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Wednesday, January 4, 2006

Shallow Pool

Posted by on January 4 at 17:38 PM

Only 21 people have applied to fill the council seat being vacated by Jim Compton—less than a quarter of the 100-plus folks who applied for the position now held by Richard McIver. The deadline is Friday; if you’re interested, job details are here.

Intimidated by the thought of taking on a stellar list of candidates? You can’t be much less prepared than Orin O’Neill, whose stated objective for applying for the council is to “make a career transition from corporate MIS to web development and/or editorial content creation/editing” and whose accomplishments include writing “descriptive paragraphs for nearly all the cars and trucks featured” on Microsoft’s car web site; or than Douglas Mays, whose resume lists his elementary schools and whose qualifications include the fact that he was a “multi year state champion in soccer.”

Then, of course, there’s failed mayoral candidate Al Runte, who says his “commitment to Seattle’s future is unqualified” and again (if not for the first time) quotes Theodore Roosevelt. “While it is true that I did not gain a majority vote in my first attempt at elective public office,” Runte writes in his application letter,

I see clearly now what Theodore Roosevelt meant. “It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.”

One reason so few people have applied is that the position lasts slightly less than a year; and just nine months after taking the job in late January, the new council member will have to run for reelection in November 2006. Then he or she will have to run again in 2007, when Compton’s term would have been up. Facing the choice between seeking appointment to a short-term position, and running a full-fledged campaign against a short-tenured, weak incumbent in November, some of the would-be contenders have almost certainly opted to wait.

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Well, the position requirements are pretty shallow: "Candidates must be residents and registered voters of Seattle at least 18-years of age. They must have the ability to speak and write in the English language and be citizens of the U.S."

It gets worse. The field is basically a google wasteland. Few of them have any real civic credentials. Even as much as one letter to the editor on any subject.

The remaining councilmembers should get our sympathy.

Here is a germane observation from the Sun King.

"Every time I create an appointment, I create a hundred malcontents and one ingrate."

Louis XIV

Filling out the last year of Compton's term sounds trivial, but keep in mind that this period will likely entail a council decision on how many hundreds of millions in public money are going to be squandered on corporate welfare for Paul Allen's real estate ventures in South Lake Union.

It's a sure bet that Allen is lobbying for one appointee in particular. We'll know who when the council announces its selection.

You guys act like we have some kind of amazing council now. These are the same, no spine, tools who have no agenda, get rolled over by the mayor, pass legislation against strip clubs and bend over for Paul Allen.

With the exception of Nick (goofy wedding) Licata and ocassionally Rasmussen, our council currently consists of , a gossip columnist
( Godden sp?) a clueless councilman who seems to be in love with all things Paul Allen ( Della), a corrupt aging big headed Don Juan who likes to take private planes to Trail Blazer games ( Compton), a guy who wants to be liked by everybody and calls himself "the neighborhood' guy (Conlin), a foul mouth with bad breath who represents the chamber of commerce ( Drago), a guy who probably falls asleep in his office, and wouldnt know an ordinance if it slapped him in the face( MCgiver)

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