City Hall, Media, and the Drug War

City Hall

Did Seattle City Council member Jim Compton violate the citys ethics code when he flew to Portland on a jet owned by billionaire Paul Allens Vulcan holding company (see Jims Styled Ride, Aug. 27) to watch the Allen-owned Trail Blazers play basketball? Thats the contention of two community groups, the Seattle Displacement Coalition and Democratic Equitable and Environmental Development in South Lake Union (DEEDS), who this week plan to file a formal complaint against Compton with the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission. The Displacement Coalitions coordinator, John Fox, says Compton clearly violated ethics rules banning gifts from interested parties when the council member went to Portland on Vulcans dime in March. Vulcan owns 50 acres of real estate in Seattles South Lake Union neighborhood and is actively lobbying the City Council to support $550 million worth of public investment in the area. Fox says, We are seeking remedies, including proper penalties and fines, and that Compton will recuse himself from future votes concerning Allen. Fox claims that Compton only disclosed the trip when the council member learned that the press, including Seattle Weekly, had gotten wind of the trip. Compton could not be reached for comment Tuesday. GEORGE HOWLAND JR.

Media

The sorry Seattle economy claims more victims, this time 19 employees of the King County Journal who will be laid off Oct. 3. Four of the 19 are news employees. The Bellevue-based paper employs 325 and has a modern printing plant in Kent. (File that fact away for future reference as the legal battle between The Seattle Times and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer unfolds.) KCJ Publisher Peter Horvitz made the announcement in a series of employee meetings last week. He tells Seattle Weekly that the Journal is losing money and he has no choice but to get expenses in line with dwindling revenue. He says the paper is not for sale but that he has no intention of continuing to lose money. Thats a clear sign that the 47,000- circulation daily might be on the block in the future. PHILIP DAWDY

The Drug War

The whiff of Seattle Initiative 75 has reached the White House. The ballot measure, before Seattle voters Sept. 16, would effectively make marijuana intended for adult personal use the citys lowest law-enforcement priority. John Walters, the White House drug czar, will be in town Sept. 10 and 11, according to the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Details of his trip are yet to be announced, but if it follows the pattern of recent appearances, he will use local media to declare pot Public Enemy No. 1. Last fall, Walters was criticized for possibly violating federal law by subtly campaigning against a legalization ballot measure before Nevada voters (the measure lost). PHILIP DAWDY

 
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