A planned James Donaldson press conference about a "professionally-applied smiley face" sadly failed to materialize yesterday. The story: Ballard restaurant Restaurante Michoacan got a notice from the city that it needed to remove graffiti from its walls. But it had also a smiley face professionally applied to its walls. Apparently misunderstanding the city's order (in part, perhaps, because the real graffiti wasn't that prominent), it removed the smiley face. So Donaldson called a press conference, saying in his announcement, "That the city of Seattle cannot distinguish between a professionally applied smiley-face and real graffiti indicates just how out of touch the bureaucracy is with its citizens and its businesses."
But the city says it never wanted them to remove the smiley face, that people can paint or allow others to paint whatever they want on their walls. (Which makes it seem like any cash-strapped business get out of any graffiti cleaning order by saying "we gave them permission.") Thus Donaldson found himself in the awkward position of issuing the first ever cancellation of the first ever announced press conference about the city-ordered removal of professionally-applied smiley faces. Problem solved, he said. "We believe that our planned press conference forced the city to resolve this problem," he said in the cancellation notice.