Repeal the TDO

I was willing to give Mayor Nickels a little time, but it's a month and a half in, and I'm getting impatient. Rah-rah for the 48-hour pothole response team and all, but let's see some legislation. Specifically, I want to see legislation that pays back two of Nickels' biggest advocates during last year's agonizingly close mayoral election: JAMPAC (the music industry activist group that spent over $16,000 on a glossy pro-Nickels mailing) and The Stranger (we bashed Mark Sidran's record week-in week-out, and we endorsed Nickels repeatedly; we even put the Nickels endorsement on our cover during election week).

What can Mayor Nickels do for us? Easy. Repeal the Teen Dance Ordinance (TDO). Last December, we asked Nickels about Seattle's music scene. Here's a snippet of that conversation:

Greg Nickels: "We've got to have places where kids can hang out and listen to music. Otherwise, what are kids going to do? They're going to go to places that are completely off-limits. I don't think that's a good option. Ten years ago we were the happening place in music, and instead of embracing that, we said, 'No thank you.' Well, I think we ought to embrace it."

Josh Feit: "So, does that mean getting rid of the TDO?"

Greg Nickels: "Yeah, I think so. They serve alcohol at Safeco Field, and I don't have a problem with my teenage kid going to Safeco."

Okay, Greg, what are you waiting for? Do I have to do your job for you? Fine, I'll do your job: I found the five votes to repeal the TDO, Greg. It was really easy. You see, the council already repealed the Teen Dance Ordinance by a 7-1 vote, in August 2000. Mayor Paul Schell vetoed the repeal, remember? So I just checked in with the five people who voted to overturn Schell's veto to see what they'd do now: Judy Nicastro (an unequivocal "Yes"), Nick Licata ("YES!!!"), Heidi Wills ("My stance has not changed."), Peter Steinbrueck, and Richard Conlin (who sponsored the original repeal). With the exception of wishy-washy Steinbrueck, it's practically a done deal.

And Steinbrueck is easy to take care of. If he backs off on the TDO, you can just march out his quotes from August 2000--quotes like this one: "We have stifled a very natural, healthy, and good activity in this city"; or when he voted to override Schell's veto: "Teens, music, and dance are as natural as apple pie."

So, Greg, you've spent some political capital proving that you're not a "nice guy." Good job. Now spend some capital proving you can get shit done without getting bogged down in process. At your victory press conference on November 16, you said, "I'm going to make more changes in [my] first week than Paul Schell made in his entire term." We're still waiting.

josh@thestranger.com

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