Remember those crazy Olympic Games we're having in 2012? Well, OK, the city is just one of several suitors for the honor, but the bid

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Signing away

Remember those crazy Olympic Games we're having in 2012? Well, OK, the city is just one of several suitors for the honor, but the bid process is moving forward, and Clifford Traisman, director of the city's Office for Intergovernmental Relations, wants the City Council to take action.

According to an August 10 memo, the council is expected to pass a resolution by the end of September expressing support for the Seattle Bid Committee. The mayor must also write a letter stating "that the city has reviewed the Bid Committee agreement and understands and acknowledges the United States Olympic Committee's expectations and requirements regarding governmental participation." A more formal commitment will be expected in two years when the potential host cities submit their final bids. Curiously, both of these actions will predate an expected November 2000 King County vote on whether residents even want the Olympics to come here.

So, just what are the USOC's "expectations and requirements regarding governmental participation"? Glad you asked. The host city is expected to guarantee all of the Bid Committee's obligations to the USOC and International Olympic Committee, indemnify the two Olympic organizations against third-party claims arising from the Games, and (this is the big one) make up any financial deficit for the Bid Committee and the Games. Yeeeow!

"Everyone involved with the bid effort certainly understands that the city of Seattle will not guarantee a deficit for an Olympic Games as currently required by the USOC," writes Traisman. "The Seattle Bid Committee, along with Perkins Coie, is working to devise mechanisms to address this issue."

So the city wants to sign the contract without really meaning it and keep from getting sued. Perkins Coie (the noted downtown fat-cat law firm) has too much money and too few ideas as it is, so, in the spirit of constructive engagement, we'll offer a few suggestions:

Have the mayor cross his fingers behind his back while signing

Use disappearing ink

Have the assembled council members shout, "Psych!"

Hire a rogue notary public to smear the signatures

Steal the Olympic committee guy's briefcase at the airport

Let them hold the Olympics in Houston

Go (back to work) Sonics!

Are Seattle Center officials worried about lost revenue if the National Basketball League lockout causes the cancellation of regular-season games? Center director Virginia Anderson got all choked up when the topic came up at a recent City Council committee meeting. "The potential financial impact of that causes my throat to constrict," she quipped.

Garage talk

If you'd like to express your opinion about the city's plans to purchase the Pacific Place parking garage in a normal, reasonable voice, attend the public hearing on Tuesday, August 25, at 5:30 in City Council Chambers. If you just have to shout about it, attend the press conference of Taxpayers Against the Nordstrom Garage (TANG) on Friday, August 21 at noon in Westlake Park. The event, timed to coincide with the opening of the new Nordstrom store, will feature music and street theater. The council hearing will feature much theater, but no music.

City land, ho!

The city is putting its real estate where its mouth is (a complicated maneuver indeed) by providing land for two affordable housing projects in the Central District. The first, at Dearborn and South Jackson Street, will include 171 housing units; the second, a mixed-use building at 14th and Yesler, will include 12 apartments.

Doughboy marches north

One of Seattle's earliest and most neglected public artworks, Alonzo Victor Lewis' Doughboy, is departing the city's collection. The 12-foot bronze statue of a World War I American soldier will be relocated next month to the veterans' section of the Evergreen-Washelli Cemetery from its current home in a forgotten corner of the Seattle Center grounds.

The statue's quiet exit belies its controversial arrival in Seattle's public art collection in 1932. Lewis, a Seattle resident once known as the state's "sculptor laureate," created the plaster prototype for the doughboy for a 1921 military reunion. A fund-raising effort to finance a bronze casting of the statue as a war memorial continued through the mid-1920s. When, in 1928, the city finally committed to the casting, the postwar patriotic fervor had cooled significantly, and critics criticized the doughboy's triumphant grin (and the detail in the original design that showed the soldier carrying a trio of "liberated" German helmets, souvenirs from some far-off battle). Doughboy's most controversial aspect in recent years has been his isolated location; the statue was relocated during the Seattle Center construction from its prominent location in front of the Civic Auditorium (now the Opera House) to a small garden near a building near Veterans Hall.

This chapter of the Doughboy story has its heroes. The Ballard Transfer Co. has agreed to move the massive statue (a $20,000-plus undertaking) at no charge. Local resident Joe Feldman also aided Seattle Center staff members in arranging the move. Feldman told the City Council he's also looking for a better home for the statue of a Spanish-American War soldier that now stands in Woodland Park near the zoo entrance. "I've been trying to find a place for that too," he says, "but one statue at a time, please."

Over lightly

Can somebody please get Mayor Schell to quit saying he wants Seattle "to grow with grace as we build a city of choices"? We'd all appreciate it. . . . PacMed Clinics has received approval from the federal government to lease 11 floors of the former US Public Health Service Hospital on Beacon Hill, probably to Internet bookseller Amazon.com. Maybe then it can just toss its disgruntled data-entry employees into the greenbelt below. . . . The council pulled out its big rubber stamp last week and approved the conditional-use permit for the expanded Washington State Convention & Trade Center. Are we a world-class city yet?

 
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