Former Safeco CEO Mike McGavick drew an enthusiastic crowd to a Seattle Center campaign kickoff Saturday, Jan. 21. He is seeking the GOP nomination to replace U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash. But the party faithful didn't get much. There was the inevitable pimping of family, followed by a brief, issue-free lauding the wonderful student/husband/employee/leader he's been. Without further ado, McGavick took the stage. He is not a bad public speaker. But he's not very good, either. McGavick harped on the need for civility in the Republican-controlled Senate, emphatically endorsed the War on Terror and the war in Iraq, and called for tighter borders, fiscal restraint, and a balanced budget. If he said much else, I missed it, possibly because McGavick's high-pitched voice, combined with little emotional connection with the audience, made it all run together. State Attorney General Rob McKenna, who followed McGavick, was a far better speaker—articulate, rousing, personable, and a strong candidate when he runs for governor in 2008. U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Auburn, no polished stump speaker, was also better than McGavick. McGavick will improve. But for a Senate candidate, he isn't very impressive, and he's got a lot of ground to make up and ruling-party baggage to contend with. GEOV PARRISH
Many conservative groups are coming out against Real ID, the congressionally mandated plan to turn every state driver's license into a national identification card for the sake of homeland security (see "Real IDiocy," Mossback, Jan. 18). But not the Evergreen Freedom Foundation. Despite the state Department of Licensing's estimated cost to implement Real ID in Washington at more than $280 million, the conservative, Olympia-based watchdog group has held its fire. Given the threat to civil liberties and government bloat, what's holding EFF back? There are reasons not to like the law, staffer Jonathan Bechtle concedes, but EFF sees an upside for another of its agenda items: election reform. Bad as it is, Real ID would create a database that holds citizens who register under "motor voter" or whose voter registrations are verified against licensing databases to more stringent proof of citizenship and residency, a top agenda item of the GOP and in line with legislation proposed by state Sen. Pam Roach, R-Auburn. So some on the right are ready to make lemonade from Big Brother's lemon—at least until he outlaws voting altogether. KNUTE BERGER
The shrinking Seattle Monorail Project is now down to four full-time employees—from 45 just a few months ago—and is intent on going out of business as soon as possible, says former finance director Jonathan Buchter, who now triples as chief financial officer, general counsel, and press secretary. In recent weeks, SMP reduced $110 million of debt by $21 million, moved into smaller quarters, and eliminated virtually all existing contracts. It has also hired GVA Kidder Mathews to help the agency get top dollar for 34 acquired land parcels valued at $61.5 million. Prospective buyers have until March 17 to submit bids. The monorail's board also recently elected newcomer Beth Goldberg as chair. If she does her job well, she'll be out of office by the fall. RICK ANDERSON
Seattle Public Utilities is boasting high compliance with the city's new recycling ordinance. During the inaugural three weeks of enforcement, 203 of 900,000 household garbage cans were tagged with warning notices for containing more than 10 percent recyclables, according to data released this week. After receiving two yellow tags, violators are subject to $50 fines. A higher percentage of apartment and commercial dumpsters were cited, with 55 of 575 found in violation. Says solid-waste director Tim Croll: "Seattle's reputation as a 'green' city has recently been put to the test. . . . I think it's safe to say Seattleites are committed to recycling."
"I feel like the turkey before Thanksgiving Day." —Seattle City Council member Nick Licata, commenting on his election as council president. (See "A Shift to the Left," p. 16.)