Bad Numbers for Team Nickels

If you're wondering why the typically cocky mayor's office is acting atypically chastened lately (Nickels' squad basically let the council dictate budget negotiations and frame the debate on Northgate), I've got three words for you: bad poll numbers.

In the untold story from the election, pollsters doing work for council candidates this fall also happened to test Nickels' popularity--or rather, his unpopularity. One respected local consultant found that if the election were held today, only 27 percent of voters would go for Nickels, while 51 percent want someone new. Those are terrible numbers, and they match the limp polling numbers posted by the recently ousted council incumbents. JOSH FEIT

Bad Numbers for SPD

The Racial Disparity Project's report on race and drug law enforcement was finally made public on Monday, November 24, after a courtroom showdown with the city. In the past year, the Seattle Police Department and the King County Prosecutor have moved to keep the findings from being released, citing a court order that allowed the RDP to use police statistics in the first place. On November 10, King County Superior Court Judge Richard Jones sided with public defenders and ordered the report's release ["Busted Open," Amy Jenniges, Nov 6].

The results confirmed what the RDP already estimated: even though Seattle's white dealers outnumber black dealers nearly four to one, 62.2 percent of those arrested for delivery between 1999 and 2001 were black. In neighborhoods like the University District, where only 1.5 percent of drug sources are black, the 60 percent black arrest rate stands out as glaring.

Dorry Elias, the executive director of the Minority Executive Directors Coalition and a police-accountability activist, doesn't foresee the report's publication spurring any changes in SPD enforcement policies. "If anything, they will try to justify why the report looks like it does," said Elias. "They want to cover their tracks."

The study, compiled from various databases by UW professor Katherine Beckett, relies on surveys conducted at five needle-exchange sites throughout the city, SPD arrest records, drug-death statistics, and observation of drug activity in open-air markets. MAHRYA DRAHEIM