I’ve just sent the following email to Seattle City Council President Jan Drago, officially putting my name into consideration for appointment to the seat being vacated by Councilman Jim Compton. Hmm. Re-reading it, I wonder if some of my prose was a tad indelicate? Aww, what the hell.
Dear Council President Drago,
As a woman of color I would add much needed diversity of experience and perspective to the Seattle City Council… that is, if I was a woman of color. Unfortunately, I’m just some middle aged Jewish guy… but then, you don’t have too many of those either, so I might as well offer my name anyway for consideration to fill the seat vacated by Councilman Jim Compton.
No doubt I would be a controversial choice. After all, I’ve never campaigned for office, I’ve never run a large, complex organization, and… well… as a blogger and four-letter-word aficionado I have produced a long and provocative paper trail of occasionally impolitic political commentary. (You know, like the time I told the Republican Governors Association to “eat me.”) But given the opportunity to serve on the Council I am confident you will find me thoughtful, intelligent, and respectful… and I promise never to use the words “fuck”, “shit”, “prick”, or “asshole” during Council meetings or in official communications such as this.
Now I know what you’re thinking: “Here’s a guy who wants to be appointed to the Seattle City Council, and yet, he just used the words ‘fuck’, ‘shit’, ‘prick’, and ‘asshole’… twice!” But please do not mistake my lack of solemnity for a lack of seriousness. In the unlikely event I receive the appointment, you will not find a more passionate, dedicated, hard-working member of your august body, and there will not be a substantive issue on which I do not obtain near encyclopedic expertise.
As an Ivy League educated generalist, the co-author of an Off-Broadway musical flop, and a self-taught software developer, I would bring to the Council a sharply analytical mind, well accustomed to quickly overcoming learning curves in a variety of disciplines. As both an entrepreneur and a progressive activist I am sensitive to the awkward balance the Council must sometimes strike between the legitimate needs of the business community and the moral obligations and utilitarian reality of our social contract. As a resident of South Seattle I am intimately familiar with the oft overlooked needs of our city’s neighborhoods, yet as a native Philadelphian and former New Yorker you will not find a stronger proponent of maintaining and promoting the urban downtown as a vibrant and thriving economic and cultural center.
But of course, most people are familiar with me as a progressive blogger and political provocateur, and I would bring that experience to the Council as well… experience that I believe would greatly benefit you and your colleagues. I have a passion for wonkishly wrapping my mind around complex policy issues in a search of creative solutions, but I also have a knack for summarizing and communicating these issues to the general public… a knack which sadly, the Council often seems to lack.
I imagine council members are often frustrated by criticism in the press (and on the blogs) that seems to misinterpret your decisions and actions. Well, that’s the Council’s fault. I would bring to the Council media savvy and a unique sense of showmanship that could be harnessed to communicate complex issues, and I would be happy to leverage my reputation for frankness and lack of personal political ambition to deflect criticism on controversial decisions. While I have earned a surprising degree of credibility with the local press corps, I must admit that I do have a handful of inconsequential detractors. (The Seattle Times editorial board comes to mind.) But think of this as a plus: just imagine Frank Blethen’s jaw dropping to the floor when you announce my appointment… it’s worth it just for that.
In drawing to a close, you may notice that the one thing I have not talked about are issues. Well, as a 14-year Seattle resident and the father of a child in the Seattle Public Schools, my issues are the same as those of most citizens: good schools, safe neighborhoods, clean streets, adequate transportation infrastructure, an attractive business environment, affordable housing, living wages, access to health care, and all the other essential services we expect from a functioning city government. It would be foolish to prioritize an agenda for what amounts to a ten-month term; rather, I am realistic enough to understand that whoever is picked to fill this seat must be focused on getting up to speed on an agenda that has already been set by current council members and circumstance. I am up to that task, and would relish the opportunity to make the Council stronger by contributing the passion and creativity only a political outsider like myself can bring to the job.
Finally, let me assure you that should I be given the honor of serving the citizens of Seattle, that ethics, collegiality, and professional courtesy would bar me from blogging critically about you and my fellow council members. Now I’m not saying that should I not be appointed to the Council, that you would suddenly become a primary target of my unique brand of muckraking journalism and blistering prose… but, well… you know… all bets are off.
Thank you for your time, and for considering this application in the spirit in which it is intended.
Think I’ll get it? I could certainly use the money.