SO WHAT IF the economy sucks, the weather is worse, and you can’t open the mail for fear some damn terrorist has sent you anthrax: 2001 was one memorable year. We can prove it.
Just sit back, close the shades so you don’t have to look at the rain, enjoy a cup of hot water (can’t afford that grande latte without a job), and relive earthshaking, eventful 2001:
* Even as Seattle’s six-week-old newspaper strike appeared headed for a settlement, Seattle Times president Mason Sizemore was warning of a 10 percent workforce reduction. Unfortunately for Sizemore, “president” was later determined to be a do-nothing job, and he was unemployed by winter.
* Apparently mistaking it for a fancy loading dock, an errant trucker runs into and topples the glass-and-steel Pioneer Square pergola. City officials pledge to rebuild it as soon as they find a million bucks they aren’t using.
* Important Sound Transit Milestone No. 1: The Sound Transit Board votes Jan. 18 to approve an agreement for $500 million in federal funding. The feds, sadly, didn’t realize they were supposed to send a check.
* Pioneer Square’s Mardi Gras, a former bar promotion expanded into a street riot, proves inexplicably popular with Seattle’s young drunks and future felons. After riots claim the life of a 20-year-old reveler, Pioneer Square residents, remembering the pergola collapse and the concept that bad things come in threes, prepare for the worse.
* At least they didn’t have a long wait. A 6.8 earthquake hits the Puget Sound area the morning after the worst of the Mardi Gras violence, wreaking havoc on Pioneer Square’s old buildings. Mayoral candidate Greg Nickels, in the Square for a news conference blasting the weak police response to Mardi Gras, is forced to reschedule due to falling bricks.
*Boeing brass announce they’re moving to Chicago. Nothing personal, they say, but as soon as they’re all gone, the company lays off 20,000 workers.
* Reacting to the much-touted power crisis, the City Council raises electricity rates by 18 percent. Of course, this is also how they reacted in times of plenty.
* If computer-related jobs are cool, the dot-com bust means that being unemployed is now hip—and “pink-slip parties” ensue. Average admission price: five bucks or 10 shares of Drugstore.com stock.
* Prodigal son Alex Rodriguez brings his $252 million bankroll and his last-place Texas Rangers to Seattle to a chorus of loud booing. After the game, A-Rod announces that he still loves Seattle fans and denies rumors that he plans to buy Safeco Field and kick everyone out.
* Seattle Weekly turns 25 with a massive anniversary issue, a king-sized party, and a real big cake.
* Important Sound Transit Milestone No. 2: Mark Sidran pledges to scrap light rail if elected, turning the three-way Seattle mayor’s race into a plebiscite on Sound Transit’s future. Light-rail division employees update their r鳵m鳮
* Motorist Aaron Roberts is shot and killed during a traffic stop by Seattle Police.
* Realizing that the Roberts case needs a punch line, protester Omari Tahir-Garrett expresses his opposition to police violence by allegedly slugging Mayor Schell with a bullhorn in front of an array of SPD brass, then blaming the deed on a shadowy figure with a second megaphone.
* The historic Aurora Avenue roadhouse, the Twin Teepees, is demolished. The property owner pledges to put a plaque honoring the Teepees on his replacement structure, between the front door of Starbucks and the entrance to the luxury condos.
* The Seattle mayor’s race begins in earnest, as incumbent Schell debuts a series of wacky newspaper ads featuring hizzoner in funny situations that remind voters of his mistakes in office. For some reason, the Schell re-election groundswell fails to develop.
* After three years as City Hall’s least favorite concept, monorail suddenly becomes a popular transit idea as candidates from Sidran on down seek to milk its public popularity. Who’d have guessed that so many people were seeking ways to travel from West Seattle to Ballard?
* Still reeling from the Sept. 11 attacks, Seattle voters eliminate Schell in the primary, setting up a Nickels/Sidran contest in November. Voters must now ponder whether to turn Seattle into a police state or to maintain the existing liberal paradise where nothing much gets accomplished.
* Despite a record-tying 116 regular season wins, the Mariners falter in the American League Championship Series against those damn New York Yankees. Seattle baseball fans descend into a mourning period that lasts until November, when Ichiro is named American League MVP.
* Important Sound Transit Milestone No. 3: Sidran decides he’s been too tough on light rail and scraps his anti-Sound Transit campaign. Political tip: When running a single-issue campaign, it’s best not to ditch your one issue on election eve.
* City voters reject the new Sidran in favor of the same ol’ Nickels; thanks to absentee ballots, everyone gets to worry about the results for two weeks past voting day.
* Important Sound Transit Milestone No. 4: The Sound Transit board approves its 14-mile light-rail line despite worries about the plan’s inability to provide service to the airport or Northgate.
* Protesters want to celebrate the second anniversary of the World Trade Organization disturbances (Christmas is nice, but it’s not for everyone), so the city promptly bans them from Westlake Park, then sends in hundreds of police to bully them. Somehow, this solution leaves no one satisfied.
* The City Council cuts the mayor’s staff budget, much to the dismay of Mayor-elect Nickels, who threatens “retaliation” against council member Jim Compton. The resulting championship bout is called off after slow advance ticket sales.
* Washington’s unemployment rate hits 6.6 percent and national economists declare that a recession is under way. Boeing instinctively fires 10,000 workers before realizing it was saving its layoffs for Christmas week.
FOR MORE on these stories . . .
* Sizemore/Times: www.seattleweekly.com/features/0101/news-shapiro.shtml
* Earthquake/Mardi Gras: www.seattleweekly.com/features/0110/news-buskirk.shtml
* Boeing leaves: ww.seattleweekly.com/features/0113/news-palmer.shtml
* Pink slip parties: www.seattleweekly.com/features/0109/tech-frishberg.shtml
* Rodriguez returns: www.seattleweekly.com/features/0116/nc-martin.shtml
* Seattle Weekly‘s 25th Anniversary: www.seattleweekly.com/features/0118/ann23.shtml
* Sidran hates light rail: www.seattleweekly.com/features/0120/news-bush.shtml
* Aaron Roberts shooting: www.seattleweekly.com/features/0123/news-andersonparrish.shtml
* Monorail’s popular: www.seattleweekly. com/features/0142/news-barnett.shtml
* Paul’s funny ads: www.seattleweeklycom/features/0132/4th-bush.shtml
* Paul loses: www.seattleweekly.com/features/0138/news-howland.shtml
* Ichiro: www.seattleweekly.com/features/ 0121/nc-needle.shtml
* Sidran’s light-rail waffling: www.seattleweekly.com/features/0144/news-bush.shtml
* Nickels wins: ww.seattleweekly.com/features/0145/news-election.shtml
* Council/Nickels budget fight: www.seattleweekly.com/features/0148/4th-bush.shtml
* Recession: www.seattleweekly.com/features/0149/news-bush2.shtml