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Friday, June 23, 2006

Licking the Mayor’s Envelope

Posted by on June 23 at 11:37 AM

Yesterday, I bitched about Team Nickels for sending out an anti-I-87 press release from their office.

You can’t campaign from a public office.

Under the guise of supporting City Attorney Tom Carr’s announcement—Carr is challenging the initiative in King County Superior court because he believes it violates state law by giving line item budgeting authority to the public (he’s got a good argument)—Team Nickels press release attacked the merits of the initiative itself.

That’s a no-no.

I talked to Seattle Ethics and Elections director Wayne Barnett about this today.

He said the Nickels release “pushed the envelope” and “if they continue to send out releases like this it would be a problem.”

However, he said the fact they did it just this once was okay because it occurred in the normal flow of business—ie, a response to the City Attorney’s announcement.

Would it be in the normal flow of business for the ethics commission to do its job, Wayne, and stop the Nickels administration from flouting the rules?

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I think Ethics and Elections has gotten much more pro-active lately - ruling against Nickels, for example, when he sent out a glossy brochure from his city office touting his accomplishments to voters prior to the November 2005 election - but I do agree that they could do more. A much bigger concern is that "Citizens for Big Ugly Things" video, which should have been paid for by Nickels's pro-tunnel campaign, not the city.

What on earth was the citizens for big ugly things video?

Until someone actually files a complaint, nothing will be done. Just a reminder.

The Citizens for Big Ugly Things video is a satiric video lampooning those who wish to keep large concrete eyesores bisecting the downtown area from the waterfront. If that was indeed paid for by the city, that is not good.

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