West Seattle Dragnet

West Seattleites reported a strange phenomenon during the commute home on Thursday night, July 1. Dozens of cars were pulled over on the West Seattle Bridge and on streets in Admiral and near Alki. "It was a dragnet," says Alki resident Jim Cline, who counted 40 cars pulled over in his neighborhood. As far as he could tell, the drivers weren't breaking traffic laws. "People were getting pulled over for nothing," neighbor Frank Bader wrote in a letter to the mayor's office the next morning. "One person told me they got stopped four times on the way to their house."

Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske, in an e-mail response to neighborhoods' concerns, says Alki neighbors' complaints about speeding and ferry traffic, combined with annual summer traffic problems in the neighborhood, prompted the patrols. "We routinely do some emphasis patrol, particularly before the 4th," Kerlikowske wrote. Cline wasn't thrilled with the chief's response: "I found the sheer scale of numbers of law-abiding citizens being harassed by the police to be staggering," he says. AMY JENNIGES


Lights Go Down on Broadway

Broadway Market has begun its remodeling process--swapping Kroger-owned Fred Meyer with Kroger-owned QFC--and its layout will change significantly. While anchors like Urban Outfitters, Bulldog News, Broadway Video, Gold's Gym, and Gravity Bar will remain in the market, along with kiosks such as Silverworks and Broadway Wireless, other shops were not so lucky. Rockin' Betty's, Magickal Gardaen, Zebra Club, the Massage Shop, and Uzuri Ethnic Gifts have left already or will close soon. Never fear: The Broadway Market liquor store is moving right across the street. MAHRYA DRAHEIM


Diamond Heist

On Friday July 2, during a reception for a group art show at Fremont's Priceless Works Gallery, one of the works on display--a diamond-shaped two-foot-tall piece made from gold-painted wood priced at $1,500, was stolen. The piece, Gold Hick (Diamond), was hanging toward the back of the gallery near an open door and disappeared sometime between 10:00 p.m. and 10:30 p.m., according to gallery owner Ragan Peck. About 200 people attended the reception, mostly people that Peck and the artist of the stolen piece, Dylan Neuwirth, knew. "It's kind of weird," Neuwirth said. "It's like the great diamond heist of the summer of 2004." Neuwirth plans to hang signs in the neighborhood. CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE


Nickels Plays Offense

A new law, passed under the baleful eye of Mayor Greg Nickels last month, allows the city to solicit bids for new public-defender contracts. Two hotly contested aspects of that agreement--a provision mandating that the bidders be nonprofits, and one limiting defenders' annual caseloads to no more than 380 clients--were inserted in the legislation by the city council. Nickels, whose office opposed both amendments, refused to sign the legislation, a symbolic move of disapproval that falls short of an outright veto. In a letter to the council, Nickels called the requirements in the ordinance "moot" because they were already included in the mayor's request for proposals for the contract; second, he accused the council of trying to "usurp executive authority" by laying out ground rules for future negotiations about public-defense standards. According to the mayor's spokesperson, Marianne Bichsel, Nickels saw "no real reason for him to sign, because he felt like it really encroached on our authority and that it just wasn't necessary." Council staffers point out, however, that the mayor only included the requirements in his bid request under pressure from the council; once the contract ends three years from now, those requirements would have disappeared. As for the second allegation: The legislation says only that new public-defense standards "shall be the outcome of a comprehensive review" involving the council, public defenders, and others. The mayor, in other words, can send down any legislation he wants; but that doesn't give him the right to stage-manage negotiations around that legislation. ERICA C. BARNETT


Rossi's Ready

In a clear indication that Republican gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi has fired up his base, his campaign announced it raised a hefty $470,000 in June. The campaign has also invited California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to come to Washington State to stump for Rossi, a move that would boost Rossi's moderate image (and flood his already bulging coffers); no word yet on whether the Terminator will show. However, with all this dough in the bank for the general election (he has no serious Republican challenger in the primary), Rossi may prove to be the Terminator himself when it comes time to face off against one of the battle-scarred Ds--Christine Gregoire or Ron Sims--in November. SANDEEP KAUSHIK


Star Power

The South Seattle Star, widely considered Seattle's strongest community newspaper, is on the verge of purchasing the Seattle Sun, a monthly paper in North Seattle. Star publisher Wallis Bolz was unavailable for comment Tuesday; a staffer who answered the Star's phone said the sale had not been finalized. The merger could mean big changes, at least for the Sun. Longtime local writer James Bush (who broke the Strippergate story in the Sun last year) is slated to become the Sun's new editor; other tweaks, including schedule changes, could follow. NANCY DREW

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