Personal and Political

When they condemned Seattle City Council Member Peter Steinbrueck for endorsing Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader this month, the King County Democrats revealed just how nervous they are about November. It isn't Nader they're worried about, though--it's Joe Szwaja, the Green who's challenging District 7 incumbent Democrat U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott. McDermott is evidently worried that a Green endorsement from a popular local liberal like Steinbrueck would add octane to Szwaja's upstart campaign. Indeed, sources say McDermott staffers pressured the King County D's to censure Steinbrueck. McDermott told The Stranger he wasn't involved in the effort.

The pertinent question remains: Does Steinbrueck support Szwaja? Due to his longstanding personal friendship with McDermott, Steinbrueck says, "No," he isn't endorsing Szwaja, but he's perfectly happy dissing McDermott--and the party.

"I have strong political disagreements with him over trade issues," Steinbrueck says, referring to McDermott's support of the WTO, NAFTA, and the International Monetary Fund. "The Democrats are funded by big corporate dollars," Steinbrueck continues. "They don't give a hoot where the money comes from. It's appalling." JOSH FEIT

Bad Police Chief

At his August 14 swearing-in ceremony, Seattle's brand new police chief, Gil Kerlikowske, joked that he had recently driven the wrong way against traffic near Pike Place Market.

Apparently, this bit of kooky driving is standard operating procedure for Kerlikowske. At 6:30 p.m. on Saturday August 12, for example, Kerlikowske was spotted over in Queen Anne--driving west on one-way, eastbound Mercer Street. NANCY DREW

Bad Fire Chief

Seattle Fire Fighters Union Local #27 is fuming. The union is demanding to know why Chief James Sewell rejected the Certificate of Meritorious Service award that firefighter Leroy Sisley received last year for his superhero efforts, after he saved the life of a fellow firefighter in 1998.

However, last month Sisley learned that Sewell took the award away, saying Sisley hadn't followed correct procedure upon arriving on the scene. Sewell says Sisley made a mistake by doing a solo 360-degree survey of the burning home. Local 27 President Charles Hawkins strongly disagrees, saying Sisley's 360-degree survey was the "by-the-book response." Sisley contends that Chief Sewell is extinguishing the award because Sisley, an outspoken union member, has been critical of Sewell's policies. JOSH FEIT