Minutes after leaving yesterday's mayoral and city council (including Kshama Sawant) inaugurations, I was a little hopped up on hope.

Yeah, Sawant's speech was doctrinaire (circa everyone's freshman year in college), and Murray's speech lacked specifics, and the poem from Washington state's poet laureate, Kathleen Flenniken, seemed like a  rewrite of a Seattle Wikipedia entry (the Jimi Hendrix statue on Broadway?).

But wow: A socialist council member who mischievously made an Angela Davis fist immediately after getting sworn in and then proceeded to give a speech calling on workers to "shout their demands from the rooftops and organize en masse" and a mayor who appears to be in sync with the council to get shit done. And, I admit, the poem did include one funny line about jeans at the opera.

But then, moments after hearing all the high-minded idealism, particularly Murray's Catholic Worker sound bites about "we as a community help[ing] those who live on the margins of the life of this great city," I was walking north on 4th back to my office, and I saw a store security guard wrestling on the ground and trying to cuff a zonked-out-seeming guy in front of Bartell's who—both men were black—was chanting "Nigger" over and over in drunken tape loop mode.

Shortly after the security guy cuffed him, a trio of bike cops showed up and took the guy to jail.

Nothing like a reality check about the nuts and bolts of running a city, after a series of dreamy speeches about carbon neutrality and expanding mass transit.


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