The latest issue of The Cab Driver's Perspective, the zine that bills itself as "A Voice for Cab Drivers," released the results of its "First Annual Report Card of Seattle's Hotels, Rated by Cab Drivers." In the report card, an undisclosed number of cab drivers rated 31 area hotels on criteria such as "kickbacks to bell/personnel" and "cabbies can use restroom." The report card revealed that only a scant eight of the 31 hotels ranked allowed cabbies to use their restrooms. Intriguingly, the Four Seasons does, but not the Travelodge or the Days Inn. Cabbies were sticklers in their evaluation of "bell person dress/conduct," describing it as "poor" in 21 of the hotels. Asked about the Westin's "poor" rating, Ken Broom, Westin's Director of Sales and Marketing, huffed, "We get extremely high grades on our bell people from our guests who arrive at our front door. As to why the cabbies rate us low, I couldn't begin to tell you."

The Four Seasons was one of the few hotels that emerged from the report card unscathed, sweeping all categories, including the elusive "use of town cars." Executive Assistant Manager Doug Housley wasn't surprised that the hotel fared so well with cabbies. "We want to treat cab drivers with nothing but utmost respect. We think of our relationship with them as a partnership more than one where they need to meet our needs regardless of theirs. So of course we allow them to use our facilities."--Samantha M. Shapiro


Not so long ago, a short walk down Broadway or the Ave would tell you who was playing that night and where; who had lost their dog and when; and what politician or CEO was scum and why. Today the only reminders of the great posters of Seattle Past are the rows of rusty staples left behind from when city workers tore down tons of original artwork after the Poster Ban passed in 1994.

Now a group of small business owners, musicians, and free speech activists are collecting signatures for a city initiative that would bring posters back to the city's utility poles and lamp posts. The group, Free Speech Seattle, has started setting up tables and passing out petitions, and they also plan to do voter registration drives.

Two of the group's organizers, Beth Fell and Tim Crowley, are dropouts from the City Council's Kiosk Task Force, which was set up by well-meaning leaders to create new outlets for getting the word out cheap. "On paper [the Task Force] looked like it was going to be great," says Fell. "But it was just stupid. Nobody seemed to get that this is a free speech issue. So we decided to take it to the voters."

With roughly 180 days to collect some 20,000 signatures, these guys are going to need some help. Call 781-7371 for more information, or stop by the Hi-Score Arcade at 616 East Pine.--Ben Jacklet

I-200 update

What's happened since I-200 passed? Plenty, and it's all depressing! The National Medical Association canceled their 2001 conference in Seattle. The group of African American doctors had planned their annual convention in Seattle, but decided they didn't want to support Washington state after I-200 passed. In other developments, the City Office on Civil Rights last week unveiled a P.R. campaign to inform the citizens of Seattle, that yes, they still have civil rights. Seems staff members had been receiving phone calls and walk-in inquiries from people who were "under the assumption that the passage of I-200 meant their civil rights protections had been taken away," said Satu Muldrow, Information Coordinator for the office.

Muldrow recalls that at a fair, someone approached a booth and asked, "What are you guys doing here? I thought you weren't in business anymore." Muldrow said the ads will clarify that Washington state residents still have the right to challenge discrimination in the workplace and elsewhere. Welcome to 1999. --Samantha M. Shapiro