This week, as the city council prepared to tell the State of Washington, officially, that it "preferred" the controversial Arboretum-splitting "Pacific Interchange" option for replacing the sinking SR-520 bridge, Mayor Greg Nickels was busy trying to talk it out of its decision. In a letter dated September 28, Nickels warned the council that the state "has not adequately analyzed the environmental impacts on Seattle's cherished Arboretum, the surrounding wetlands, neighborhoods, or the University of Washington." Moreover, Nickels warned, the state had not come up with "adequate" money to pay for the six-lane Pacific Interchange option—unlike, he claimed pointedly, the viaduct, whose finance plan "provides a reasonable framework for funding the core project." The harsh words were a coded warning against funding 520 ($3.3—$5.3 billion) to the exclusion of the viaduct ($3.6—$5.5 billion), a Nickels pet project whose own environmental impacts (capacity for 140,000 cars a day, minimal transit benefits, massive environmental disruption on the waterfront) the mayor finds it convenient to ignore.

Nickels also ignores the viaduct in his "Climate Action Plan," which focuses on transit (the responsibility of the county) and bicycling (a paltry 25 more miles of bike lanes) to the exclusion of far-more-effective solutions such as reducing the number of freeway miles in Seattle and charging a congestion tax for downtown drivers. Council Member Richard Conlin, in contrast, is promoting a "zero waste strategy" that would overhaul Seattle's waste-management system, promoting recycling of toxic materials, banning products like Styrofoam and plastic bags, and promoting full recycling of construction waste. Compared to standard-issue Carter-era advice like "drive the speed limit" and "turn off lights in empty rooms"—both included in the mayor's "climate action" strategy—Conlin's proposals sound not just more effective, but downright revolutionary.

A long-awaited overhaul of Nickels's proposed nightclub regulations seems unlikely to satisfy bar owners and clubgoers, who chafed at proposals that placed all the burden of regulating patron behavior on the clubs themselves, without providing a penny for increased police presence outside venues. According to Seattle Music and Nightlife Association lobbyist Tim Hatley, a draft of the new regulations retains many of the objectionable aspects of the original proposal, including a requirement that club owners police the area outside their property; a provision that makes clubs responsible for the behavior of patrons and "prospective" patrons; and a requirement that club owners maintain a phone line for complaints and return all calls within 24 hours, among other stipulations. Although advisory board members unanimously requested another meeting to discuss their extensive issues with the mayor's proposed legislation, the mayor refused, making club representatives "extremely frustrated," Hatley says. "If the city has a draft, why can't we sit down and work through it with them? There has not been a formal response [from the city] to any of our concerns." The mayor's office will probably release a new draft of the regulations on October 4, after The Stranger goes to press.

City Council Member Tom Rasmussen is exploring ways to protect renters whose apartments are converted into condos. Among the ideas Rasmussen may promote at the state level: banning excessive construction noise at condo-conversion sites during certain hours; increasing city relocation assistance for low-income renters; and capping the number of condo conversions, as San Francisco has done.