City Mayor Nickels Lobbies Public
posted by February 1 at 11:42 AMon
Yes, Mayor Nickels has taken down all references on his web page to the Alaskan Way Viaduct. (A week ago, Seattle Ethics and Elections director Wayne Barnett made Nickels stop campaigning on the public dime for his four-lane cut-and-cover tunnel now that the option is officially on the ballot.)
However, Nickels’s nightlife premises ordinance (the wildly unpopular proposal that would turn bar and club employees into auxiliary police, requiring them to report all known or suspected crimes and patrol the area inside and outside clubs for noise, crime and litter) isn’t on the ballot. It is, however, sitting on the desk of council president Nick Licata, who has said he’ll get to it once more urgent matters (like the viaduct) are resolved. Yesterday, Nickels sent out an e-mail encouraging recipients of his newsletter to call city council members and urge them to approve the legislation. Without Nickels’s ordinance, the mayor claimed, Seattle’s neighborhoods could be overrun with “noise, litter, and violence.” The letter reads in part:
A nightlife premises ordinance will go a long way to help improve the quality of life in Seattle’s neighborhoods and business districts. The legislation includes reasonable operating standards for nightlife establishments. In addition, stepped-up tracking of city code and liquor license violations will help ensure Seattle’s growing number of clubs and bars are safe, vibrant places to have fun without undue impacts on Seattle’s neighborhoods.
To date, the legislation has not been considered by council. If you’re interested in making sure Seattle has a vibrant - not violent - nightlife industry, with clear safeguards for neighborhood residents and businesses, I urge you to contact the Seattle City Council and encourage councilmembers to take action on this legislation. Thank you.
This, obviously, is not a violation of city ethics code, which only bars lobbying by public officials when an issue is on the ballot. However, it strikes me as an inappropriate use of public funds for the mayor to feign a “grassroots” citizen campaign in the absence of actual grassroots support.