will figure out some way to lose money on the deal.

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