Sure, we've said it a million times, but Stranger freelancer Grant Cogswell really is the best candidate in this race. Cogswell, with his Nader-esque rumpled suit and five-inch shoulder tattoo of the Seattle city seal, is just plain cool. He's got great ideas for the city and a track record for getting things done, and unlike his opponent, current City Council Member and Transportation Chair Richard McIver, Cogswell is full of passion and manic energy to help solve Seattle's problems. At one community meeting and political rally after another, Cogswell delivers the same message: "My name is Grant Cogswell. I'm running against Richard McIver because he's the transportation chair. I co-authored the monorail initiative. Council Member Richard McIver voted to kill it."

But Cogswell is not a "one-trick pony." Though he's obsessed with monorail technology, Cogswell sees transportation as a larger social-justice issue. We agree. Transportation is woven throughout different parts of city life. Everything from urban sprawl (poor people have to move farther and farther out to afford a place to live), to Mark Sidran's impound ordinance (many poor people drive illegally because they can't afford tickets and court costs), to the simple high cost of having to own a car to get around town, can be attributed to lacking transportation.

Cogswell's also a man of action. He recently sued the city, with the help of the ACLU, to allow candidates to talk about their opponents in the city's voter pamphlet. In the mid '90s, he powered the initiative campaign against the baseball stadium, volunteered for City Council Member Nick Licata's 1997 winning campaign, and eventually co-wrote and helped pass the original monorail initiative. Cogswell's also heavily committed to the environment. In addition to citing the obvious environmental benefits of mass transit, Cogswell is dedicated to saving the salmon and increasing water conservation. "Salmon are essential to our identity here, and are kind of like the 'canary in the coal mine' of our environmental health," he says. McIver is good on civil rights and police accountability issues, but Seattle voters would be shortsighted to pass on an opportunity like Cogswell.

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