Media, City Hall

Media

In six months, Seattle Post-Intelligencer Monday through Friday circulation plummeted from 144,836 to 132,694—a drop of 12,142 copies, about 9 percent. Seattle Times circulation for the same six months ending Sept. 30 fell even more, from 233,268 to 215,502—but that was a mere 7 percent. The drop in sales of the combined Sunday edition is a little less alarming, from 462,920 to 441,398, down 5 percent. The Times has managed to keep steady in the 230,000 range on weekdays after a switch to mornings in 2000, but the P-I has been in steady decline. This time, says the Times, which also handles business for the P-I, the numbers reflect a pullback from some circulation east of the mountains, less solicitation, but most of all a price increase in metro Seattle from 25 cents to 50 cents. (Come on, you cheapos. You can't even buy a pack of gum for that.) Newspapers elsewhere posted even worse numbers. No word on what this downtick means in the legal dispute over a desire by the Times to renegotiate or terminate the joint operating agreement with the Hearst-owned P-I. CHUCK TAYLOR

City Hall

Revenge is best served nude, as strip club impresarios Roger Forbes and Frank Colacurcio Jr. and Sr. will confirm. Their companies bankrolled a $122,000 petition drive that this week ended with twice the 14,000 needed signatures to force a public vote next year on the city's new lap-dance ban. Not only have the strip clubs been wildly successful in opposing City Hall's prudish version of Seattle as a world-class city—Vatican City, apparently—their political donations this year effectively went to oppose, rather than support, politicians they've backed in the past, some of whom have turned on them. Council members returned Colacurcio money given during the 2003 Strippergate scandal and refused similar donations this year. The Colacurcios currently face money laundering and other charges related to those earlier donations. Guilty by association, Forbes, the man behind the local Déjà Vu franchises, also got some of his City Hall donations tossed back, most recently from Mayor Greg Nickels— a lap-dance-ban supporter. RICK ANDERSON

Two weeks after Nickels promised that the city would not cut homeless shelter beds and would, in fact, kick in another $500,000, confusion broke out over how many beds will be funded next year. The matter seemed pressing because the 2006 budget calls for 189 fewer beds than this year's 1,275. Advocates said Nickels promised something he wouldn't deliver. But Nickels and the City Council have agreed to add $350,000 to fund 100 beds from April through December. The city is funding 2005 shelter beds through March. If there are shortages after that, Patricia McInturff, director of Human Services, says she has Nickels' support to ask for more money.

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