In the Hall
Licata Backs Down on State of the City, and More
So, remember that whole to-do about the State of the City? Council president Nick Licata, feeling jilted when Mayor Greg Nickels decided to deliver his annual address outside council chambers for the first time in city history, proposed changing city law to require the mayor to give his the speech before the council. (Why the council would choose to listen to pap like "Growing smart means being smart" is anybody's guess; apparently, they're masochists.)
Anyway, that was then. In his public-safety committee Tuesday, July 17, Licata introduced legislation that would merely require the mayor to "deliver" his address to the council in January—whether it's in person or by text message is up to him. "I'm not going to drag the mayor hogtied into the council chambers," Licata told me Monday, July 16, while sitting in his office and making sandwiches out of pecans and bits of a chocolate bar. "If he doesn't want to deliver it personally he can have his messenger boy send it, or whatever."
Also Monday, the council had a surprisingly testy discussion about whether it had screwed up by selling the historic Alaska Building without forcing the new owner to turn it into a residential building. It's currently slated to become a Marriott Hotel. Peter Steinbrueck and Richard Conlin took the affirmative, arguing that, in Conlin's words, "we blew it." On Monday, the council attempted to fix the misstep, amending city law to bar the Alaska Building's developer from expanding the building, which current hotel plans require it to do, unless it stays residential.
Can voters care about the environment and jobs? Not according to council member David Della, whose campaign did a phone poll this week implying that Della's opponent, Tim Burgess, wants to destroy jobs, force people onto transit, and hand the waterfront over to "wealthy condo owners." The poll, according to a source who got a call from Della's campaign this week, includes such incredibly unbiased and nonleading questions as: "Do you believe in protecting thousands of waterfront jobs, or protecting the environment?"; "Do you support policies that force people out of cars and onto mass transit?"; and, my personal favorite, "Would you vote for Tim Burgess, given that he supports the tunnel option [for replacing the viaduct], which is supported by wealthy developers who seek to push out industrial and manufacturing jobs and replace them with luxury condos for wealthy people?" Yeah, because that's exactly what I read in Burgess's campaign platform.
Speaking of which, the council just adopted a "zero-waste" strategy, which, in addition to lots of other cool green stuff, includes a proposal to study a ban on Styrofoam and a ban or tax on plastic bags, both of which could take effect as early as next year.