The city's Ethics and Elections Commission today dismissed a complaint against Greg Nickels, the city's full-time mayor and part-time satirical movie director. It's an arguable

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The Mayor's 'Ethical' Spoof

This just in from the commission for big ugly rulings.

The city's Ethics and Elections Commission today dismissed a complaint against Greg Nickels, the city's full-time mayor and part-time satirical movie director. It's an arguable ruling, especially the question of who, really, was going to pay for a Nickels' propaganda film. In May, activist John Fox suspected Nickels' infamous $2,000 spoof video on the Alaskan Way Viaduct, produced by the city's Seattle Channel and initially said to have been paid for by an outside campaign group, violated election codes. Fox noted that the group, Citizens for a Better Waterfront (a registered political organization staffed by people from the mayor's re-election team) was being allowed to use city staffers and tax money for its private political campaign. Fox's complaint came after Seattle Weekly raised the issue in late May, causing the mayor's office to backtrack. In its new report, the commission says it was told by Nickels' aide Marianne Bichsel she had mistakenly informed a Seattle P-I reporter the Better Waterfront group would pay for the video. The commission indicates she corrected her statement June 2, seemingly on her own. In fact, the mayor's office had reversed itself days earlier—and only after the Weekly inquired and Fox filed his complaint. The new version was that Better Waterfront had nothing to do with the video, a satire that referred to the mayor's tunnel opponents as the Committee for Big Ugly Things. And just to make sure no one thought it was political, the video was now being called "educational." The commission bought the mayor's story, and says, ironically, because taxpayers paid for the video, it was ethical. That's educational in itself.

 
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