GIVEN OUR ENDLESS reporting about (and against) Sound Transit's decision to take $500 million in federal money, you probably think we're distraught over last week's board vote. (On January 11, Sound Transit voted 14-1--with brainiac King County Council Member Rob McKenna dissenting--to take the money.) Well, actually, we found a silver lining in the clouds. Since light rail will have no discernible impact on easing traffic congestion ["More Expensive, Less Filling," Josh Feit, December 28, 2000], and since the lame, single 21-mile line won't even reach most Seattleites (not to mention Eastsiders), we realized the Feds won't know if we build this thing or not. So, now that we tricked them into giving us $500 million, let's just take the money and put it to some actual use. Let's truly make Seattle a "World-Class City!" Here's our list:

1. $100 million donation to Amazon.com, so it has a fighting chance finally to declare a profit. (The company's total net loss in 2000 is $866 million and climbing.)

2. $10 million fund to help small, independent businesses (like the 2-11 Billiard Club or the Rendezvous) stay in Belltown. Businesses must charge less than $4 for a drink to qualify for the rent subsidy.

3. $10 million to set up a campaign fund against Mark Sidran's pending mayoral run, plus $5 million for an anti-Schell campaign fund.

4. $10 million severance fund for the 2,275 Seattle-area dot-commers and techies who got laid off in the last eight months.

5. $201 million to buy the Sonics back from Starbucks.

6. $15 million to house the homeless.

* The remaining $149 will be spent building the monorail.

Please send in your suggestions to "Make Seattle a World-Class City!" so we can spend the $500 million wisely.

josh@thestranger.com

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