If Bill or Paul ran Seattle

What would the city be like if one of Microsoft's co-founders were in charge?

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Paul Allen

What would the city be like if one of Microsoft's co-founders were in charge?

The two richest, most powerful Seattelites are not in politics, and neither lives within the city limits. But they are local boys who made good, and people are already turning their eyes to the next mayoral election and asking: Who can lead this city in innovative ways?

If Donald Trump can toy with the idea of running for president, why can't our two most successful business entrepreneurs tackle the challenges facing their hometown? They did both grow up here, after all.

It can't be more complicated than improving global health, running a global software company, or staffing a global mega-yacht, can it?

Here's a look at what each might do if they found themselves sitting in hizzoner's chair in City Hall.

If Bill Gates ran Seattle

Style: "That's the stupidest thing I ever heard" becomes catch-phrase at neighborhood town halls.

Favorite transport mode: Fast-moving Porsche.

Tough Guy Deputy Mayor: Steve Ballmer.

Declare Seattle a Malaria-free Zone.

Public private partnerships: Seattle gets a 64 percent cut of every deal.

Great cafeterias for city employees.

New initiatives: City assumes powers of School Board, King County, Puget Sound Regional Council, legislative and Congressional districts and entire state in order to leverage market share. But the mayorship is not a monopoly.

One word for SDOT: Traf-O-Data.

Downtown tunnel: Make it a profit center by routing all vehicles through it and charging licensing fee.

Eliminate Apple as state fruit and replace with mascot Clippy.

Donate old aviator glasses to Museum of Flight.

Fire city budget staff because Gates can do the math in his head.

Official City song: "My Way."

If Paul Allen ran Seattle

Free concerts at Westlake featuring Allen, Aykroyd, and Bono.

City Hall moved to holodeck on mega-yacht Octopus.

Tough Guy Deputy Mayor: Jody Allen.

Stratocaster named Official City Instrument.

Install Kirk's chair in Mayor's office.

Replace official city seal with 12th Man flag.

Appoint Ray Bradbury chief librarian.

Favorite mode of transport: Battlestar Galactica.

The Downtown Tunnel: Fill with water and offer submarine rides.

New initiatives: Special grant funding for long-range, double-blind studies of the brains of City Council members.

SpaceShipOne Sundays at Seward Park!

Pink Floyd Muzak at Seattle Aquarium.

Zoning: High-rises must be topped by SETI arrays.


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About the Authors & Contributors

Knute Berger

Knute Berger

Knute “Mossback” Berger is Crosscut's Editor-at-Large.