Seattle City Council budget Chair Richard McIver has run genial, lackluster campaigns. Last week, he made it clear this year is going to be different. On March 7, McIver drew his first tough challenger when landlord Robert Rosencrantz declared his candidacy for the seat held by the council's lone African American. Rosencrantz opened with a blistering press release accusing McIver of a "spotty attendance record" at City Hall. "In most jobs that kind of attendance record would get you fired," wrote Rosencrantz. It was classic negative campaigning: Define the debate from the outset by putting your opponent on the defensive. Rosencrantz also said McIver canceled many committee meetings, but, of course, the City Council routinely cancels all committee meetings during budget deliberations. Rosencrantz denies it's a cheap shot: "There is nothing in this press release that I don't firmly believe. I'm a positive guy." Surprisingly, McIver hit back on March 9 with a press release of his own: "Frankly, I was surprised that Robert chose to begin this campaign with a stunt right out of the Karl Rove playbook—distort and obfuscate." Looks like the start of a lively contest. GEORGE HOWLAND JR.
The long, strange legal journey of Seattle police officer Gregory Neubert appears to have ended. The cop who was dragged by a Cadillac driven by a black man named Aaron Roberts in 2001—and whose partner, Craig Price, then shot Roberts to death—has lost a lawsuit in King County Superior Court. Neubert had claimed he was the victim of a hate crime committed by Roberts, insisting that he was assaulted with the Caddy "because of my race as a white officer." He also filed a city of Seattle insurance claim stating that his injuries resulted from Roberts' alleged hate crime and was paid $3,883 (see "Hate-Crime Allegation," Dec. 15, 2004). A review of records now shows that Neubert's lawsuit against Roberts' mother, who owned the Cadillac, and the state, from whose custody at a halfway house Roberts had escaped, won a January summary judgment to dismiss the hate-crime claim. Judge Dean Lum accepted the state's and Dolores Roberts' arguments that Neubert, as a cop, had accepted certain risks that even he had admitted include being dragged by a fleeing motorist. In 2002, Neubert told an inquest hearing that race played no role in the shooting. In dismissing Neubert's suit, Lum agreed. RICK ANDERSON
Last week, enviro author Bobby Kennedy Jr. (Crimes Against Nature) took his book tour to Yelm in Thurston County to speak at the Ramtha School of Enlightenment, where channeler JZ Knight holds court with Ramtha, the 35,000-year-old entity from Atlantis who speaks through her. Warned by a critic that he was addressing a cult, the broad-minded activist said, "I guess it would be OK if I spoke at Bob Jones University," reported The Olympian. Then he flattered his audience of more than 1,000 by assuring them, "You're good people with good values, and all the values this country is supposed to stand for." That would be mom, apple pie, and—Ramtha? When RFK Jr. was in Seattle in January, he tried to explain the gap between the expressed values of red-state voters and how they vote. His conclusion: It's ignorance. "Eighty percent of Republicans are just Democrats that don't know what's going on," he proclaimed. A funny line, but maybe he's got a few knowledge gaps of his own to deal with. KNUTE BERGER