Seattle City Council member Tim Burgess is bringing Mark Kleiman, a professor of public policy at UCLA, to Town Hall tonight for a free talk on making the city safer without ratcheting up heavy-handed law enforcement. I'm psyched. Burgess has been talking up this guy for about a year—specifically his book When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment—and he's finally here.

We've given Burgess plenty of hell on Slog in the last few weeks for his controversial aggressive solicitation bill, but one bad bill doesn't spoil his good intentions we agree with his goals to improve public safety. Everyone wants a safer city, a just criminal justice system, and a frugal use of city money.

"I’m excited for Seattle to hear Professor Kleiman’s ideas for reform," says Burgess, whose office miraculously still takes my calls. "They’re innovative, not always intuitive and they don’t fit neatly into any political or ideological box.”

Burgess will introduce Kleiman and a knock-out panel: Eldon Vail, Secretary of Washington State Department of Corrections; Wesley Saint Clair, King County Superior Court Judge; Mark Larson, King County Deputy Prosecutor; and Alison Holcomb, Drug Policy Director of the ACLU of Washington.

This is a bit of a healing moment after the recent showdown at city hall. Sponsors of the forum include the ACLU of Washington State and Downtown Seattle Association—adversaries in the panhandling bill debate.

(The forum begins at 7:30 p.m. at Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Avenue—at 8th Avenue and Seneca Street)