The Truth About Dick and Greg

Sometimes friendly. Possible rivals.

This story has been corrected from its original version to reflect the accurate date David Wolbeck filed to run for mayor, June 2006. City Council President Richard Conlin confirmed last week that he's considering challenging Mayor Greg Nickels when the two-term incumbent comes up for re-election in 2009. Conlin says a lot of people have been asking him to run, and that it's "extremely honoring.""I'm going to think about it," Conlin says, adding that he's put nothing formal in place. "I've asked some of the people I trust to give me advice." He plans to make a decision about whether to jump in by fall.Conlin may have teamed up with Nickels on a recent proposal to levy a 20-cent tax on plastic shopping bags and ban foam takeout containers, but the 10-year City Council member has also tangled with the mayor—and won. Last year, for instance, he managed (with the help of a vocal neighborhood contingent) to put the kibosh on Nickels' hope for a transfer station in Georgetown.In addition to Nickels, the only person officially signed up for the contest is local activist David Wolbeck, who filed in June 2006 and has publicly criticized the mayor on transportation and schools. Former council member Peter Steinbrueck, though he says he's not interested, has yet to completely close the door on a 2009 bid.Meanwhile, Nickels has been a man of action—or at least press conferences. He's filling potholes, fixing up Aurora Avenue, and saving Pike Place Market and its smaller brethren: neighborhood farmers markets. He's even taken a spin down the Duwamish River to announce a plan to help restore fish habitat.And last week, Nickels showed up on Rainier Avenue South to encourage citizens to give their cars "the summer off.""Seattleites are aware of the perils of climate pollution, and they want to do their part," Nickels said at the event, held near the route of a future Sound Transit line. "While lots of people bike and bus to work, we also want to encourage folks to use carbon-friendly alternatives throughout the week and in their neighborhoods."And just how did the mayor commute to this press conference? In his SUV.Mayoral spokesman Alex Fryer acknowledges the uncomfortable irony of the situation, but points out that Nickels' Toyota Highlander is a fuel-efficient hybrid, and argued that mayors simply can't take public transit."It's almost an impossibility for any mayor of any city of any size to travel on public transit," says Fryer. "You don't know when there will be an emergency. He also has to travel with security."New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg might take issue with that. He's been riding the subway to work for years.

 
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