Team Nickels couldn't have bought the kind of publicity Tim Eyman gave them last week, when the anti-gay, anti-tax, anti-transit wing nut attached his name to the campaign against Nickels's endless transportation tax ($1.6 billion in the first 20 years), on the ballot in November. In addition to running the campaign, Eyman says he may write the statement opposing the initiative for Seattle's voters' guide, thus attaching his name to the statement sent to every Seattle voter. I asked Eyman whether, given how much Seattle voters despise him, his participation in the anti-Nickels campaign might backfire in Nickels's favor. His response: "Do you think Seattle voters are going to say, 'Let's impose a $1.6 billion tax on ourselves out of spite, just because we don't like Tim Eyman?' That's pretty unlikely." Then, sounding almost sane, Eyman added: "For extras, a tax like that is fine, but to put essentials [like road maintenance] on the ballot seems like blackmail."
The Washington Education Association—financed school levy proposal, which would hike property taxes on the average house another $156 a year, has so far raised $232,000, to the opposition's zero. Meanwhile, the campaign against Referendum 1, a measure that would uphold the city's nutty anti-strip-club rules (no lap dances, bright lighting, high railings between strippers and their audience) is on pace to beat out the pro-Commons campaign as the best-financed campaign in city history, with $700,000 so far.
The city planning commission came down hard on Nickels's proposed strip-club zone in Georgetown last week, arguing in a draft report that dispersing clubs throughout the city, instead of isolating them in a single area, "helps in lowering overall impact to the city." Sensibly, the planning commission agreed with numerous studies in other cities that there's no good reason to force a single neighborhood to house every strip club in the city. Dispersion and regulation will ensure that strip clubs are treated like the legal businesses they are instead of being corralled into a single "red-light district" that doesn't want them in the first place.
The council will take up the proposed new strip-club rules this fall; urban planning committee chair Peter Steinbrueck says, "If there's support for a shift (toward dispersion) I'll consider it, [but] I'm not going to do this on my own."
That's all the city hall news I have (the council's been on recess for the past week, although Sally Clark was spotted lurking around the coffee cart at City Hall Monday), and all I will have until mid-September, when I return from vacation. Meanwhile, here's some news about the downside of densification: A focus-group questionnaire distributed recently to prospective condo buyers at First Church Seattle (at the intersection of 15th Avenue East and East Denny Way) posed the following question: "If you are buying a $1.5 million unit, would having some smaller 750K units in the building be a drawback?" How the definition of riffraff has changed on Capitol Hill: from drunks and vagrants to folks who can afford to spend $750,000 on a condo.