That depends, I said. Who are you running against?
"Judy Nicastro," Min replied.
I made a pained face. Min knew The Stranger had supported Judy in her first race for city council. So did he, he told me. But a few of Nicastro's votes during her first term were deeply disappointing, Min said. That's why he was running against her. And that's why we should support him.
Min's logic was impeccable--if you like your logic bullshitty and half-baked--and I couldn't shake the feeling that I was talking to a mushy, weasel-word-spewing, pre-Howard Dean demo- crat. Two other incumbents were up for reelection whose every vote was a deep disappointment to progressives. Why wasn't Min running against Margaret Pageler?
Here's what Min should have said: "Judy pissed off her base and I think she's vulnerable. Margaret would be tougher to beat."
Here's what Min said: "Blah blah blah."
That's not a direct quote, but it captures the substance of Min's response. He insisted he was in the race to further progressive causes. I pointed out that taking out Pageler would do more to further progressive causes. Min told me again about how deeply disappointed he was in Nicastro, as if Judy's handful of missteps in her first term outweighed Pageler's miserable 12-year-long record.
I got the impression that night that Min might be a weasel. Then Min came in for an endorsement interview and my first impressions were vindicated: Min was definitely a weasel.
Asked if he was going to vote for I-75, an initiative that would make marijuana possession the Seattle Police Department's "lowest law-enforcement priority," Min said he would vote against it. Min had just made a lovely little speech about the plight of racial minorities in Seattle. When we pointed out that racial minorities get busted for pot possession at disproportionate rates, Min shrugged it off. Asked if he supported marijuana decriminalization, he said no, marijuana should remain illegal. Asked if he had ever smoked pot, Min paused. Yes, he said, he had smoked pot.
More evidence that Min was a weasel surfaced at a Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce candidate forum. The candidates were given "Yes" or "No" signs to hold up before being asked a series of "Yes" or "No" questions. Min quickly made third sign for himself: "Need more information!" He flashed this sign whenever he was asked to take a position on any issue that was even remotely controversial. The obvious follow-up question--the one I would've asked--was this: "If you're so ill-informed, Mr. Min, then what the fuck are you doing running for city council? Go study these issues, get the information you need, and then run for city council, you weasel."
But the ultimate proof that Min's a weasel came in an e-mail exchange.
"I'm not anti-pot and do not support the widespread arrest of people enjoying weed for personal use," Min wrote in an e-mail to Stranger reporter Amy Jenniges after he didn't get our endorsement.
Did you catch the weasel word? Min says he's not for widespread arrests of pot smokers.
"So you're for--what?" I e-mailed Min. "The targeted arrests of certain pot smokers? Like who? Black teenagers on street corners?... Just who do you think should be arrested for smoking pot?"
"Obviously, I'm not going to be able to get out from under your 'weasel' label," Min replied. "...[but] in terms of really addressing the true costs of the drug war, [the] much bigger problems are with the lack of proper methadone treatment and needle exchange for heroin users, outrageous minimum mandatory sentences...."
Yes, Kollin. Methadone should be sold at the Jack in the Box on Broadway, needle exchanges are good ideas, and justice demands an end to mandatory minimum sentences. But that wasn't the question. The question was: Who does Kollin Min think should be busted for pot? Min ducked the question, the little weasel.
It may seem like a stretch, but I think there's a connection between Seattle's rejection of Min and its current embrace of the straight-talking Howard Dean. Progressives are fed up with mealy-mouthed politicians who spew a lot of weasel words and refuse to take a stand à la Democrats in Congress, Democrats in governors' mansions, Democrats on cable news programs, and on and on. Which is why I think Min--with his endorsements, connections, money, and "Need more information!" sign--turned out to be one of the biggest losers this election cycle.
To sum up: Seattle voters were smart to pass I-75 and they were smart to pass on Kollin Min, weasel and loser.