Best Local Politician

Nick Licata

A Seattle City Council member for 14 years, Nick Licata has gained some forehead and a lot of finesse. Still a rabble-rouser when necessary, he's become the council's reasoned voice of experience. He tends to say what a lot of folks are thinking—when police failed to fully disclose their aerial drone program, for example, that "played into people's worst fears" of being spied on by the government, he observed. When police blamed guns, not gangs, for a recent spike in homicides, he thought they were missing the point; the need is to connect deeper with the community, he said, and overcome the unwillingness to assist investigations. That's "one of the biggest barriers to effective policing . . . How do we demonstrate to [citizens] that they can trust us?" An opponent of earlier stadium deals, Licata thinks the proposed SoDo arena is doable as long as it complies with Initiative 91, guaranteeing a "fair value" return on the city's investment (the council, he says, is simply "looking for a way to say 'yes' " so the arena can be built). Licata continues his longtime efforts to make life better for the city's homeless; considers the Occupy demonstrations "today's civil-rights movement"; and during council committee, reads poetry. Out loud. RICK ANDERSON 684-8803,

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