A Mayoral Forum in Whispered Asides and Heckling

There is a small group of younger political wonks that regularly attend candidate forums and at this point in the year, they've pretty much made up their minds. So they're starting to pay less and less attention to the candidates' answers. Thanks to that (and the availability of booze), nearly every answer at last night's Friends of Seattle forum at the Spitfire was greeted with a rustle of whispered asides and at one point, actual heckling.

There may have been more of that had Mayor Nickels been in attendance. He was at a meeting of mayors at the White House and represented by one of his advisors, Mike Mann (pictured far left), who wasn't allowed to speak unless he felt the mayor had been unfairly maligned in some way. Joe Mallahan also canceled citing a family emergency. Only Norman Sigler, Jan Drago, James Donaldson and Mike McGinn to faced the crowd in Belltown.

You can watch the debate in videos posted by Friends of Seattle. (Part 1, Part 2). After the jump, get a taste of what was whispered not-so-quietly from the people in the audience.

* During the opening statements, Sigler said he wanted to get rid of all the various "silos" separating Seattleites. He was a little hard to follow, but when people talk about silos they usually mean the various separate funding mechanisms and administrations that seem to work so poorly together. For instance, the streetcar and the buses are government by different entities with different revenue streams, but both are presumably meant to improve transit. Someone behind me whispered to her neighbor that she agrees, but the silo issue doesn't have much to do with running for mayor.

* Drago used a now-well-worn slogan in her opening remarks. "We need to hit the reset button now," she declared, stabbing at the air. "How long ahas she been sitting on the council now," whispered one woman.

* As Donaldson discussed his support for the tunnel solution to the viaduct problem "because that's what's on the table," someone audibly told their neighbor "he seems kinda crazy."

* When Dragostarted talking about density and the importance of downtown highrises, she became the first candidate I've seen actually heckled. One person hissed and another shouted out something about them all being luxury homes. But as Drago went on to say that we need to accept more density in urban areas because you'll never get the single-family-home oriented neighborhoods to take condos, one girl clapped, telling her noticeably shocked friends, clearly not Drago supporters, "she's right."

In fact, the only person who really seemed to avoid the buzzing that flitted around the room while the candidates spoke was Mike McGinn. He seems to have found his stride with young, urban, environmentalists. They cheered his every answer, so much so that once as Sigler stood to answer a question while McGinn sat down, he said: "I'd like to think some of that applause is for me."

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