1. Last night, more than 200 colleagues and friends gathered at the Royal Esquire Club in Southeast Seattle to roast outgoing City Council member Richard McIver, who's retiring after 14 years on the council. While guests dined on ribs, sausage, and collard greens, deputy Mayor Tim Ceis, four of McIver's council colleagues, and longtime McIver friends like attorney Joann Francis, El Centro de la Raza founder Roberto Maestas, and Inter*Im founder Bob Santos told stories about the longtime council member and civil-rights advocate.
Maestas told McIver, "Gracias, my brother, for the contracts you gave us under the table." Francis recalled being pulled over with McIver during the WTO protests, where he was arrested, and read a poem about McIver that concluded, "We're headed to Mexico, and if folks don't like it, they can kiss my black ass!" And Jean Godden recited a limerick.
After the roast, McIver spoke briefly: "I didn't know so many people would be so happy to see me leave!" It was a fitting send-off to one of the council's quirkiest and most storied characters.
[caption id="attachment_18148" align="alignnone" width="550" caption="McIver (center) and family"][/caption]
2. Both candidates in this year's close mayoral race have said they want to cut down on mayoral staff and strategic advisors, and the city council seems eager to help them do it. Details of the council's version of next year's budget won't be available until next week, but council members and staff says they will definitely include reductions and reorganization, at the very least, at the Office of Policy and Management, the mayor's policy advising shop.
Outgoing Mayor Greg Nickels set up OPM over council protests early in his term and staffed it with several dozen people charged with advising his office; the council viewed the office as a way for Nickels to extend his power and cut them out of major city decisions.
Nickels is reportedly moving some key staff preemptively out of the office to protect them from likely cuts by the council.
3. Yesterday's energy committee meeting didn't settle how much electric rates are going up, but it did include several testy exchanges between committee chair Bruce Harrell and other committee members, including Godden and council president Richard Conlin. (Godden, Conlin, and others on the council want to do the entire projected two-year rate increase now—probably around 11 or 12 percent, as of late yesterday afternoon—instead of stretching it over two years, which would harm the city's bond rating. Harrell wants to do two rate increases, and says the city can afford a lower bond rating. However, Harrell's office says he would prefer that City Light keep its current AA bond rating).
Short version of yesterday's meeting: Most of the council wants to move the rate debate out of Harrell's committee; Harrell (correctly) sees this as a move to reduce his power over the issue and wants to have a special meeting of the energy committee to discuss rates next week.
In the end, the committee put everything on hold until next week, when they'll revisit the issue. The council has until November 23, when the budget has to be passed, to make a decision about the rate increase.
4. In related news, council members are starting to jockey over which committees each one will head up next year.
Nothing much to report there yet (Tim Burgess wants to keep public safety; Tom Rasmussen is interested in transportation) except that Harrell, who has said he's interested in parks, has reportedly been telling council members, "Maybe I'll just keep my (energy) committee"—a reference to the fact that other council members are less than thrilled with his performance there.
5. The Seattle Times won't give McGinn a break.
The original headline on their story about yesterday's results in the mayor's race (which we covered here, here, here, and here) was: "Mike McGinn widens lead over Joe Mallahan in Seattle mayor's race." The current version? "McGinn leading by inches in Seattle mayoral election."
The Times endorsed Mallahan.
This morning's Morning Fizz is brought to you by Worldchanging.