…Wasn’t just the bad air quality in last week’s record heat wave. No, think hotter. It’s election season, and while Goldy might not make endorsements each time out, I do.
From a progressive standpoint, most of the races and issues on the ballot this time are pretty clear choices. Here are my preferences in the races that will be decided this time: Constantine for King County Council; Holland and Vekich for Port Commission; Bloom, Licata, and Miller for Seattle City Council; Bass and Mas for Seattle School Board; Yes on the bag fee.
That leaves the extremely problematic race for mayor of Seattle.
Oy. For four years, ever since the debacle known locally as the Al Runte Disaster, I’ve been clamoring for someone to run against our vile would-be Mayor-for-Life, Greg Nickels. Now, I stand before you, abashed, in the realization that I wasn’t nearly specific enough. What I meant was that I want someone good to run against Hizzoner.
Remarkably, despite Nickels’ huge war chest, and his long record of at all costs (to taxpayers) of offering fellatio to the city’s biggest developers and businesses, seven mayoral challengers have filed this year. Five of them–Mike McGinn, James Donaldson, Joe Mallahan, Jan Drago, and Norman Sigler–have raised significant money. And none look likely to be a significant improvement on Nickels. In fact, the biggest names of the bunch, veteran city council member Jan Drago and former local basketball star James Donaldson, are if anything to the right of Nickels. Drago is a former committee chair for the big-business Downtown Seattle Association, and has faithfully served their interests on council; Donaldson is running on an I-Ran-A-Business-So-I-Know-Everything, anti-tax platform, and has hired reactionary former Monorail Board member Cindi Laws (last publicly noted for a notorious anti-Semitic outburst) as a campaign consultant. Oy. Sigler hasn’t been heard from much at all.
That leaves McGinn and Mallahan as the best hopes for a strategic vote to avoid a horrid Nickels/Drago general election. McGinn is a former local Sierra Club head, tapping the enviro crowd and running as, remarkably, the only one of the eight candidates to oppose Nickels’ epic Big Bore budgetary tunnel disaster. Unfortunately, McGinn is also running a demogogic campaign against Seattle public schools–he wants the city to take over the school system, a “solution” that’s been disastrous everywhere it’s been tried–and in every respect other than the tunnel is perfectly aligned with Nickels’ “it combats sprawl!” developer-friendly war on neighborhoods, the poor, and civic livability. The main difference is that when Nickels’ environmental “agenda” is in conflict with his need to please big money, as with the tunnel and waterfront development, the money will always win. McGinn’s a true enviro believer (and, by accounts, an arrogant one). But that, as Nickels has shown, fits quite nicely with the developer worship routine about 95 percent of the time. Five percent is not much of an improvement.
In comparison with Mallahan, McGinn’s opposition to the tunnel is a plus, but more than outweighed by his cheap school-bashing and his more enthusiastic embrace of Nickels’ War on the Neighborhoods. And so, until recently, I’ve been, somewhat lamely, suggesting a strategic vote for Joe Mallahan — as a corporate cipher with more of an upside than Mike McGinn — in the hopes that he can stop the train wreck of a Drago/Nickels finale. But it’s a weak pick, the (seemingly) least bad of a bad set of options.
But then, as I was talking with some friends about this conundrum, we suddenly realized: Why settle for, say, a protest vote nobody has heard of (that would be Elizabeth Campbell), when you can go with one everyone is familiar with? Why settle for the least bad of the major candidates? Why go with the devil you don’t know (Mallahan), when we can have the devil we all know?
That’s right. The ideal mayoral candidate in 2009 goes by many names: Beezlebub, The Devil, Price of Darkness. But so as to make sure all his votes are counted properly, I’m suggesting we settle on one.
Satan for Mayor!
Now, granted, Mayor of Seattle is a bit of a comedown for Satan. Until recently, after all, he was Vice President of the United States. But that’s just it. He was also, at the same time, Prime Minister of North Korea, President of Haiti, a warlord in Somalia, plus attending to some serial killings in Kansas for yucks and grins. Satan’s a busy guy, but he’s also a detail guy. We certainly wouldn’t have to worry about missing snowplows again.
(Too hot for that.)
Satan, like all the other major candidates, cares about jobs, yes, but cares about the environment, too. (He was immersed in global warming issues before Seattle even existed.) He’s also uniquely qualified to oversee the seemingly inevitable downtown tunnel. And who better to ensure that Seattle is truly a world class city? (Not to mention a city that’s lost its soul…)
Give in to temptation. When you mail in your ballot this primary season, write in one name, the only name, for Mayor of Seattle.
Because Seattle is at a Crossroads.