Evidently, the irony was lost on the Seattle City Council. On Monday, June 7, it confirmed Perkins Coie attorney Robert Mahon as a member of the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission (SEEC), the body that enforces elections law. Council President Jan Drago praised Mahon's experience as a treasurer for campaigns, including those of former council member Heidi Wills. In 2003, the Wills campaign was at ground zero of "Strippergate," the scandal that involved tens of thousands of dollars in contributions from strip-club owner Frank Colacurcio Jr. and his associates to Wills and former council member Judy Nicastro, as well as present council member Jim Compton. Mahon was the guy depositing the checks for Wills but says he had no inkling anything was amiss. "She was raising a lot of money and it was just a drop in the bucket," he notes. He also says he might have to recuse himself in the SEEC's ongoing investigation. Clearly, he's given some thought to the matter. The City Council demonstrated no such reflection. Mahon reports that not a single question was raised during the nomination and confirmation process about his tenure as Wills' campaign treasurer. GEORGE HOWLAND JR.


"You could make people do anything if they're afraid." That's U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott in the opening scene of the trailer for the much-talked-about documentary Fahrenheit 9/11, Michael Moore's new film scoring President Bush, the GOP, and the war in Iraq (, which opens June 25. The Seattle Democrat certainly shows no fear in the face of Moore's camera as star of the trailer. Baghdad Jim apparently has no words of praise this time for Saddam Hussein but stays on message, ripping the Patriot Act. As he says of its passage in Congress, "They wait [to vote] till the middle of the night, it's printed in the middle of the night . . . no one read it." What the hey. As Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., says patiently to Moore, "Sit down, my son," and try to understand that, "Uh, we don't read most of the bills." RICK ANDERSON


The Seattle Times unveiled a new look on Monday, June 7, and having long ago designed pages there, but having seen only two redesigned editions, here's what I think: Mostly very nice typographical changes, making it easier to read and using space more efficiently. Lousy and less use of color. No navigational innovation. Better but not groundbreaking use of story summaries, chronologies, and factual sidebars. Overall, an improvement in presenting the textual journalism but a regression for visual content and cues. The paper researched the hues that predominate in photographs and came up with a palette of accent colors for type and boxes that ranges from pastel green and dark brown to gray. Replicating regional reality so precisely is admirable in photography but isn't likely, elsewhere on the page, to help or encourage readers. Anyone with seasonal affective disorder who saw Tuesday's big brown headline in Northwest Life, "That sinking feeling," by now has probably returned from the sunlamp, but possibly not. CHUCK TAYLOR

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