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Monday, September 17, 2007

No License

posted by on September 17 at 16:45 PM

I’ll give a much more detailed report in the paper, but the bottom line is this: “There’s no license right now.” Those were the words of Tim Hatley, lobbyist for the music industry after the 6-3 vote for a seriously amended license package.

Hatley’s last minute coup was the result of a late amendment by Jean Godden.

Godden’s amendment, opposed by the diehard supporters of the license—Sally Clark, David Della, and Jan Drago—puts off the license requirement until next year while simultaneously getting a nightlife commission up and running. The commission will collect data and come back with recommendations on things like: Is a license even necessary?

The amendment was supported by Tom Rasmussen, Peter Steinbrueck, Richard Conlin, Godden, and surprisingly Nick Licata—who was a license supporter.

Richard McIver (as promised) voted no on all amendments out of principle for his disapproval of the whole thing.

Godden’s amendment was a tough pill for Clark to swallow, but ultimately she and the diehards were forced to vote for a radically amended package.

Of course, the real meaning is this: Now the nightlife community—alarmed and obviously energized by the recent heavy handed sting by the city— is going to work extra hard to get pro-license council members like David Della (who is up this year) off the council.

Della’s opponent is Tim Burgess who just told me he does not support the license.

He says his views are best summed up in today’s comments by Council Member Peter Steinbrueck.

Steinbrueck provided Godden’s amendment with a majority—torpedoing the license—and then righteously, like McIver, voted against the final package. The other No vote was Rasmussen.

Steinbrueck belittled the license saying the problem with violence isn’t in clubs but in the streets—and more policing is the answer. “Should we make Macy’s or McDonald’s get a license?” he asked to raucous applause—referring to the problems at 3rd and Pine.

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Huh, that was unexpected.

Posted by Katelyn | September 17, 2007 4:45 PM

Remember - you did not endorse Godden - the old wrinkly one - in fact, you have mocked her a lot.

Is this reporting or PR hack stuff?

Posted by fred | September 17, 2007 4:51 PM

What a classically Seattle way of killing off the license plan - i.e. proposing a committee sit around and investigate it for a year or ten before doing anything.

Well, good riddance to it, anyway.

Posted by tsm | September 17, 2007 4:54 PM

Some people we endorse sometimes do things we hate. (Hey, Nick.) Some people we didn't endorse sometimes do things we like. (Hey, Jean.)

Posted by Dan Savage | September 17, 2007 4:59 PM

Nick!? Weird. Way to go Steinbrueck: like what you're doing. Della is the worst.

Posted by Tim | September 17, 2007 5:04 PM

the FoS endorsement and killing the nightlife ordinance (with a really clever political amendment): all in a day's work for jean godden.

but hey, she's old and the stranger's cool and young so we endorse weirdos! yea!

go jean. rock on.

Posted by xiu xiu | September 17, 2007 5:10 PM

That sucks.

Posted by Michael | September 17, 2007 5:39 PM

Jean Godden was wobbling on an absolute senior moment. Sometimes Grandma has a lucid good day, and understands that it's not all about shovelling subsidies to Paul Allen...What a buffoon! Who knew, that she'd go above and beyond the call, to bringing maturity to the city council...Dementia Rules at The Clowncil!

Posted by whatever | September 17, 2007 5:51 PM

@ 8

Glad ageism is alive and well in Seattle. and the "Clowncil," Wow! You are so clever. I can't wait to see what future puns you'll be coming up with!

Posted by whatever, whatever | September 17, 2007 5:55 PM

Dan, @ 4

And sometimes people are so politically retarded that they don't limit themselves to asinine city council endorsements but go above and beyond to endorse things like, ya know, the Iraq War! (Hey, Dan.)

I'm on the edge of my seat for the Stranger's general election endorsements. Oh wait, I couldn't care less.

Posted by Common Sense | September 17, 2007 6:00 PM

A minor clarification: a Licata/Conlin amendment already stated the license wasn't going to take effect until September 2008, and that the Nightlife Commission would study the laws already passed by the Council in the meantime. Councilmember Clark included that in the version she introduced at the start of the meeting.

Godden’s amendment adds a requirement that the Council take a vote next year in order for the license to take effect.

Posted by Newell in Nick's Office | September 17, 2007 6:02 PM

So now we LIKE Burgess? Man, too bad you stomped all over him...

Posted by watcher | September 17, 2007 6:07 PM

First off, anyone who supports hard work, integrity, nightlife, density and progressive values in Seattle should be for Burgess.

Second, Newell, yes Nick's amendments did include one that would have put the license off for a year, but it would have gone into effect automatically, far different than Godden's excellent amendment.

I love Licata, and he has done a lot for music in Seattle. However, he could have been a hero on this by creating a reasonable compromise and instead helped create a completely bungled process.

With the TDO, Nick helped create a process that led to a compromise that basically worked for everyone. With this licnse, Nick, as Council President, could have killed the Mayor's inane license and led a process starting from scratch that took into consideration both the neighborhood's concerns and the nightlife community's concerns. Instead he punted it off to Clark who as Jan Drago so nicely put it today had no experience on leading a process like this nor knowledge of the nightlife industry. Then after the license got bogged down in Clark's committee, Nick again had the chance to create a saner process, and again he failed to do so. Then,after it appeared the license was dead, Nick revived it and then proved to be the swing vote to get it passed.

Bad process typically leads to bad laws. We got both on this. Hopefully Nick will stay involved over the next year and fix this puppy. But as Steinbreuck says, this license doesn't really even address the issue, and then does that poorly.

Rasmussen, McIver and Godden all had great comments, and voted the right way. But Peter was the hero today. Really sad he's leaving council, wish he'd announce a run for Mayor right about now.

Posted by Meinert | September 17, 2007 6:32 PM

Great post Meinert. What's your take on Conlin on all this?

Posted by Amy D | September 17, 2007 7:17 PM

Amy - I like Conlin, and he, like Licata, has done a lot for the music community in the past.

However, I am disappointed in him as I am in Licata. Conlin did give an interesting speech before his vote, and I'm not quite sure how his comments fit with his vote, because the license clearly does exactly what he said he doesn't want it to.

As with Nick, I hope Conlin can work with the Nightlife Commission to make changes to the license so that it addresses the real problems and does so with proper checks and balances to make sure it can't be abused. Currently, the license has no such provisions, and gives the Mayor unilateral power to close down a nightclub.

I am likewise befuddled by Drago's vote. Jan has long been a friend of small business, nightlife businesses included. She claims to want to create something fair, but really just passes power to the Mayor to close a venue for minor infractions that will for sure be abused. Jan, did you really vote to allow a business to be closed by the Mayor for 'violent' acts like spitting (a fourth degree assault)? Or were you just not paying attention to the RCW's that our friendly City Attorney's office slipped in?

Clark is heading towards being the Council's new Margaret Pageler - a member who is smart, comes from a good place, but then goes all whack job when it comes to policy. I hope she learns from this mess. She's a great person, but this has been one screwed up process. This could be her 'Circus Animal' ordinance.

Unfortunately, Della is the only member we can vote off this year, so expect to see a lot of nightlife business and community support for Burgess.

Posted by meinert | September 17, 2007 7:52 PM

Thanks Meinert! Della is a dope but Burgess still has to prove himself.

Posted by amy D | September 17, 2007 8:07 PM

Meinert - your ego knows no bounds - good luck.

You face the Asian community, the pro choice women, labor, leading Dems., many GLBT folks, and on and on. I am not sure bar owners and tavern folks on any issue except prohibition have ever swung many elections.

If I were you I would be a bit temperate - for when you loose big time your real influence deflates as well.

Posted by Freddy | September 17, 2007 9:06 PM

David - you really are a silly white boy.

Sally will be on the council until women and GLBT folks become disenchanted. From what I know you are none of the above.

Get over yourself. You sound like you are grooming Sally for her future as you see it. Hah.

Posted by ida mae | September 17, 2007 9:10 PM

This is a very single issue post. All I hear is how concerned folks are about the increasing violence downtown and on C. Hill.

People want something done. Now, more police, more regulation, action.

Sorry, but if more violence sprouts, watch how much Tough Love will prevail.

Was at Purr this evening with same gay friends, they, Purr, were under intense scrutiny for two or three weeks. No violations at all, I guess they run a smart clean operation.

The joints that do not will loose, the greater public will not put up with much more shit - your blame the mayor game is short sighted.

Posted by lee ann wong | September 17, 2007 9:22 PM

Lee Ann - The nightlife industry agrees there are bad operators who need to be made better venue operators or shut down. We supported more Police, better enforcement of current laws, a stronger nuisance ordinance, a tougher noise ordinance. The idea of a nightclub ordinance with a commission came from us.

And while we believe there can be stronger laws that allow the city to more easily close bad venues, we also believe these laws need to be reasonable , not punish the good operators, and not be structured in a way that allows abuse. Unfortunately the Mayor's did just this, and while Clark did a good job of narrowing the Council's version down to a more focused law, it still allowed venues to be closed for trivial violations, and could mean that for something as small as a single health code violation a venue's license renewal could be denied.

We also want the Mayor to make good on all of his promises to help create not only a safe, but vibrant nightlife. So far we have not seen one proposal that would help music and nightlife in Seattle, just proposals that could harm it.

As for Sally, like I said, I like her. She's smart and cool. But she messed this up. I hope she learns and does better from here on out. I look forward to working with her on creating a better solution. As much as we might personally like a politician, we need to hold them to standards and make sure they do the right thing. When they don't, we need to be honest and say so. This isn't some whacky cult, it's politics.

Posted by Meinert | September 17, 2007 9:53 PM

Della needs to go! Also, I hope someone great beats the pants off of Nickels next time around.

Posted by Deacon Seattle | September 17, 2007 10:09 PM

Josh, You were so wrong about Drago. She just flipped, and you didn't see it coming, sucker.

Posted by What a dope | September 17, 2007 10:19 PM

sorry in advance for the long and too many posts...but....

@17, check Greg Nickels credits the music community in part for his first term election for Mayor. Ironic, but we can deliver votes and money, and have for council candidates who have defeated council incumbents before.

The music community is lots more than bar owners and tavern folks. But go ahead and underestimate the community, and overestimate the support Della has in the communities you mention, it will make the job of getting Burgess on the council much easier.

For anyone who is interested in seeing how leaders in the LGBT, Asian, Dem, Labor and on and on support Burgess, along with labor unions, environmental groups, etc, check out

and as for Della's support among Dem's, even the 11th District Dems who are supposed to be Della's base, voted to not endorse him in this election, because of his perceived “lack of leadership” and according the The Stranger.... Even one of Della’s supporters in the 11th reportedly said that Della “hasn’t done that much” on the council..."

Della seems like a good dude, and has done some good things in the past, and I'm sure will do more in the future. But he's been an ineffective council member, has been all over the place on nightlife issues, and from what I can see hasn't really been a strong leader on anything. Show me I'm wrong.

Posted by Meinert | September 17, 2007 10:28 PM

The bell weather district in metro Seattle is the 37th, yes that pool of diversity which votes almost 90 per cent progressive.

They endorsed Della.

And you think NARAL does not know its business in politics? Your going to back someone who just got kicked in the ass by the entire board of NARAL after an in person interview just days ago ... oh good work, Meinert.

Convince you of what? Burgess admits to your buddies at the Stranger he took 2 million of hate moneger dollars writing the heinous copy for direct mail for camapigns that brought in 10 million a year ... some reports he worked for them for 7 years, others 9 years. As always in politics follow the money.

Ask him to show you copies of the stuff ... your golden boy "copyedited" the most horrible stuff you can imagine. You will vomit on the table if you see much of it.

Oh, but he is such a fine friend and potential leader. Not in my book. Not according to NARAL, and not according to the 37th where progressive politics still exist.

Whatever the future of dealing with clubs and crowds and violence ... you, sir are entering the Rovian quagmire.

Posted by Freddy | September 18, 2007 3:56 AM


I have worked on City politics since '93. I have seen good people I like and agree with become poor elected official. And I've seen elected officials I don't agree with and don't actually personally like so much become great advocates for important issues coming before them.

I don't support many politicians. And when I decide to support one I do so only after a lot of serious thought and research. I agree Della has done some good things in his past. And I think Burgess made a huge and serious mistake taking on CWA as a client. However, we are voting on OUR future not on their past.

When I endorse a candidate I consider how they will deal with the business brought before them in their elected position. I strongly believe Burgess is the better candidate. I have worked with Della, I have researched and met several times with Burgess.

I respect the hell out of NARAL. That said, I don't follow any one person or group. I realize they are all human and all of us humans have moments when we make mistakes. NARAL's endorsement of Della is one of those times.

I don't think Burgess is perfect, and I'm sure I won't agree with him on every issue he votes on when he is on Council. There isn't one Council member now I have agreed with 100%. However, I think he can lead, that he can be effective, and that he has evolved into a person who I feel will be on the right side of a majority of the issues I care about - eduction, social justice, the environment, urban density and growth management, business, efficient government, and of course nightlife, among many others.

Freddy, I encourage you to look deeper at Burgess, what you will find is a smart person who probably agrees with you on most issues, who has experience in City government and in private business. Most of all he will be effective on council, will lead, and he'll get some good shit done. Can you say that about Della?

We know this for sure, Burgess would have voted with Steinbreuck, McIver and Rassmussen against the Nightlife license, Della voted for it, after flip flopping on it several times.

Remember, we aren't voting for progressive sainthood, we're voting for city council.

Posted by Meinert | September 18, 2007 8:51 AM

For the record, the 11th District Dems did, in fact, endorse Della - as did the 37th, the 46th, the King County Dems and King County Young Dems. I know it's only the Slog, but at least you could be accurate.

Posted by me | September 18, 2007 9:30 AM

Jesus Christ Meinert!

You give new meaning to the word

Posted by enough already! | September 18, 2007 9:33 AM

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Posted by alex | September 22, 2007 6:57 AM

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Posted by robert | September 23, 2007 12:49 PM

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