Meet Dixy Lee Ray

Thirty years ago in Seattle Weekly.

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This is one of a series looking back at Seattle Weekly's first year.

30th Anniversary

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Issue number 5 of Seattle Weekly (April 28, 1976) was full of looming threats. Threat No. 1 loomed on the cover: a format-filling photo of gubernatorial candidate Dixy Lee Ray delivering some characteristically straight talk into an obsequious microphone. For those who recall Dixy only as a closet full of polyester pants suits and pet dogs who peed all over the governor's office, here are a few quotes to complete your picture: On atomic energy: "A nuclear power plant is infinitely safer than eating, because 300 people choke to death on food every year." On foreign aid: "Worst of all is rushing in to save starving populations whose unfortunate lot has been to suffer such irreparable brain damage from malnutrition that its children can never be normal." On government: "Anything the private sector can do, the government can do it worse." On the environment: "The only perfect environment was the Garden of Eden, and it didn't last very long." Neither did Ray's governorship. She lost the Democratic primary in 1980 to Jim McDermott, who then lost to John Spellman.

Looming Threat No. 2 dealt with clashing plans for getting oil from Alaska's North Slope to markets in the lower 48. Terrific local opposition to a tanker terminal at Cherry Point in northern Puget Sound was already building. But Cherry Point was where the terminal was built. So far, the catastrophic spill that environmentalists have feared has not taken place.

On the feature side, the Weekly devoted a number of full pages to Seattle's first radio station for "young adults who think." Derided by some as "yuppie music played by yuppies for yuppies," KZAM went on to become an island of comparative calm on the AM dial, while its alumni—Tom Corddry, Shelley Morrison, Jon Kertzer, Joni Balter, Denny Fleenor, and Lee Summerstein—went on to make their independent marks all across the Northwest media scene.

rdowney@seattleweekly.com

 
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