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    Greg Nickels is everywhere

    On park signs and on TV, the Seattle mayor doesn't seem to miss an opportunity to put his name before us. Did he learn this from Kim Jong-Il?
    Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels on the Seattle Channel.

    Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels on the Seattle Channel. None

    This isn't a sign I spotted on the road, but rather on foot.

    On the backside of Seattle's Seward Park – the eastern stretch of the peninsula that faces Mercer Island – a major project happened during the late summer. A giant, and I mean giant, barge was brought in by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and loudly unloaded a new shoreline, dumping rocks, sand, and gravel all along the water's edge. There are now beaches where there were no beaches.

    It's all part of trying to improve habitat for juvenile chinook salmon, the city says. As part of that process, they cut down a beautiful row of old poplars. I walk there very frequently and was annoyed by that, but I understand the purpose: Part of the restoration involves planting "native" vegetation to "provide shade and harbor food sources" for the young salmon. They have done this elsewhere in the park, and this new bare spot won't be there forever. In a 100 years or so, there may be some nice young red cedars there – if the climate then is still friendly to red cedars. Let's hope many millions of happy baby salmon benefit.

    But what really annoyed me was a sign at the bottom of the sign describing the conservation work. I quote:

    This project will help build a stronger community and healthy families, one of Mayor Greg Nickels' highest priorities for Seattle.

    Oh, please. I thought every mayor wanted to make a weaker community filled with sick children.

    We do not need a Nickels re-election sign on the lakeshore of a public park editorializing about our Maximum Leader's good intentions. This is clearly a political campaign-style message tacked onto a project description. Nickels and his deputy mayor, Tim Ceis, are notorious for pushing the boundaries in ways that resemble Karl Rove's efforts to run a permanent campaign at public expense. As when Nickels used city resources to produce a video for the waterfront tunnel to sway public opinion, or when his hand was slapped by the city ethics office for producing self-promoting brochures. And while we're at it, some people complain that the Seattle Channel has sometimes seemed like "all Greg all the time."

    Par for the course for a strongman, Chicago-born mayor I suppose. But this piece of silly propaganda reminds me of Stalinist states like North Korea. There, nut-job dictator Kim Jong-Il has, among many other titles, this one: "Greatest Saint Who Rules with Extensive Magnanimity."

    We should be seeing that one on city stationary shortly.

    Knute Berger is Mossback, Crosscut's chief Northwest native. He also writes the monthly Grey Matters column for Seattle magazine and is a weekly Friday guest on Weekday on KUOW-FM (94.9). His newest book is Pugetopolis: A Mossback Takes On Growth Addicts, Weather Wimps, and the Myth of Seattle Nice, published by Sasquatch Books. In 2011, he was named Writer-in-Residence at the Space Needle and is author of Space Needle, The Spirit of Seattle (2012), the official 50th anniversary history of the tower. You can e-mail him at mossback@crosscut.com.

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    Posted Tue, Oct 9, 10:05 a.m. Inappropriate

    I think it's the hair...: There is an uncanny resemblance--coincidence or synchroniticy?

    I've noticed the same trend, and only hope we have anything left of our fair city by the time Nickles is out of here.

    BTW, I don't know if he's responsible, but I visited the primal-forest trails above Golden Gardens last weekend, and am appalled at the cutting down of the old forest and removal of the old, moss-covered logs. Do Nickles' flying monkeys understand the concept of nurse logs? I've walked those beautiful trails for about four decades or more; management was done respectfully and subtlly. Now it looks precariously like pre-condo preparation.

    Posted Tue, Oct 9, 10:09 a.m. Inappropriate

    Well Said Mossback: I think you have said it well and it is something that needed to be said.

    Posted Tue, Oct 9, 12:37 p.m. Inappropriate

    Knowing Nickels: It probably is a pre-condo harvesting. Amazing what happens it this town when the Mayor gets a "campaign" contribution.

    Posted Tue, Oct 9, 1:05 p.m. Inappropriate

    Nickels on YouTube: Here he is AGAIN with J.P. on YouTube!...

    Posted Tue, Oct 9, 3:58 p.m. Inappropriate

    Chicago style politics sucks: Nickels and yours truly were born in Chicago. In January, 2006, I went back to the Windy City and saw the same style green parking meter/kiosks that are now spreading all over Seattle. Someone got a great contract. The South Lake Union area between Eastlake-Denny-Fairview-Mercer streets is now flooded with green monsters and filthy garbage-strewn streets. It would be nice to see the mayor's face on a few milk cartons.


    Posted Tue, Oct 9, 6:19 p.m. Inappropriate

    RE: Nickels on YouTube: Which one is the Clown?


    Posted Tue, Oct 9, 6:23 p.m. Inappropriate

    Shocking, just shocking!: Why can't this guy act like other politicians?

    Posted Tue, Oct 9, 7:03 p.m. Inappropriate

    His Excellency wishes to announce...: ATTENTION: There is absolutely no truth to the rumor that Greg Nickels has changed his name to Greg Quarters due to his increased worth and inestimable value to such lesser personages as the common folk.

    This in a marginally royal proclamation from Hizzoner's new official residence, San Simeon.

    This same announcement hath (these things always say, "hath") proclaimed, in the words of this august personage, "We (the imperial "we") also decree that no referance to the seattle city council shall ever appear using capital letters. Such leser beings warrant not such consideration."

    At a recent dinner with sneezy, dopey, grumpy, bashful, doc, sleepy, happy, vladimer and estragon a/k/a the seattle city council, His Shoes-don't-touch-the-groundedness was asked if They (imperial, again) preferred steak or salmon. "Steak," they responded.

    "And the vegetables?" asked the server.

    "they'll have steak, too," quoth His Perfectionary (apologies to Margaret Thatcher mythology).

    God forbid Seattle should ever annex my unincorporated King County neighborhood; I'd be toast!

    The Piper

    Posted Tue, Oct 9, 7:03 p.m. Inappropriate

    RE: Shocking, just shocking!: He is...

    The Piper

    Posted Thu, Oct 11, 9 a.m. Inappropriate

    Where's the Seattle Way?: Seattle newspaper editorialists like to wring their hands and weep about the lack of capable officeholders, the dearth of election challengers, the do-nothing Seattle Way, etc. Yet, when a guy who knows what he wants and knows how to get it done like Greg Nickels shows up, nobody has a kind word for him. Greg has plenty of critics and his style doesn't endear him to everyone. So what? Voters will keep voting for him, because he's obviously competent and clearly in charge at City Hall. Greg's a strong man in a city of weaklings and it's likely that he'll be mayor until he decides to do something else.


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