City Politics, Animal Rights

CITY POLITICS

Everyone knows Mayor Greg Nickels wants voters to give him a friendlier Seattle City Council in next month's election, but is hizzoner also hoping to elect allies to the Seattle Port Commission and the Seattle School Board? Consider the evidence: Port Commission candidate Alec Fisken is a city employee who has done work on port-related issues; he and Nickels agree on his primary platform plankthe preservation of industrial marine jobs; and members of the mayor's cabinet have given Fisken dough. Seattle School Board candidate Irene Stewart worked as a staff member for Nickels when he was on the King County Council; until recently, she headed the city's Office for Education; last week, the mayor held a fund-raiser at his house for Stewart. Fisken says the mayor did not encourage him to run. In fact, Fisken says, when he entered the race, the Nickels administration relieved him of port-related assignments. And Stewart moved from the Office for Education to the Department of Planning and Development to avoid a conflict of interest. She says her longtime professional and political relationship with Nickels would create "all sorts of opportunities for partnership" if she's elected. GEORGE HOWLAND JR.

MEDIA

On Tuesday, Oct. 5, the Seattle Times Co. said it will appeal a recent King County Superior Court ruling in favor of Hearst Communications, owner of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, which had sued to block a Seattle Times effort to negotiate closure of the smaller P-I under their joint operating agreement (JOA). In a news release, Times publisher Frank Blethen said his paper doesn't mind competition. But the locally controlled Times, he said, is threatened by "conglomerate" Hearst's ability to absorb lossespresumably until the Blethen family has to give up and sell. (Hearst has right of first refusal.) "We can't afford to sustain year after year of losses," said Blethen. "We believe the real decision here is whether readers want their newspaper owned by out-of-state interests or by people who live and work in the community." At this point, the best analysis of the ongoing legal battle might be that just because Blethen is paranoid doesn't mean Hearst isn't out to getas in ownhis family's newspaper. Meanwhile, for what this is worth, there are three daily newspapers in Maine that are owned by out-of-state interestsnamely, the Seattle Times Co. Perhaps Hearst would be willing to buy the Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram, the Kennebec Journal, and the Waterville Sentinelinstead of The Seattle Times. CHUCK TAYLOR

ANIMAL RIGHTS

Most conferences at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center drift through unnoticed by the public. But that's bound to change Oct. 12-16 when the American Association of Laboratory Animal Science holds its annual meeting downtown. Although the thousands of animal-research veterinarians and technicians in attendance will be sticking to the science of what AALAS terms "the humane care and use of laboratory animals," the Northwest Animal Rights Network, longtime opponents of animal research, is promising demonstrations and possibly other actions during the conference. PHILIP DAWDY

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