Barbara Pronsato Temp worker
Age: 27 Accomplishments: Was sequentially fired from three temp jobs for "not progressing." Also, founded the dream interpretation service "Dada Dreams," which has had one customer in six months. Volunteers at the As You Like It metaphysical library. Profile: Barbara's most recent job entailed selling "Voice Mail Messages to Santa Claus" for GTE Wireless. "It felt like most of what I was doing was introducing the pound sign to 10-year-olds," she laments. "Most of the kids were really disappointed that they didn't get to talk to Santa in person." Other temp positions have included giving out free Prozac mouse pads at a pharmaceutical convention in the Kingdome, and setting up Viagra displays in the Northgate Mall. "It's low pay, but it's pretty interesting if you have a sense of humor," she says. "When I was younger, it was comforting to think that the people who ran things knew what they were doing, but the more temp work I do, the more I realize they're stupider than me."Pronsato hates cars. "I'm against cars, but not because I can't afford one," she insists. "They're a racket! Cars are a big fucking money-making racket, and everyone is involved. Nordstrom got illegal money not even to make anything for people, but to make a garage." If I Were Elected Mayor: "I'd make temp work illegal."
Michael Kinsley Editor, Slate online magazine
Age: 40ish Accomplishments: Was on CNN's Crossfire talking "from the left," edited The New Republic for a while, was on the cover of Newsweek holding a fish. Profile: Kinsley is distinguished in the field of powerlessness for editing a magazine that nobody reads. Oh wait--his mom reads it. Michael and his mom are VERY close. If I Were Elected Mayor: "I'd resign."
Bill Jacobs "I used to mow lawns, but you can't really mow them in the winter. I haul yard waste away. And then, if I FInd stuff that's worth money, I sell it."
Age: 32 Accomplishments: A member of the American Motors Association, Bill has amassed an impressive collection of junked cars made by the bankrupt American Motors Company, including a Rambler Classic and a vintage Javelin. Also serves as a volunteer for Streetlinks, several domestic violence shelters, and a shelter for abused children. Profile: Bill has willfully dropped out of the ranks of the employed. "There's not really anything I want to buy, so why have money if you won't use it?" he says. He recalls, "One time I had this job where I was a dishwasher, and I had it for a really long time. And the other dishwashers quit, so I became, like, the head dishwasher." He remains in Seattle largely because, he says, "I like a place that's not too hot and not too cold. And that's a hard place to find. Seattle is like that, I guess." If I Were Elected Mayor: "I'd try to fix up all the abandoned buildings in the International District to house the homeless. And, there's too many people with cars."
Omari Tahir Occupation: Various. "I work with any organization doing something constructive in the community. Jesse Jackson never gets anything solved. I only work on something if I'm going to get it solved."
Age: 55ish Accomplishments: Chair of African American Heritage Festival and Parade. 1972 Chair of Black Alliance for Education. Also, says Tahir, "I started the anti-apartheid movement; I put the Safeway on 25th and Yesler out of business because it sold fish from South Africa. I told them school busing was a bad idea, and now they're finally coming around right back where I told them." Tahir has a high tolerance for suffering: "You can crush my fingers--pain doesn't make me do what you want me to do." Profile: Sent to federal prison for four months while in the military for "failing to be brainwashed." Tahir says, "The military was where I first learned that I was not going to be very popular with the powers that be. They don't like to hear that the king has no clothes on. I left that prison in a wheelchair." Tahir was also convicted for disarming six police officers when he was 41. "I got my FBI file in 1973--it was two inches thick, and that was when I was just getting started in politics." Tahir is working on keeping the African-American heritage museum out of the hands of downtown money. He says, "At night when I'm supposed to be sleeping, guess what my little mind does? It races. These ideas--I can't claim that I thought them up, they just pop into my head when I'm sleeping, I have to get up and write them down in a little notebook. When I speak at the Ujama Festival, I can't prepare anything. I'm just talking, and the ideas come out. I have to take a tape recorder to know what I said. Last summer when the police tried to get me off the stage, I said, 'The lion is everywhere--please listen--the lion is everywhere, but he doesn't run the world because he's too stupid.'" If I Were Elected Mayor: "I'd eliminate guns and make it so police officers alternated between being cops and teachers every year."
Doris Coffman Employee at a nursery/gardening cente
Age: 66 Accomplishments: Worked at the Post Cafeteria, the biggest cafeteria in St. Louis. Picked fruit in Yakima. First person to wear her keys on her blue jeans. Has three kids, 15 grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. Profile: Coffman has lived in Georgetown since 1953. Before that she spent time living at the Granger Labor Camp and the Yakima Labor Camp. She claims to have an uncle named Columbus who owned all of Columbus, Missouri. "When I was young I had dishwater blonde hair. I got married when I was 15 on a bet. My girlfriend said, 'I bet you can't get him.' He was good-lookin'. No way José was I gonna marry an ugly guy. We got good-lookin' kids. I was married for 24 years. Promised my kids I'd stay with him until they were out of college. I did it. Paid $60 for the divorce. Now I've been coming to Jules Mae's Tavern since 1953. Georgetown's the best." If I Were Elected Mayor: "When Mom and Dad was young there was a depression. Roosevelt was around. I miss that old guy. We could do a lot better now. The government should put houses up for people who have kids. Let them work it off."
#22 Bike messenger
Age: ?? Accomplishments: #22 boasts a B.A. in English literature and several black belts in martial arts. He says proudly, "I carry around the stuff that makes the city run. I'll take architecture plans for the new stadium out bar-hopping with me after work. They'll get to the architect's office the next morning reeking of smoke and wet from beer." Profile:: "I used to work at a federal home loan bank. I gave it up to be happy. Although I'm more clinched by economic powers now, no one directly has power over me. I never see my boss. I don't have four levels of management over me, and nobody messes with me." If I Were Elected Mayor: "I'd jack up parking [prices] even more. We don't need cars. I really don't get along with cars at all. There's always some guy in a BMW talking on his cell phone to his secretary, probably screaming at her, 'I need this package sent RIGHT NOW!' And he'll run a red light, then practically run me over, and because he scared himself, he'll be screaming at me. He thinks he's the one in charge, but come rush hour, he's stuck no matter what and I'm speeding through traffic on the way home. I'm stronger than all those chair jockeys, and when Armageddon comes I'll be stealing their canned goods, and there's nothing they can do about it."
Abe Glover Various occupations
Age: 21 Accomplishments: Got a GED. Did an open mike performance at the Grand Illusion wearing "this freaky make-up, vinyl pants, and this shirt with skulls that said 'Mortuary Security of Anchorage.'" Ran an anti-gang in Alaska. In all his years of hitchhiking, claims to have only been picked up by one trucker. Glover says, "I play guitar, write folk rock. What I listen to is Megadeth and Beethoven. I learned how to sing from listening to Axl Rose. Another person who influenced me was Freedom. He lived in a bus outside a coffee shop in Alaska and played real cool folk music." Profile: Glover grew up in foster homes, psychiatric hospitals, juvenile detention, treatment centers. He says he learned stuff about human nature there, unpleasant things. "One thing I learned was to conform. I'm really mad about that. They never helped me with the pain I was going through." If I Were Elected Mayor: "Well, I'm totally against capitalism. Too much room for people to get greedy. The poor are getting poorer. Kids who have been on the streets are the most stepped-on people in society. And they're most likely to really see the greed first-hand."
Thomas the Balloon Man Balloons
Age: "I'm just older rather than younger" Accomplishments: Thomas' ongoing accomplishment is the effort of "learning how to perform and elevate my relations with words and language."Profile: Thomas says, "I'm still in a dialogue about my identity, because I don't know how to relate to other balloon people. I want to learn maybe, you know, some ways for meeting other balloon people. I don't go to shows and conventions or classes. You write a parable, a syllable, a paragraph. I need to speak in this novelty third-person dimension. I would do better if I could talk to people with this novelty language. Because kids are afraid of me. I'm not part of balloon world. You take a pencil balloon--it's two inches by 60 inches; one turn and twist, two turn and twist, three turn and twist, and it's a dog. But if you just have a balloon and twist it, the creation depends on how you want to hold it--like, is it a bow-tie or an eight? When I wear the glasses, people look at the glasses. I am getting to know what direction my balloons are going in, but I don't know what my reputation identity is. I had a hand puppet for a while that I used until I ran into a balloon guy at a fair in Oregon. He said, 'You're not doing too well with the hand puppet, are you?' and he showed me how to make the dog. They kicked me out of Seattle Center for loitering, living on the street, aggressive panhandling, but the Left Bank Books people let me sit out here for an hour a day. In the 13 years since I got injured and went on Social Security, I haven't healed. Balloons are the only improvement I've made." If I Were Elected Mayor: "I don't know how to run this city, it's bigger than me. But I think it's a good example of the way things ought to be. The mood of Seattle is something everyone can partake in for enjoyment. Once I was at a store, and the label said, 'Made in greater Seattle' and I said, 'Where's greater Seattle?' and the clerk said, 'You're in it.' It's that kind of thing I love about this city. I'm not a pioneer--I'm a resident, a tenant, a visitor. I'm not an owner, I'm a part-time participant trying to do whatever balloons are supposed to be. It's the only thing I can do at this time to make relationships with people. Some guys can do balloon tricks. I just try to relate to the struggle."
Dottie Smith Bartender at the Rendezvous
Age: Pushing 60 Accomplishments: As a bartender with over 20 years at Seattle's last great bar, Dottie is increasingly a political office unto herself, commanding the respect of a massive, multigenerational constituency of barflies. Profile: Dottie has seen a lot over her years behind the bar. "I've had guys raise their fist to me," Dottie says. "I go, 'What, am I supposed to be afraid of you?'" She claims she will work at the Rendezvous until (1) it closes or (2)she dies. If I Were Elected Mayor: "I'd at least look the part. Every time I look at our mayor, I have to laugh, cuz he doesn't even look the part. He looks like he just got off a three-day binge."
Brian Schrader Fish FIleter
Age: 50 Accomplishments: Owned his own fishing boat at one point. Profile: Schrader filets fish at a plant in SeaTac from 5:00 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Years ago, Schrader studied acting at Columbia University and had a role on Days of Our Lives. He also did some work in children's theater, but according to him, "I'm not a pretty man. No one is going to pay $6 to see me." These days he teaches guys about fish: "You can't just pick up a knife and cut. You've got to know what a bottom fish is. There are six species of sole." If I Were Elected Mayor: "I'd work on the light rail system."
Alexander Joseph Carver
Age: 39 Accomplishments: Formerly on the rodeo circuit--bull-riding, saddle bronco, team roping. Lead carver at Tillicum Village. Shows his carving work in Seattle studios, galleries, and museums. Profile: Joseph operates his carving shop on a bench, with friend and fellow carver Tony, just west of Pike Place Market. It's good exposure, Joseph claims. "I've done artwork all of my life. Sewing, beadwork, leather. With carving, missing isn't an option. If you give yourself the leeway to cut yourself, you cut yourself." He has been carving for 12 years, and would eventually like to work with Duane Pasco or Martin Oliver. "Lots of people want to see Tony and I in business," Joseph says, "but we never had the resources; we could really use some business help." If I Were Elected Mayor: "I'd fund more Native American shops and restaurants in Seattle. The kind that Native American people would like. Herring eggs, salmon eggs, and venison. Few businesses are actually owned by Native Americans."
Esther Taylor Cultural anthropologist, samadini practitioner
Age: Mid-40s Accomplishments: "I saved Capitol Hill from a major terrorist attack in 1981. The whole hill was going to go, and there were grenades on the rooftops, and I talked the guy out of it. That's when I entered spiritual martyrdom and gave up my possessions and my home. I started practicing samadini, a therapeutic treatment, and traveling around to do suicide prevention work. I haven't lost a patient yet to suicide. I got three people off Aurora Bridge, and I went to Boeing at 4:00 a.m. to get some people back. I saved a couple of kids the other night. I'm very proud. In 1974 I read every book in the Unity Church lending library in 90 days."Profile: Taylor is a fixture in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. She claims to have talked to JFK and Eisenhower. Kennedy made a big impression on her when he said, "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country." If I Were Elected Mayor: "I would do something about kids sleeping in the park, slowly killing themselves. These kids sleeping in the park, they think no one cares about them. They're dying slowly out here. They're killing themselves because no one cares. I care enough to counsel youth on the streets and stop grenades from being put on top of the buildings. I'd also do something about the Bonney-Watson funeral home. Their crematorium blows ashes right into the Shurgard storage vent. There's no fresh air there."
Jerry Diamond Retired activist/cyclist
Age: 68 Accomplishments: Former editor of the Cast Metal Research Journal, a publication of the American Foundrymen's Society. The journal was instrumental in demanding the use of specific high-density safety amalgams in jet aircraft. Diamond is also a longtime marijuana user and hemp activist. Profile: His personal stake in the hemp movement dates from 1959, when he was introduced to the medicinal plant and presented with a copy of Waiting for Godot. "I saw and understood what it was about, and it changed my life," he recalls. "I began to smoke marijuana and study art. I began to smoke marijuana and go to concerts. I went back to South America, and I've been smoking ever since." Mr. Diamond maintains, "I lack for nothing, and there are no questions whatsoever that I have chosen a good lifestyle." Continually on the move, Jerry may be seen joining in a drum circle, volunteering at the As You Like It bookstore, organizing for the Retired Executive Volunteers, or proselytizing from the saddle of his Zero Air Pollution (ZAP!) electric bicycle, campaigning for more self-propulsion machines. If I Were Elected Mayor: "I'd hire 20,000 social workers to greet people at the port, in the airport, and on the highways leading into Seattle with indoctrination packets dictating how to live in this damn near-perfect city."
T.F. Drug and alcohol counselor
Age: 31 Accomplishments: T.F. sees her biggest accomplishment as getting clean and sober. She is also distinguished by the fact that her mother's first husband ran for President in the 1940s. He was the first American released from a Nazi POW camp during WWII, and he returned saying, "America is like Nazi Germany. America is Hitler."T.F. says Seattle didn't used to be the way it is now. "It was a fucking radical west town. I used to see that drunken sailor Ivar. He was a dirty guy--lots of innuendoes and jokes. He was the kind of guy that made it here." Profile: Lived on the street with kids killed by the Green River killer. She also hung around some of the kids who were filmed for the documentary Streetwise. "It was funny, watching people dressed to the nines with thousands of dollars of equipment taking a tour of real oppression. The filmmakers walked away. The kids were whored." If I Were Elected Mayor: "I'd turn this city upside-down and then back around. I'd get everyone's astrological chart and see who the fuck could administer honestly. Everyone knows that folks in power protect their cubicles with busy work, protect their salaries. I'd get rid of that shit. Why are Seattle public school officials driving BMWs and Jags?"
Madeline Gaines Greaves I Potato chip tester/inventor/dancer
Age: 3 Accomplishments: Has a pink tutu. Likes Lay's mesquite chips very much, calls them "ginger potato chips." Can imitate the voice of the Cookie Monster. Profile: Born in Transylvania, Romania; collects pens, eyeglasses, candles, etc. Often says, "What that?" When asked what her favorite animals are, Greaves claims, "Couch Potatoes." She wants to be a dancer when she's taller. Has been known to fall down while running. If I Were Elected Mayor: "Big chip, big chip."
Sandeep Joshi various occupations
Age: 27 Accomplishments: Struggled against the Gulf War, worked on the "people's parks" struggle in Berkeley. Interested in getting rid of states. "They are organized on the basis of one class over another class by violence. After the revolution there won't be cops or armies." Profile: Joshi grew up in a Republican town in suburban New Jersey. His parents are from India. In New Jersey, Joshi says, "I got a lot of racism. People called me names. People mistake me for a Middle Eastern person sometimes. These days I get heckling a lot when I'm passing out literature. I get more than others because I'm not white. People say, 'Go back where you came from.'" If I Were Elected Mayor: "I'd tell people not to invest in the stock market. People don't see how they have a share in the system. That money comes from somebody's labor. It's a dirty little secret of capitalism."
A.J. Jimenez Artist
Age: 33 Accomplishments: Survived growing up in Delano, California--a farmtown. Ran away to Hollywood. Ate a hamburger at the same stand as Eve Plumb did in Dawn: Portrait of a Teenage Runaway. Donated one of his kidneys to his ailing sister. "In the second grade I won an art contest, but in the Mexican community it drew attention to my femininity. I said forget it." Profile: Jimenez ran away on his 17th birthday. At that point he was a closeted gay, a born-again Christian, and an alcoholic. In Hollywood he became a prostitute. "I hung out at the Greyhound station so if cops came by, I could say I was riding a bus." Now Jimenez says he wants to go to art school, "wear an eye patch, be Van Gogh. Seriously, I want to discover what it means to be a gay Mexican artist." If I Were Elected Mayor: "It would be nice to see more Mexican culture in Seattle represented somewhere other than just at restaurants. There's no other sense of community. In the town where I grew up, you were either a field hand or you owned a Mexican store. But I know things are changing. We're going to get our land back. A Mexican Pope would be nice too."
Age: 2,500+ Accomplishments: Class President in the sixth grade, responsible for the teenybopper dances. Can peel a banana with her toes. Reading level of a 35-year-old on the Woodcock-Johnson test. Can play Ren & Stimpy theme on bass. Profile: Courtney participates in a vampire game out of the Masonic Temple in Port Angeles, and she belongs to the Satanic Church of America, Seattle Chapter. She goes to McDonald's every morning for an Egg McMuffin. "My goals are to get an apartment with a few people and start a band," Courtney says, "and, oh yeah... gain the respect of my society." If I Were Elected Mayor: "I'd break down the shame and fear around masturbation and homosexuality. People think it's evil because that's what their mother told them."
Ted Younger Retired vaudeville musician
Age: 77 Accomplishments: Vaudeville actor/musician from age three until WWII. Whole family performed in vaudeville as "The Grant Family." Traveled with Tom Keane: Western Hero. Lived through the Great Depression. Did solo musical act after serving in WWII. Clean and sober for 12 years. Plays mandolin, guitar, banjo, ukulele, piano. Profile: Younger's family played vaudeville all over America. His brother was in the Ziegfeld Follies. "We traveled all around the country in Pullman train cars, then later in automobiles. But whatever you do, time marches on. When vaudeville went out, people's faces were dragging on the ground. TV took everyone out. Now, whatever happens I'm just going to make do. If there's a food shortage, I eat cheaper food. That's all there is to it. These days, I sing and play my ukulele on Broadway. I don't need an orchestra, and they don't give a goddamn if you have a guitar. The money I make on the street--a nickel, a dollar--buys potatoes. It doesn't buy sirloin steaks." If I Were Elected Mayor: "The main thing I'd change is housing. Find me a cheaper place to live. It's hard to find. All those places are expensive. Otherwise, Seattle is fine. It has a lot better bus service than Springfield, Missouri. It's cheap. You can ride that goddamn bus anywhere."
Matt WilkinsHuman guinea pig in a series of pain research tests at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Pay: $10 an hour, plus $25 per injection.
Age: 28 Accomplishments: Father of one. Profile: Powerlessness is seldom so clearly delineated as in the world of human experimentation. "The people who give me pain have power over me, definitely," Matt explains. "They drill a hole in your finger and put these tiny electrodes in it. Then they take you to the 'pain box,' which is this soundproof room in the basement of Fred Hutch, and they shock you. Then they inject you with acetomorphine or some shit, and they shock you again." If I Were Elected Mayor: "I just don't know that much about that stuff. But I know the baseball stadium comes up for a vote, and we all vote it down. But it gets built anyway. The monorail comes up, and we all vote for it, but it's not gonna get built. That pisses me off. The masses have to quit being duped so easily."
Phoebe "Pocketful of Smiles" Martina Adopted daughter of Dina "Cement Mixer full of Rouge" Martina
Age: 11 Accomplishments: "I am 11." Profile: The adopted daughter of Las Vegas ingénue Dina Martina, Phoebe's lack of power is as monumental as her goiter. If I Were Elected Mayor: "I'd have the Boat Show go year 'round on the ground level of the Kingdome. All the time. And on the 200 level, make a Kinko's. And put an orphanage on the 300 level."
Zara Williams Nurse
Age: 43 Accomplishments: Involved in the Revolutionary Communist Party for 15 years. Arrested twice for protesting. Has been involved in several campaigns, including the campaign to get Mumia Abu Jamal off death row. She was a vegetarian until someone left a piece of chicken next to her and she ate it. Profile: Williams became involved with the RCP because she didn't like what was going on in Central America. "I realized that what occurred in other countries was going on in this country too," Williams says. "I hadn't known how deep racism went. I've been surprised by who defends us when we protest. Really drunk rednecks bother us sometimes. We get helped out by drug addicts and marginalized people." If I Were Elected Mayor: "I'd allow more access to freedom of congregation. Right now there's no loitering, no handing out leaflets in malls. It's part of a nation-wide attack."
Charlie Krafft Artist/writer
Age: 51 Accomplishments: "I'm the oldest promising young artist in the Pacific Northwest. I'm not the world's foremost authority on black velvet art, but I'm an authority." Profile: Grand Polemarch of Mystic Sons of Morris Graves Seattle Lodge 93, a secret art society with no dues, no meetings, no worries. "We sold 1,402 raffle tickets for a chance to smash a Dale Chihuly," says Krafft. "We did the Northwest Noir exhibit to show the undercurrent of depressing craziness that comes with this city's livability. I'm the former mayor of Fishtown, Washington, a commune of shanties owned by fishermen on the north fork of the Skagit River, between Mount Vernon and Bellingham. Also I'm a backslid yogi; I used to be involved in yoga practice." If I Were Elected Mayor: "I'd make all the drinking fountains work, and replace the ones that have been moved. There are a lot fewer drinking fountains than there were before, and the ones that are left don't work. And I don't understand why we can't have drinking fountains. It would be my first order of business."
Tad Reedy Temp worker
Age: 37 Accomplishments: Was coerced into a non-sexual role in porno film at age 13. Also, was able to silence his mind completely for two days a couple of years ago. Volunteers at the As You Like It library. Profile: "I have a vast collection of information regarding conspiracy theories, Fortean phenomena," Tad claims. "I even have a whole box of stuff on Seattle." He is interested in opening up an investigation on the secret files of Seattle, and has been performing covert research on wheter Bill Gates has a prostitution habits. More importantly, Tad is often confused, in name, with Tad Doyle, the powerless musician. "If I didn't tell people, they wouldn't know I wasn't Tad," claims Tad. If I Were Elected Mayor: "I'd make work responsibilities more flexible. It would take a feasibility study, but we could have less work, longer lunch breaks, and a lot of holidays. Like Bill Bixby Day."
Karma Sooksoit Mother of seven
Age: 40 Accomplishments: Works all 12 steps. Profile: Sooksoit is an exceptionally honest and forthright alcoholic. She actively seeks recovery, but can only manage it according to a state-subsidized schedule. "It's a Catch-22," Sooksoit notes. "You have to have a medical coupon to go to treatment, but I'm not found to have a medical disability. They won't put me on assistance because I am able to work, but then I don't have any experience other than being a mother." Nevertheless, Sooksoit is not disdainful of the public assistance system, per se. "In the end, it's personal," she maintains. "You have to just get off your butt and do it. I like the Work First program, with on-the-job training." If I Were Elected Mayor: "I'd make the city more focused on the homeless. I see a lot of vacant buildings that could be repaired and remodeled. It doesn't cost as much as building a stadium."
Maggi Fimia Member, King County Council
Age: 48 Accomplishments: In 1992, earned Master's degree in public administration from UW. Elected to King County Council in 1993; re-elected in 1997. Profile: Maggi Fimia moved to King County from Georgia in 1972, and worked as a registered nurse and childbirth teacher. According to her bio, these expereinces "shaped her commitment to public service." Since her election to the King County Council, Fimia has wielded less power than she would like, though more than The Seattle Times would like. Fimia opposed spending taxpayer money on sports stadiums for billionaires--a principled stand that prompted Times columnist Joni Balter to call Fimia "stupid" in print. Fimia is currently on the outs with King County Executive Ron Sims over her opposition to a huge sewage processing plant proposed in her district. Fimia favors expanding two existing sewage plants--one in Discovery Park, the other in Renton--but she hasn't had much luck swaying Sims or her fellow councilmembers. That she's right--recent population forecasts suggest a third plant isn't needed--doesn't matter to her colleagues. The new sewage treatment facility will be built: a monument to Fimia's powerlessness, to her fellow councilmembers' stupidity, and to us, the screwed King County taxpayers. If I Were Elected Mayor:"1. Continue to ride the bus to work, and I would challenge my colleagues on city and county councils to do the same whenever possible. 2. I would set aside at least three seats on every community advisory committee or board for young people between 16 and 25 and, 3. I would incrementally shift dollars and personnel from police, courts, and jails to public health nurses, after school programs, and rec centers."
Jon Strongbow Artist/vendor at Pike Place Market/musician/window washer
Age: 39ish Accomplishments: Managed floating cabaret in early '90s which featured such acts as Johnny Moses, Monad, and the Spoon Man. Plays in Mystery School jazz band; put out a CD called Ancient Youth. Published two comic books (his latest, The Hidden World, is available at Pike Place Market). Creates hand-drawn and colored Secret City prints. Profile: Strongbow was diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic in the '70s and put on Thorazine and Haldol. "I've been crazy and came out the other side. If you're really alive, you need the insight to see beyond our American cultural straitjacket. In the space where they built the Benaroya Hall, I thought it would have been interesting if they'd kept the grassy knoll and put in these Easter Island-like aboriginal heads. The city could use something like that." If I Were Elected Mayor: "I would not want to be the mayor of any city. I'd be a slave to people with money and clout. I don't like baseball stadiums and the sports mentality. And TV should be banned. Also I hate that the city tears down beautiful old buildings."
Age: 50s Accomplishments: "I'm a Ballard Beaver. Rah-rah-rah!! Profile: Don's story is not a happy one. He says, "I've only done one thing: worked all my goddamn life. When I was born, I had a raw deal. I was kidnapped when I was three years old, and I only spoke German. Then World War II broke out, this terrible sorta thing, cuz Hitler, he wasn't so bad when he started out, but then he went eccentric like this goddamn Clinton bastard sonofabitch. He wants to be a fuckin' dictator, that Clinton wants to be, I'm sure of it, that asshole bastard. I hope to God that every sonofabitch is judged and goes to hell. That's my dream. We're taxed to death--we need another Boston Tea Party. Who gives a shit about the President? Dictator chickenshit sonofabitch. Fuckin' liberal." If I Were Elected Mayor: "I'd blow this world up in five seconds."
Calhoun Baltimore "I play paper horns and plastic cups for about an hour a day. I spend the rest of my time at parks, riding my bike."
Age: 44 Accomplishments: "I make people happy. I make people stop walking. I make sad people smile. I'm not on welfare, and I don't get food stamps. I earn a living doing what I love. Few of us find that. I am very free." Profile: When Baltimore is not playing paper horns, he rides his bike in various parks. If I Were Elected Mayor: "I'd turn buildings into government shelters--even the Kingdome. I wouldn't just tear it down. I wouldn't be mayor, though. You need to go through an election."
Richard Baker Pawnbroker
Age: 40ish Accomplishments: "A big camera crew came down to put me on Save Our Streets because I apprehended a three-time felon who was a regular customer. I saw him on the show, and he's been in here before, and I knew there was a $1,000 reward. So one day I saw him outside and I thought, 'Hey, easy money, easy pie. No big deal for me, and I get a thousand bucks.' I called the cops. I didn't have to do anything." Profile: Baker has been a pawnbroker for 10 years. He is now an assistant manager. He knows almost everyone in the Pike Place Market, where his shop is located. "I know all the business owners around here, and we go out drinking." If I Were Elected Mayor: "I'd stop people from using the alleys between First and Second [Avenues] as bathrooms."
Kurt Henderson Parking garage attendant
Age: 28 Accomplishments: Henderson's proudest accomplishment is making it back to Central Washington University after getting kicked out twice for bad grades. Profile: Grew up in Vancouver, Washington. After an unpleasant run-in with the law, he decided he wanted to become a paralegal. Of his current job, Henderson says, "I hate enforcing rules that no one likes and being the asshole. Who likes to pay for parking?" If I Were Elected Mayor: "I'd improve Metro service so there wasn't this parking problem. People in power forget what it's like not to have power. I know what it's like to be poor, and I would take that into account every day. People say, 'Oh, folks on welfare are getting something for nothing,' and that makes them mad, but they don't see the suffering.... Also, I would annex Washington state. The federal government doesn't understand the needs of the West Coast."
Pepper Roberts Professional camper
Age: 53 Accomplishments: In the past, Roberts has jammed with Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young; Jackson Browne; Willie Nelson; and David Winley. He also claims to have appeared with Kiefer Sutherland in The Cowboy Way. He has a degree in petroleum engineering from the University of Texas, and, he says, "I've designed some of the most famous race cars and race boats." Roberts also has 53 cards from different branches of Labor Ready day-labor services around the country. Profile: Roberts did two tours in Vietnam, in the Marine Corps. He gave up trying to make money and became a camper because, he says, "This country is fixing for a huge downfall. People don't realize that what they're selling out is themselves. Can you survive out here? You'd better find out, because everyone is just a paycheck away from this. The only thing that will save you is the grace of God. It's not the government or the banks who are going to take care of your ass. The only way to survive is to believe in God and believe in yourself." If I Were Elected Mayor: "I'd crack down on the drug problem in Pioneer Square, get rid of the crack dealers. I'd make sure homeless people had dignity and freedom and an opportunity. That's what I fought for in the war. Not churches running shelters, but America making sure everyone is free and has a chance. If some people didn't want the opportunity, like myself, I'd make sure they had a place to stay outside that was safe.... And I would definitely stop with the stadiums--they're the biggest engineering disaster I've ever seen. Putting two huge structures next to each other on that narrow street? They're creating an incredible wind tunnel, and the parking garage across the street is a big air chamber for the winds. A wind going by there at 20 miles an hour is going to pick up pace and whip through at 70 miles an hour, and destroy the whole thing. People are stupid."
Kevin Hibbard Electronics expert/ dumpster diver/artist
Age: 40ish Accomplishments: Once made an electronic bong. "When the smoke went out there were buzzers and lights. The bong lasted about two minutes, then the sensors tarred up. It was a great idea, but I didn't want to clean the bong every few minutes. Now I'm working on an electronic bicycle project. I'm using a Panasonic bike. It will be built on the same technology as a turntable. It will snap your neck back like a Harley does. It's sexy. There are no gears or bearings. The magnets would turn the wheels. I want to be known as an eccentric sculptor. Want to make things move and chirp. Profile: Left Seattle at 15. Hitchhiked to Madison, Wisconsin. Got married. Set up an arts studio and electronics firm. Got divorced. Moved back to Seattle, and started doing sound for local musicians as "Mr. Science" when the music scene was just starting. Ran his own electronics business for about 10 years. Now works for Radar Electronics. If I Were Elected Mayor: "This city can't do civic projects to save their fucking lives. But what could we do? The Interstate is falling apart."
Sofia Lansbury Flower vendor
Age: 79 Accomplishments: Once saved three giggling runaways from Alaska. "These three girls come in, giggling. They say, 'We don't have any money,' and I say, 'You just tell me the number, and I'll dial it.' Their mother was so happy!" Also, sold Indian carvings to the Seattle Art Museum. Profile: One of 13 people in her family, Lansbury had an extremely happy childhood. "We had the best parents ever," she maintains. "They played ball with us; kids came to the house, they fed 'em. Had a long table from there to there, fed anyone who came in the house."In her 30-plus years doing business in the U District, Lansbury has seen too many disoriented kids. "Sometimes I look at these kids, and I wonder if they know who their parents are," she worries. "I can't figure out why they can't get a job out there, and why they're sleeping between the doors, and peeing on the floor. How come those kids don't find their father?" If I Were Elected Mayor: "I'd find out what to do with the kids. Ladies come from New York, Chicago, and the first thing they do is, they're afraid of the kids. And the second thing is, there's nowhere in this area where a lady can buy undergarments or anything they need personally. And it's messy and dirty. Why don't they steam-clean the streets?"
J.M. Stroebel Objective observer
Age: 29 Accomplishments: Has, by his own definition, won the fight for survival. Also served a brief term as the reluctant "King of Seattle." Profile: Not content to coast through life on his good looks and vegan clarity, Mr. Stroebel has waged a one-man war on lousy products and bad taste. "The free-market economy strives to convince the middle and upper class that the fight for survival is not over," he argues. "Their reaction? To buy stocks that 'perform well,' like technology, fast food, and third-world crap. And, for the lower classes, that competition--'the fight'-- becomes the American and correct model, which leads to shopping for bargains, for the 'lowest price,' and all that crap. McDonald's and Whoppers and shit like that."Mr. Stroebel is an enemy of Starbucks. "Everything that's wrong with this city can be represented by Starbucks," he insists. "It's provincialism gone mad. People shouldn't go to Starbucks and get take-out coffee. It's a low-quality experience. It's a selfish act. Just look, for example, at what they're doing to this city. Erecting a new Starbucks is no different than destroying an old building." If I Were Elected Mayor: I'd offer every person in the city $100 to embrace vegetarianism--$50 now, and $50 after six months. Honor system. And I would make plastic utensils illegal.
Alex R. Mayer Publisher and Art Director for a series of failed but idealistic magazines--Neo, Washington Free Press (he was fired from the latter).
Age: 32 Accomplishments: Recently sold the domain name "Superporn.com" for $5,000. Also claims to be "a scenester, of sorts." Made a film called doomed planet.Profile: As a failed, frustrated media activist, Alex has managed to identify his Seattle blacklist. At the top of his list are the dreaded Nordstrom brothers. "There's all this bullshit around Nordstrom, and to top it off, they're all pricks!" he observes. "There are these eight brothers, and they're all in their mid-30s, and they're all assholes, like the kind of people you'd meet and just think, 'What an asshole!'" He pauses. "A lot of billionaires are like that." If I Were Elected Mayor: Mayer says he'd turn Seattle Weekly's "Top 50 Most Influential Persons" list into the hit list for the revolution, and start from scratch.
Randy Sojac 1 Unemployed
Age: 50+ Accomplishments: Founding member of the AL-5 society, a society of futurist thinkers whose mission is "to set up the world's first capitalist space retirement slum in deep space, beyond the moon," where, he is quick to point out, "gravity drops off; the strain on your heart drops off--it can beat for another 100 years." Is in the process of founding a website, "Focus on the Fascist." Member, As You Like It bookstore. Profile: A proud former yellow journalist, consultant, and ex-Mensa member, Randy is also a certified "downwinder," born in the swirling plutonium mists of Richland, Washington. "I've got anemia and leukemia right now," he proudly proclaims. His anarchist beliefs accommodate both his virulent anti-Asian paranoia--he believes Sun Yat-sen inherited the West Coast after WWII--and his hatred of "the corporocracy." "The city is basically run to keep taxes low on Boeing and pass on externally all the costs of building aircraft to help the Chinese invade us," he maintains, adding, "We're gonna be hip-deep in chinks pretty soon. We're gonna have 50 million mongols with little ponies driving Japanese cars down the Interstate." If I Were Elected Mayor: Sojac sees one of the principal problems facing the city as "[the fact] that most of our sewage is from Bellevue. Our entire defecating population is people who live in Bellevue; they come over here every day and take a dump and go back to Bellevue." Sojac's solution would be "a toll-road system for the sewage." Another thing Sojac would do as mayor would be to "execute as many fascists as possible, before they could flee the city."