Next Wednesday, a fundraiser is being put on at the Crocodile by a group identifying itself (on Facebook anyway) as "The Music Community." Tickets to>"/>
Next Wednesday, a fundraiser is being put on at the Crocodile by a group identifying itself (on Facebook anyway) as "The Music Community." Tickets to the event, where the Presidents of the United States of America will perform, are $200 to $350, and proceeds will go the campaigns of Mike McGinn, Dow Constantine, and Pete Holmes.
The Stranger is sponsoring this campaign fundraiser---possibly a first for any business calling itself a newspaper--and the event's lead host is impresario Dave Meinert, who oversees the Capitol Hill Block Party, among other projects. An email encouraging people to come to the event was also sent out this week by Ben London, executive director of the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the Recording Academy. (London later told me he sent the email from his work email@example.com mistake, and that the Recording Academy--a non-profit that is not allowed to campaign or raise money for individual candidates and ballot measures--is not making a formal endorsement in these races.)
It's easy to understand why club owners and musicians would be in Dow and Pete's corners. Dow is known as a longtime friend of the music scene, having once been a KCMU dj. And Holmes is running to unseat city attorney Tom Carr, the man held responsible for the much-reviled Operation Sobering Thought. But McGinn? What exactly has he done to ingratiate himself to the music/nightlife kingmakers?
In an interview, Meinert told me that any day now, McGinn will be issuing another of his many white papers, this time about music and nightlife. But Meinert added that there weren't really any specific policy questions that led to his support.*
"It's not so much about the policy always as it is about values. I can't tell you what legislation's going to come up on city council that I would expect McGinn to take a position on," he said. "But I can tell you that, having met with him, and having met with Mallahn, when it comes to their values and their vision for the city, McGinn's basic values fit in with those of the music community."
"He's a music fan, he's gone to shows. Growing up he was going to shows. I think he believes in supporting small business and street-level activity. And in density and making Seattle a more livable city for the people who live in the city."
Meinert says he was particularly struck by how the two candidates responded when asked about the importance of the music business to Seattle. "Mallahan's answer was basically that he really thinks it's important that people from Issaquah are able to get into the city and spend money. And then he talked about roads. That wasn't a very impressive answer to me.
"If you value people from Issaquah coming into the city, that's one of your main answers when you're talking to me, that's a certain value. And so when you're making policy about things, you're going to worry about people from Issaquah coming into the city and about what they think of certain things. Where, if you value the people who live in the city and that they can get around and have places to go to, that's a different kind of value."
Leaving aside the question of whether anything musically important to the city of Seattle could ever possibly emerge from Issaquah, and the fact McGinn himself grew up (and, apparently, developed his love for live shows) on Long Island, it seems odd that Meinert would give such weight to such an offhand comment. But Meinert says that in general he found Mallahan to have a "suburbanist vision" of the city as opposed to the "urbanist" one of McGinn.
And there's no question that McGinn has made more of an effort to reach out in his rhetoric to aggrieved club owners. You can see one example in parallel interviews on KCTS, where each candidate was asked about the importance of arts and culture to the city. McGinn makes sure to criticize Sobering Thought and talk about the need to work with and support nightlife businesses, while Mallahan speaks only of concert halls and museums and goes off on a tangent about the budget.
SW blogger Krist Novoselic is performing at the benefit next week as a special guest. He'll be chiming in here at the Daily Weekly later this week about why he's participating.
* [Meinert says I've misrepresented him on this point. See comments.]