Was Nickels Trying, or Just Well Washed?

Trying to Do Right

DEAR EDITOR: I read the article written by Rick Anderson criticizing Greg Nickels for gulping gas after he added a hybrid vehicle to his motor pool ["Gas-Guzzlin' Greg," May 23]. The first thing I wondered was: Why exactly is he being criticized for this?

OK, cost of purchase versus leasing is perhaps an issue. That makes sense. But what about the complaint that he used more gas after changing to the hybrid? I notice that there is not a comparison we can make about the mileage. It doesn't seem fair to criticize him for using more gas, yet not include the probable result that he drove more in that time period and that the hybrid, which perhaps is not yet reaching the ideal, still saved gas on a per-mile basis—which is a consideration, even if not the only one. Even if the hybrid doesn't deliver the same amount of gas savings the EPA estimates, at least the mayor is conscious of appearances and the need to set an example to help everyone convert to more environmentally friendly technologies. Didn't he do that? Can he be held responsible for EPA estimates being too high and therefore misleading?

Do you want him to save gas while carrying out his functions or switch to not driving at all? Make a choice. If you say, "Both outcomes are desirable," OK. But I don't think he said he was going to address both problems immediately, did he? Given that he has a lot of driving to do, it seems to me this is the problem he was addressing: the need to use less gas while having to drive a lot. Now the new hybrid may not deliver the gas savings that is going to be ultimately needed, but it's a start, isn't it?

Wouldn't we be complaining if he decided that he instead was just going to sit in his office all day, and anyone who needs to see him would have to travel to him instead? So how can he win?

I think the mayor is doing his best to lead the way on this issue, and some of the criticism and blame is beside the point. It is obvious to me that he is doing what he can in this situation to match his rhetoric with his actions. But instead, the Weekly wants to imply he is somehow violating this precept, sneering at his effort to do the right thing, and not giving him proper credit for moving in the right direction.Erik J. Strand


Nickels Well Washed

DEAR EDITOR: If Mayor Quimby truly wanted to set a good example, he would be riding the bus or riding a bike to work like City Attorney Tom Carr. I guess mass transit is only reserved for the unwashed masses.Hal Longan


Let's See His Routes

DEAR EDITOR: You placed Mayor Nickels' own words into a virtual cage match vs. his actions, and that was compelling investi­gative journalism—thank you.

One suggestion: I want to see where the mayor goes on his daily travels; let's compare his trips to the available transit lines in the Seattle area, which he urges people—that is, "other people"—to adopt. (While we are at it, let's see where he could walk instead.) New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg takes the subway, with his security officers in tow. If Mayor Greg can't do as he says, he should say as he does. Thanks for a great piece.Todd Herman

Des Moines

I Don't Want to See Him Standing at the Bus Stop

DEAR EDITOR: The untold, though hardly secret, story can now be told. Rick Anderson, in a tough, hard-hitting piece, partially drawing on the blogging of serial whiner Stefan Sharkansky, delivers the "news" that Mayor Nickels puts a fair number of miles on a "new, fuel-efficient Toyota Highlander SUV" and, less frequently, on "his elegant city Cadillac limousine." Indeed, the mayor is "chauffeured" around town on his "sometimes [I like the 'sometimes'] 100-mile daily rounds of appearances."

Imagine that. The mayor of a major American city actually getting out of his office and City Hall to stay in touch with the city and its citizens. But it turns out he's merely a hypocrite because of his "calling on other people to get out of their cars."

For Sharkansky, "Nickels' gluttonous dependence on his own official automobile should raise eyebrows." Well, no, Stefan and Rick. We hired (elected) Nickels to perform a job for us, and these vehicles are some of the tools at the mayor's disposal for serving his constituents.

My eyebrows should raise, though, if I ever saw Greg holding his briefcase while waiting at a bus stop during working hours. I don't really think that would be a good use of my money and the mayor's time.Richard Thurston


Stunningly Clueless

DEAR EDITOR: Wow! The environmental cluelessness of this piece ["When Zebra Mussels Attack," May 16] would be a joke if the apparent ignorance was in a less important area. Where to start? I guess you think maybe only environmental problems that involve big furry beasts are important? Let's just let everything go to hell, as long as we're not attacked by lions and tigers and bears.Michael Cosgrove


A Full-Service Letters Section

GOOD AFTERNOON, LETTERS: Do you know where I can purchase quinoa in the Everett area? Thank you.Kent H. Caudill

Lake Stevens

Jonathan Kauffman responds: If you were looking for emmer in Hoquiam or teff in Kent, we'd be stumped. But as it happens, the last time we were shopping for quinoa in Everett, we found some in the bulk department at Sno-Isle Natural Foods Co-op, 2804 Grand Ave.

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