Sausage Links, 'City of Music' my rear edition

Is Mayor Greg Nickels really ending his longstanding "War on Nightlife?" Or did he finally realize the music scene in Seattle is worth preserving?
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Is Mayor Greg Nickels really ending his longstanding "War on Nightlife?" Or did he finally realize the music scene in Seattle is worth preserving?

In the midst of the Buildergate deposition mess, which I'll get to later today, it appears Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels had a busy day Wednesday. First, he reversed his position in the city's longstanding feud with local nightclub owners by proclaiming Seattle as the "City of Music." Wait, what?

What happened to the mayor's "War on Nightlife," the series of unnecessary police raids and ridiculous fines which made business so tough for local nightspots that some were forced to close, while others struggled to stay afloat? Apparently, he finally realized that "Seattle is already on the map" as a music city. Now he wants to "figure out how Seattle becomes ... America's city of music."

According to The Seattle Times, the mayor unveiled a new 12-year proposal that would provide tax exemptions for live music venues, expand musical education in public schools along with other programs, and generally promote the city as one of the nation's hubs for music. The campaign will be overseen by a new Seattle Music Commission comprised of current members from Seattle's Office of Film + Music and members of the local music industry. Some additional notes from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

Last month, Nickels offered a plan to boost local nightclubs by getting rid of the city's admission tax and offering a program to help new clubs to open and stay in business. Nickels has included the tax exemption, which will cost the city about $300,000 in revenue, in the proposed 2009-10 budget he submitted to the City Council.

David Meinert, who manages Blue Scholars and co-produces the Capitol Hill Block Party, hailed the mayor's campaign as a bold step forward.

"I think it's a huge turning point for the city," Meinert said. "If you look at where we are right now and how successful (the scene) is, it's really in spite of the city. With the city now embracing the music community, we should see a lot of growth -- instead of shutting it down.

Meanwhile, here are a few interesting tidbits from around the Sound.

Back pay: P-I political reporter Chris McGann has found a fascinating difference between the Rossi and Gregoire campaigns: While both political outfits are spending big, it appears staff members in Rossi's campaign are earning far less than those in Gregoire's. ...

Payback: The state GOP announced yesterday that the Public Disclosure Commission is investigating a complaint that Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire's campaign illegally accepted more than $12,000 in contributions from out-of-state political action committees. ...

Backpedal: According to a report released yesterday by the King County ombudsman, Democratic legislative candidate Scott White violated the ethics code by using a county computer and fax machine to work on campaign-related documents. White apologized but added, "There's no evidence whatsoever" that he was trying to run his campaign out of his county office. ...

Better late than never: The Washington Post recently sent Oregon Republican Sen. Gordon Smith a present with their call to avoid one-party rule at the Capitol, saying the defeat of such GOP moderates as Smith and Rep. Chris Shays of Connecticut would be "a loss for the county, not just for their party."

Better rake than never: Mayor Nickels told city residents at a news conference yesterday to keep local storm drains clear of fallen leaves, in hopes the effort could help avoid accidents like the one which claimed the life of a Madison Valley woman who drowned in 2006 after her basement filled with floodwater. ...

Better for Democrats? Manuel Valdes at The Associated Press has an interesting story on why Washington's hispanic population could swing the Democratic vote — in 2012. ...

In case you missed Sen. Barack Obama's 30-minute infomercial last night, here's a recap. Politically, it was a thing of beauty. The spot aired at 8 p.m. EDT across multiple broadcast networks, and according to preliminary Nielson ratings it was watched by more than 30 million people. The "Obamamercial" also ran just before game five of the World Series between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Tampa Bay Rays, which ensured big audiences from Florida and Pennsylvania — two key battleground states. Brilliant.


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