John McCain's Message to Seattle; Commuting Past a Crime Scene

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Commuting Past a Crime Scene

I worked too late last night, couldn't sleep, and came back to work too early this morning. What made my back-and-forth commute notable was pedaling my bike last night along Elliott Avenue at around 11 o'clock through a throng of teenagers who were overflowing into the street, not exactly making way for traffic. (To be fair, there basically was no traffic, but still.) All of them were young and black, predominantly male, and there was clearly some kind of party being held in a ground-level loft space in what's sometimes called the Northwest Industrial Buildings. Great, we all love a party. Nothing wrong with that.

I pedaled past without an unkind word or look. Still, I'd never seen a comparable gathering in that canyonlike stretch of Elliott (right across the street from the Seattle P-I, in fact). And it didn't seem like prom season or the time of spring graduation parties. There are occasionally small crowds for gallery and wine-tasting events, or people walking to the Olympic Sculpture Park. The rowdiest that area ever gets is for Hempfest. So I went home to bed thinking, Did they have a permit for that party? And what was the occasion?

Next morning (today), the TV camera trucks and lights are deployed all along Elliott. The P-I reports one teenager shot dead and another at wounded Harborview. With more stories to follow. Was there a security guard? Should there have been? Was alcohol being served to minors? Was there a permit for the party? Two teenage males are apparently being sought by police, with no arrests yet made.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of Seattle commuters have had the experience of driving past fender benders on I-5, sometimes when ambulances have been called after the crash. This was similar, only I missed the shots, the ambulance, and the police by about 45 minutes. It was more akin to driving, then having some car pass you at a reckless speed. Then later you read about the fatal accident on a stretch of road that, before, always seemed so ordinary.

— Brian Miller

What John McCain Told SeattleNote: This story originally ran in The Daily Weekly on Feb. 23, 2007, as part of SeattleWeekly.com's Campaign 2008 series. Listen here to the Senator's entire speech.

John McCain today became the first 2008 contender to visit the Emerald City this pre-election year— and got a warm welcome in the traditionally lefty hotbed that is Seattle.

To ensure there'd be no funny business, participants at the luncheon event were asked in advance to be on their best behavior. "Please be respectful of the senator's time onstage," emcee and KCTS radio host Enrique Cerna said before bringing McCain on. "Hold your questions and comments until the end."

Members of the City Club and guests of the World Affairs Council obliged and greeted the Republican senator from Arizona with a standing ovation. They dined on salmon and sorbet while he told them why this doesn't have to be the "Asian century."

"Some say the American century is a thing of the past, but the U.S. and Asia ascending doesn't have to be mutually exclusive and it shouldn't become so," he said.

McCain gave the locals some love by waxing poetic about his time as a military Senate liaison traveling with "legendary" former Washington Sen. Henry (Scoop) Jackson.

 

"Those were some of the greatest moments of my life," he said, reminding the audience that Jackson knew "what this country stands for" and always believed "our greatest days lie ahead."

McCain stuck to the script and sounded more like a beltway insider than a straight talker during his remarks, which mostly centered on promoting global markets and the United States' relationship with economic powerhouses like China.

As part of his pitch for free trade, he appealed to the state's wheat farmers and the fruit and vegetable growers, reminding them that they "all benefit and depend on foreign markets."

But he warned that future superpowers (read China) need to accept that with greater power comes greater responsibility. "Their environmental stewardship cannot fall prey to their economic ambitions," he said, generating a rousing round of applause.

The only evidence McCain was stumping came from his repeated referral to the audience as "my friends." That and the appearance of the national press in the form of New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, who showed up moments before the speech and skipped to the press table in pink cowboy boots.

After a few boilerplate questions about trade, Iraq, and the evils of a bloated federal government, McCain got his only humdinger from "lefty" Seattle.

"Why have you been sucking up to the religious right?" one resident wondered.

McCain's defense: "I was at Starbucks this morning talking to 4,000 of their employees. I didn't see much of the religious right there. It was mostly people in their 20s."

Later, talking to a gaggle of reporters, McCain again mentioned his visit to the Seattle coffee giant as proof that he wants to reach "everyone."

Even Starbucks.— Aimee Curl

 
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