I wrote recently that the Seattle City Council was seeking a "divisive strategist to foment petty drama with the mayor." But in hiring a new communications manager, the council not only picked a divisive political operative with an axe to grind with the mayor, they found someone who has a axe to grind with other council members.
The new interim communication manager is Dan Nolte, who was a paid staffer for the mayoral campaign of Council Member Tim Burgess last December. "He helped with some early organizational stuff," Burgess confirms. So Nolte's allegiances are clearly with Burgess, which raises doubts about his faithfulness to Council Member Bruce Harrell, who's running for mayor against Burgess. Before that, Nolte left council Member Sally Clark's office to become campaign manager of the pro-deep-bore tunnel campaign—meaning he was opposing tunnel opponent Council Member Mike O'Brien.
Asked whether his paid campaign gigs run at cross purposes with his obligations to represent all council members equally, he said no, of course. "I do not oppose the people whatsoever, I have been able to get along with them." He adds that Council President Sally Clark "checked in with" Harrell and O'Brien to get the green light. "I don't think will have any problem representing them, and supporting their positions and staff however they need," he says.
I'll take that with a shaker of salt. If I were Harrell or O'Brien, I'd be pissed.