News Clips— Needle Exchange

THANKS TO SLATE, the secret life of our political leaders has been exposed.

Unfortunately, as one reader griped, it's all "about as interesting as a zoning board meeting."

Seattle City Council member Nick Licata and his Cleveland City Council counterpart Jay Westbrook were recent participants in Slate's "Breakfast Table," a weeklong twice-daily e-mail exchange. It probably seemed like a good idea. The contrasts between the two cities couldn't be greater: Cleveland is trying to keep people from leaving the city; Seattle's struggling to accommodate the many folks who move here. Cleveland's 21-ward council revolves around constituent service; Seattle's nine legislators are elected citywide and tend to focus on bigger issues (or on nothing at all).

But discussions of Seattle's Neighborhood Matching Fund probably aren't what Slate's editors had in mind. One theory: The up-for-election Licata is trying to bore potential rivals out of the race. Linking to these stories should do the trick.

James Bush

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