Drago in Denial

Responding to persistent rumors that she plans on retiring next year, council president Jan Drago said bluntly: "I am running for reelection in 2005. Period." Drago, who won her seat on the council in 1993, is the council's longest-serving member.

Steinbrueck Gets Centered

Peter Steinbrueck, the council's most outspoken opponent of the monorail's proposed "northwest route" through Seattle Center, may pull his support for the monorail route entirely if an upcoming vote on the Center alignment doesn't go his way. "I'll have a very hard time voting for the alignment in good conscience, because I feel very strongly that this is a grave mistake," Steinbrueck said after a marathon hearing on the alignment Monday.

Carr Gets Clever

On Tuesday, the council seemed poised to once again renew the city's "temporary" 15-year-old strip-club ban, which preserves a three-club monopoly by prohibiting new strip clubs inside city limits. But City Attorney Tom Carr has a different idea. He proposes ditching the moratorium, adopting new strip-club regulations (including, alas, Margaret Pageler's laughable "four-foot rule"), and creating a special zone for strip clubs somewhere in the city. Trouble is, in an election year, no one wants to be the council member who dumped "sleazy" adult businesses on an unsuspecting neighborhood. What'll it take to overturn the unfair moratorium? A legal challenge, which won't happen until some brave sleaze purveyor tries to open a new strip club--preferably next door to city hall.

Nicastro in NYC

The woman who once called Seattle "Mayberry" may be splitting for New York City. Rumor is that tenant advocate Judy Nicastro, defeated in last year's anti-incumbent frenzy, has been shopping her resumé around New York, where the UW grad and onetime Boeing worker spent her early 20s at the Fashion Institute of Technology.

Initiatives in Trouble

As head of a panel charged with revamping the city's initiative process, City Attorney Tom Carr came up with several recommendations that initiative supporters on the committee "pretty much unanimously opposed," according to committee member Knoll Lowney. Among Carr's proposals: putting all initiatives on the September primary ballot (when few people bother to vote) and moving the deadline to submit signatures back to March, forcing initiative backers to gather signatures in the dead of winter. Zander Batchelder, a Belltown activist who helped gather names during last year's district-elections initiative, summed up the problems with Carr's proposal thus: "Try collecting signatures in December, January, and February--in the dark."