Post by news intern Garrett McCulloch
With the promise of a "Government 2.0 Policy Summit," mayoral candidate Mike McGinn drew about 25 bloggers and geeks to the Northwest Film Forum this evening. "Government 2.0" is a bit of a buzzword, centered around the concept of integrating social networking and other interactive technology into government services. "It acts as a complement to what's happening in the real world," McGinn said from the front of the room.
Most of the people in the theater (which gets uncomfortably hot on late-summer afternoons) came from technical backgrounds, and McGinn admitted some of the jargon was over his head. It did get a little confusing at times—for a journalism major—but some people had some surprisingly practical ideas. One woman proposed a way to track city legislation online (current public disclosure is apparently an archaic process involving several steps of printing and scanning). Someone else complained that the city's Department of Planning and Development doesn't update contact lists.
Better government access was the point of the meeting, but it was really a way to stir up attention in blogging and technology circles for his new Website, Ideasforseattle.com, which launched earlier this afternoon.
McGinn's new site uses a simple concept: Users post their ideas for whatever they think the city should be doing, and others can use a limited number of votes to support or oppose those ideas. "Some ideas are better than others," McGinn says. One post on the site proposes to "measure street capacity in terms of seats, not just vehicles," for example. "Having that group have that discussion is how they discover where their ideas stand."
The new site could be a good move for the McGinn campaign, assuming enough people find it. So, um, go find it.
Comment from Mr. Constant?
Posted by Chris in Vancouver WA on August 31, 2009 at 10:06 AM
That is very nice of you to ask, Mr. in Vancouver WA. I thank you. It has taken me a while to wrap my head around this thing, but here is my comment:
I taught myself how to read on Superman and X-Men comics (and a whole lot of Charlie Brown collections) when I was three years old. I was an avid comics fan (never a collector—I've never bagged or boarded a comic book in my life) until I stopped reading monthly comics back in 1995, when I started paying my own rent. Comics, in particular Marvel Comics, had also become staggeringly awful, and I just couldn't take it anymore. In 1991, Marvel became a publicly owned company, and so their first allegiance became to their shareholders, as opposed to their fans. Comics seemed to be planned and produced based on some sort of weird sales-figure calculus. It was a depressing time to be a funnybook fan.
In 2000, I started reading a lot of comics again, particularly the trade paperbacks you can buy in bookstores. I worked in a bookstore and I got a huge discount, so why not? I mostly read what the kids used to call "alternative comics," even though names like Chris Ware and Dan Clowes are arguably better-known nowadays than "mainstream" names like Brian Michael Bendis.
But I started buying Marvel Comics again in July of 2001, when Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely took over the X-Men. Suddenly, the X-Men weren't wearing tights anymore, and they didn't fight people in tights, either. They opened up international branches and primarily concerned themselves with acceptance. Morrison put away the tired racial allegories that the book had been about since the mid-sixties and instead made the X-Men into an allegory about the fight for gay rights, which seemed at once brave and obvious.
And other Marvel Comics were growing up, too: There was X-Statix, which was a series about mortality, racial blending, reality television and celebrity (a resurrected Princess Diana was even going to become a member of the team before a Marvel executive shot down the plan). Axel Alonso, the editor of Preacher (which has always been and will probably always be my favorite comic series of all time) came to Marvel and immediately set Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon up on a weird, satirical run on The Punisher. Superheroes stopped wearing costumes and most of them dropped their secret identities. The books went from generic superhero fiction to really good genre fiction—crime fiction, sci-fi, even romance comics—and anything seemed possible.
Of course, it wasn't possible, and this deal highlights the impossibility of Marvel Comics ever being interesting ever again.
(Much more after the jump.)
Go backstage with ensemble members Karl Warden and Kyle Vaughn as they talk about the show, days off and fill us in on the "dollar Friday" tradition at The 5th.
IF YOU DARE.
Arid Lands, which is running at NWFF, has only one flaw: its score.
Both the Seattle Times' Misha Berson and our own Brendan Kiley are quoted in this New York Times story about the trial run/workshopping of the musical Catch Me If You Can that occupied the stage of the 5th Avenue Theater recently.
...Misha Berson of The Seattle Times... called it "one deluxe vehicle" and hailed Mr. Tveit as “sensational” and Mr. Butz as “superb.” But she also said the show was overlong (at three hours) and “isn’t always sure where it’s headed” — a point echoed by Brendan Kiley of the newspaper The Stranger, who panned it as a “squib” and said Mr. Tveit’s charlatan was “not vulnerable enough to be sympathetic.”
A squib is "a broken firecracker in which the powder burns with a fizz" (Merriam-Webster).
It must be said: Mr. Kiley was too kind (although this is entirely accurate: "Aaron Tveit, as Abagnale, slides around the stage like he's been sculpted out of hair product"). I accompanied him to this production, and if I had possession of a fizzing broken firecracker at the time, I would've stuffed it into my own ear in the hopes that it would at least drown out the proceedings or, possibly, explode, ending the misery with a trip to the emergency room. The musical Catch Me If You Can seems to have been produced by a musical-theater-generating computer that had been fed every piece of musical theater ever created and then extruded a new one based on some hideous hell-formula. It was the kind of theatrical experience that causes you to question why this is happening, why people seem to be enjoying it, what is wrong with the world, and why you yourself exist. It breaks you down and does not build you back up again.
As the New York Times piece goes on to mention, the audience on opening night gave it a standing ovation. We all know that Seattle audiences have systematically devalued standing ovations to the point of meaninglessness, but this very nearly made me go mad.
Judge for yourself.
Woofer, an "homage to Twitter," requires 1400 characters rather than Twitter's 140 character maximum (they call it "Macroblogging"). Woofer looks a whole lot like Twitter, and it initially pulled Twitter users' profile pictures and attached them to Woofs. (It asks for your Twitter user name when you publish a Woof.) Apparently the avatar problem is being fixed, but it raises some questions about legality and security. At any rate, while the new medium is presumably meant to be liberating, most Woofs so far look to be even more nonsensical twaddle than your average Tweet, many being just short phrases copy-and-pasted enough times to achieve the character minimum and/or complete gibberish.
Randomly selected example that just so happens to name check the "PUALLIP FAIR!!":
this is probably close to the funniest thing everrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr rrrrrrrr rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr rrrrrrrrr rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr rrrrrrrrr rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.....;) haha. minimum 1400 characters??????????????????????? thats crazy and hilarious all in one. haha 839 characters to go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! this is like twitter on acid. i loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo oooooveeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee how it looks exactly the same as twitterand they arent trying to hide it. this is only for people with alot to say though. i for example am neither famous or major so no one really gives a crap if im eating a sandwich or what music im currently listening too. PUALLIP FAIR!! (theres a y in there somewhere) Is runnning 9/11 - 9/27!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! just saw a sommercial for it. go to thefair.com for details? why am i pimping out the fair? ok whatever. ANYWAYS back to what super irrelevant thing i was saying. I HAVE RAN OUT OF CHARACTERS!! (: haha wow im so lame. im now at +63 so i think im done. mission accomplished. i tried out the site and made it to the minimum talking about absolutely nothing. cool. PEACE (:!
Maybe 1400 characters is too much for our attention span to handle at this point.
Bookninja provides the only information you need on Kerfluffle # 1, in which Sebastian Faulks says that "The internet is good for quick checking or buying a pair of shoes but as a repository of deeper thought and wisdom it has some way to go.”
Kerfluffle # 2 has inspired much more blog-banging: Lev Grossman, Time magazine's book critic, wrote an article for the Wall Street Journal titled "Good Books Don't Have to Be Hard."
It's not easy to put your finger on what exactly is so disgraceful about our attachment to storyline. Sure, it's something to do with high and low and genres and the canon and such. But what exactly? Part of the problem is that to find the reason you have to dig down a ways, down into the murky history of the novel. There was once a reason for turning away from plot, but that rationale has outlived its usefulness. If there's a key to what the 21st-century novel is going to look like, this is it: the ongoing exoneration and rehabilitation of plot.
Conversational Reading hit back at Grossman first, and hit hard:
I don't know if Grossman is just really unaware that the sales:pleasure ratio doesn't work the way he's describing, or if he's being purposely disingenuous, but this idea that "readers" aren't getting what they're looking for in The Boat and so they turn to Twilight is intellectually reprehensible. Grossman has imagined "the reader" as an extremely simplified consumer of pleasure, uniform in age, means, education, and taste; and the world of literature as a wholly unified, absolutely non-diversified market. Does this sound like a bookstore to you?
Dozens of other websites followed suit, but the Mumpsimus had one of the best lines:
Grossman's essay reminds me of a lot of things I've read in science fiction fanzines and blogs over the years where people want to justify their taste and pleasures against armies of straw people marching through an alternate literary history.
Faulks and Grossman are hereby found guilty of lazy internet comment baiting. Faulks gets a suspended sentence, but Grossman is a repeat offender, and so his punishment will be severe. He is sentenced to be Time magazine's book critic, which is a fate worse than death.
Monday, 31 August 2009
Antioch Adoptions is thrilled to announce that we will be this year's recipient of the "Angels in Adoption" Congressional award! Congressman Dave Reichert nominated us for this prestigious award which recognizes an organization's positive impact with respect to foster care and adoption. Will you join us in praising the Lord for the work He is doing for His orphans through Antioch Adoptions.
Please also pray that the financial resources needed to travel to Washington DC for the award ceremony Sept. 26-30 will become available...
Thank you for your support and prayers for this vital ministry.
Mike McGinn's mayoral campaign sent out a news release earlier today announcing that they had accepted an invitation from KING television to debate Joe Mallahan. This is reminiscent of an announcement last week that McGinn accepted a challenge to three other televised debates on KOMO, KIRO, and KCTS. "I'm ready to debate my opponent at any time and in any place," McGinn said in a news release at the time. But where is Clan Mallahan—are they going to debate toe-to-toe? "Of course we are," says his spokeswoman, Charla Neuman. Mallahan's campaign hadn't made a big deal about the debate: the date's isn't set yet. The KING showdown will likely be held on October 19, 20, or 21.
Are you familiar with the late 1970s mass market infatuation with historical pulp-ee stories? From the White Indian to John Jakes - there was a whole company outfitted to take advantage of the Bicentennial in 1976? Those books today make up the bulk of the non-romance fiction found at most Thrift Centers.
Matthew is talking about books by Donald Clayton Porter (sample titles: Apache, Spirit Knife, and Creek Thunder), and Dana Fuller Ross. Ross is the pseudonym for several authors who wrote pretty standard Oregon-Trail-style novels. They all followed pretty basic plots: Some stock characters find danger (Damned Native Americans! Troublesome pumas!) and romance in their journey west, but eventually everything ends well. Here were some titles by Ross: Nebraska!, Texas!, Illinois!, Washington!, and Montana! Here are books that appeared in the Wagons West Frontier Trilogy: Westward!, Expedition, and Outpost! I had read one or two of these books—when you spend your youth hitting up 25-cent bargain bins at used bookstores, you become familiar with a wide variety of shitty fiction—and remember them as so bland that they were instantly forgettable.
Well, Matthew noticed, in his local Idaho bookstore, that Pinnacle is reissuing the Ross titles this fall and packaging them to go in the historical romance section of bookstores. They aren't available on the Kindle yet, but just you wait. This ensures that a whole new generation of readers will stumble into mediocrity and then forget all about the experience. At least books by Louis Lamour and Zane Grey (the major two western novelists who remain in print, despite the decimation of their once-popular genre) were so frequently awful that they had a sort of cheap-movie charm to them. These Ross books turn to mist as you read them.
All of which goes to say absolutely nothing except that literary immortality comes way too fucking easily. Thanks to Matthew for the stroll down memory lane.
Former Vice President Dick Cheney had his facts wrong when he blasted Attorney General Eric Holder last week for launching an investigation into past CIA interrogation techniques, an administration official asserted Monday.Cheney is so funny. He really believes that the power structure of the former administration is identical with the power structure of the current administration and all other administrations. Only a man who has no idea what "power sharing" is about would believe that "the president is the chief law enforcement officer in the land."
Former Vice President Dick Cheney has repeated his defense of enhanced interrogation techniques.
Holder's decision to review waterboarding and other enhanced interrogation techniques was politically motivated, Cheney claimed in remarks broadcast on "Fox News Sunday.
Cheney made clear in the interview, conducted Friday, that he believes that President Obama directed Holder to launch the review in response to pressure from left-wing Democrats.
But the administration official, who asked not to be identified, said, "the attorney general made a determination independently, based on the facts and the law."
The official also objected to Cheney's statement that "the president is the chief law enforcement officer in the land."
"That's not true," the official replied. "It's the attorney general."
The anti-gay measure to put the rights of over 5,000 same-sex couples up to a public vote has enough signatures to qualify for the general-election ballot. Writes secretary of state's office spokesman David Ammons:
Signature-checkers passed the 121,000 mark this afternoon; 120,577 was the bare minimum required. The tally is incomplete and unofficial, but the continuing check today and tomorrow should give R-71 sponsors in the neighborhood of a 1,000-signature margin, one of the narrowest margins in state history. The referendum gives voters the chance to accept or reject a new “everything but marriage” expansion of domestic partner benefits in Washington. The bill is Senate Bill 5688. Here is our blog post, including comments from Secretary of State Sam Reed and Elections Director Nick Handy. A later update will link to the day’s-end report. Reed will certify the results on Wednesday morning.
However, this doesn't guarantee the measure will appear on the ballot. A lawsuit filed last week, which seeks to disqualify over 30,000 signatures, is still churning through King County Superior Court. And the referendum could face additional litigation. "This is simply saying that our counters have found 121,486 valid signatures, in their view, and any litigation could of course affect that number," says Ammons. Secretary of State Sam Reed is expected to certify the results on Wednesday, and that will kick-off a five-day window to challenge the referendum in Thurston County Superior Court.
Following up on the article about the Maury Island gravel mine from a couple of weeks ago, I wanted to point out that there was a profile last week in the Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber about the volunteer president of Preserve Our Islands, Amy Carey. Preserve Our Islands was one of the key players in the lawsuit seeking to block the barge dock
Carey, who is married to the old owner of the Crocodile, demonstrates the kind of preparation, sacrifices, and hard-line approach that it often takes to win progressive fights against wealthy corporate interests. Kind of like what is going on across America right now.
You can read about Amy Carey here.
On Tuesday, September 1, Rep. McDermott will host a town hall meeting from 7:00 — 8:30 p.m. Pacific at the University of Washington, Meany Hall. Doors will open at 6:15 p.m. and seating will be on a first come basis. Meany Hall can accommodate 1,200 people, with additional capacity just outside the auditorium, if necessary. The site was selected because of its large capacity, readily available parking and mass transit options.
How many anti-reform crazies are there in Seattle? We're about to find out.
And we're giving away a free pair of tickets on Line Out.
Two men are being held in connection with a bizarre incident on Friday night near North Seattle Community College (NSCC), and It appears one of them has been on Slog before.
At about 9:30 p.m. Friday night, police began receiving reports of gunfire near NE 92nd Avenue and 5th Avenue NE, not far from the North Precinct. Officers arrived on scene and immediately heard 9-10 "rapid fire rifle rounds" being fired over I-5 from a wooded area just west of the freeway, court documents say. Police called in the Guardian One helicopter, K9 units, and the SWAT team, and took two men in to custody.
The day after the incident, police searched the woods near NSCC and found "military style encampment," containers of ammunition, an AK-47 assault rifle, pieces of other firearms, and a "Samurai sword," court records say.
According to court and jail records, Michael Lujan—who was arrested following a scuffle with police in the University District two years ago—is being held in connection with the incident.
In November 2007, Lujan and another man, Mark Hays, got into a scuffle with police after the two men jaywalked across 45th and University in front of an unmarked SUV. Police contacted the men, the situation escalated, Hays was taken to the ground and beaten by officers. Lujan was arrested and charged with obstruction. An internal investigation later found that police had used excessive force, and Lujan was found not guilty. Video of the incident can be found here.
On Friday night, Lujan was arrested on the east side of I-5 after running across the freeway to flee from police. He was arrested shortly after police arrived at the scene and provided officers with information about another man who was later found hiding in the woods.
The other man, a 31-year-old NSCC student, was arrested in the woods near I-5 after a two hour standoff with police. When police took the man into custody, he told officers that he expects"to be railroaded" and, according to court records, told police that "If I had wanted to shoot officers, you would have had some dead cops." The 31-year-old man then requested he be put on suicide watch, records say.
According to the King County Prosecutor's office, the 31-year-old man has a previous felony conviction for theft, making him ineligible to own a firearm.
Both men are being held in the King County Jail, but prosecutors haven't yet filed charges against the 31-year-old man. The city attorney's office has declined to file charges against Lujan. Prosecutors and police still haven't said why the men might have been firing guns in the woods near I-5.
Rasmussen Reports surveyed Americans last week with a simple question: "Which is more dangerous — alcohol or marijuana?" And here is what Americans said:
Alcohol — 51%
Marijuana — 19%
Neither are dangerous — 2%
They are both equally dangerous — 25%
Not sure — 3%
Oddly, younger folks (who are more likely to smoke pot) view marijuana as safer than their parents (who are more likely to have swollen livers from a lifetime of drinking). But surprisingly, mothers seems to be leaning toward pot tolerance:
Fifty-three percent (53%) of women say alcohol is more dangerous than marijuana, compared to 48% of men. Men by a two-to-one margin over women say pot is riskier, but women are more inclined to say both are dangerous.
Unmarried adults are more critical of alcohol than those who are married. Those with children at home think alcohol is more dangerous than those without kids living with them.
Thanks for your input, America. But here at Slog, your opinions are more valuable than America's (and, as always, legally binding). So here's your turn:
Dow Constantine, who wants to be the next King County Executive, just secured the endorsement of Democrats Governor Christine Gregoire, Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark, State Treasurer Jim McIntire, and Insurance Commissioner Mike Kriedler. Last week he got the blessing from both senators and several congressmen—all Democrats.
So "nonpartisan" Susan Hutchison will have to rack up some Democratic endorsement to convince voters that she's actually a nonpartisan candidate for King County Executive. Right now she's got one Democrat—technically, but a teabagger—State Auditor Brian Sonntag. She also has the endorsement of a Democrat who left Congress 20 years ago. But Hutchison, and the people and politicians she has surrounded herself with for years, are Republicans.
Constantine is totally partisan in his support—the members of his cadre are Democrats, like him—but so are the overwhelming majority of voters in King County. And he never tried to pretend he wasn't.
If there really was a Holy Spirit, wouldn't He (or His son) have better things to do than stand around holding a broom in this woman's second-hand shop in Alabama?
If the car is the shumba (lion) of the street, and the cyclist its mbizi (zebra), then the pedestrian is certainly its mhembewe (the buck). And we have in this jungle a continuum of arrogance: The arrogance a driver presents to a cyclist is continued by the arrogance a cyclists often presents to a pedestrian. The woman who almost ran over me a moment ago on the corner of Broadway and Pike had it in her mind that it was me who had to make way for her. And if I did not (I did—I had no choice in the matter), she would have rubbered me with her wheels. That is the law of the jungle.
A Dutch court fired a shot across the bows of paparazzi around the world today:
Reporters Without Borders is outraged by an Amsterdam court’s ruling today that the Associated Press violated the Dutch royal family’s privacy by distributing photos of them in an Argentina ski resort. The court ordered the news agency to pay 1,000 euros for each further publication of the photos up to a ceiling of 50,000 euros.
And Reporters Sans Frontières is pissed:
“We are shocked and disappointed by the court’s decision,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Presidents and monarchs all of the world who like to take great care of their image will now be able to refer to this decision to justify lawsuits against news media that dare to use photos that have not been cleared by their public relations departments.
The court argued that the AP could publish a photo only if it "helps a public debate which is of importance to society.” (A standard as slippery and useless as the Supreme Court's Miller test for obscenity.)
So this lawsuit has retroactively made the photos newsworthy, right?
In other official Dutch strikes against individual liberty—child-protective services decided 13-year-old Laura Dekker could not sail around the world by herself, despite ample experience alone on the ocean:
Aged 10, she moved up to a 7m boat and was honing her skills in the waters of Friesland. It was here that she encountered her first problems with the outside world, with lock-operators not always willing to allow passage to such a young girl in charge of a boat on her own.
Unperturbed and supported by her family, she spent the following summer sailing in and around the islands on the Wadden Sea and shortly after she revealed her big dream to take to the high seas and become the youngest person ever to go around the world.
Supportive but sceptical, her father told the aspiring record-breaker that she would have to prove herself first.
Intensive lessons on navigation and safety followed and then her father, Dick Dekker, dropped the news that Miss Dekker would have to sail to England and back on her own first to show him what she was capable of.
"So long on the open sea with wind, rain and waves - that will soon end any ideas of sailing the world," recalls Dick on his daughter's website.
It didn't, and now Dekker, who has a New Zealand passport, might emigrate to the Southern Hemisphere to begin her journey.
Read the rest of the story here.
Arlen Faber (Jeff Daniels) wrote a spiritual book a long time ago called Me and God. The book changed many lives, because people, apparently, have a lot of questions for God, and Arlen, apparently, answered them. And because, apparently, everyone in America is a complete fucking moron, they believed that he answered them by actually asking God to God's great big face. (Seriously, this is the conflict at the climax of this movie—he has to confess to disappointed fans that he and God are not tight bros.) Now Arlen is haunted by his early success, and becomes a half-hearted recluse (he still totally goes out and does stuff, he's just mildly irritated about it), and can't write anymore, and develops many insincere quirks involving action figures and not touching his dead dad's piano. But when he meets a wacky chiropractor (she eats soy bacon and egg whites!) and a greasy young recovering alcoholic (Step Four: Wash Your Hair, Man), Arlen is forced to loosen up, learn from the wisdom of children, make out with Lauren Graham, and be a human again. STOP ME IF YOU'VE HEARD THIS ONE BEFORE.
Read the whole thing HERE.
On election night two weeks ago, union people tried to smile as they surrounded Mayor Greg Nickels at the headquarters of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 21 in south Seattle. They had been standing around him for years. In 2001, the local labor council's support is widely credited with pushing Nickels—a reliable vote for 14 years on the county council—past draconian City Attorney Mark Sidran in his bid for mayor, winning by about 3,000 votes. And Nickels didn't forget it. He paid them back handsomely with unfaltering allegiance in their struggles, from backing grocery workers in a showdown over better wages to the main contention of this year's election: the tunnel. (Unions don't want a tunnel so much as they'll take any second freeway through the city for freight traffic. And Nickels turned a citywide vote in 2007 against a waterfront tunnel and a viaduct rebuild into brokering an agreement with state powers to fund a different tunnel that the voters hadn't exactly shot down.) So unions stood by him, loyally. But on primary election night, as returns came in just after 8:00 p.m., Nickels was in third place, and union operatives forced smiles and carefully stood out of view of the television cameras before heading to their cars by 9:10 p.m. Nickels continued to lose by wider and wider gaps in each successive batch of results: The unions' man—the guy beloved by umbrella groups and nurses and Safeway checkers—was a goner.
"Unions are used to having a strong representative in the mayors office," says political consultant Cathy Allen. "Labor is still very strong and one of the determinants of who wins, if not the most determinant."
The two men who remain standing, Mike McGinn and Joe Mallahan, are not so embraced. "We have the same concerns that many in the labor community have," says Adam Glickman, a spokesman for Service Employees International Union, 775 NW (SEIU). McGinn and Mallahan, he says, have "no experience or record."
Rumors surfaced six days after the election that state senator Ed Murray (D-43) was mulling a write-in campaign for mayor; voters started getting calls from polling firms asking if they would vote for him. Who was paying for those calls? All roads seemed to lead to the SEIU, but Glickman refuses to confirm—or deny—whether the SEIU funded it. "We are not recruiting someone but are also not satisfied by the choices and excited by someone of Ed's stature getting in," he says. Some have rumored that the SEIU pledged a sizable contribution to a potential Murray campaign, which seems possible. SEIU chapters have donated over $150,000 to local campaigns so far this year, Washington Public Disclosure Commission records show. But Glickman says, "I'm not going to speculate how much we money we would give."
McGinn's vow to stop a tunnel proposal—his battle cry in the primary election—could make unions dismiss him entirely. "He has made a religion of attacking this compromise that was put together on the viaduct replacement," says David Frieboth, executive secretary of the M.L. King County Labor Council, the AFL-CIO umbrella group of over 175 local unions. Eliminating the tunnel and the viaduct, he says, "could have a devastating impact on industrial capability of unions. The maritime industrial unions are very, very, very concerned about not only his position on the subject but also his unwillingness to work the issue."
Mallahan worked for T-Mobile, a company that was revealed to use strategies to prevent unions from forming—practically a mark of the beast. The unknown, says Frieboth, "is the degree to which his corporate culture really rubs off on him." The Seattle police and firefighter unions, after holding out on endorsing even Nickels in the primary, have announced that they will official give their support to Mallahan. But most unions that loved Nickels—those representing thousands of employees—are still undecided.
The value of a fairly unified labor endorsement cannot be overstated in Seattle politics. More than their organization's name on a mailer and money, support from the labor council brings fleets of door-knocking union workers and phone banks staffed by volunteer union reps speaking to their candidate's virtues. "It was our labor-neighbor campaign" that put Nickels over Sidran in 2001, Frieboth explains, "targeting our membership to get out the vote."
Lacking for a leader, unions see in Ed Murray the hope they saw in Nickels eight years ago. In his 14 years in the legislature (in addition to being a leading lion for gay-rights causes), he has a 96 percent voting record on union issues. "He's got a record, not only how he has cast votes, but how he works with people," Frieboth says. "So he is the known quantity."
More than ever, labor has an intense motivation to influence this election—and the money and muscle to do it. Their members face onerous furloughs (members of 14 city employee unions voted on Friday to take a 10-day furlough to reduce layoffs, and County Council Member Kathy Lambert introduced a bill last week that could reduce raises and limit union negotiations). In addition to keeping their advocates in local government, unions need to demonstrate that they can make or break a candidate, one of the few bargaining chips they've got left.
"These guys are no dummies. They know that the way to keep unions strong is to keep in [office] people who have been there the longest, bottom line," Allen says. "Labor has never faced such a great time when they need to deliver for their long time members," she says. "It is very much the case that they may be able to make a mayor if they get Ed Murray in the race."
"If the SEIU goes into the legislative session and says, 'If you start messing around with cuts we don't like, beware the ballot box then you will be gone,'" says Allen. And she posits that the SEIU is simply beefing up its muscle in city and council races to prepare for defending their state contracts. "This year becomes the proof positive for that assertion next year [in the legislature]," Allen says.
As far-fetched as it sounds, this could be a good year for Murray to run as a write in candidate. All-mail elections, which King County switched to this year, prove better for write-in candidates than ballot-booth voting because people sit down with their ballot, which includes instructions about how to write in a candidate, along with mail pieces and plenty of time.
Murray says he will make up his mind this week. But that may depend on the extent that unions can support him. And that's unknown, even to unions. Whereas unions worked in unity eight years ago, national labor politics have splintered them slightly, Frieboth explains. "For example instead of having a labor council that is the primary convener of the effort, you may have more subgroups that are working amongst themselves." (For example, the police and fire unions are supporting Mallahan.) Glickman confirms that the SEIU would need a broad coalition to get Murray in office. But across the board, union leaders and politicos agree that Murray brings that sort of excitement they need to rally around. "I think that if he were on the ballot, he would be in a strong position to be the endorsed candidate by labor," Frieboth says.
A debate on whether the use of a minotaur in a never-ending labyrinth of pain constitutes torture...
Thank you, NaFun.
They do it at Occidental Park...
They do it at Pike Place Market...
They do it at Kerry Park...
Watch the footage HERE.
Mary Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney and onetime gay outreach director for Coors Brewing Company, gave $1,000 to a Republican Senate hopeful who voted against same-sex marriage and allowing gay couples to adopt children in the District of Columbia.
Cheney, 40, has a two-year old son with her partner of 17 years, Heather Poe.
More at Raw Story.
Thinking more locally, there is one reading tonight.
Randy Sue Coburn reads at the Third Place Books mothership, up in Lake Forest Park. A Better View of Paradise is a novel about a woman who was born on a tropical island returning to that tropical island after the real world doesn't pan out for her.
I do not know anything about this book, but I know that Coburn is the author of Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle, which is a very good movie about Dorothy Parker, who is sometimes my imaginary girlfriend.
The full readings calendar, including the next week or so, is here. And if you're planning on staying in and you're looking for personalized book recommendations, feel free to tell me the books you like and ask me what to read next over at Questionland.