According to alarmist front-page coverage in the November 3 Queen Anne and Magnolia neighborhood newspapers, an alert Seattle Police sergeant stopped "terrorist action" on October 27. Was it a truck full of explosives aimed for the Space Needle that caught the attentive cop's eye? Quite the contrary: "A Middle Eastern-looking man and woman were seen on Lower Queen Anne videotaping a Washington State Ferry as it steamed into port," the newspaper reports anxiously. The "potential terrorists"--a thirtysomething man with a "dark olive complexion" and a woman in her late 20s with "striking" eyes--"disappeared" before police backup arrived, the article frets.
The Washington State ferry system has been tagged as a possible terrorist target by the feds, and ferry officials have published guidelines for noting suspicious activities. However, while "unusual photography of ferry operations," is on the suspicious list, simply videotaping one of the city's biggest tourist attractions--from Lower Queen Anne, no less, at least a mile away from the ferry docks--doesn't seem that unusual, let alone illegal. Indeed, Magnolia News and Queen Anne News missed the boat on the real story. The ferry's guidelines smartly point out that "suspicions should be based on activity, not what someone looks like." NANCY DREW
At the behest of pro-urban values council members Peter Steinbrueck and Tom Rasmussen, the city's 2005 budget, includes a hefty chunk of new money--$125,000 in a budget that had a $20 million shortfall--earmarked for an organization working with gay kids who are homeless or at-risk.
Lambert House, the gay youth center on Capitol Hill's 15th Avenue, is an obvious contender for the money: Almost a third of the 800 kids they serve each year are homeless. And Lambert House sure could use the cash infusion--their small $260,000 budget took a big $65,000 hit last year when they lost a city contract, forcing the center to cut its staff from eight to three, trim hours, and close one day a week. AMY JENNIGES
On Monday, November 15, local music promoter David Meinert sent out an e-mail to bands, club owners, record stores, DJs, and just about anyone else he could think of with a love for Seattle's all-ages music scene. His news? The Washington State Liquor Control Board is considering a rule change that would require venues with alcohol that also offer all-ages entertainment after 10:00 p.m. to wall off their bar. In other words, a place like the Showbox--which often hosts all ages shows, and allows people who are over 21 to drink in an upper level bar, a space with a clear view of the stage, but behind a solid four-foot barrier--would have to either seal off the bar (a proposition that would drive away the 21-plus crowd and make all-ages shows unprofitable), or ban minors. "For many venues, this would leave them no choice but to no longer do mixed-use shows," Meinert wrote. Think that sucks? Let the liquor control board know how you feel in an e-mail to email@example.com. AMY JENNIGES
The King County Council is expected to finalize their 2005 budget by November 18, and Seattle's public defenders (which rely on county money) are anticipating bad news--a three percent decrease in funding.
This could mean that one of the four Seattle public defender's organizations will shut down, says Holly Eckert a spokesperson for one public defenders group, the Northwest Defenders Association. "We already run on a shoestring budget," she says, with lawyers currently taking on 20 to 30 cases at a time, representing the homeless, disabled, and poor. JENN GREEN
The anti-monorail campaign's efforts to personalize the debate over last month's failed "monorail recall" initiative may have been taken a little too literally by one irate, ranting business owner, who called in repeated threats to monorail agency staff before the election. On Friday, October 29, after accusing someone at the agency of being a "socialist," the caller "became angry," according to a police report, and said he would "kick [executive director Joel Horn's] ass if he ever saw him." In an earlier phone call, the suspect had threatened to shoot someone at the agency down "in cold blood" and referred to Horn's assistant as a "stupid bitch."
Still shaken one day after the election, Horn took pains to explain that the caller "called me personally to apologize," although not until after a visit by the police. "He was violent and threatening," Horn said.
Horn had just been in the Monorail Recall campaign's crosshairs a few weeks earlier, when an anti-monorail TV commercial accusing Horn of "hiding the truth" ran on cable stations across Seattle. ERICA C. BARNETT
The Seattle office of Corporate Accountability International, a grassroots group that organizes strategic hits to challenge corporate baddies, placed over 50 calls to Coca-Cola CEO Neville Isdell from Westlake shopping center last Friday, November 12. CAI member Joshua Low, dressed as Coke's familiar holiday season spokesman in a red Santa suit, led the 50-plus callers who wanted to voice their opposition to Coke's "irresponsible actions" in India where the $19.5 billion corporate giant has been wringing Northern India's water wells dangerously dry.
According to CAI organizer Claudia Eyzaguirre, the phone blitz--done in concert with hundreds of allies in India who walked 150 miles from one Coke plant to another to protest the company's water excavation--launched CAI's broader campaign against the scary trend toward privatizing the world's water resources, a $400 billion industry. Coke owns Dasani and has business relationships with Dannon and Evian. JENN GREEN