1. As of last night, there were about 180 members on the Facebook group, "Peter Steinbrueck, for the love of Seattle, RUN FOR MAYOR!"
Notables on the list include: Former Seattle Women's Commission leader (and big Democratic donor) Linda Mitchell; Real Change leader Tim Harris; music industry activist Dave Meinert; Church Council of Greater Seattle leader (and former state legislative candidate), 36th-District Democrat, Alice Woldt; and Stranger News Editor, Erica C. Barnett.
Behind-the-scenes, politico busybody Cynara Lilly is also on the list.
Nothing against that crew (I'm friends or acquaintances with all of them), but honestly, what's more noteworthy is who isn't on the list. Where's Sierra Club urbanist Mike McGinn? Where's low-income advocate John Fox? Where's transit smarty Cary Moon? Where's neighborhood activist Kate Martin?
Where's a single civil rights leader? Remember the Nickels' administration's record on police brutality? Where's club owner Linda Derschang? Remember Nickels' crackdown on nightlife?
And yes, I put political polar opposites like McGinn and Fox on the list because that's exactly where I think Steinbrueck's power lies. He's perhaps the one figure in town who can stitch together a coalition of Seattle's anti-Nickels factions from the left and right: The angry neighbors and the green progressives.
Steinbrueck is certainly more of a green himself, but his origins as an anti-downtown activist (and his name) give him cred with the pitchfork crowd. Team Nickels knows this. And they're scared.
And finally: There's only one (David Bloom) of the 12 City Council hopefuls here? Certainly a lot more of them are going to be playing up the anti-Nickels themes on the campaign trail. They shouldn't be afraid to join the list.
Where's the formal opposition in this town? Stand up. Why isn't a single Seattle City Council Member on the list? Nick Licata, for example, should be on this list. And what about all those Seattle legislators who think Nickels gives them a bad rap in Olympia? Why aren't any of their names on this list?
Not only are high profile people scared to run against Nickels, they're scared to simply say they don't support him too. Lame.
P.S. Steinbrueck's Facebook page was started by a Central District resident named Susanna Williams, who calls herself "not really anybody."
She moved here from the East Coast five years ago and works at a Catholic high school in Burien. Williams is definitely on the progressive-green side of the equation—she liked Steinbrueck's boulevard/transit take on the Viaduct issue—and says she's been "less than impressed with Mayor Nickels' pro-development—rather than smart growth—relationships."
She adds: "As a former Ballard resident whose affordable apartment was torn down for $500K 'urban style town homes,' I was affected by the poor planning in this city. I was also trapped in the Central District for a week as the mayor completely mishandled the snow situation. That's probably what put me over the edge."
Williams concludes: "I started the page after a conversation with a friend led me to contact Peter through Facebook to see if he was considering a run for mayor. At the time, he was attending a conference in Europe, but he said he was considering it. We have a rising army of volunteers ready to work."
2. Speaking of the rabble, look for a districts initiative this fall. A batch of politicos is apparently cooking up a hybrid version—5-districted council members and 4-at large—to replace Seattle's all at-large set up. (An initiative to make all 9 seats districted lost in 2003.)
3. The state house bill making it illegal to discriminate against women for breastfeeding in public passed 93-0 yesterday. So, for example, a restaurant cannot ask a woman to go nurse her baby outside or (gross) in the bathroom. Washington state is way behind on this one. Nearly forty states, including Mississippi, Alabama, and Texas, allow women to breast feed in public.
4. And yes, this has been reported by every blog and news outlet in the world already (I imagine), but I want it on PubliCola for the record: The campaign to repeal Seattle's bag tax—The Coalition to Stop Seattle's Bag Tax—has raised nearly $250,000. All of it from outside Seattle. And $237,000 of it comes from the Arlington, Virginia-based American Chemistry Council. 7-11 has kicked in $10,000 too.
The pro-bag tax group, The Green Bag Campaign, has raised $700 from three people, including Amazon programmer/local Sierra Club leader, Brady Montz.