Judy Fenton, who filed late Friday to challenge Seattle City Council member Sally Clark, says she hasn't quite nailed down all of her positions on the issues yet, but she's sure about one thing: Public art needs to be appropriate for children.
Specifically, Fenton is concerned about the fountain at the base of the Olympic Sculpture Park that depicts a man and a boy standing naked facing each other. "We spend a lot of heartfelt time and effort teaching our children boundaries and guidelines, telling them if somebody touches us in ways that aren't appropriate what they should do," Fenton explains. "If somebody sees that statue, it will undo that and confuse them."
Fenton says she's running against Clark (called "Untouchable" on a recent Seattle Weekly cover) because it's high time she had an opponent. "She was appointed," Fenton says. "It's right and proper that she has a contest. It's not right for leadership roles that have that much responsibility and public trust to run unopposed. It's just like free enterprise: Competition brings fresh ideas to things. I think it will be good for the city."
Clark won appointment to the council in January 2006 and was re-elected that November. Her only opponent in that race, Stan Lippmann, also filed Friday to compete against Clark this year. Lippmann says 2007 marks a decade of being on the ballot for public office almost every year. He says being known as the "perennial" candidate has its downside but that he thinks he's starting to gain the "trust of the voters." Lippmann says the political climate has changed significantly since last year and that people are more willing to listen to his agenda for a "green Seattle."
For Bob Brown, Clark's third challenger and a retired Seattle firefighter, the city might be a little too green. "I want to run for the citizens. I think the council is so far out as far as what the citizens of the various neighborhoods want," he says. "The streets are terrible. And they put in bike lanes instead. What good does that do? They don't want people who have cars period. I believe you should be able to drive out of Seattle."
Brown says being appointed put Clark in a spot where she had to "go along with everybody." Lippmann called her the "mayor's pet." I couldn't reach Clark to see what she makes of the competition. (Or if she's outraged about any particular pieces of public art.)