"Between you and me, it's dead."

That was the verdict murmured by one city council member last Wednesday, after King County Superior Court Judge Steven Gonzalez deemed the Monorail Recall initiative illegal after just 90 seconds of deliberation. But on Friday, things were looking brighter for Monorail Recall, when a state court announced it would consider an appeal of Gonzalez's decision on September 8--five days earlier than expected, and soon enough, in theory, for the council to put the initiative on the November ballot.

That same council member, incidentally, was also witnessed badmouthing Richard Conlin, the council's most incorrigible monorail antagonist, at a party thrown by the Cascadia Monorail Company at the chichi Edgewater Hotel last Monday--where the red wine, I'm told, flowed freely. In addition to predicting that $100,000 in pro-monorail campaign cash would be lined up to oppose Conlin in 2005, the council member reportedly threatened--jokingly?--to run against Conlin herself if he didn't abandon his monorail-hating ways.

The anti-monorail campaign may be known for many things--Hummer-driving contributors, ugly lawn signs, weird emotional displays at city council meetings--but one thing it is not known for is its financial aptitude. Between March and August, Monorail Recall treasurer Liv Finne has amended the group's campaign disclosure statements no fewer than 75 times. The repeated "fixes" got the attention of ethics director Wayne Barnett, who says he's considering "a whole range of actions" against the group, including a possible fine. I suggest $20,000. That's the same amount the campaign paid an out-of-town signature-gathering firm in June--a fact Finne failed to report until two months later, after local media reported a lower number.

The new long-range plan for the Woodland Park Zoo, which went private three years ago, looks less like a home for animals than an amusement park for people. Included in the plan are a 9,000-square-foot events center for "family gatherings"; 700 new parking spaces; and a "historic carousel" with "three rows of unique hand-carved horses." Why all the emphasis on kid-friendly bells and whistles? The zoo needs the new facilities to "enhance [its] financial stability" with "new, year-round revenue streams." Translation: They're having trouble raising money. Ironically, financial stability, was the same reason zoo officials gave for wanting to privatize back in 2001, arguing that many donors "hesitate to give money to the [Zoo] Society [because] it is being run by the government."

At a packed viaduct debate put together by the People's Waterfront Coalition at Town Hall last Wednesday, Port Commissioner Paige Miller predicted "disaster" if the state so much as considered the PWC's controversial no-replacement viaduct alternative. PWC member Cary Moon shot back: "Thank God we have citizens questioning our leadership, because without that we wouldn't have Pike Place Market and we would have the [R. H.] Thompson Expressway going through the Arboretum."

barnett@thestranger.com

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