City Hall's blue-nose plan to turn up the lights, ban direct tipping, and end lap dancing as we know it at Seattle strip clubs could be shot down by a public vote this spring. A citizens' initiative, if certified, will force that election. Will there be a similar challenge to City Hall's newest attempt to further prudify Seattle? Mayor Greg Nickels has proposed corralling any new nudie clubs into a 310-acre red-light district in the SoDo industrial neighborhood, stretching almost to Georgetown (an area soon to be called the TaTa District?). Mike Peringer, president of the SoDo Business Association, says his group opposes the idea and is irritated at having to learn about it in the newspapers. But an initiative is doubtful, and Tim Killian, manager of the $122,000 petition drive to bring the lap-dance ban to a vote, says his group isn't interested in the rezone issue. If the revenue-crippling bans on tipping and touching aren't rejected, he says, "then zoning becomes a meaningless discussion." RICK ANDERSON
A collision of political styles is imminent at City Hall. On Friday, Dec. 2, City Council member Richard Conlin was chosen as the nine-member body's president. Now Transportation Committee chair and always a neighborhood champion, Conlin bested Energy Committee chair and former journalist Jean Godden for the post. Conlin is the most process-oriented, touchy-feely member of the council, so fostering cooperation among legislators and working with Mayor Greg "My-Way-or-the-Highway" Nickels might be an appropriate challenge. Conlin plans to be himself and practice "servant leadership," which he says means helping council members figure out what policies to advance and convincing them that they can't reach their goals without engaging the whole group. It's the kind of New Age management talk that led to an assessment by the mayor's office and others of Conlin as vulnerable during this past election. Conlin beat his final election opponent with 63 percent of the vote. The incoming council president insists cheerfully that it won't be a stretch to work with Nickels. For example, he says, last summer he, the mayor, and the council reached consensus that the best replacement for the Alaskan Way Viaduct is a tunnel. "If you can do it on a project as huge as the Alaskan Way Viaduct, you ought to be able to do it on smaller stuff," says Conlin. We'll see. GEORGE HOWLAND JR.
U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., seems to relish her mini-war with big oil. The first-termer facing re-election next year allowed herself a few smiles during a Sunday, Dec. 4, waterfront press conference to announce federal oil-spill-prevention legislation she'll introduce later this month. The bill would compel oil companies to provide more prevention money and includes a plan for a rescue tug and tanker escorts in Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. It comes in the wake of Cantwell's recent dustup with U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, who thwarted her request to have oil company execs sworn in before giving testimony at a Senate Commerce Committee hearing. Turns out some execs might indeed have been misleading the panel—at best. The companies did agree to supply more answers to Cantwell's questions as to whether companies manipulated exports for profit and ginned up wholesale prices. Except, Cantwell says now: "We just got some of the answers back on Friday. Some of the companies now have basically reneged, saying they're not going to provide [the information] because their lawyers told them not to." She smiled again. "We're going to keep pushing that issue." RICK ANDERSON
"What he did affects everyone. He deserves a lot more time than they could have given him." —Carly Hosford-Israel, 14, a former student at Broadview-Thomson Elementary, after ex-teacher Laurence Hill, 55, was sentenced last week to five years in prison for molesting up to seven girls at the school since 2000. (See "Teacher Pets," Nov. 23.)