Sensing a dearth of mayoral candidates who just open their mouths and say whatever they happen to be thinking, Seattle City Council member Judy Nicastro is now considering taking the plunge.
On the positive side: Nicastro's got a safe council seat, she'd be the only woman in the race, and she would appeal to progressives so far unexcited by the four centrist white guys who've indicated interest in the job.
However, Judy might also consider the damage a primary whipping might inflict on her fledgling political career. Either way, she needs to quit saying that she plans to run for mayor in 2005. Once people see you as a candidate, your every word and action are seen as campaign strategizing—hardly the recipe for an effective legislative career.
Would-be candidates are staking out the Port Commission in hopes of finding that most elusive of election 2001 jewels—an open seat.
Paige Miller, one of three incumbents up for re-election, is still undecided about whether she will seek a fourth term. That got the attention of enviro Lawrence Molloy, who advises companies on the export of environmental technology to European and Asian markets. He's already garnered the endorsements of such political heavyweights as Schell, County Executive Ron Sims, and County Council member Dwight Pelz.
Which gives him two problems: First, conventional wisdom recommends against running against a Port Commission incumbent, so Molloy might have to take his endorsements and go home if Miller decides to stay. Second, as the last port open-seat race drew nine candidates and climaxed in a spend-till-you-drop final race between winner Bob Edwards and well-heeled challenger Laurie McDonald Jonsson, Molloy had better be saving those pennies.
The war room
As Mayor Paul Schell's critics can't forgive the guy for going home and sleeping during the Tuesday night Mardi Gras violence, it's clear our idea-a-minute city CEO needs some advice.
Mr. Mayor, what you need is an Emergency Response Center.
The ERC (official-sounding acronym, yes?) is a room in some public building where the mayor can set up his temporary command post during the WTO or Mardi Gras or some other occasion for civil unrest. Put a few maps on the walls for visual appeal, have plenty of phones on the table, and instruct aides to hurry in and pass the mayor a note every 10 minutes or so.
Set up a well-stocked table of coffee and doughnuts and invite the reporters in. (Hell, get some sandwiches and the TV people will show up.) This way, the media will see our mayor in command mode during times of trouble, but the remote location will keep him out of the way as the police commanders do their job.
Sure, it's all just another photo op, but the mayor's job is to give the people (and the media) what they want.