In honor of Jean

As I sit down to type this opus, it looks as if former columnist Jean Godden got herself a seat on the Seattle City Council.

Since Jean's greatest strength as a columnist was how "nice" she was - Jean's idea of news tended toward spotting vanity license plates and cocktail-party chatter - I have to assume I'm unelectable, since "nice" isn't my aim in this space, or in any other.

But in honor of Jean's political triumph, this column, although not nice, will be in the grab-bag style Jean made so popular.

People have suggested I tackle the litter problem. Business-people tend to blame the homeless and those passing through who congregate at the bus stops.

There may be some truth to their complaints, but litter seems universal in the business districts, and I think it speaks to the decline of civility or even minimal respect for strangers on our streets.

When I moved here 20 years ago, the cleanliness of the streets was one of the first things I noticed. Seattleites went out of their way to put their trash in the cans that are still prominent on every corner.

Nowadays, if the sidewalk is closer, a lot of folks seem to think it's OK to throw their crap down.

Speaking of elections, voters don't seem very happy with the way the city is being run. They threw out some incumbent council folks and some school board members.

My least-favorite councilmember, Jim Compton, survived, in my opinion, of course, only because, to many people, even Jim seemed preferable to a fellow who admittedly "smacked" his ex-spouse around in days of yore.

Jim's buddy Paul Allen must be happy. But hopefully Jim's advisors will remind him not to take any free tickets or plane rides - at least not right away, while we're all still watching.

In another election-related matter, incumbent Mayor Greg Nickels couldn't help chortling over the fate of some of his opponents on City Council getting their political clocks cleaned by angry voters.

Nickels told The Seattle Times, "It seems like there is a little revolution in the air."

Greg must have forgotten how lucky he is that he wasn't running for re-election this time. Most of the folks who wrote, called, e-mailed or interrupted one of my daily strolls to talk local politics have expressed distaste for Hizzoner's regime.

If I were Greg, I'd lay a little low and thank God I have two years left to spend the citizenry's money.

In conclusion, I haven't seen any cool bumper stickers or vanity license plates. Of course, I'm usually on foot, and the shiny, German staff cars are moving pretty fast, so I spend most of my time trying to make eye contact with drivers so as not to become a statistic. Such action leaves little time to read about your honors-student grandson.

As for cocktail parties, I do most of my drinking in local establishments. I haven't been door-charged yet to go into some of them like some people have, but I did hear a funny story at McHugh's the other night. The problem is, I don't think it's printable.

But I still love Seattle as much as any Godden ever could.

It's a great place to live!

Dennis Wilken can be reached via e-mail, at

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