Last week's announcement of new committee chairs was a real jaw dropper: Former Seattle Times gossip columnist Jean Godden will chair the Energy Committee that oversees Seattle City Light. Godden already faced a difficult transition from decades as a newspaper columnist and editor to becoming a newly elected official. Now she must quickly master technical energy policy, because in January she will lead confirmation hearings for Jorge Carrasco, Mayor Greg Nickels' nominee for superintendent of the utility. The whole matter is even more perplexing because council member Jim Compton has been vice chair of the committee and was widely considered to be in line to take over from Heidi Wills. Godden says there might have been personal reasons: Compton is getting married to Carol Arnold, who sits on the Seattle City Light Advisory Board. "It might look a little odd," she says. Compton says his pending marriage had nothing to do with it and that he is excited about taking over the committee that sets policy for Seattle Public Utilitieswater quality being an area of longstanding interest. Besides, the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission has said there are no problems raised by his nuptials. "The ethics commission has told us we can have a personal life," Compton says. GEORGE HOWLAND JR.
Don't expect soon to be reading the names of those captains of industry, pro sports figures, and bluebloods supposedly named in the "black book" of an alleged Internet madam. Despite the headlines and airtime over the woman's just-busted escort service, there's no book. "No, not as such," says King County Sheriff's spokesperson John Urquhart, who issued a press release last week headlined, in part, "'Little Black Book' Reveals a Who's Who." That was, Urquhart says, just his way of describing a computer list and some handwritten notes found in the residences of a 49-year-old Kirkland woman and her 31-year-old daughter, of Arlington, who are alleged to have run the Garden of Eden escort service. Though the release, which sparked titillating news coverage, said the several hundred names included "men working for major corporations headquartered in Seattle," Urquhart says that he meant "white-collar types." A Starbucks store manager, say. He hasn't actually seen the names and concedes that "my detectives tell me there's no indication of an 'Oh, wow!' factor"no names of well-known people. The boyfriend who ratted out the alleged madam told reporters her clientele included some of Seattle's biggest cheeses but, notes Urquhart, "he said that. We never said that." Urquhart says the sheriff, as usual, isn't going to release the namesthe publicity has already had its deterrent effectbut detectives will visit some on the john list to build a felony-pimping or money-laundering case against the women. There's no hurry, he says: "We have until the end of the statute of limitationsyears." Such busts aren't a sheriff priority since the public doesn't complain about anonymous in-call/out-call sex like it does about street-level prostitution. And whenever authorities opt to crack down on the sex trade, pickings are easy: Just go online or consult the "full body massage" ads in daily newspapers such as The Seattle Times, or take out phony
sex ads in the Tacoma News Tribune, as cops did for a 1999 sting. And, of course, there are those classifieds in the alternative press such as Seattle Weekly. "We look at the ads in the Weeklythey [advertisers] are rolling the dice they're not going to get caught," says Urquhart. So by publishing ads for escort, massage, and other adult businesses, this paper is doing the cops a public service? "Well," says Urquhart, laughing, "I wouldn't exactly call it that." RICK ANDERSON