Can we throw the bum back in? That was the message sent by a staggeringly pro-Greg Nickels crowd at a Seattle Climate Partnership-sponsored event at the Aquarium last night.
Li'l Scoop Even though he failed to be taxed, the Bagmonster still loves Mayor Nickels.
There, the outgoing mayor was feted for, among other things, leading the light rail and streetcar charges, bringing other cities in accordance with the Kyoto Treaty when President Bush refused to, planting trees, enacting pro-bike policies, and trying to tax the hell out of grocery bags. Even though Nickels failed on the final front, a man dressed entirely in plastic bags (pictured) still came up and hugged him. So cute.Standing in front of a crowd of political luminaries that included Deputy Mayor Tim "The Shark" Ceis, Office of Sustainability Director Michael Mann, and fellow mayoral primary loser Norman Sigler, Nickels watched as what could have (should have?) been a campaign infomercial was projected on a gigantic screen near a gigantic fish tank in the Aquarium's front reception area. On film, mayors from cities large and small sang the praises of Nickels, who will surrender his post as the head of the U.S. Conference of Mayors along with his keys to City Hall. In addition, local enviros took turns rattling off Nickels' accomplishments in a more earnest take on Letterman's Top Ten List. (This was not without an extraordinarily hyperbolic moment in which Transportation Choices Executive Director Rob Johnson credited the little-used SLUT line with fostering a "national streetcar renaissance.")
Earlier, in a sort of "Greg, this is your life" presentation, a 2002 news clipping was projected on the giant screen, followed by a photo of Nickels filling in a pothole himself, both of which reminded attendees of the mayor's back-to-basics first-term agenda. But then came a photo of Nickels standing alongside uber-photogenic San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom in a national glossy spread that put Seattle's mayor on the map as an environmental visionary.
It could be argued that in being seduced by the latter image, Nickels lost sight of the "Mayor Pothole" priorities that first got him elected--a negligence that manifested itself in a very gnarly manner during last December's Snowpocalypse. Hence, Nickels may ultimately prove to be Seattle's Jimmy Carter, a leader whose vision and value will be impossible to assess until 20 years after he's left office.
In the meantime, Nickels is currently weighing his options for what to do once he leaves City Hall at years end. He'll stay involved in the environmental movement, he says, and maybe even teach a little--quite the coup for a political lifer who was so anxious to enter the realm that he never finished his studies at UW. Then there's the prospect of a fellowship back east, where one can only hope he'll end up as Peter Steinbrueck's R.A.