Welcome to the Seattle City Council Primaries '99! Oh yeah, you'll find some other races on your primary ballot next week--School Board, King County Council, Port of Seattle--but with three wide-open seats and two incumbents up for re-election, the only races we're really interested in are for the city council. Sadly, most of the city council candidates are wooden as posts--Judy Nicastro and Dawn Mason being two notable exceptions--and as impassioned as drool. Some would-be council members even confessed that they didn't want to win at all, but were running simply to "make a point." Eesh.

Two things helped The Stranger Election Death Squad stay awake through our long endorsement meetings with candidates: our good friend "Tina," and the fact that this election presents voters with an opportunity to really stir shit up at the city council. Peter Steinbrueck, Nick Licata, and Richard Conlin were elected two years ago by voters sick of a downtown-├╝ber-alles city council dominated by a "diverse," pro-business, anti-everything else Old Girls Club. Issues that the city council considered over and done with were suddenly up for discussion, from affordable housing to the poster ban, to the need to stop City Attorney Mark Sidran from clearing Seattle parks and streets of all people who make less than $30,000 a year. With three members of the city council's Old Girls Club leaving the council this year--Tina Podlodowski, Sue Donaldson, and Martha Choe--voters have the chance to create a progressive majority with real power, change the course of city government, and actually see some bad laws overturned.

With so many lame city council candidates barfed forth in this election cycle--to say nothing of the super-dullards running for, oh, Port of Seattle--how do you, the average voter, decide who to punch your card for? Once again, The Stranger Election Death Squad has done your civics homework for you. We met with all the candidates, grilled them mercilessly (with the exception of Margaret Pageler, who refused to meet with us, and Charlie Chong, who showed up two hours late), sifted through voting records, analyzed quotes, scrutinized hairstyles, and went through each candidate's trash. We even administered a pop quiz to city council hopefuls, measuring their knowledge of the city. Candidates were quizzed on Seattle's budget, Boeing layoffs, bus routes, local bands, and their favorite restaurant in Rainier Valley. For extra credit, they were asked to name the five Great Lakes.

We've done our part, now all you have to do is vote for who we tell you to--and only who we tell you to. Who knows? If you get out there and vote, next year at this time, nude bicyclists might be able to participate in the Fremont Fair in peace, renters could have more affordable housing, and teenagers might be dancing at underage shows. You'll be able to boast to your friends and neighbors that you helped make Seattle a city where it's safe to sit in a park and drink from a paper bag again.

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The Stranger Election Death Squad: Josh Feit, Ben Jacklet, Wm. Steven Humphrey, Tim Keck, Charles Mudede, Dan Savage, Alex Steffen, and Jennifer Vogel. Debate photos by Annie Marie Musselman. We don't make endorsements in uncontested races.